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No gifts please, estranged in-laws!

pixielady's picture

As some of you may know, I am estranged from my in-laws (MIL, FIL, SIL) due to their stomping on boundaries, cozying up to BM, sharing info about our lives with her and undermining DH’s parenting. DH still has a relationship with his parents, but since the issues occurred, he has pared down the relationship- not at my request, because I would never tell him not to have a relationship with his family, but because of his loyalty to me as his wife.

He has asked them MULTIPLE times not to buy or send gifts to SS9 because he is so materially spoiled (gets literally everything he ever asks for- video game systems, iPhones, iPods you name it) OR to DSstb2 since we want to have a less materialistic and more minimalistic life. They do not listen. They send SSs gifts to his mother and have sent gifts for DS here. I do not want gifts for the new baby either. If they can’t respect me as DHs wife (instead of acting like DH has to wives) I don’t want anything from them.

Is there any point in DH asking yet again for them not to send gifts? Or should we just donate them? I think they use gift giving as a way to sweep things under the rug and maintain communication. I have in the past sent thank you texts out of politeness, but I feel like if DH has asked them not to send gifts they should respect our boundaries, but I guess if they can’t respect any other boundaries why should they respect this one? It just sucks because I was raised to be kind and respectful to your elders. I was also raised in a family where no one (no extended family or anything ) got divorced, so the issue of boundaries re an ex-wife never was an issue.

So would you A. Ask again? B. Donate and ignore. (Then would you tell the truth if they ask DH if we got them) C. Something else?


Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I've been told multiple times to get over myself when it comes to gifts. Thing is they will do what they do. Your best hope is to teach the children how to show appreciation and can still teach them the values you want.

It sounds like if you say no they will still send them. SS will just go to BM's who you can't control but you can control your home. How do you think DS will feel knowing his half brother gets to keep grandparents gifts but he can't. Or if they just stop sending them to DS at all because you just get rid of them. That would surely cause issues between the two boys.

I've been there where my family has gone overboard and I've had issues. The only thing I have flat out said no to was tablets and I constantly have to do that. I've made it clear we don't need them and that bearly gets respected because of course my sisters kids get them.

pixielady's picture

“How do you think DS will feel knowing his half brother gets to keep grandparents gifts but he can't. Or if they just stop sending them to DS at all because you just get rid of them. That would surely cause issues between the two boys.”

 Do you think so? Even with the age difference and long distance situation? That never even occurred to me.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I'm not sure your exact set up with vistation and  assumed it was fairly regular. Maybe not right away but yes sooner or later I think SS would use it against DS to make him feel like his grandparents love him less. Or he'd twist it to how horrible you guys are because he can't keep it while his amazing BM let's him keep it.

You're right with his age right now it wouldn't be that big of a deal but this isn't going to stop this year and very quickly it will be an issue.

If you feel it's too much and you want to donate what I would do is as the child is old enough yo understand worm with him to pick out what to donate. We've done a clean  each year where we go through stuff and they have to decide some stuff to go because otherwise there's not room for new stuff.

They might not remember now but last year it made them happy to know their dublo blocks ended up being a Christmas present to some other kid. We had a GIANT under the bed tub that was full of them that had to be emptied and now has the toys they got last Christmas in it.

pixielady's picture

Yes, visitation is at regular intervals throughout the year, with SS here 2-3x a year and DH (with me/DS sometimes accompanying) another 4-5x. Gosh, I really didn't think that with the age difference that SS would do something like that to his half-siblings who are 8 and will be 10 years younger. I don't think DH would let him get away with that sort of thing. Because of how he's behaved towards DS in the past, he is never left alone with him, nor will he be left alone with the new baby.

I do like the idea of the keeeping a tub for older toys to be donated to make room for new ones. 

Kes's picture

Like you, I am estranged from my inlaws - DH's mother and stepfather - since April this year when they behaved vilely to us during a weekend visit to them, and ended up throwing us out!   I have never been asked to leave anywhere in my life, and don't expect to start at my age (61).  

I think in your situation I would probably just keep the good ones, and donate the surplus gifts and not say anything - if inlaws have ignored previous requests.   If they asked whether you got them, I would say "yes, but we have asked you not to send any more, so have donated them to a good cause".  Well, they did ask!  


futurobrillante99's picture

I'd unwrap the gifts in private, decide what you want your child to have, rewrap them and then give the rest away.

pixielady's picture

Thanks for your response. Can't believe you were kicked out!! I sometimes think that early dementia may cause some of this crazy, rude behavior.

twoviewpoints's picture

If the in-laws are sending skids gifts to BM's home, you can not control it. If the gifts for one or both children are arriving at your home, send them back.

Just because a box of gifts are delivered to your door, doesn't mean you have to hand the unwanted gifts out to the children. You've asked repeatedly for them not to send gifts. They have not granted your request. 

Sure, you'll upset the in;laws by sending the gifts 'return to sender', but if you seriously intend to take a stand on no gifts means no gifts , then indeed take your stand. Don't give the gifts randomly away/donate. By doing so, you have accepted the gifts, just not kept the gifts yourself. Send the gifts back and let the grandparents decide whether to return to the store or donate to charity. 

Besides the above, as a grandparent I would expect a child to acknowledge a received present. If you just hide the delivery and then give the items away, the children will never now people are waiting for an expecting a thank-you. While you do not wish your child or skid to be overly materialist, I doubt the impression of them being ungrateful and rude upon receiving gifts is your desired goal either. 

Whatever might be sent to skid at BM's is entirely up to BM what happens to those items. Unless skid lives under your roof fulltime you have no say in what happens there nor how she does things. BM may have a maternal set of grandparents on her side that are sending/giving skid tons of materialist items.mThat set of grandparents may also be taking skid on numerous wonderful expensive vacations and experiences that your child may not be getting. When children have different homes, different relatives and/or different lifestyles , but the children do see and interact with each other, there is always the risk one child may "use it" in some way against the other child. 

You can only control so much. And yes, you can likely expect that at some point the siblings are going to compare,it's unavoidable. You can't really shield the kids from some of this. Your child will find other children in school that get, go, do many things your child does not, and yes, your child will notice.

pixielady's picture

What's not cool is in-laws circumventing DH and sending to BM and being sneaky about it. Yes, skid lives mostly with BM but is here every Christmas, right up until the 23rd or 24th. BM is going to do what BM is going to do, but this has to do with DH's parents not respecting his wishes.

And again, I'm a bit incredulous that with the age difference, that SS would be comparing notes with half-siblings 8 and 10 years younger. I would expect it from peers at school or with each other as they will be two years apart.

Of course I wouldn't want them to think my kids are rude and ungrateful, but they are sending unwanted gifts, which is very pushy and now we have to thank them for something we asked them not to send in the first place (if we keep/donate them). 

They usually send gifts via Amazon, so it's a little more confusing sending something back vs something sent directly from them UPS, USPS.

Lots to consider. Thanks for your perspective! 

Blue At Times's picture

Depending on how confrontational you wish to be with you in-laws, sending them back will send a message to them that you meant what you said. 

Aniki's picture

Do not open them. Do not donate them. I agree that keeping and donating means you "accepted" the gift.

Send the gifts back to the in-laws. Every.Single.One. Don't be surprised if they attempt to deliver the gifts in another way, such as sending them to a relative who will give them to the kids/skids. People who ignore boundaries are crappy like that.

pixielady's picture

Considering all viewpoints here. Very valid points. If someone told me, please no gifts for my kids, I would be totally fine with that. 

Evil3's picture

If it were me, I would return to sender the unwrapped gifts and make it quite known why. But that's just me. I had to really fight for my place in DH's life, in the family, etc, because BM was the all-mighty BM and mother of DH's children when I was just the sloppy second. Even when I had DD18 I had only one of the three kids, so I was a distant second class citizen. I got sick and tired of everyone bowing down to BM and making a fool out of me, so I took a stand. I didn't have to go as far as returning unwrapped gifts, but it was the next step. It really gets tiring having your marriage be minimized all because no one can get the fuck over the precious BM.

pixielady's picture

"It really gets tiring having your marriage be minimized all because no one can get the fuck over the precious BM."

Yes, exactly! My marriage, my feelings, my wishes mean nothing because skid exists and his parents are divorced, so all rules are thrown out the window for the sake of his feelings. They send/want to send gifts to my kid(s) to make themselves feel better, like they checked off the social niceties box, which is apparently more important that respecting and defering to your own child about his children.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

“Return to sender”

My MIL is team stepbrat and virtually ignored her other grandchildren. She doesn’t so much as send my kids a f*cking Christmas card.

I am no contact with her and she seems to be no contact with me, thank god. 

I’m sorry for your troubles; I hope your pregnancy is problem-free and give your real kid(s) a big hug.

 I’m sorry your poor husband is being betrayed by his ahole family, too.

pixielady's picture

Geez, FIL just texted DH and asked him what SS and DS want for Christmas! DH said, no gifts please. FIL said I don't think that a gift from someone they rarely see is going to corrupt them. DH said it's more about you and MIL not respecting boundaries when it comes to BM and undermining my parenting SS. AND they would see all the kids more if they respected our wishes, so don't try to put that on us. Can't believe the pushiness!