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    • Hugh_Cumber
    • By Hugh_Cumber 4th Dec 17, 12:06 AM
    • 4Posts
    • 23Thanks
    Overbearing overspending parent
    • #1
    • 4th Dec 17, 12:06 AM
    Overbearing overspending parent 4th Dec 17 at 12:06 AM
    Hi all
    First post, hope it’s in the right place.

    I’m posting to ask for peoples opinion on how to deal with an overbearing, Christmas spending obsessed mother.

    Firstly I obviously love my mum and I’m aware this is a very ‘first world’ problem to have, I feel like a !!!! just putting it in to words, but it’s driving me crazy and it only seems to get worse year after year.

    It starts the same way every year, I’m asked what I want for Christmas and I usually just ask for the few books I usually have in my amazon basket and maybe the latest video game, which is always answered with “what else ?”

    Then for the weeks leading up to Christmas I’m bombarded with with pics of random things in shops and messages asking “what about this ?” To which I reply no thank you, please stop.
    This year I’ve been asked would I like a gun and a membership to a gun club ! Because I like those “shooting computer games”. A REAL GUN !!

    So she just buys random things to fill a spending quota.

    I’m always being made out to be the bad guy and that I’m ‘ungrateful’ and a grinch. I’ve told her how much she spends doesn’t equate to how much she loves me but she just won’t stop. My house is filling up with crap I don’t want, need or use and I feel guilty selling it or she sometimes asks “how’s that slow cooker” (it’s fine it’s still in the box).
    I’m thinking of threatening not to come round this Christmas if she doesn’t stop.

    Like I said I feel awful writing this down but it’s how I feel an it’s really getting to me.
    Any ideas or similar experiences ?
    Sorry for rambling on
Page 3
    • chesky
    • By chesky 4th Dec 17, 4:54 PM
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    Problem is that nowadays most people don't seem to need or even want anything - if they do, they go and buy it. Instant gratification. So come Christmas,you have to spend hours thinking of what they might like. I always ask for Christmas lists from my nearest and dearest, long enough that I can try to balance up expenditure and treat them all fairly.

    Perhaps you should just spend some time writing your mum a list of things you might like. Ease her burden. My heart goes out to her.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 4th Dec 17, 4:57 PM
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    There was a similar thread on here a while ago -

    That was a woman whose friend was forever buying her stuff that she didn't want. I have to say the woman was sympathised with much more than the son on the current thread.

    I think you are absolutely right in your gut feeling that her behaviour is inappropriate. And yes, offering to buy someone a gun (who's never expressed any desire to have one, ever) is weird in the extreme.

    Has she always been like this, or is it something new? If you and your sibling are in your 30s I'm guessing she's in her 50s or thereabouts? Can't blame her age. Is she the same with your sibling?

    The over-buying is linked to the overbearing - she needs to have her own way, needs to be in control, isn't particularly interested in your point of view, thinks she knows best. Maybe a joint effort with your sibling would be the way to go - and the 'broken record' technique. Just keep saying the same thing over and over - 'No Mum, there's nothing I'm needing,' 'No Mum, there's nothing I'm needing', 'No Mum, there's nothing I'm needing.' Until she gets the message.

    Or tell her straight that you don't want lots of gifts and that you will be taking it all to the charity shop in the New Year, again, and again, and again. And then do it. And when she asks where things have gone, tell her, and remind her that this is exactly what you said you would do.

    Lots of people on here have suggested that you make alternative suggestions of things that you actually do want - but I think they are missing the point. Your Mum is desperate for you to want the things that she wants to get you, she's not desperate to buy the things you actually want.
    • vulpix
    • By vulpix 4th Dec 17, 5:30 PM
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    I don't think his Mum sounds like she wants to give gifts she wants him to have.She wants to show her love.She has racked her brains and made the connection from shooting play station games to an actual interest in shooting.I think people are reading too much into her motives.

    I also think the OP has had an unnecessarily hard time too.

    OP sit her down and tell her you need nothing at all and if she wants she can make a donation to a charity of your choice in your name.
    • WibblyGirly
    • By WibblyGirly 4th Dec 17, 5:38 PM
    • 373 Posts
    • 671 Thanks
    My mum is a little like this in that she spends a lot at Christmas. Last year she gave us all and option of X item or X money (same amount either way). It was one expensive item so I was super grateful. If I'd received X amount in random little gifts it would have been a bit of a mess as my house is tiny, we have differing tastes and honestly sometimes the stuff my parents buy is random stuff found in B&M.

    If you know her budget for you could you ask for 1 or 2 more expensive items that you'd like but wouldn't purchase for yourself due to the money?
    • maman
    • By maman 4th Dec 17, 5:50 PM
    • 17,910 Posts
    • 107,241 Thanks
    I sympathise with you OP.

    We've put a stop to it now in our family (no buying presents for adults) but my younger daughter just loves shopping so she would buy us all 'stuff' for Christmas. She was a bit miffed (but outnumbered) when we made the decision a few years ago but I think she feeds her habit by buying for friends and her in-laws.

    Your mother is not alone. Just look at the people with bags and bags of stuff in shopping centres. I really can't believe that every gift is exactly what's wanted.

    But just think, it could be worse. Your mother could be one of those who starts her shopping in the January sales buying bargains and nags you all the year round.
    • barbiedoll
    • By barbiedoll 4th Dec 17, 10:38 PM
    • 4,878 Posts
    • 13,412 Thanks
    I live near to a thriving gun shop, it’s a popular hobby. My son asked about joining a shooting club when he was younger (targets, not hunting!) but it was difficult with our working hours etc. He did some shooting at a range and loved it, it’s not weird just because you live in a city!

    Keeping a gun (legally) at home is a bit of a faff though. I think you need to have a license, a locked cupboard and the ammo must be kept well away from the gun, etc, etc.

    Your mum equates love with gifts, she thinks that spending loads means that she loves you more. Has she always been able to afford to buy you the things that you wanted? My mum came into a bit of money when my aunt died. She was a single parent and money was always tight when we were kids. I take my mum shopping each week and she has been trying to give me £20 for “petrol money” (I live 2 miles away from her, I don’t spend that much on petrol in a week!) and when she tried to insist, I told her to “put the money away for me”, I then forgot about it and she didn’t mention it again.
    She was ill last week and when I visited, she was in bed. There was a jar on her dressing table, with a few £20 notes rolled up in it. I asked her what it was for, as we don’t encourage her to keep lots of cash in the house, she said “oh, that’s your petrol money”

    There was almost £200 in there. We spoke about it, I explained that I don’t want or need petrol money. She then said that as she wasn’t able to give us pocket money when we were younger, she likes the fact that she can afford to do so now. So she puts £20 in the jar for me each week. Which made me cry a little.

    I know your mum is driving you mad, but cut her some slack. Maybe give her details of a specific item that you want, if she wants to go top of the range, then let her. All parents would rather spend their money on their kids than themselves, it’s just human nature. There are lots of charities which encourage people to buy gifts to donate to children who don’t have much at Christmas, maybe encourage her to think about donating to something like that?
    "I may be many things but not being indiscreet isn't one of them"
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 5th Dec 17, 10:10 AM
    • 3,518 Posts
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    paddy's mum
    Emotional blackmail!

    That's exactly what it is and I for one don't understand why this poster is getting such harsh responses.

    It this was a woman being inundated with unwanted attention (of whatever sort) by a man pursuing his own agenda, there would have been acres of sympathetic responses.

    The mother is saying loud and clear that she doesn't care what her son thinks or believes, he has to do it her way come hell or high water. That is NOT loving or kindly behaviour and frankly, neither is it generous since the items given are unwelcome and unwanted.

    What parent today thinks it is acceptable parenting to hold a child down and force a hated food down the unwilling throat?

    This mother is dictating what shall happen in her son's life at Christmas and no amount of pretty wrappings can disguise that she is clouting him with her cheque book!

    It would fire up huge resentment in me if someone tried to dictate my choices and responses in this fashion!
    • KiKi
    • By KiKi 5th Dec 17, 12:01 PM
    • 4,957 Posts
    • 8,043 Thanks
    Late to this party but...

    She's your mum, and as you say, you love her. So. You can't change her behaviour - just accept that. Instead, you have to manage it. She's doing your head in by sending photos and buying useless stuff because you're not telling her what you want. So give her a clear long list of stuff, of varying prices. She'll buy to the limit she wants to, and you get things you want / need.

    Problem sorted.
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
    • Judi
    • By Judi 5th Dec 17, 12:17 PM
    • 16,118 Posts
    • 70,049 Thanks
    Emotional blackmail!
    Originally posted by paddy's mum
    Its only emotional if you let it. Just send the stuff to the charity shop. if she asks where stuff is, just tell her you didnt use it/had no room for it.

    If she is going to spend that much on you, just give her a list of what you would like. You could have a new wardrobe of clothes in no time.
    'Holy crap on a cracker!'
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 5th Dec 17, 12:43 PM
    • 2,736 Posts
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    Sounds a bit like my mum, only she never could see the difference between quantity and quality.

    When I was old enough to give her a hint as to what I'd like, I tended to go for one nice item based on what I knew she could afford.

    Unfortunately, she had other ideas - and instead of just one present I'd get an avalanche of cheap tat 'because you need lots to open on Christmas morning'.

    She's no longer with us, and I do miss her 'cheap tat' because it was given with love.

    Hold your tongue and count your blessings.
    • ViolaLass
    • By ViolaLass 5th Dec 17, 12:58 PM
    • 5,354 Posts
    • 7,402 Thanks
    I've had this too - piles of cheap tat at Christmas. I got round it by asking for donations to charity (and reading her a few stories to pull at her heart strings).

    I don't miss the tat at all regardless of whether it was given with love.
    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 5th Dec 17, 2:26 PM
    • 2,728 Posts
    • 6,642 Thanks
    ska lover

    It this was a woman being inundated with unwanted attention (of whatever sort) by a man pursuing his own agenda, there would have been acres of sympathetic responses.

    Originally posted by paddy's mum

    But its not anywhere near that sinister scenario

    It is a mother spoiling her son at Christmas. Not some old anorak wearer stalking a innocent female

    Her only crime is to spend money on him, he asks for something and she buys him a better version of what he has asked for
    The opposite of what you also true
    • ViolaLass
    • By ViolaLass 5th Dec 17, 2:58 PM
    • 5,354 Posts
    • 7,402 Thanks
    Problem is that nowadays most people don't seem to need or even want anything - if they do, they go and buy it. Instant gratification.
    Originally posted by chesky
    Or standing on their own two feet.
    • clairec79
    • By clairec79 5th Dec 17, 3:37 PM
    • 2,352 Posts
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    You mention a sibling - do they have the same issue? Or could it be that they name something higher price and your mum feels she has to spend the same on you.

    I know my mum will sometimes do that 'but I have to add something to it so it costs the same as your brother (so she paid for my MOT as well as the DVD I wanted)
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 5th Dec 17, 3:51 PM
    • 6,487 Posts
    • 8,418 Thanks
    It's very difficult, and I understand you feel frustrated.

    A few thoughts:

    - Does she feel she has to give you 'stuff' or would she be amendable to making up the 'shortfall' (in her mind) with money? If so, you could try telling her that you are savings towards x or y, and would welcome any contributions. (or it could be that you suggest she makes a charitable donation in your name)

    - If she enjoys the shopping an choosing stuff, do you think she might be open to picking stuff for others? For example, suggest that she make enquiries to see whether any local organisations organise gift drives for disadvantaged children - encourage her to pick gifts for those and (perhaps) suggest that she makes a list, or takes photos, of what she buys so you can see what she is giving 'in your name'

    - try sitting down and talking to her (maybe after Christmas, as she is probably already in full on shopping mode now) Explain that you know she loves you and wants to be 'fair', but in this particular way, you're happy for her to be 'unfair' and spend less on you, won't be offended, a and do find her current way of doing things very stressful. ask her about why she feels she has to give you so much, and whether she would be willing to cut down.

    -tell yourself that it is OK not to keep everything. Once something is given to you, it is yours. If that means that you make a trip to your local charity shop on 27th December, that's OK (or. depending on what she gives you, you could think about whether there is anywhere you can donate unused goods directly -for instance, organisations which work with homeless people may be able to make use of clothes, toiletries etc, those which support people fleeing domestic abuse, of leaving homelessness may be able to pass on home-ware and things such as DVDs or games, most libraries are able to accept donations of books (especially new ones!) and so on.

    - Since she does ask you for suggestions, consider asking for stuff that you could use (even if that is 'boring', such as toiletries, socks etc) or stuff which is perishable or would be expected to be used up, so that you can donate it without worrying that she will ask what became of it (I dare say that your local food bank could accept a Christmas hamper, even if the items are not the sort of staple stuff they normally request, and it might give someone else a treat) If you ask for nice wine / spirits you can use them through the year, or re-gift.

    How does your brother feel about it all? Would he be open to a joint request to cut down?
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 5th Dec 17, 5:13 PM
    • 30,587 Posts
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    We have today sent out a request for what we want at Christmas to my son, his partner and her mother. The partner and daughter will buy things with care and love, but it is a waste of their money if it is not something we want. So son will encourage them to buy things we DO want.

    I have asked for an IOU (!) to be redeemed when I get my baby tortoise (also a gift) sometime next year, to help me set up its home. My husband has asked for an accessory for his newly acquired shotgun. Hopefully this will stop any pondering!!

    To the OP, tell your mum what you want and if she buys you the top of the range one that's even better. NB We have sent photos of the things we have asked for.

    Member #10 of £2 savers club
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 5th Dec 17, 5:36 PM
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    You are not going to stop her so the best way is to work with her.

    You know its the same every year so plan ahead start thinking in September what you need.

    Don't tell me you can't think of anything if you put your mind to it. Think practical things, so you don't get tat, things that can be used up.

    New clothes - give a link to them on a website
    Dinner plates/mugs - are any of your broken
    Saucepans - how long have you had your set, could you benefit from a better range
    Food - hampers etc
    Drink - bottle of nice wine/spirits
    Toiletries - these will always be used up think of a more expensive brand than usual you would like to try.
    Bedding - Could you do with a new quilt/duvet/electric blanket

    If you are really stuck think of your friends what you want to give them for their birthdays etc throughout the year and ask for that (you could then use the money you would have spend on them, on yourself)

    My friend is the same with her two children, she has to make sure they get the same amount spent on them. I only have one child but I can see where she is coming from I hate to admit it but I would probably be the same.
    • svain
    • By svain 5th Dec 17, 5:43 PM
    • 338 Posts
    • 614 Thanks
    My friend is the same with her two children, she has to make sure they get the same amount spent on them. I only have one child but I can see where she is coming from I hate to admit it but I would probably be the same.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Isn't it perfectly normal to spend the same on each child?
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 5th Dec 17, 5:50 PM
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    Isn't it perfectly normal to spend the same on each child?
    Originally posted by svain
    I don't know as I said I only have one child but it seems the OPs mother is having this issue as her other child wants things but the OP doesn't and she feels she needs to spend the same on both. Some posters seem to think the mother is in the wrong for wanting/needing to do this.

    If I had more than one I would be spending the same on each. Come to think of it all my friends do, just one of them makes more of an issue out of it as her children are quite far apart in ages, making it more difficult.
    • ThumbRemote
    • By ThumbRemote 5th Dec 17, 5:51 PM
    • 3,883 Posts
    • 4,939 Thanks
    Make a list of games that you already have, but she doesn't know you've got. Give her that list of suggestions for Christmas.

    Afterwards, ebay the items you've received as duplicates and donate the money to charity.

    She's happy that she's given you something, you're happy that you've not got a load more things you don't want.
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