I feel like such an ungrateful b!tch. I’m unhappy with my family’s Christmas offerings this year.

Normally we have an ordering system within the family. My father has a tendency to not give anything at all, and my mother has a tendency to choose gifts that are, well, not quite me, so the ordering system saves getting (or giving) gifts you don’t really want.

This year I asked for some new measuring cups for the kitchen, or a voucher for a kitchen store so I could buy some. Since moving into my new home I’ve been enjoying cooking and baking, but find myself without a lot of things I need. Like measuring cups.

What did I get?

A pair of pruning snip things for the garden (I hate gardening and I have a gardener) and a new chopping board (ok, at least it’s for the kitchen).

I’m annoyed because the one thing I asked for I didn’t get. It’s not about the money. And it’s not about getting what I want. It’s about the thought that goes into the gifts – or doesn’t.

I gave up hoping for anything from my father a long time ago, but I never cease to be disappointed by my mother’s lack of effort in the gift department. Not just for not buying what I’d asked for, but for not really putting much thought into what I might really like.

The thing is, I love giving gifts. I put time and effort into choosing something I think the person will really like, and I put time and effort into the gift wrapping, to make the gift look gorgeous. I also put time and effort into the card, and what I write in it.

Ok, I don’t put a lot of time or effort into gifts for my father, but I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter what you buy him, he’s never happy. This year amongst his gifts I bought some shorts (he doesn’t like the colour) and some particular continental food he likes (which grosses me out, but he likes it, though I bought the wrong kind).

I put a lot more thought into gifts for my mother and, to be honest, I feel a bit ripped off. And that makes me feel like such an ungrateful b!tch.


8 thoughts on “Ungrateful

  1. The one thing that has, so far, been the hardest for me to learn (truthfully I’m still not there) is that for people like you and me, who are very emotionally sensitive, we somehow come to believe that if we behave toward others a certain way, they will surely behave (treat) us the same way. The truth is, that is a misconception. So no matter how we treat others, they will not return the sentiment. I found that to be extremely true, but I still find myself believing that if I’m thoughtful and polite, so will my family be the same. They never are.

    I’m so sorry that your mother was so thoughtless. I don’t understand mothers. If I knew you, I would have given you the measuring cups, wrapped all up in beautiful red and gold and topped with a nice ribbon. (I, too, love to do them up pretty) You are not ungrateful, they are thoughtless.

  2. I don’t think you are ungrateful. I agree with Ivory. I think, accepting gifts is very difficult for people like us. I don’t have any comparison how it is, if the family gives a gift because I have no “family”.
    There are some few friends with whom I exchange gifts, but I always insisted that these are small gifts. For me, are gifts, which comes from the heart, much more valuable and precious than any expensive gifts from which I know that they aren’t meant honestly and are not “genuine” and sometimes only given from “fulfillment of duty”
    Yes, I even have learned now, that I’m allowed to refuse to accept gifts (and I’m a bit proud of it). This has never happened with good friends – they know me 🙂 – but I would, for example, never accept a gift from my father.

  3. Hey sweets —

    I bet you wouldn’t feel ungrateful if you put a slightly different spin on the situation. You are feeling ungrateful because you are identifying your disappointment as being about the gifts you received — but actually, your disappointment is at being disregarded and not treated with thoughtfulness or love. There’s nothing ungrateful about feeling disappointed that someone didn’t think about you in a way that shows appreciation. The fact that this lack of care happened to be expressed through a gift — well, that’s irrelevant. It’s the thoughtlessness that hurts, not the gift itself. And that isn’t anything even close to ingratitude.

  4. As usual David has an insightful point of view. I agree that I don’t think you are ungrateful Kerro, just disappointed by the reciprocation of genuine affection.

    I, on the other hand, was ungrateful in thinking that even though we decided not to exchange gifts between us siblings, because I was buying for both of my siblings children still…I thought maybe they would give me something small. Of course, they didn’t and I was disappointed because I felt like I was undervalued because they obviously didn’t see or look at the situation the same way.

    I often go with the “treat others as you would like to be treated” point of view. I am often disappointed by those in my family, and even outside. Sometimes though, there is someone who sees you for who you actually are and then it’s worth it. If nothing else, I hope my legacy to those I leave behind will be that I was a person filled with love for others. Sappy I guess, but I guess it’s hard to stop hoping that someone will show that love to me too. If you can’t hope for at least that, then what’s the point in living?

    Really sorry this post was so long!

  5. Hi Kerro,

    I’m sorry that you are feeling ungrateful. Nothing could be further from the truth. They both show you how ungrateful they are towards you and daughter gift that you are to them. Shame on them.

    I gave my brother roomate a gift that he did not reciprocate, at all. Your parents do not reciprocate. I don’t know why it is but survivors often feel guilt-ridden and ungrateful when the truth is the other way around. And they don’t deserve you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  6. Hi Kerro. I think everyone has said already what I would have said.

    But also, I have to say that I am useless at choosing gifts. This is no reflection at all on how I feel about the person I am buying for. I just find it extremely difficult to shop for other people. I expect many others do too.

    I mainly give the Bear cash these days. The one thing guaranteed to make his face light up! He bought something for his computer with his Christmas money this year which I think is a complete waste of time and would never have chosen, but he is happy.

    I don’t think you’re ungrateful. This is just one more disappointment in a pattern of family members who don’t give as much consideration to you as they should. Did your mother like her gifts from you?

    BTW, lucky you having a gardener!

    Bearfriend xx

  7. @ Ivory – Yes, we do believe, perhaps over sensitively, that if we treat others a certain way, then they will reciprocate. You’re right in that it’s sometimes a misconception, but I am an idealist, and I still believe it will be true for most people. I have to hope it’s true. It’s all I’ve got. I did, however, give up all hope of my father ever behaving civilly to me. If he is polite to me, or shows interest in my life, then I take it as a bonus, but I never EVER get upset now if he doesn’t. He just doesn’t have it in him.

    @ Lost Shadow Child – thank you. I love that you give gifts from the heart. They are far more precious than the giant TV screen (or whatever). I think it’s amazing that you can refuse gifts, and I’m really glad you can be proud of this. Not accepting gifts from your father sounds like a smart thing to do. Good thoughts to you.

    @ David – thanks, as always I think you’re on the money. I am disappointed at being disregarded and not treated with the same thoughtfulness and love that I put in. My therapist says my mother does love me and does care – she’s just not sure how to show it. I guess I hope for it to be showed through the gifts, but it isn’t.

    @ Sanity – I don’t think you’re ungrateful either. Just hoping for a bit of thoughtfulness in your direction, that didn’t come. I’m sorry that it didn’t. You’re right in that we have to keep hoping for love and affection to come our way, but perhaps we both need to direct that hope in a different direction. I love a long comment, btw. 😉

    @ Kate – I’m sorry that your brother didn’t reciprocate either. Shame on him! 😉

    @ Bearfriend – thank you. I have a gardener, and even if he’s sending me broke it’s worth it. I hate gardening, but I like a nice garden (and don’t like my mother nagging about the weeds, etc). I used to be useless at choosing gifts, but somehow through more “magic of therapy” I’ve become much more in touch with what I think a person will like. It’s working, I like it, though it’s not easy and I end up agonising over many of the gifts I give. I think cash is a good gift, if it fits the person and the occasion. And especially great for boy things like computery-bits n pieces! 🙂

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