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Would it be appropriate to.....

(13 Posts)
blinks Thu 10-Sep-09 02:12:42

...........not accept a present for your child from a grandparent who isn't in their life anymore?

Basically we stopped seeing my parents after i confronted them about childhood incidents (emotional/alcohol and some pervy behaviour from dad). Their reactions to the confrontation was denial, anger and blaming me for 'dealing with things badly'. After the way my dad was with me, i didn't want him around my two girls and so felt i had no choice but to stop him seeing them. My mum was gutted but at no point acknowledged my allegations about my dad. She denied having been told about a touching incident and my siblings have pretty much taken their side over the whole thing. Am now without family/support. this also happened when i was pregnant and in dire need of emotional stability.

I see my sister occassionally and on birthdays and xmases she always brings something from my parents for the girls. Every year i want to fling it out the window or violently stamp on it but i feel bad as my daughters wouldn't understand my motivation and it's impossible to explain it in a way they'd able to grasp.

It's my eldest daughter's birthday this weekend and my husband thinks i should ask her not to bring anything from my parents but i feel fraught about the whole thing. Our relationship (sister and i) is on rocky ground at the moment so i don't know what the fuck to do.

she's very hard to talk to and i suppose i'm angry with her for not supporting me at all. she doesn't have children so isn't in the same situation as me. this is about 2 years on from not seeing them and it feels like they're omni-present.

thumbwitch Thu 10-Sep-09 02:52:23

oh dear - I have huge sympathy with you about your family situation but can't help feeling that you are over-reacting slightly to the presents - they aren't alien implants that are somehow going to infect your family or report back to your parents, are they?

So long as the presents are appropriate for your DDs, I can't see that they are going to do any harm - or are you really worried that your 2 DDs are, in the long term, going to think that YOU are completely unreasonable to not talk to 2 such generous people, after all, they've had loads of lovely presents from them, they must be nice, and then your DDs will be against you as well? Is that where your thought processes are going (possibly unconsciously)?

How would you really honestly feel if your parents ignored your DDs' existence? Would that add fuel to your (justifiable) anger against them or would you be relieved?

Sorry, I know that's a lot of questions for you - feel free to ignore. As I said, I do sympathise but I think I would bite the bullet and just accept the presents as you have been doing - after all, they're not for YOU, they are for your DDs.

Tambajam Thu 10-Sep-09 06:51:37

I think based on what you have said you are entitled not to accept the presents.

It also sounds like much of your anger is about your sister's lack of support and by bringing the presents and acting as a go-between she is impliciting supporting them and suggesting you are being unreasonable every time.

I would either bite the bullet and have an honest conversation with your sister. I wouldn't expect her to 'choose' but she could at least stay neutral and not handover presents.

If you feel you can't do this for now then perhaps ask your husband to call her on your behalf.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 10-Sep-09 07:21:18


Your parents (particularly your Mother) are deeply in denial aren't they. Your Mother likely fully knows what went on but has chosen to "stand by her man". She may also have been threatened by her H and has thus chosen to keep quiet. They are both weak individuals. Also blaming you "for dealing with things badly" is infact a classic response done by toxic parents. She's basically condoned what happened to you as a child by doing this. You were badly let down by both your parents who were supposed to love and protect you.

I would not accept any presents for their gc under these circumstances. You probably think that what your Dad did to you could well happen to them as well.

You may find it helpful to have some counselling with a neutral third party; BACP have a list of counsellors and they don't charge the earth.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 10-Sep-09 07:43:33

Your parents are also being very cynical here by using your sister (and she is being used by them as are your siblings) to bring a gift over. It is not uncommon too for other siblings to take the parents side; they do not want to also become the scapegoat by siding with you.
This family from where you came is deeply dysfunctional and unhealthy.

Its not so much about the present either; what is happening here is more about power and control than just a present. They want to still exert some power and my guess too is that the suggestion of giving a present is also your Dad's idea.

You may also want to read "Toxic Parents" as there is also a chapter in there about abuse too. Their reactions are typical of such people.

If you haven't already done so have a look at the most recent "Stately Homes" thread, you may want to post your initial post on there too.

PrincessToadstool Thu 10-Sep-09 07:44:24

I would think it depends on their ages and awareness... but I know that if anything ever showed up here for DS from my father it would go STRAIGHT in the bin.

BalloonSlayer Thu 10-Sep-09 08:08:56

If you ask your sister not to bring anything from your parents, are you not then putting her in a difficult position, eg she then has to dispose of it/explain to your parents etc?

Would it not be fairer to her to take the presents off her discreetly so your DCs don't notice, and post them back to your parents?

blinks Thu 10-Sep-09 08:20:14

thanks everyone.

it's not just one present. it's normally bags of presents. it's very hard to explain that ALL of these presents are from people she doesn't see. at the moment my eldest is 4. my youngest is only 17 months and has never seen them beyond when she was first born. my eldest remembers them though so it's harder dealing with her presents.

we never know what to say.

we would feel terrible taking the presents away once she's seen them so that's out of the question.

i thought maybe asking my sister only to bring one present.

my honest reaction is to scream/cry and wail hysterically about it all being so horribly unfair but it doubt that'll get me far.

atilla- alot of what you say is true but my dad is actually uber passive and it's my mum who is more obviously in control (on the surface). he was abusive in a passive way- drunken-ness, emotional abuse (picking arguments etc) and his pervy-ness was mostly voyeuristic stuff although there was a touching incident. i've read toxic parents and had counselling etc. i'm 100% comfortable with my decision to break contact with them and yes, i was worried about him around my daughters. i told my mum when i was 10 and she didn't believe me so i know that i can't count on her to protect my children when he's involved. she'll never leave him or acknowledge what happened to me and i accept that now but i resent her bulldozing ways.

blinks Thu 10-Sep-09 08:24:14

i suppose you're right balloonslayer.

i could intervene before she sees them but i suspect it'll be taken badly.

on one occassion my sister pretended that the presents were from her even though it was blatantly obvious they were from my mum.

i had to restrain myself from screaming.

warthog Thu 10-Sep-09 08:25:38

i think i would tell your sister not to bring any presents from them.

she's not a great support for you, sounds awful in fact. perhaps if she decides to not come for whatever reason, it's not the end of the world. hard as that may be.

diddl Thu 10-Sep-09 08:28:45

Contact them & tell them not to send anything.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 10-Sep-09 09:25:29

I would not resume contact with either of your parents. They, particularly your Mother who seems very dysfunctional, are not going to take kindly to being told that their presents for the grandchildren are unwanted. They will turn that into an attack on you. As mentioned though before this is not so much about presents as about power and control. Its a very cynical tactic employed by your parents to use your children actually as they are doing.

I would get your H to talk to your sister and make it clear to her that any future gifts from them will go straight to the charity shop. Presumably as well she comes to your home to give them the gifts; if so that arrangement must change. BTW how does your sister get on with your children; does she actually show any interest in them at all?.

I was also going to add that if your sister is like the rest of your siblings I would seriously consider making your own path in life without any of your family in it. Living well is the best revenge.

blinks Thu 10-Sep-09 10:36:53

i'm sure my sister is very fond of my children but she rarely sees them. i could probably count on one hand the amount of times she's seen my youngest in the past 17 months.

she doesn't have children though so our lives are quite different.

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