Hurt I too sensitive?


This year my mom and sister spent Christmas eve and morning with us. I prepared the Christmas eve meal, since it is fish and seafood, it usually costs a little more.

When Christmas morning came, the children opened their gifts, then the adults. My mom (who usually does get us gifts) didn't get anything for DH and myself. She had gotten a joint gift for my children. So I thought, "ok. She isn't doing gifts for the adults" :shrug: She then gives my sister gold earrings.

DH and I nothing.:confused: No explanation. no card, nothing. The kicker is, about 2 days before Christmas, she called saying she needed to get a gift for my sister, and could I possibly get her something on-line. I told her that it was too late to guarantee delivery

This past year has been especially hard, because our baby was born pre-maturely. I thought my own mother would think of that, and maybe get something to show she cares. Even a five dollar box of Whitman chocolates would have been great. :( Or a card, or explanation.

But she did remember to criticize my mothering skills, though, and laundry skills. :)


No, you are not being overly sensitive.

What your mother did was rude and hurtful. There's no guarantee of getting a gift from someone, and we should never expect one, but of course if there is a tradition in your family of giving each person a gift why would you think it would be otherwise this year? T

To be a guest into your home and give a gift to your sister right in front of you while ignoring you entirely is EVIL.

Her passive-aggressive behavior towards you should not go unresolved. After the holidays, sit down with her and get to the bottom of it, and don't let her derail it with denials and accusations of being "too sensitive."

Is this type of thing a pattern of behavior with you? Punishing you for things you don't know you did? Acting rudely? Criticism? Favoritism towards the other sister?


*Agree with 1ke.

You're not being sensitive, your mom buying your sister something and not you was kind of rude, and thoughtless. I'd like to think that it was just carelessness and not with intent. I mean, why would your mother do something to purposely hurt you, you know? But, to answer your question, no, you're not being too sensitive. I am sorry that you were hurt.:console: *


No you are not being too sensitive. My former in-laws did this sort of thing all the time. They would give lots of gifts to my daughter but only one small gift to my son. Not only was my son hurt, but it hurt my daughter as well. Chances are your sister was embarrassed, too.


DH thought she was being pasive agressive, too. My sister and I get along pretty well, luckily. But my relationship with my mom has had lots of difficult moments. I think my mom’s m.o. was that she gave gifts to my children, so that should count for me too? My sister has no children. But, she didn’t say ahead of time that she wouldn’t be able to give DH and me gifts. She usually does, She didn’t say anything. She had a lot of time to say something in her defense.

I tend to think it was thoughtlessness. Still have hurt feelings, though, :frowning:


Wow... I wonder why your mother would do that? Does your sister have kids? Maybe she is on a tight budget? Sorry you got hurt. I know you didn't expect gifts, but it is so awkward that she did it this way. You are not being too sensitive at all.


[quote="tamrk, post:4, topic:180974"]
No you are not being too sensitive. My former in-laws did this sort of thing all the time. They would give lots of gifts to my daughter but only one small gift to my son. Not only was my son hurt, but it hurt my daughter as well. Chances are your sister was embarrassed, too.


Wow, my mom favors my daughter over my older son too. It's blatant, she'll repremand my son when my daugher is clearly the wrong one, because she's "younger and a girl" My DD is a normally nice little girl, but she could have her "maria Callas" moments. I need to nip them in the bud. When my DD acts like that, my mom will defend her, because my "DS is being mean to her." When he isn't. :shrug:


Personally, I do think you're being overly sensitive. I believe that in your mother mind, she's getting gifts per family. I'm guessing that your sister doesn't have a family of her own yet, and that's why your mom gave her the gold earrings. In your case, your mom did get your family something, as in gifts for your children. If that's indeed the case, I think your mom is being fair.


I’m wondering if she isn’t miffed that you “refused” to help her get a gift for your sister and this is how she indicates her displeasure.


Mary Gail,
I am sorry for your hurt. :( It might be helpful to talk to your mother about it and clear the air. It won't do you any good to stuff the feelings and have them resurface at another time. I don't know your mother so cannot possibly explain why she did what she did... I can think of numerous explanations but none of them would help you - You need the answer from the only one who knows... your mother.



i'd be more concerned with your mother's behaviors toward your kids than her rude behavior toward you.

her behavior with you is passive, aggressive and presumably manipulative. why should your kids get the more of the same? you're a grownup and having trouble with it-- can your kids process all that?


I know how it feels when the adults shop for the wee ones and forget the teens and adults. It must be very hard as a parent to not recicieve gifts, but in a way your children recieve for you. Its very hard on both accounts. No one likes to feel left out. And even though you didn’t get anything it may feel rather unbalanced to sis if mom gives to the kiddos but not to her.

As my sibilings and I enter our mid-20 and have serious relationships its often a struggle to divide money. Do I divide my christmas money by 6 becusae my brother is married or do I divide it by five and give them both gifts? What happens when I have to divide by 8? Then add kids in the mix? It gives me a headache just thinking about it. And since we’re all starting off, gifts are more practical than anything…kitchen gadgets, tools, car saftey equipment…stuff like that. We often give our “finds” pizza stones, ulu knives, a self-sufficent car jumper thingy, and those little things that just make life a bit easier.

I’d say talk to your sister first and get her opinion on the matter. What she has to say will be of far more value than anything we have to say.


I am bending over backwards to imagine a rational explanation and the best I can do is that she has limited funds, figured the gift to your kids was actually a family gift for all of you, but if your sister does not have kids, she had to give her something small for herself. trying to be charitable here.

that is our situation, I give a check to each of the girls and expect them to do something for the family (usually something we have already discussed) but my son who is single gets his own check, and the girls understand he is getting more because his needs are greater due to his personal situation, and they are more than happy with that, and in fact help him out a lot themselves.

I am probably wrong about your mother but my only advice is to let it go, thank her warmly and make sure the kids write a thank you letter for the gift to them. Let it go as if she had inadvertently allowed a rat into the house--you would trap it and get rid of it before it became destructive. These resentments build and fester they destroy relationships, it could even threaten your relationship with your sister, they destroy families and I am convinced cause a lot of personal illness. when you recall this Christmas allow only happy memories to remain. It is hard laborious work but do it for the sake of your own mental health. Above all don't give voice to any of your justifiable feelings where others in your family, esp. kids, can hear you.

My guess is your mother's last trick is part of a long-standing pattern going back to your early childhood, and is evidence of a deep rooted problem she has, and is not even about you. You and your sister have just become the tools she uses to work out her thing. She will succeed as long as you let her. Focus only on whatever good you can find in her. When she criticizes you, thank her for the care and concern that remark expresses, and let go of the other 90%. She might be past help, but you and your family are not.


Yeah, I agree talking to your sister should be more valuable than the input you get here, as we have limited facts. You may want to talk to your mother and explain things, but as has been said, don’t allow her to explain it away or put the blame on you. Be careful, though, because things work differently for some elderly people and it’s no longer the same as if, say, a 40 years old person did the same.

As for the gifts, yeah, it might have been “per family” and the golden earrings might have been meant in connection with your sister being a single lady. I wouldn’t make too much of the gifts otherwise, although yes, it was hurtful.

As far as criticism goes, you have the right to tell your mother to stop it (as far as my opinion goes). One doesn’t go to someone’s house for Christmas to criticise the host’s laundry skills. That’s just not acceptable. Be careful, though, maybe there is some underlying issue and your mother needs help.


Wow that is bad i would be hurt. Im not trying to make you feel worse but that is terrible. If it was my mum i would ask her why she did that i would not be able to settle for less than an explanation. God bless you. God bless you family.


Thank you all for the advice.

What I am going to do is try to be charitable, and believe that the gifts to my kids were a “family gift”. It’s just odd, somewhat, I’ve had kids for 8 years, and this is the first time it’s happened. :shrug:

I just wish at some point she would have said something regarding this. That could avoided ill feelings.

Thanks again.


I would suggest asking her directly. What's the worst thing she could do? Lie to you?


what did u do to your mother before cristmas ?lol only messin,yea i think your mother gave presents to ur kids with u in mind as one gift to u al maybe ,as your sister doesnt have kids ,maybe her financial situation is bad i dont know ,she mite only afford gift for ur kids,and she asked u to get gift for your sister from her .An irish tradition here if someone has a loss like uor any loss witnessed (sory to hear ,il pray for u) is not to send any christmas cards or gifts or presents ,really a black christmas i suppose u cod say,hope it may help u and your not oversensitive im a man and id be thick if my brother got something and i didnt ,anyways all the best and i hope u and all of your loved ones have a great christmas


While we don’t want to expect gifts or shows of affection from the one’s we love, especially our parents, it really does impact us when things like what you experienced happens to us. It is because we are human. I can relate to such feelings, but I also know that we need to communicate with the ones who have hurt us. Sometimes there is an explanation for it. Sometimes there is an immediate apology because the offending person hasn’t realized their actions hurt someone they love. Sometimes the action was intentional (I hope that is not the case).

Either way, if you talk to her about this, you offer her the ability to explain…and even if it was intentional you have placed her actions back in her court. If you do not talk directly to her about this, you will only harbor hurt feelings which may not be warranted. I would give this back to her so you can move on and heal.

God bless you.


I don’t think that the mother needs to explain why she didn’t give individual gifts to married daughter, son-in-law plus 2 grandkids and then one to the unmarried daughter this year. Has anyone noticed the economy is not doing well? Even if she appears financially sound from the outside, she may have a profound fear of not having enough money for retirement, etc as many people lost a good portion of their money in the stock market that should have funded retirement. If I was in my 50s I would have a lot more anxiety about retirement than I do now because of investment losses.

A gift is supposed to be freely given, not induced by guilt or some precedent set by previous years. My suggestion is to assume the most charitable reason (that she split the money between the 2 grandkids rather than 4 ways). The unmarried daughter could have felt slighted in the past by her mother spending four times as much on the married daughter by virtue of buying for 4 instead of 1 in that household. I don’t think dwelling on it or confronting the gift-giver is going to be productive. This is the kind of nonsense that can cause permanent rifts in a family. I know one family where all of the adults draw a name and only buy a gift for that one adult so that the focus stays on the children and on enjoying the family gathering.

I promise if someone asked me why I didn’t fork over for the additional family members or why it appeared that someone got a more expensive gift than another, I would fix it the next year by sending a heartfelt card reminding them of the real reason for the celebration of Christmas and nothing more.

Why not say a prayer of thanksgiving that one still has a mother to buy gifts for anyone. My mother was taken by cancer in what should have been the prime of her life and I can assure you that flawed or not I would give up all material things to have one more Christmas or any other day with her. I spent this Christmas all alone with no gifts to open and no family due to our freakish ice/snow that trapped me hours away from my father and siblings. While eating my frozen dinner in front of the TV on Christmas Eve with a storm so bad that I could not even make it to midnight mass at my parish, I was not missing the packages under the tree at my father’s house.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit