My Ungrateful Mother



Choosing a Christmas present for my mother has always been a nightmare as she makes ungrateful snide comments about whatever I have chosen.   I try not to let it spoil my Christmas but it’s always a tense time.  

I’ve tried everything.  If I buy her clothes, she says I am insulting her by buying a big size, when she and I both know she is a UK 18.  If I try perfume, she’s says she’s gone off that scent ‘long ago.’  If I choose chocolates she claims I’m trying to make her fat  and if it’s something like a scarf or gloves she mocks me for giving her present no thoughts at all.   

 For a couple of years I thought I’d solved the problem as my two sisters and I clubbed together to buy her something.  But it only provoked the most unpleasant childish sulk that lasted all day because she only had one present rather than three.   

The underlying problem is that I am the eldest and she likes me least. She felt certain she was having a boy and had even painted my bedroom blue.  She’s made it clear that I failed her from the start and even started a trend for her to have girls.  Of course she knows none of it can possibly be my fault, but it gives her endless opportunities to try to blame me for everything.   

This year I am so fed up that I’ve thought of giving the money I would spent on a present to a water project in Africa on her behalf and just giving her the certificate.  But I don’t know if I dare, particularly as she has racist tendencies. 

Can you help me out here? 

Our comments 

Choosing a present for a horrid parent is often a minefield, because however much thought you put into your choice you will usually be derided.  We suggest you keep your expectations low so you will not be disappointed when she rubbishes whatever you have bought.  If you keep hoping to satisfy your mother then you are continuing to play the ‘game’ that she has set up for you. So try to step back from this manipulation. 

As for what to buy, you can choose a gift that she might like, even if she doesn’t acknowledge it. . You could get her a neutral gift token from a department store so she can choose what she wants. Or as you suggest send a donation to a charity in her name but do choose something you think  she would support.

It is not your fault that you were not the boy she wanted. Keep believing in yourself as the strong person that you have become, despite her unkindness and try to find joy elsewhere during the Christmas period.