When your family forgets difficult child's birthday...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tinamarie1, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I really don't know how to handle my feelings about this. I know that people lead busy lives, so I even remind my inlaws and my family that difficult child's birthday is coming about 10-14 days ahead of time. Well, difficult child's birthday was today and no gifts, no cards, no phone calls from MY family...inlaws sent him gifts. I am not from a big family, its me and my sister, she has 2 kids and I have 2 kids.
    I know that difficult child probably doesn't even realize they forgot, but its the principal of the thing. I DONT FORGET THEIR BIRTHDAYS. I always spend about $30 on my niece and nephews b. day. And they don't even call to say thank you.
    do any of you deal with this? and do you continue to give gifts to people who don't even acknowledge yours or your kids b.days? also people who don't even call to say, gee thanks for that gift/ card/ money?
  2. KFld

    KFld New Member

    My sister has not called me in I don't know how many years to say happy birthday. I don't even know if she remembers when it is. But I always remember hers and I will probably always call her and wish her happy birthday. I guess I feel it just makes me the better person.
  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    I had a sister in law (sort of, I'll explain in a sec) that I went off on a few years ago for that very reason. I regret doing it. I have not talked to her since, nor have I seen my nephews (one of them is my Godson). I can't even find her to apologize.

    This girl, we will call her L. She was engaged to my DEX's brother, K. They had a son, D. He's my Godson. She had another son, R, 2 years older than D, that K was raising as his own.

    8 years ago, when D was just a year old, K died in a trucking accident. That left L to raise R & D alone. DEX and I were the only family members who talked to her after awhile (she started dating very quickly, and mother in law was hurt).

    Anyways, for a couple years, I made a point of seeing or calling those boys for every b-day or Christmas. She moved pretty far away and bought a house so we didn't see them very often anymore. She never took a trip out to see us. After awhile, her lifestyle started to annoy me. She was getting Social Security for D because K had died. Instead of putting it in an account, she lived off of it. She went tanning and had her nails done and her hair highlighted and bought a Camaro...but never ever bought gifts or even sent cards for my daughters or my stepsons.

    I went off on her. And I hurt her. And now that I am an X, even if anyone in my DEX's family knows where she is now (she moved again), they would not tell me. I want to apologize for what I said.

    It won't make HER right. It does not matter though. That is who she is. I also had a family member chew me out because I don't send thank you notes from my kids for every gift. Well, I don't. I will send one if it is mailed to her or if she receives it from a 3rd party. If she gets it in person, and thanks them in person, I don't see a reason to have to send a thank you note again.

    That is how I am.

    You have to do what you will live with. And think very hard about it first. You can't take it back once you say it.
  4. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I wasn't invited to my stepbrothers daughters 1st birthday. When I asked if they were having one, I was told no. So I bought her a gift and set it aside for my daughters birthday, which is a month later. When my stepmother and father arrived, I gave it to her to pass on to my neice. I received a thank you card in the mail, with a picture of my neice on her first birthday. Surrounded by gifts, cake and family, just not me or my brother. I was very hurt.

    My biodad, stepmom, stepbrother and wife do not come to my difficult children birthday parties. My biodad has made 1 or 2 over the years, but no one else shows up or calls. It breaks my heart. My kids don't notice for the most part, but it still breaks my heart.

    My neices 2nd birthday was earlier this month, no birthday invite for us again. I will still have a birthday present waiting for my stepmom and bio dad when they arrive in a few weeks for my daughters party.

    I try to remember that this is the person I am. I love family and I want to show it the way I would want them to show it. So I make sure I do the things that I would like them to do in return. I get birthday cards and either mail them or hold onto them until I see them again, same with gifts. When I get new pics of the kids, I send them out, either via mail or email, to keep them updated.

    I've also gone off on both stepmom and biodad about how they are, but all it did was make stepmom remove all pictures of me from her house. She has since replaced some, but it won't ever be as much as stepbro or even bio bro.

    I do resent that I don't get return attention/affection, for me and my kids, but I'm still me. I'm going to do what I would do for anyone in my family and maybe someday I'll be invited to my neices birthday, maybe not. At least I'll know its not because of something I did.

    You do what makes you feel right. (((hugs))) I know how this makes your mommy heart hurt.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I also advise to do what feels right for you.

    Now I'm a "I love my family, but that doesn't mean I have to like them" sort of gal.

    Years ago I went all out for my family, including birthday gifts ect for all the neices and nephews. Heck, I was the ONLY one who could remember every single one of their bdays!

    My kids got zilch. Over and over.

    I stopped buying presents. It wasn't to be vindictive. It was due to budget. Please, I have about 20 neices and nephews, 4 sibs, 2 half sibs, and God only knows how many step sibs. This is not counting husband's family. I just can't see shelling out that kind of money when it's never returned in kind when I can't actually afford it to begin with. And they all make about twice as much as husband! So I stopped.

    mother in law guilted my Mom into buying birthday and xmas presents for my kids. lol (although she does still forget sometimes)

    It also branched out into...... I did all the calling and letter writing for years. I stopped. Hey you guys got pens and phones too. I did the making the 12 hour trip home (nitemare) to visit a couple of times a year for years. I stopped about ten years ago. Haven't been back since. Time for them to come and see me for a change. I couldn't afford the long distance calls or the trips home either.

    Oh, well. No skin off my nose. Oh, I never used to think my kids noticed either. But they did. I heard about it once they grew up. :frown:

    Just do what you're comfortable with.

  6. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    This is a hard one for me. My easy child is always remembered however difficult children aren't from my family. I know his is intentional. We have had many struggles in my family with various "attitudes" about some things. I tried to figure it all out once ok maybe for a long while and it ate me up.

    Once I decided that I can't control them or even influence them I had to decide what I was going to do. I am not the best about cards but calls I usually do for family on B-Days.

    You have to do what you have to for you. Family is tricky but you can't change them. You can only change you. So the question is do you want to change things? Then go from there.

  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I have one sister. I have one niece. I have my Mom, DF, and that's it.

    My sister makes great money. She forgets her only nephew every year and that's for birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, Three Kings Day, Thanksgiving, Kwanza, Memorial Day, St. Pat's Day, Valentines Day, Easter, Labor Day, Roshashana, New Years, Forth of July, and most recently Yom Kippur.

    I mentioned I have only one sister, and she makes great money right? Right- all the more-so for HER to keep it to herself. She should spend it on things she wants, not on her only sister or nephew. She has tons of parties; we're never invited. She goes on trips; we never get a postcard. Once we DID get a fridge magnet!! She had pictures of my niece taken for school, I never get one. I did get a copy of a scanned picture my Mom sent me so Id be able to recognize her when we came home for Christmas to see (MY MOM) family.

    And I say to you: I've sent her and my niece a card, a gift, an invitation for every holiday get together and my niece is 14. I send my sister a card every holiday too. And you know what? I never get even so much as a phone call. But I do what makes me happy and will continue to do so until it does NOT make me happy despite the fact that strangers know more about my niece than I do. Her choice - she's missing out on a wild and crazy auntie.

    The most recent slap was the fact that (this is not a joke) we went home for Christmas and my son could not WAIT I mean jumping out of his skin to walk 7 houses down from my Mom's to see his favorite aunt. He walked up on the porch, knocked on the door; my sister answered with cell phone in her hand yack yack, and looked my son dead in the eyes and said "Hold on (in a disgusted tone to the caller on the other end) Listen son, I'm not buying any of what you're selling, don't come back." and with that slammed the door in his face. Five minutes went by and my son walked back to his grandmas all "hang dog" like and we encouraged him to go back saying she just didn't recognize him. So he did, and this time she ripped the door open, nearly tore it off the hinges and screamed "LISTEN JERK get off my porch or I'll call the cops." and with that he said "You'd do that to your only nephew? Aunt XX it's me Dude."

    - Talk about feeling unwanted. With this knowledge of course she laughed it off and drove him to my Moms to see us or just to get him out of her house. I said "Don't you open your mail? I've sent your pictures of how much he's grown." and she had no excuse, but (long story short)

    My niece thanked me and my son for remembering HER and her Mom and ALWAYS sending cards.

    So this year for Christmas I'm sending my niece a card, and I've told my sister for other reasons (another story to be heard later) that I don't want her to spend HER money on us this year. Just keep it and get herself something. She was VERY pleased. And so, (la la la lah lah lahhhhhhhh) am I.

    We don't get to pick our families - but we can choose to further our heartache if we don't learn to detach. Next year there will be no cards and no presents AND no phone calls. Family or not - I'm done with her taking up time in my head because she's who she is. She doesn't get to rent that space.

    And as far as your step mom? OH my GOSH I can't tell you how awful I would be.....I'd buy 20 frames from the dollar store, and scan, blow up and print her picture and have her sitting in every stinking room in my house. WHen she left? I'd replace the pictures with a copier picture of my hiney One could be the other not?

    Sending hugs
    Twinkle Twinkle Very Bad Star
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">And as far as your step mom? OH my GOSH I can't tell you how awful I would be.....I'd buy 20 frames from the dollar store, and scan, blow up and print her picture and have her sitting in every stinking room in my house. WHen she left? I'd replace the pictures with a copier picture of my hiney One could be the other not?

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    You really should publish some of these unique ideas Star. :biggrin:
  9. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    As the time ticks by, I get more eaten up with this. I seriously need to find a counselor here...that is on the top of my to do list for tomorrow. Something I didn't include in my post that seems to come up when I get angry at my sister over something else is...my dad who emotional and physically abused me growing up has suffered several bad strokes (from alcoholism). Before my dad has his strokes, he cut my sister and I completely out of his will and my sister vowed she would never speak to him again. So, here I am now dads advocate/ bill payer/ everything. My sister never even asks how he is doing, even though she was his "darling" growing up and I was the kid who felt like a door mat. See, in my mind there is this theme...one of complete selfishness. My mom and sister only want to talk on the phone when it is on their terms, when they have nothing else to do.
    Its just so aggravating and this is really not helping things with- them forgetting difficult children b. day. I really feel like they will call in the next few days, and I won't be able to keep quiet about being upset about this. I think even if i stayed calm and said, you know I was really hurt when you didn't even call to wish difficult child a happy b. day...I think they would immediately go on the defense and think that I am inciting a family riot.
    To just make things a little more heartbreaking, every year, difficult child invites oh, a dozen or so kids to his party...and maybe 1 or 2 show up. easy child is not that way, if she invites 12 girls, then 12 will show up. So in my mind, any and all good wishes, cards gifts that are sent to him he will treasure and it will make him feel good about himself. *sigh*
    Do you ever feel like you are on all these medications just to cope with all the crap you have been through/ are going through from your family?
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, we deal with-it.
    Some of our family members remember, some don't. Some don't give a *^%$. Eventually, as the yrs go on, you just deal with-it.
    So very, very sad.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I am soooo glad to hear you are going to get some counseling. OMG the issues that I had that I didn't even KNOW I had were astounding. Things that I had supressed for years and when I was asked about them from a trained therapist - I answered "Nooooo that doesn't bother me." and through therapy? Yeahhh it bothered me and I didn't even know it.

    The fact that you are taking on so much for your dad, the issues you have that are unresolved with him. (forgive yes, forgot no) and this creates problems that you aren't even aware of. Your sister may have been a darling then but maybe she was also being abused. The fact that your Mom is still here - you may have unresolved issues with her like my son did. I worked and almost died to save my son and yet I was the one he targeted because he felt I should have kept him safe. (I did I did) but in his mind I was the strongest of the two parents and couldn't manage to keep him safe. He really had issues with that and we'd never gotten to the core of it had we not gone to therapy.

    Also in therapy I learned to take care of myself first and the rest would if it could trickle down to my family. Your children look to YOU to see how you handle situations. If you have unresolved junk in your storage center of the brain like I did, how can you possibly present a calm front? My issues were like a rent all storage place. When I got full to the brim, I'd shut the door to that problem and open a new space, and repeat this process with problems over and over and over until I went to "rent" another space and there was none left. (That was probably my mini stroke) - I had no where else to store crap and put on my smiley face. The stroke was like someone opened every one of my storage units at once and ALL the crap I'd stored up for years blew out at about 100 mph. It wasn't a pretty site. It wasn't healthy, and it wasn't good for anyone around me.

    Today I've changed my brain and will continue to change how I handle things. I have a better set of coping skills thanks to therapy, I still have humor and I'm in a better place mentally. I'm no longer a problem hoarder I guess you could say.

    My family forgets my son? Fine....what would I rather have? Me calling on the phone to 'remind' them and KNOW they sent a card out of pity for my feelings, or just tell myself and my son "Nope no cards from Aunt so and so - and leave it at that with no explanation." Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for. If you give an explanation for the family members lack of communication you are enabling. Enabling is a bad behavior and liars have to have tremendous memories. Eventually you'll forget about his 9th birthday and blurt out "Sorry people" and then your son will have to know what you meant...didn't they send a card when I was 9? See? It's not worth the stress for you.

    I feel for you, but on the other hand there are choices to be made here, and I believe you can do that, but maybe not without a little therapy and support under your belt. Nothing to be ashamed of, it's just like kindergarten where you get to learn all over again how to interact with people. Except this time? You get to know all the problems and just learn the solutions to those problems. You don't have to learn the solution and the problem at once like you do when you're a kid. AND the big plus is that once you learn how, you can pass this wisdom on to your kids. Its really a win win situation. IT also takes time, but if you start today you're farther ahead than you were a day ago.

    Hugs & Applause
    Glad to hear you're finally taking care of YOU. YOU DESERVE IT, YOU'RE WORTHY OF IT, YOU CAN DOOOOO eeeeeettttt.

    ps. I did put several pictures of my mother in law around the house when she would come to visit. She would jokingly chortle and say "I bet you put those in a drawer after I leave." I thought for years she was looking through the windows after she left - actually I put them in a bag in the closet.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It may, or may not, surprise you to know that I can justifiably
    be criticized for not sending cards or presents. My siblings and
    I agreed to a no presents rule when raising the kids. Everyone
    was always welcome at any get togethers but we didn't have extra
    money or time during "the" years.

    Maybe I would make a bigger effort to remember the adult kids birthdays and the grandchildrens birthdays IF there was some
    reciprosity. We have two PCs who remember husband and me. We have
    one easy child who remembers difficult child and easy child/difficult child. Some years ago I decided
    that they were adults, they had more free time that I did and they had alot more spendable income that husband and I. That was it.

    husband and I know who really cares and who doesn't. We are not going
    to add extra stress to our lives to make gestures to those who
    don't recognize the difference. Some of the famiy is the type
    to show up and fight over the china and crystal when we are
    pushing up daisies. They just are self centered adults raising
    self centered kids.

    No cards. No presents. An open door and a guaranteed good meal
    anytime they want to show. That's the way I show I care! DDD
  13. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Star, you could write a book on how to help people, i swaaar.
    Its funny that when things as "little" as a grandma calling her grandson to wish him a happy b. day don't happen, alllll of this other crapola from the past seems to float to the surface and theres one big, 'remember when' party in my head. This leads to me spending days in bed (after putting on my happy face and taking kids to school), feeling so depressed I could eat a box of little debbies and watch Court TV all day.
    I made my appointment for counseling for next Monday. The military only authorizes 8 visits, so I better talk fast when I see her, we have alot to go over (and I allllwayyys cry, i can't help it...its that other human being sitting back and saying omg, look at everything you have been through, and you are still alive).
  14. hopefloats

    hopefloats New Member

    Hello Tina,
    I come from a big family with bio and step on both sides. We always try to remember but sometimes forget. We even start calling each other and remind everybody ahead of time. The kids are the important ones. If I forget my bro or sisters b-day I try to call asap but with the kids in the family, we always try to do special things for them. We live in different parts of the world so just a simple e-card does the trick. I got upset with some of our friends one time. My life long friend always wanted me to come to her kids b-day parties but when my kids came up there was always an excuse of a no show and no gifts. After a few years of this, I felt like it was an insult to my kids. I still get her kids gifts because I feel I should. I very politely brought up the subject with my friend one time and she said that she didn't feel comfortable with my family. That's fine but geez, at least send a card. I have a hard time with this issue also because I was brought up where b-days were always a big deal. Maybe you can touch on the subject with your relatives and see what happens!
  15. hope1990

    hope1990 New Member

    "Do what you feel is right, and take care of yourself." DITTO

    I have for years sent my brothers' kids BD cards/gifts, Christmas gifts etc. even alittle card for Halloween and Easter, Valentines day. Only to "occassionaly" have them acknowledge my kids( which is probably after my mom would say something). They couldn't even acknowledge difficult child for graduation(and my brother is his sponsor), or even husband and I when father in law passed away. But sister in law has been upset "have you forgotten something" when didn't ackowledge a birthday.

    I would probably still do all birthdays etc., as that is who I am, I like to make things and acknowledge people, but now I only send a "family Christmas gift", no birthdays unless I think of it, although my daughter is pretty good about sending bd cards and that is ok, but I'm tired of the oneway road, and just this past year when I had concerns about my mom moving out of state, my brothers' reaction was that I was out to lunch and didn't know what she needed, when in actuallity he doesn't have the time or energy to care, it didn't really matter to him. But since his wife's family is in the area where mom moved that helped. I live in the opposite direction and even though he and I live in the same state his family has never been to my house his oldest is 11; and it hasn't been for lack of being invited!

    So if you want to go ahead, if you don't that is fine too.
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    It's sad when a family is so torn/so in their own world that they cannot see the family right there - ready to love & be loved.

    Having said that, you cannot trade in family. They are who they are; it's doubtful you will be able to change attitudes - you definitely cannot force love or respect. It becomes a matter of acceptance on your part & blowing it off.

    It also becomes a matter of "creating" your own family. I've done this - heck, there are board members here I'd consider family. I've a few friends that have taken on that aunt/uncle role for kt & wm - just because they are closer than any of our immediate family.

    Create, if you can, a family of friends, if that is what you need in your life. Celebrate your children's b/days with joy.
  17. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    timerlady, you are so right. this whole thing has really made me sit and think and reflect on what a birthday means to me. i really think it is a special day..a day when you say to your children, I am so happy you were born and so thankful for you. i also usually share with them a memory from when i was pregnant (all excited about seeing them for the first time) or how i felt the first time i layed eyes on them, how overcome with joy i was. I really feel birthdays are so special for all of my family members, and I guess I just need to keep that in perspective.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My family never even sends a card. When my mom was alive, she didn't even MEET my youngest two kids.
    I've learned that family is who cares about you and your loved ones. It's sad that my kids won't know their cousins, but my sister is vile towards me and my kids, and she's almost all I have left. I gave up sending cards, and my kids have stopped feeling bad about not getting any from my extended (ahem) "family." I'm sorry your child was hurt. How insensitive some people are.