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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 11:41am     #1
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Unhappy Giving gifts to people who never say thanks?
Looking for some advice, I have a half sister and niece & nephew. She's had a falling out with the family (mainly our mother) but I still keep in touch as much as I can. The falling out really is entirely from my sister, she got a divorce a year ago, we offered our support but she apparently didn't think it was enough (It's her 3rd divorce and she's 35.) We didn't throw a fuss and she felt my mom's response of "I'm sorry to hear that. I'm just a phone call away, please call me", was heartless. So we've just left her alone for the past year because she's so unpredictable and we walk on eggshells around her. I even told her how I felt for the first time in 27 years about her behavior and unnecessary grudge holding which was an incredible release for me, I've always been shy and timid so I think it shocked her.

Problem is, the past couple of years, I always mail birthday & christmas gifts for her and the kids, and I never hear a thing back, and they never send us anything, never even get a christmas card from them, and not even an easy text message or facebook comment saying hey, thanks for sending that. And I'm even still in contact with my niece on Facebook.

Would you continue to send them gifts? I haven't been close with the kids, my niece is in her teens and thinks everything is stupid so it's hard to buy for them. This year I ended up just spending $30 on candy and filling a huge box to give to them, I just don't think anything else would be appreciated. I sent gift cards last year and never heard a word, it's like when do you cut them off and just send a card and that's it?

My mother even spent about $80 on them on gift cards to the movies, restaurants nearby...she's a single mother now so she figured she'd use them, but they'll probably never get used, and my mom will never hear back. One year she got a Bissell Spotbot (carpet cleaner), and a year later I saw it sitting in her garage, still in the box. Wouldn't you think even if you didn't want it you'd return a $130 machine and get something else? She's just like that, she doesn't appreciate or care about anything, material things hold no value to her, it's like what's the point of giving her anything. Every year my mom gets so excited about the gifts she's getting everybody, gives them theirs, and they just ho-hum about it, act like it's stupid...make fun of it typically, it's just so sad to see my mom get disappointed like that. My husband and I try to compensate by being overly excited, which we're not heartless, I for one love if somebody took the time to think of me and get me something.


Unfortunately she's raising her kids to just take and take, that because you're shunning yourself from the family that we owe you reparations. The courtesy of a thank you card or note is completely gone from this generation. Everytime a holiday comes up I'm just on the fence as to what to do...the first time I don't send something then I'm the jerk somehow since I've always sent the kids something, though from never hearing anything I get the impression they don't care if I do or not, it's sad as I don't have much family, really just my parents, inlaws, and my brother, I'm not close to anybody outside of that circle.

Would you continue to send a gift to somebody if you knew they really didn't care or wouldn't bother using it? I mean really what is wrong with people to accept something as a gift and never even say a word to the sender...I even say thanks to people who just send me a christmas card! Where's the love?

Thanks for listening to my rant

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 11:45am     #2
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I would stop giving and find an angel tree

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 11:48am     #3
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I would stop giving and find an angel tree
Good idea, some type of donation in their name, since she doesn't appreciate anything tangible, but then again she's not the charity type either so she'd probably roll her eyes at that gift.

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 11:58am     #4
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I wouldn't give a gift at all. If they don't have the manners to send a thank you note after all these years of gifts, then it's clear they don't appreciate the time and money you've spent on them. You are not at all required to send them something.
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:06pm     #5
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I have this same problem with many people I know. Depending on who it is and the situation, I handle it a bit differently. 2 of my brothers are God parents to 2 of my kids. EVERY Christmas I send them a gift from them. Me or the kids NEVER hear a thank you, or what I'd really like is a gift to the kids from them. But every year, I keep sending it. I just HOPE that some time they will catch on....but maybe not.

My step-daughter is getting better but I think because I've been open with her that I don't appreciate getting things for her and then hear nothing or complaints! My niece-in-law is HORRIBLE about saying thank you and I've told my step-daughter how incredibly RUDE that is and I won't get anything for her anymore because of it.

I wish you well with however you decide to handle the situation.
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:07pm     #6
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I would make a contribution to charity in their name, to someone who will be glad to have it
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:08pm     #7
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If you do the angel tree, don't even do it in her name. Just do it anonymously.

Has she said anything to you after you told her how you felt?

If it were me, I would simply tell her that you will no longer be sending any more gifts. You don't have to tell her why or you can make a vague excuse. If she never reciprocates or even acknowledges, then perhaps it's time to cut them off.

Who knows - perhaps she is uncomfortable with gift giving?
My wise anthropology professor taught about the art of gift giving and how it's used as a tool in manipulation. Some cultures view gifts as something that comes with a catch. Perhaps she took the same course as I? Just kidding - but you can still have a relationship with her without the gifts.
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:11pm     #8
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I would make a contribution to charity and send her a card informing her of "her gift"
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:14pm     #9
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Has she said anything to you after you told her how you felt?

Who knows - perhaps she is uncomfortable with gift giving?
My wise anthropology professor taught about the art of gift giving and how it's used as a tool in manipulation. Some cultures view gifts as something that comes with a catch. Perhaps she took the same course as I? Just kidding - but you can still have a relationship with her without the gifts.
Well yes, her reply that she was "done talking about it". Even though I poured my heart out for the first time ever and she just shut me off, she doesn't want to hear any kind of truth. I even said "please call me, I'm here for you", and she told me she's "already talking to someone". Turns out it's just a friend...she needs unbiased professional help but she won't listen..my mom has even offered to go to counseling with her.

My problem with her is that she treats our mom horribly, treats her like a sister and not like a mom, there's no respect, just craps on every nice thing my mom tries to do, as it never makes up for all the bad decisions she made at some time or another in her life. I just won't stand for her treating her like that.
So unfortunately that has affected our relationship and she doesn't understand why. I can't be friends with somebody who treats my family like crap..I just can't do it, and my brother feels the same way. It's like okay we could pretend you're not being mean and hang out, but that's the elephant in the room really. It's sad. My brother has been in and out of Afghanistan for 5 years in the army and she's never sent anything, never even had my nephew make a card by hand, even though my brother continued to send them something..souvenirs...he eventually gave up too. She's the type that never inquires how you're doing, just gets offended when you don't ask her about her life...doesn't give a crap about anybody but herself, which has shown in her marriages as well, she doesn't think she's the problem, when after 3 divorces (almost 4 but they broke up before the wedding), you don't see yourself as the problem, was it always the guy everytime? *sigh*

It's not really about the gifts, it's just me trying to reach them anyway I can, I'm definitely not doing it to martyr myself and get praise, it's just about maybe reaching the kids somehow, letting them know I'm still out here if they need me someday.

I know my aunts growing up, they never sent me anything just because they couldn't get past their poor relationship with my mom, and it's going the same way for these kids, it's awful, so I'm hoping if I kinda force my interest on them that maybe when they're older they'll remember that I always sent them a little something or thought of them.

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:18pm     #10
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I would either stop sending gifts if it upsets you. If you are like me and just like giving gifts, continue doing so without and expectations of getting anything in return.

There are many people I give gifts to every year who don't give me gifts (most years I bake and give whatever I bake as gifts to my neighbors, I don't get gifts in return and I am fine with it, because I give because I like to, it's who I am, and I am not going to stop because I don't get a gift in return.)

I have however never had anyone not thank me for a gift.

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:19pm     #11
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I would make a contribution to charity and send her a card informing her of "her gift"
Yep, I think I will do that in the future, I would definitely feel better about it, it's going to somebody who really needs it!

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:28pm     #12
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I have no desire to give gifts to anyone who doesn't care or appreciate it. The fun of giving is knowing you made someone happy.Why give anything at all to someone who would just throw it in a corner and have no response.
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:32pm     #13
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I have no desire to give gifts to anyone who doesn't care or appreciate it. The fun of giving is knowing you made someone happy.Why give anything at all to someone who would just throw it in a corner and have no response.
I know, it's hard, the first time I don't send anything, not even a card, it'll be "...and his aunt has always sent something his whole life, didn't even send a card, what a b***h"...and I'll be the enemy, and the kids will see that as well, she imprints her opinion on them naturally. Like I said..you gotta walk on eggshells with her!

I feel like if I stop, I'm going to disappear from their lives completely, maybe I'm just being paranoid though.

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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:38pm     #14
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Sorry I can't think of any advice, but I myself am getting so weary of gift giving. I thought that previous post about gifts sometimes being used to manipulate was interesting. Dh always spent way more than he can afford to give his mom in an effort to win a little affection from her maybe, but she never even says thanks and continues lambasting him for being too lazy, underpaid, etc etc. etc. Gee I am totally starting to hate holidays.
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  Old  December 27th, 2010, 12:43pm     #15
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Their behavior is affecting your life negatively though.When the kids get older they will understand. You can't buy their affection. Maybe your sister will take a good look at herself .
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