Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Christmas Insensitivity - What Do I Do Now?

Recommended Posts

On Christmas morning, my entire extended family (35 plus people) gathered at my sisters house for breakfast. After breakfast, my siblings and I were summoned by my mother into the Living room so she could give us her gifts. There were about 20 of us there, the rest were wandering in, and my mother held her court, she said that she was giving gifts this year that weren't new, things that were in her house that she wants us to have. She then said that two of the gifts were sad and two weren't. She pointed to my sister and I as the recipients of the sad gifts.

I wasn't sure what to expect but waited my turn, my sister went first with her sad gift, it was a figurine that had been my grandmothers. My mother told the story of the figurine, we all kind of laughed and then is was my turn. I was relieved that my sisters gift really wasn't sad, just a memory of my grandmother. My Father passed away 5 years ago and I guess I was expecting something relating to him. I opened my "gift" it was a plate that had a image of a little girl that had the same name of my baby that was stillborn 9 years ago. My mother had told me some years ago that she wanted to give me that plate someday, which I was touched by. At first I didn't know what it was, so my mother told me to turn it over to look at the name, at that moment I realized what it was, and immediately went into a panic state. I took the plate and handed it to my husband and left the room. There was nowhere to go, the house was full. It triggered a grief inside me that was overwhelming, right in front of everyone. I wanted to (needed to) leave immediately, but my kids were there; I hadn't given out any gifts, had nowhere to go, so I sucked it up and went back to the room. No one said anything to me, everything continued as before, everyone else opened gifts. After about 30 minutes my sister asked me if I was okay, I said no, not even a little bit okay, and that was it.

I had to leave before I collapsed in front of everyone. We packed up and started to leave, I spoke to both my sisters, and told them how upset I was and how I couldn't believe Mom did that to me in front of everyone. My sister responded, you know, Mom meant well, she's just trying to show you that it's not forgotten. I said are you kidding me, a public show like that, how is that a gift, and how exactly was I supposed to react? I also said that I am really upset and I’m not going to suck it up so my mother would feel better.

My mother knew I was upset and went to my husband, not me, to explain. She said, you know I didn't mean to get her so upset, my husband said what you did to her was cruel. My mother then ran to my niece, (who is a 37 year old adult) crying. My sister also talked to my husband and told him she couldn’t believe that he said that to our mother.

My mother has done things like this to me many times before, airing my personal business, heart breaks and disappointments to just about anyone she was talking to. That was incredibly painful, there was nothing I could do then, I would tell her how embarrassing and hurtful it was to which she would respond, you are just too sensitive. But this line that she crossed was just too much, how exactly was I supposed to react? The plate, which was promised to me when the baby died was something that I did consider special and I appreciated that my mother had it displayed in her Living Room. To have received it privately would have been special, to receive it so publicly and on Christmas, was devastating.

This plate and the circumstances triggered a well of grief that has been very difficult to control, I left my sisters and had to immediately host a dinner at my own house for my husbands family, so I had to keep it together. But later that night and since then, I’ve been a wreck, and a crying mess. The hardest part about all of this is that no one has called me to ask how I am or anything. I’m in a state of disbelief, how could no one contact me to check on me? The grief is bad enough the abandonment is so hurtful.

What do I do now, just continue with my family and act like everything is okay? How did this become all about my mothers feelings?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my gosh my heart just aches for you. I am just so sorry that this has happened to you. I see your pain and rightly so for sure. I am so sorry that your Mother was so insensitive and how hard, so hard for you in front of everyone. I am just so sorry that you Mother did not come to you to console you when she could see the pain you were in. Good for your husband to tell it like it was...cruel. I am also sorry that none of your family have called to see how you are doing with it. It is just so hard when our families are not there for us in the ways that we need.

I am sorry, so sorry for the reasons that you found your way here. You have found a wonderful safe site here. I welcome you here. I am sorry that your Mother has hurt you in the past by airing your personal business with others. I am just so sorry. It sounds like your Mother is not willing to look at herself at all and that is a shame.

I send you a hug. As for what you should do, that is not for me to say. I can only suggest you trust and follow your own wisdom in knowing what you need and what you need to do.

Courage and Blessing, Carol Ann

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your thoughts, I'm actually pretty computer savvy, but seem to have trouble responding your response. Probalby because my hands are still shaking,

My apologies for what is probably multiple postings.

I thought I came to terms with my mother some time ago, looks like I have more to work on. My brother, who wasn't there, called me today. He didn't really know what happened, but offered support and reminded me that he's there for me. We'll see, I have my husband and children and am starting to pull this all together. I'm so glad I found it, I feel relief having a place to share my feelings, hopefully I can offer support to someone else here.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, Scorpio. Let me add my voice to Carol Ann's in saying that I am so, so sorry this happened to you (at the hands of your mother no less), and I can only imagine how awful this has been for you. :(

Thank goodness your husband had the presence of mind to speak up on your behalf.

It is a very sad fact of life that from time to time the bereaved must endure the insensitivity of those who've yet to walk in our shoes, but I think it cuts especially deep when it comes at a time when we least expect it, in front of so many other people, and from someone as close as your own mother. Unfortunately, it sounds as if this is not the first time your mother has hurt you this way, which I'm sure only adds to your pain.

If you spend any time reading through many of the posts on our site, you will find you are not alone when it comes to dealing with the insensitivity of others. Sometimes just knowing you're in the company of others who've been where you are now can help. See, for example, Insensitive People.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear W,

Your most welcome, and of course your hands are still shaking. I am happy that you received some solace from your brother. I am glad that you feel some relief at having found a place to share your feelings. You have already offered support just by coming here and finding the courage to post and tell us what happened to you. It helps others to feel not so alone with their loss. I am relieved that you are starting to pull this all together. I miscarried a very long time ago due to violence so I know the pain of loosing a child.

Take good gentle care and come back as often as you need.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to welcome you to this site, W. I'm so sorry for your loss and the insensitivity from your mom.

Honestly, I don't know what you have experienced and contintue to experience because I can't even let myself go to the deep dark place of losing a child. I am the mother of 2 beautiful girls. I can't express enough how sorry I am for your loss.

I tip my hat to your husband. He said what NEEDED to be said. It is nice knowing he is in your corner. As far as the relationship with your mom,I'm sorry for that too. Sometimes it is difficult for people to wear someone else's shoes - even one's mom. Nine years ago also, I had my first baby 10 weeks prematurely. She spent 9 weeks in the hospital with a clear uncertainty that she would be normal muchless make it through. W, I was lucky and she is a smart and beautiful young lady. My mom (God rest her soul) didn't understand the loneliness and fear my husband and I felt. We worked it out shortly afterwards and everything was ok. I want to send you the most genuine hug bacause I know it has to be beyond hard.

We are a family here at this site. Personally, I would be a basket case without it.

Peace to you today, tomorrow and always


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...