Author Topic: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)  (Read 11770 times)

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secretrebel

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2013, 09:52:43 AM »
Donate the gift  and send a thank you. Any unpleasantness of saying thank you should then be mitigated by the thought that the gift will make someone else happy who doesn't know about the bad karma.

mspallaton

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2013, 03:10:02 PM »
Hi all - brief update - DH and I are calling "gift-watch" to an end as of today.  Meaning - we're both pretty confident nothing is coming, which is definitely for the best.

DH is understandably upset at the situation, but I think he's happy not to have a catalyst to a new issue this quickly and for FIL and SMIL not to have anything new they can complain about (since even the black hole option would've created a 'no thank you card' rumor for a little while).

Thank you all for the advice - I know sometimes it can seem anticlimactic when an etiquette scenario doesn't come to pass and the advice isn't directly used, but I just wanted to say that knowing what the options were and having time time to think and make a real decision about what to do was incredibly calming for my DH.  He really felt trapped - thinking it would come and we'd have to respond in some effusive way to a man he's come to view as emotionally abusive.  Hearing that there are etiquette-approved ways to step back and have a boundary set up was really helpful for him.

So -- despite no direct application of the advice -- thank you for it.  I just wanted to make sure everyone knows that it does help, even if it isn't put into practice.

caz

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2013, 09:58:55 AM »
I love to hear all updates :)  Best of luck.

Marbles

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2013, 03:05:45 AM »
Really, in this case, no news is good news.

It's heartening to hear that your MIL is helping out so much behind the scenes.

mspallaton

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2013, 01:56:18 PM »
Unfortunately we called "gift watch" too early.  A couple days ago we got a card in the mail from FIL and SMIL with a check enclosed.

The card was unsigned and the check was accompanied by a typed note that says the following:

"Please find enclosed your wedding gift.  We always present our children with a cash gift upon their marriage.  Changes at my job this year caused our having to delay this gift until now.  We apologize for the lateness.  Congratulations.

Dad and [SMIL]"

---------------------

I have given up avoiding e-hell on this one.  DH is livid and cannot be talked down from sending the gift back.  I'm just trying to do damage control and minimize the rudeness of his response... he has simply reached a point of feeling like his father has gotten away with too much in regards to our wedding to accept a gift and move on without saying something.

I got him to stop and think about it for a few days (we are on day four at this point), but he hasn't wavered.  He is, thankfully, listening to some advice in terms of phrasing instead of just writing a nasty-gram with the check folded up inside.

Thank you all for listening and for the advice... even knowing we're about to be cast into e-hell, I promise to update and let people know how it turns out...

Twik

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2013, 02:08:23 PM »
"Please find enclosed your wedding gift.  We always present our children with a cash gift upon their marriage.  Changes at my job this year caused our having to delay this gift until now.  We apologize for the lateness.  Congratulations.

Dad and [SMIL]"

Seriously? From a father to his son, "please find enclosed your wedding gift.... We apologize for the lateness"? Wasn't FIL worried that it might be mistaken for something intended for the income tax department instead?  :o

FIL is not an exemplar of warmth and charm.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

cwm

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2013, 02:13:24 PM »
Don't send it back, just don't cash it. Burn it, actually. Nobody else will get to it, it might make DH feel better, and you don't have to answer the phone when FIL and SMIL call asking why the check wasn't cashed.

Be the black hole. Don't do anything. Don't take their money, it's not worth it, but don't give in to sending it back.

For the record, if I ever got a note like that from a parent, I wouldn't be speaking to them either. That's ridiculous.

FoxPaws

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2013, 02:27:53 PM »
"Please find enclosed your wedding gift.  We always present our children with a cash gift upon their marriage.  Changes at my job this year caused our having to delay this gift until now.  We apologize for the lateness.  Congratulations.

Dad and [SMIL]"

Seriously? From a father to his son, "please find enclosed your wedding gift.... We apologize for the lateness"? Wasn't FIL worried that it might be mistaken for something intended for the income tax department instead?  :o

FIL is not an exemplar of warmth and charm.
On the other hand, MrPallaton can use that as a guide for the return letter - completely emotionless and flat.

Your returned check/wedding gift is enclosed. Given the nature of our relationship, we are unable to accept gifts of any kind from you, nor are we interested in any further contact.

Black Hole would probably be better, but if your DH is determined to send a reply, he needs to keep it brief and to the point. Nothing he says is going to make them see the error of their ways.

{{{mspallaton}}} to both of  you. This is a sucky situation and I'm sorry you're having to deal with it.
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*inviteseller

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2013, 02:35:39 PM »
I agree with the don't cash/don't send back.  Just act like it never was in your mailbox.  They can't complain if there is no thank you or the gift because you didn't cash the check.  And that note?  The warmth just oozed out of that one now didn't it?  ::)  Seriously, my dad and step mom gave us a check for our wedding gift (very very generous) and wrote a lovely note in a beautiful card.  OTOH, my former MIL, when she would mail a check  to DD for gifts and we would call to thank her, she would whine about how she "really doesn't have the money but she scraped it up so her grand daughter could have a gift for her birthday" in the biggest martyr tone.  It was no more than $10, but after the 3rd time, I told DD we are no longer cashing the checks because there was too much guilt tripping . 

dawbs

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2013, 02:40:52 PM »
Don't send it back, just don't cash it. Burn it, actually. Nobody else will get to it, it might make DH feel better, and you don't have to answer the phone when FIL and SMIL call asking why the check wasn't cashed.

Be the black hole. Don't do anything. Don't take their money, it's not worth it, but don't give in to sending it back.

For the record, if I ever got a note like that from a parent, I wouldn't be speaking to them either. That's ridiculous.

The only downside to destroying/not returning a check is that it gives the sender an excuse to contact you (in a way which cash doesn't).
"Hi, did you get our check or do we have to cancel it/write a new one/worry about it clearing 3 years later"

Pen^2

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2013, 02:43:39 PM »
What a warm, loving note.  ::)

Black hole. Don't cash it (obviously). Tear it up or throw it out or whatever you like. Don't write anything back. Black hole.

If you must, to stop them (possibly) asking you to cash it later on, send it back to them without any note or fanfare. Be silent, then go back to being a black hole.

Anger is a very consuming thing, and I really feel for you and your husband. But time will make it gradually lessen. Easier said than done, I know. Sorry. But until then, the very best thing you can do is distance yourselves from these people. The longer you spend with them out of your lives, the easier it will be and the lower the anger levels will drop. Especially for your DH. If he sees them again (to yell or whatever), then he'll only feel worse afterwards, and his anger will be right back up there again. He'd have to start all over again in giving it enough time to lower to a tolerable level. Keep on being as supportive as you have been. Advising him to lay low was very good of you. Keep on doing that until he's able to do it himself. Because, despite what he might want to do right now, writing back to them or calling will only make him feel worse and extend how long it will take to heal from these awful people.

Deetee

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2013, 02:48:11 PM »
I was going to say that no response is the best (destroy the cheque and no note). But, on further reflection, I think your husband needs to think long and hard about what he wants from his father and their relationship.

The urge to send an angry note back does not sound like someone who is ready to really cut off his father. He still wants to engage him and have a relationship (yes, angry notes are relationships).

So he should think
1) If he wants a relationship, he should look at family counseling (use the cheque to fund such mediation).
2) If he wants a low drama continuing pseudo-relationship, go with the Teflon approach (write a terse thank-you note and bank the cheque for something dull-future childrenís education, health insurance payments, retirement fund)
3)  If he wants continuing relationship of drama and anger, write a nasty-gram.

Neither of you seem willing or able to truly detach. I donít think thatís bad. This is all fresh and very wounding. Itís just that I donít think that either of you should be making permanent relationship decisions.

Strong emotions are like being drunk.  No irrevocable decisions should be made at this time.

(Personally, I am liking the idea of using the money for relationship counseling for your husband and you. Healthy communication ideas for your family and such)

TootsNYC

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2013, 02:55:58 PM »

The urge to send an angry note back does not sound like someone who is ready to really cut off his father. He still wants to engage him and have a relationship (yes, angry notes are relationships).

So he should think
1) If he wants a relationship, he should look at family counseling (use the cheque to fund such mediation).
2) If he wants a low drama continuing pseudo-relationship, go with the Teflon approach (write a terse thank-you note and bank the cheque for something dull-future childrenís education, health insurance payments, retirement fund)
3)  If he wants continuing relationship of drama and anger, write a nasty-gram.

Neither of you seem willing or able to truly detach. I donít think thatís bad. This is all fresh and very wounding. Itís just that I donít think that either of you should be making permanent relationship decisions.

Strong emotions are like being drunk.  No irrevocable decisions should be made at this time.

(Personally, I am liking the idea of using the money for relationship counseling for your husband and you. Healthy communication ideas for your family and such)

I'll add my voice to Deetee's.

I think if your DH is that angry, he might really benefit from having somewhere neutral and probing to think it out.

Arila

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2013, 03:01:10 PM »
I like the idea of family counseling. Having a designated space and time to explain your feelings and listen to the other person explain theirs, with a counselor present to sort of guide/mediate the discussion was really helpful for my mother and I, when we were going through emotional and angry times.

People rarely do things just to be malicious. Putting forth the effort to try to understand their perspective (and knowing that yours was understood as well) will either help to heal or at least provide closure.

Seems like most people accept that marriage counseling should be undertaken before dissolving a marriage, why not family counseling before dissolving familial relationships?

mspallaton

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Re: The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19)
« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2013, 03:12:14 PM »
I will definitely present the counseling option to DH - he is already planning on seeing a counselor 1:1 to talk through these things.  The issue is getting FIL to participate.  He does not, by his nature, admit wrongdoing basically ever.  For example - when he was caught cheating on MIL with SMIL and confronted about it by MIL, his response (according to family lore) was "well, I'm sorry you feel bad about it, but it's not like I had another option." 

I am, sadly, pessimistic about getting FIL on board for counseling.  That said, I like having another idea to present to DH.  For those who recommending counseling - is there an etiquette approved way to broach that with FIL?  Or at least a way that isn't flat out rude?  It is probably being stuck sharing my DH's anger, but I can't think of how to approach it.

Thank you all for the advice -- DH and I are in a state 1300 miles away from the check until this weekend so I'm also hoping the next couple days will help us simmer a bit more.