Should I return the gifts?

Should I return the gifts?

I’ve finally decided to go no contact with a narcissistic parent (NP). There are Christmas gifts for my kids from the NP already at my house. I don’t want to make the trip to return the gifts in person to NP (I don’t want to see the NP). I’ve always had my kids send thank you cards whenever they’ve received gifts from anyone. Going no contact, if the kids send a thank you card to the NP, might the brief contact of a card be problematic? Should I suck it up and absorb the cost to mail the gifts back to NP (again though, it’s indirect contact)?”

8 thoughts on “Should I return the gifts?

  1. At the time of our relationship with my mother in law (the narc) was failing we returned the Xmas gifts. We’d had a sneak peak & they were cheap nasty & pathetic, which my made my husband see red. We put them back in her mailbox. She rang on Boxing Day & told our then 6yr old that “I gave you presents but your mum & Dad were really mean & didn’t give them to you” just another twist of the knife. We have been non contact for 9 years now, it’s bliss. But not before a whole lot of grief & police involvement to issue her with a non moleststion order & trespass notice. Our local police were awesome. I still feel sad about the non contact but this page has been so supportive & has made me realise we did the right thing going non contact. Sadly his sister is under her spell. Keep strong.

    1. it’s amazing the lengths these so-called people will go to trash/smear campaign you…esp to your own kids. I’d keep them as far away as possible from your NP. No Contact is your only option…never look back

  2. You could donate them. Or have your kids write the thank you cards, but don’t send them. There’s no reason your kids should suffer or change their good habits.

    Only you know which option is least likely to rile up your narcissist.

  3. I say you have two options here. Return the gifts (is return to sender an option?) or toss them in the trash. If you toss them, remain no contact and never acknowledge the Narc parent. These gifts are no more than a typical “HOOVERING” attempt by the parent, mixed with a little “taking the high road” so the convert narcissist can continue to deceive her troop of flying monkeys. Make no mistake about it, this is a trap. A lose/lose for you if you reach out. ALWAYS STAY NO CONTACT

    My narc mom once dropped off a half-a$$ed Easter basket for my 4 kids (you heard that right, one basket for 4 kids) on my front porch at 10 o’clock at night and notified me via text. I made the mistake of letting her know I was tossing it since I didn’t want the kids to see it. She reacted by spewing her crocodile tears to my flying monkey siblings.

  4. How old are your kids? Will the NP likely try and contact your kids? I say if he probably won’t contact your kids, don’t even unwrap them, and drop them off at a thrift store. Unwrapping them will just make you angry anyway, no matter what they are. You don’t want anything tainted with him to be around, and any kindness he gives is not really a kindness but a manipulation tactic. And your kids don’t need to be involved with that either.

  5. It’s important to remember that people with NPD are always trying to recruit people to their enabler team and their never ending tortured treatment of scapegoats helps to serve this goal.

    After clearly going “no contact” with a NPD parent and then having that parent ignore that boundary by sending gifts to your children can be seen as a manipulative gesture in hopes of recruiting your children over to the NPD parent’s side while trying to make you, your kids’ parent, appear to be the unstable one (gaslighting), the one who’s the problem. Putting you back in an unwanted role bestowed upon you by that parent, a role you’ve tried to shed. Therefore, allowing the gifts to go to your children and then having them write thank you notes allows for more abuse as it puts you back into the scapegoat role and brings up a valid and real concern for your own family, a family you’re trying to raise without the dysfunctional patterns of your NPD family of origin.

    Keeping the gifts or donating them to charity with no response to your NPD parent also would encourage the parent to continue to send gifts or increase contact.

    A narcissist’s gift giving is always about the narcissist’s needs/goals. It is not about showing empathy and care and thoughtfulness towards others.

    I speak from experience as my mother was NP disordered. It took me years to figure out what was the underlying lifelong unfixable problem as there was no way to ever make her happy. And it wasn’t until my children were teens that she tried to recruit and tried to pit them against me and against each other and the first time she tried this was after I’d gone no contact and she sent gifts. I opted to return the gifts with a brief note along the lines of “This isn’t done out of spite, as I’ve no desire to be mean to you, but is done out of love and what I think is best for all of us. I still think it’s best for all of us if my family and I don’t have contact with you. Your sending gifts is a form of contact which goes against what I’ve asked of you. So, my family and I are returning the gifts.”

    For me a genuine concern has always been my not becoming like my NPD parent and not allowing that sickness within my family of origin to infect my budding branch of the family tree. There are those of us who consciously choose to do it differently as parents from what was done to us as children. Keeping the gifts would be allowing your NPD parent into your budding branch and your kids then sending thank you notes gives your NPD parent power and control and most likely a satisfaction that the kids have moved closer to her enabling team and can be turned against their own parent.

    For me the going no contact was never about being spiteful as I’d grown up and spent too many years being exposed to meanness and I have no desire to be cruel to others, not even to my abusers. I wish them no ill will, but I also didn’t want them in my life.

    Instead, going no contact has always been about self preservation and working towards what’s best for my own family and the generations to come. Keeping that reason and goal in mind helps to keep me grounded while not becoming the cruelty I endured. With such thought in mind, returning gifts sent by a NPD parent after one has clarified they no longer want contact is not cruel, but is the continuing efforts of preservation.

    I hope my comments are helpful, yet I also realize that others who are trying to overcome their experiences in being raised within a NPD parent home will have different thoughts/suggestions.

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