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Discussion Starter #1
My mother likes to give things away and then years later, she asks for them back. Once, she gave my husband & I her old movie projector...it was broken, so we had it fixed. She asked for it back. She bought my husband a fancy coffee maker "because she wanted to show appreciation for her nice stay with us" on her next visit, she took it back - without asking.<br><br>
When I was 10, she gave her special ring to my sister and my sister gave her special ring to me. My mother also gave me some jewelry that had been her mothers. A couple of years ago, she sent my little girl an out of print book, Big Susan (my daughter's name is Susan.) She had written "Merry Christmas" on the package.<br><br><br><br>
A few days ago, I received a supposedly friendly letter from her and in it she asks for most of the above to be returned to her.<br><br>
She wrote, "loan for reading at Christmas?" (about the book)<br><br><br><br>
Now, I know that my mother is coo coo...but still, I am not sure how to react to her. I am not going to return these "gifts" even if I wanted to many of the things that she wants back have been given to my own daughters and are no longer mine.<br><br><br><br>
What should I do/say?
 

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Is this a recent thing that you think has come from some sort of dementia, or has she always been this way? I have no idea how to react.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She has done this her entire adult life, as far as I know. She either acts as though the item was a lone or sheepishly says "I know I gave that to you, but could I have it back?"<br><br><br><br>
When she took the coffee maker back, it was like listening to a new version of the grinch. Giancoli was 4 at the time and said, "Why are you STEALING my daddy's coffee maker?"<br><br>
And you know how 4-year-olds won't let things drop...it was actually pretty funny, but when my husband got home, I had to tell him, "I am sorry, but my mother is nut."
 

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hmmm, interesting. Have you tried talking to her about it? Like w/the case of the book at Christmas saying, "Well, it said Merry Christmas on it so we assumed it was a Christmas present..." then mention that children dont always understand why things are taken away & that perhaps she should be more clear when something is on loan? Just an idea.
 

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I would even it out by randomly stealing stuff when you go to her place. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 

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I really don't know what you should do or say. I've never heard of a problem like that before.<br><br><br><br>
I think maybe this problem comes under the heading of "setting boundaries" in human relationships.<br><br><br><br>
I think my inclination would be--on items that I had spent money to have repaired--to ask for reimbursement for the cost of the repairs before returning the gift. Or else wait until her birthday or Christmas (or whatever holiday you might celebrate) to give her back the gift. Then what you would really be giving her would be the cost of the repairs.<br><br><br><br>
It seems bizarre that she would expect you to give back items on demand then expect you in addition to buy her Christmas or birthday gifts. I think I might--if i had to get her a "gift"--find an appropriate charity and make a contribution in her name, like to one of the "anti-disease" foundations or what ever charity would encourage giving a gift in someone else's name and giving you some sort of certificate to give to that person.<br><br><br><br>
It seems like she is playing some sort of game whereby she is using these gifts--and whatever sentimental attachments you might have toward them--to "jerk you around" and maintain some sort of control over you. I would do whatever is necessary to detach myself from the situation and not allow myself to be jerked around.
 

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I agree with Joe. (And Tame, if all else fails!) Since it is not dementia, sounds like all you can do is put your foot down and say it's not reasonable. If it turns into a big fight, and she won't talk to you, whatever. So be it. I don't see why you should put up with someone stealing your crap, mother or not. You deserve respect, and so do your husband and children.<br><br><br><br>
What would happen if next time you just said no, and kept saying no, or hung up on her if she kept arguing?
 

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I had a real similar problem with my father in law. This guy lived his life for money and every waking moment revolved around how to make more. It was nitpicky silly little stuff, too, that often took advantage of others, especially ME.<br><br><br><br>
Once he and my mother in law came up to visit during the day when we were at work. We knew they were coming and left the side door open so they could come in. Well, they came into the house, went into our basement, found some appliances that they had given us YEARS ago, and loaded them into their car. When we got home he said "You obviously didn't like the Cuisinart and coffeemaker we gave you so we took it back". Duh . . . .<br><br><br><br>
Once he talked me into selling him a Toyota pickup truck that I had owned for years. I was asking $2,500 for it, he offered $1000. Mrs. Bank said "Look, he helped pay my way through college, let him have it for $1000". I talked to him and said ok, look, I'll sell you this truck for $1000 on the condition that when you get tired of it you give me right of first refusal for $1000, sound fair? He said ok, so I did it.<br><br><br><br>
A year or so later he heard we were having a yard sale and called and said he wanted to buy a lawnmower that I had for $25. I said ok, it'll keep me from having to drag it into the yard, just pick it up when you come up next time. Good deal.<br><br><br><br>
The next time they came up was on a Thanksgiving and they pulled up in a brand new Cadillac Sedan DeVille. As we were setting the table I noticed that he was out in the driveway loading that lawnmower into the trunk of his new car, with one of my old Army blankets to protect the interior. As we sat down to eat I remarked again about what a nice car he had, and he said well since we only have one car now we thought we'd get a nice one. I said hey, what about the truck? Turns out the guy did some cosmetic cleanup to it and sold it for $3,000 about a month after I sold it to him, and told Mrs. Bank not to tell me. Not only that, but he went to the wife behind my back and asked her if he could just have the lawnmower, and she said yes. It wasn't the money, mind you, it was the sneaky ass way he went about all this and many other similar situations. I was never used to having a family member like this; all my family always bent over backward to help each other, and I always did the same. It was a real eye opening experience dealing with this guy. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"><br><br><br><br>
I wish I had some advice for you. I never was able to reconcile myself to the way this guy lived. He got cancer and died a slow debilatating death 4 years ago. Now the wife and mother-in-law sit around and talk about all the good things he did and how much money he had squirreled away when he died. All I can remember is how every time he came around I got reamed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think that my mother gives things away and then regrets it. I think that sometimes she convinces herself that it was a loan.<br><br>
My mother has taken so much money from my siblings and I that this behavior is just sort of like salt in the wound.<br><br><br><br>
I stopped giving her gifts years ago, because she would always give them away. ("They aren't right for me etc.") We do not have a close relationship at all, because I find her behavior confusing and hurtful in many respects.<br><br><br><br>
One time when she became very angry with me, she wrote a list of basically everything that she could think of that she had given me. She said "I think it's important that everyone has what belongs to them." In the same package she returned many things that I had given her - even as a child.<br><br><br><br>
The way that I look at it is, if you give something away, it is as though it never belonged to you. It was her choice to return my gifts, but I am under no obligation to do the same. Correct?<br><br><br><br>
I like your idea, Tame. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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In my View, once you leave the nest that it. She doesnt have that much control over you any more. I say your going about it the right way, mushroom
 

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my mom has a habit of losing things when she moves, then she comes to me, wanting things she has given me over the years to replace them..Id gladly buy her a set of silverware, but she wants back the sterling silver...she moves often and is old and losing her memory...and I want the few things I have for memories...I keep telling her she gave them to me, and remind her of how things always seem to disapear or get lost...and eventually I won't talk to her about those things anymore.
 

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Wow, mushroom, I feel for you. My mom is pretty messed up, too. In the case of my mom, she's just mean and money hungry. Throughout my entire life, she always had to dictate what each person within the household did. When I was the first child in the family to get sick of her and move out, she stripped the sheets and covers off my bed since she had purchased them. My dad snuck an old dust cover out of the house so I would have a blanket to cover up with the first night in my apt. That was years ago, and to date, she's not changed. I don't see her anymore, as there was lots of abuse in that household, and emotionally, I can't deal with seeing her. The bad thing is that there are tons of cool artsy things that my mom has stashed away in closets and the attic, and I would love to show/give them to my daughter, as she loves art, too. My mom even put up a HUGE fight when I tried to get my birth certificate from her. All I can say, Mushroom, is lock the windows, bolt the door and turn the ringer off the phone. Otherwise...you'll just make yourself nuts dealing with her.
 

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Wow, your mother really has a problem with this issue. Do you know if there's anything behind her taking things back? Is there some history in her life long ago that would cause her to want to 'hold on to things' in such a way...or get back what she's given? Just curious...maybe if you could casually find out by asking her some questions and getting her to open up to you (if she will). This might give you some insite into why she does these things. I have to say, this strikes me as a very sad (more than anything else) illness that your mother has. How isolating for her to feel like she has to keep clinging to things...particularly the things she's given to the people she loves.<br><br><br><br>
I think the kindest thing you could do for your mother is to get together with her and in a very loving way talk to her about her problem. Explain to her that this book (for instance) she gave you was wrapped and marked merry Christmas and that you thought it was clear it was a Christmas gift. And that gifts are not loans. Maybe bring up some other examples of the things she's given and taken back. Let her know that you feel very sad when she does this...that it makes you feel as if she's angry with you...or like she's trying to 'take back her love,'...or get back at you for something you've done by taking something away.<br><br><br><br>
I'm serious....she really needs some help with this more than anything. she may feel it's a way for her to get attention from you....I don't know. This just strikes me as a habit that has a very definite purpose behind it...as if she's trying to prove a point...or prove her own importance to you by making you suffer.<br><br><br><br>
Just some ideas...I sure hope she can get some help...if even only just from you.<br><br><br><br>
B
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Michael</i><br><br><b>I would just politely refuse to take anything from her in the future.</b></div>
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i agree completely. i would politely state that she is not welcomed to give you and your family gifts any longer because it is very hurtful when she returns to take them back.<br><br><br><br>
i would also consider that she is in need of some sort of help in dealing with this problem.<br><br><br><br>
i hope it gets better. i am sure this must be a big strain on your relationship with her.
 

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I would tell her that she had given the items as gifts and that they would not be returned to her. That you and your family members valued them because they came from her and had no intention of be parted from them. Sweetly of course. But stand by your guns. Not even us mothers should be allowed to be brats. How selfish! When she gives you anything, look her straight in the eye and ask "Is this a loan or is this a gift forever?" Make her say the words. Keep it very clear that you are not playing her game anymore. It is time the old brat grew up. No offense ment.
 
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