Advice, please

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Advice, please
8
Mon, 11-18-2013 - 2:07pm

So, the holidays are approaching...I leave for AZ in 6 days and am excited to be spending it with my family instead of dh's.  It takes an airline ticket, but I simply couldn't spend another holiday without my own children at my holiday table.  They always choose to go to their father's as he has extended family, so I lose out.  So, this year, I decided to make myself happy and go spend it with my family in AZ who I am very close to.  :)  I have 4 DDs and only 2 will be here for Thanksgiving, so obviously, they don't care and I know where they will be.  Dh was a single father, so I always have to look at his sons (whom I'm not real fond of) at our table and not my own children.  It's very difficult.  Needless to say, I'm REALLy excited about this Thanksgiving.  :)

Ok...now for Christmas.  All 4 DDs will be home.  My question is...do I even GET DD26 (#3 daughter) a gift? I honestly do not feel like it and she most likely won't come to my house anyway.  Two Christmases ago, she told me coming to my house WAS my gift.  Last year, she didn't come over to my house AT ALL over Christmas, but on New Year's Eve asked me for her Christmas present.  I asked her, "Do you mean when do we want to EXCHANGE gifts??"  DD26 had told me she has used her Christmas bonus to buy Christmas presents.  So, I asked her who she bought for.  She said, "My friends, Grandma (my ex-MIL)..." and I asked her if she'd bought her father something and she said yes.  So, I said, "So you didn't get me a gift?" and she said "No"...yet still expected a gift from me.  As you can all imagine, my heart felt like it had been stabbed.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I told her calmly that we were "done" and until she could treat me and dh as family and treat me with the respect I deserved, that we just were done. She then proceeded to tell me I was f'uped in the head and bi-polar.   I told her I loved her and walked out the door.  I did eventually send her Christmas present to her via my DD22 and never got an acknowledgement.  I did see her once in the middle of January and that's the last time I've seen her and she is my only daughter who lives in my town.  I just couldn't allow her to treat me the way she did any longer.  I saw her once in January when I met with 2 of my other DDs and we spoke very little.  I have texted her a few times throughout the course of the year inviting her to join my DD22 and me when we get together, but she declines or doesn't respond at all.  I also sent her a card with a check in June for her birthday...again...no response.  I DO love my daughter, but I simply cannot allow her back in my life until she grows up.  The last thing she texted me in July was "You chose dh over your own children and I can never forgive that.  I don't see us having a relationship any time soon."  That was the end.  My counselor says until she matures and gets over feeling that way, we won't have a relationship.  So, I continue to love and worry about her, but I no longer try to contact her.  My other 3 DDs aren't close to this sister and just think she's being really immature.  Anyway, the long and short of it is this...do I buy her a gift or not?  I honestly don't feel like it, but my fear is she will come with her sisters to my house at Christmas and I would have gifts for her sisters, but not for her. 

What would YOU all do if you were me.  I really respect your advice. :)

 

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Fri, 11-29-2013 - 10:07am

I've been away so am late in responding but my recommendation is to take the high road & give her the same value & type of gift you would give the others even if she doesn't show up. Send the gift to her with one of your other DDs. I believe you need to leave the door open & prove she is always welcome. Ignore her behaviour, keep your boundaries as you need them but I won't forget you are a Mom not a friend or an aunt. You are confirming your DD3's beliefs that you don't love her if you give to your other 3 & not her. You are treating her differently at the holidays. I know she is immature & has hurt you but she is hurting too. I agree with not contacting her on a regular basis but I think I would still send her emails or texts just telling her you love her & are thinking of her. Don't expect a reply but at least you are sending positive messages her way which may get through to her sometime. From 15 to 20, my DS2 basically ignored my existance & our relationship was all one sided. He got along great with his Dad but did everything he could think of to hurt me & as he said later, to try to break me. It hurt a lot as he was my baby & we had always been close. But I continued to leave him little messages/cards & the odd email (we didn't have texting then) that told him I loved him & while I didn't understand or like his behaviour, I was his Mom for always & would love him unconditionally. I brought him gifts the same as I did for his siblings & never got anything in return. The older 2 would put his name on a card from one of them but I knew he didn't have anything to do with this. We have a strong relationship now & he has said that he has no idea why he was so angry with me but that he kept some of those cards & notes although at the time, he didn't know why.

I give my kids gifts for different occasions. They give me great gifts for birthday/Mother's Day & Xmas but they never give us an anniversary gift or Easter/Valentine's Day gifts. I don't expect them to even though I have always & still do give them gifts for these occasions. That's just me continuing a tradition my grandmother followed which my kids think is silly. Although, they enjoy their gifts & I suspect might miss them if they didn't happen.

I guess what I'm trying to say in such a long way, is that you are the Mom of 4 and so treat them all the same even if you aren't getting the same treatment from them in return.

 I hope you have a great time with your family! Dee

Avatar for nora_mcl
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
Wed, 11-20-2013 - 10:04am

I told Shirley I wouldn't answer this-but I guess I couldn't resist adding my 2cents worth.

We are only hearing your version of events-not your daughter's side. And in my own way, we went through something similar with one of our dd's. And for the time when she was sure we were the world's worst parents, the most terrible people-we worked hard to stay in touch. Sometimes we'd phone & she'd say "Hello" & when she realized who it was-she'd hang up. (No call display then). But in her heart-she knew we cared enough to try. Eventually the rift was mended.

So I'm with Shirley & Sabr-I'd get a gift, I'd give it to her-mail it if you must. I'd invite her to family celebrations, even if you're sure she won't come. She is your daughter & the anger & distance is frustrating but it is a cry for recognition. Unfortunately, it sounds as if the meshing of yours & your DH's families has not worked on either side-but you can't give up on your children. If you don't do anything-it seems you are proving to her that you are as evil as she imagines & that she is as bad as she thinks she must be in her mind. The rift will never be healed if you don't continue to make small steps to close it. If she isn't willing to come halfway-then you have to be willing to go more than halfway.

I must admit-I am also looking at this from the perspective of a parent who is grieving-this Christmas there is a hole in my heart that will never heal. My son loved all things Christmas-but his days of celebrating are over. And to me, nothing could be worse than letting angry words cause a hole in your family. DD3 belongs with you-& until she sees that, you need to show you think so. Divorce is ugly, the reasons are ugly-and forgiveness takes time. I assume the girls don't know the whole story-so just let her know, on your part, you love her, will always love her-end of discussion. If you quit now, you lose the chance.

Nora

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Tue, 11-19-2013 - 10:15pm

"I am tired of going out of my way to keep giving to someone who continues to snub me and treat me poorly."  When I read that sentence it made me think that you are hoping that somehow whatever good deeds or such that you do for your DD, that somehow she will in return give back to you the love and affection and respect you want from her.  I think that if this is the case, that 'letting go' is one thing you might want to do - letting go of expectation so you won't be for one thing always disappointed.

" I'm tired of fighting this and hoping by my efforts she will come around, but I'm tired. "  Is it possible to love her without those expectations?  Can you separate yourself from her own pain and anger?  I have a friend that says "Every angry expression is really a cry for love".  What can this mean? And she also quotes, "In our defenselessness is our power".  You don't need to defend yourself at all from whatever your DD says or does to you.  This doesn't mean you have to feel like some victim or a doormat, but it could mean that you won't allow her anger to hurt you.  If you can see beyond her childish hurtful demeanor and love her just the same...  You don't have to keep trying to change her. 

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Tue, 11-19-2013 - 11:46am

 Thank you all for your replies.  I agree, Suzy...I am tired of going out of my way to keep giving to someone who continues to snub me and treat me poorly.  Of course she is hurt and I have apologized, but she cannot find her way to forgiving me. I hurt her unintentionally, of course, in my self discovery after the divorce and my new relationship with dh, but, I do agree with my counselor.  Until she matures and can get past all this, there is nothing I can do...and to be quite honest, I AM tired of trying.  I HAVE moved past the things she's done to hurt me and, as I said, have contacted her several times this year, but, I think I'm done trying.  I will just wait silently.  She knows I love her and my efforts I'm sure have shown her that, but she just can't move past.  She's what Dr. Phil always calls being a "right fighter".  I'm tired of fighting this and hoping by my efforts she will come around, but I'm tired.  To be rebuffed time and time again and to be so disrespected by your own child reaches a point you just can't take it anymore. I know she's hurt and has reason to do the things she's done, but it doesn't mean I have to lay down and take it over and over and over which is why I stopped our relationship in January.

So, I will get her a gift just in case, but, if she doesn't join us for Christmas, the gift will not be given. 

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 11-19-2013 - 8:44am

I think it'd depend on what you get the others. If it's something you could use, I'd say get it for her too and just hold it - if she comes by or you see her at some gathering, give it to her - if she doesn't come by, hang on to it. (gift card, article of clothing if appropriate, etc.) - can you do a 'theme' for all so it looks equal?  I'dt be hard pressed to keep going out of my way for giving to be neglected or snubbed, but on the off chance she comes by, I wouldn't want to be unprepared, if that makes sense.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 11-18-2013 - 10:36pm
Hear hear Shirley!! Very well said.
Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Mon, 11-18-2013 - 10:32pm

I am not you but my instinct would be to have a gift for all your daughters.  I'm like Sabr....I give to give not to expect anything in return.  Your daughter (No. 3) is sure sounding angry and wounded, but that's for  her to figure out eventually, if she ever gets around to seeing you and the situation differently.  Seems to me that you have the choice of (at least trying) to overlook her anger.  If nothing else you can realize that she's hurting like hell inside and that's why she's lashing out at you.  Of course it's far from being mature.  So - you love  her.....give her a gift.  You can figure out what to do with it if she doesn't come after all.  I'm not saying that you have to be a doormat...there is a difference in  how you perceive the situation and you can express how you don't like to be talked to in a fashion (i.e in a rude way from your DD3) but I really think that the more you consider and think about her hurt feelings (and I know you are hurting too) but if you are the more mature and understanding person, you might be able to forgive her her failings.  Just my opinion since you asked.

Shirley

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 11-18-2013 - 7:38pm

When I give a gift, it is never dependent on whether or not the recipient will give ME a gift.  I give a gift because it is something I want to do.  Personally, I cannot think of a circumstance where I would NOT give my children a gift for Christmas, even if it was just something small, but from the heart.