Sometimes the difference between my parents and my in-laws is really striking to me. I love my parents, especially my father, but I am amazed at the difference they have in their attitude toward their children.
My in-laws are really all about what they can do for us. They are obsessed with spending time with us. They send us thoughtful birthday gifts, send cards on our anniversary and enjoy treating us with things like trips and outings.
My mother, on the other hand, is all about what she can get from us. I think it stems from the fact that she never wanted children. But, regardless, she has always thought of children as her own personal servants or slaves. Growing up, we did all the work around the house. She was bitter about everything, and became irrationally angry if she had to take us to any extracurricular activities or if we wanted to do anything with friends. She cloaked all her controlling behavior behind God’s will. She really never let up on her controlling and borderline-abusive behavior until Ducks and I got married and she realized that I could choose between her and my in-laws on who to spend time with and that I could truly sever all ties with her if I wanted to. Even when she tries to do something nice, it’s in her own way. For example, she bought us a rug that she happened to find on sale when doing a real estate deal. She didn’t let me see it or anything beforehand, just purchased it, then expected me to put it in my living room, although it looks terrible and doesn’t match the style of anything else we own. And we can’t do anything about it, because she’d be mortally offended if we removed it.
That brings me to this past week. My father-in-law took Ducks and I to the coast for the weekend. He paid for the house, our meals, etc., without asking for anything in return other than our company. That’s not to say that he can’t exert his own form of selfishness or be wearing sometimes. BUT, I am offering this up in contrast with what my mother has done this week.
For my birthday (which is coming up in a few weeks), she gave me a starter kit of facial cleansers from a company that she recently signed up to do sales with. However, apparently, the gift comes with strings attached. To get this gift, she SIGNED ME UP AS A SALESPERSON. So now, what was supposedly a nice birthday gift to help me with shrinking the size of some pores near my nose, has become a nightmare of being bombarded with emails and phone calls encouraging me to go to trainings and to sell these products. Great birthday gift, right? I have less than zero interest in selling ANYTHING. In fact, I am actively disinterested in selling anything.
I do not typically have any free time. I can’t even keep with my work and professional commitments. There is no way that I’m going to go out shilling any kind of product. And, yet, she won’t get the message through her head. I’m trying to be kind about it, because she is very excited about starting to sell this stuff. However, what can I do? I feel deceptive when her director keeps calling me, asking me about attending training, etc. Should I return the gift to cut the attached strings? How should I handle this?