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In laws think so little of me

Community Member
I have been with my husband for almost 20 years, and have not had a great relationship with his Mum, but we get along better than previously. This year was my 40th birthday. I couldn't have cared less if they gave me nothing, but the little they gave me hurt as I realise how little they think of me. Most birthdays the in laws and BIL & SIL give $50 vouchers or cash, which we always reciprocate. This year I got a horrible bright orange necklace from MIL wrapped in an old piece of bubble wrap, I don't wear jewellery! BIL (bought by his wife) gave me a tea cup that was reduced to $11.99 that you would give to an old nanna, and other SIL gave me a candle holder, like whoppee, I thought milestone birthdays were meant to be special. Why do I feel so bad, and how can I stop ruminating over this? I always put thought into our gifts and yet this year I got crap. Sorry it's pretty minuscule to some issues, but my MIL does this every few years, one year was hair removal cream, and 2nd hand clothes from a friends wardrobe. Why do they do this?
5 Replies 5

Community Member
Sorry to hear this . I do know exactly what you mean my x wife was never made welcome by my family.it can get you down if you let it .i have little time for family now short visits hi and goodbye .wife gone now still don't agree with everyone's shit attitude it just drags you down.. For my 50th nothing.look at the big picture lifes to short to let other people drag you down.im struggling to see up side of anything right now.hopefully life gets easier .soon

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Caroline, first of all your comment is certainly not minuscule, simply because this has been building over a long period of time.
I remember when my twin and I opened presents given to us by our grandmother it was always socks and handerchiefs, each birthday and for every Xmas and for two young kids aged 7 to 10 is was so monotonous.
I'm sure you would feel disappointed, because it's humiliating and I wonder whether your husband has stepped in before and made a comment to your MIL, his mother, putting her in shame, as it's rather demeaning to get this as your 40th birthday present or any birthday in fact.
For some reason she's trying to embarrass you so I would think it's got something to do with her son, your husband and been a long drawn out problem for her and something which she has not agreed with, but the marriage which is 20 years long and is between you and your husband, she should not have any chance to mention her thoughts of disapproval.
Give this bright orange necklace back to her on her birthday. Geoff.

Community Member

Receiving crappy gifts is awful (I had a similar experience on my 40th, but from my own family). It's not about the gift, but how it makes you feel. I always try to think the best of other people, but when this happens it's hard not to take it as concrete evidence of what they think of you. And you feel stuck, because complaining about a gift makes you feel like you're being ungrateful. (You're not 🙂

If the poor choice of gifts was deliberate, it is only reflection of the giver's personality and self-esteem issues.

It sounds like you have put effort into the relationship with your in-laws. Maybe this is as good as it's going to be?

I certainly wouldn't put much effort into selecting their gifts in the future - keep your gift-giving appropriate, but easy on your part.

Work on keeping a strong relationship with your husband. Perhaps he could mention to them his disappointment (not yours) in their gifts.

Also, find someone to laugh about it with. I did, and now, every Christmas we purposefully exchange a really crappy gift with each other.

Cheers CB

Community Member

I have been hurt in the past when people think the gifts that I give them are crappy. I have a sister in law that is very fussy and she never likes anything. It always hurts. Sometimes I have spent a lot of time searching for a gift only to have eyes roll when it is received.

It is not the gift that matters. It is just the giving. If someone has taken the time to give you something, no matter how small, then be thank ful. Perhaps they just thought that you didn't need anything.

My mother hasn't wished me a happy birthday since I was about 4 or 5 years old. Come to think of it none of my family ever remembered my birthday as I was growing up. So, it would mean a lot to me to get a Happy Birthday from someone and something wrapped in bubble wrap.

When I turned 40 no one remembered or cared. I am used to it now, because that is who they are.

Community Member

Obviously the issue here is not so much about the gifts but the sentiments behind them. I too have a very difficult relationship with my MIL and SIL. My MIL has never gotten over the fact that I took away her precious first born and double that with me not spitting out grandkids has added to that. I got on well with my FIL but sadly he has passed on and it was after his funeral that I walked away from my SIL in total and utter disgust. She has given grandkids and acts as though she is the only woman in the world to ever give birth. She chose to get drunk after the funeral and attack me verbally saying I had no right to be there, I never cared about my FIL and I didn't understand what it was like for the family to lose someone (having lost both parents, a BIL and two friends to suicide I think I do know!) All this because I gently suggested that at 1am she may want to put her child to bed so the adults could have some time to talk about my FIL! How dare I tell her how to bring up her children! BTW - I have two children (now adults) of my own so yes, I have a rough idea.

Anyway, in my case the whole family apart from hubby's dad and brother have treated me like garbage. Luckily my hubby supports me to a certain degree but since his dad died that has changed a little. His mothers problem stems from the fact that I am strong and independant and am able to function while her son goes off to work for months at a time. Jealousy - pure and simple!