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Need help in understanding a family behavior.

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posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:18 PM
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I had a bit of a financial windfall recently, and have two nieces living on their own three hours away, due to that being where the jobs are.
I knew they were living on peanut butter and crackers, and had two cups and two plates between them. Their mother didn't want them to move, so didn't provide any help with furnishings.

You can see where this is going. I took that loot and bought a month's groceries and gadgets and place ware, silverware, etc., boxed it up and invited the girls to dinner.
The impromptu dinner would be after another nieces birthday.
There was only one thing I couldn't get- a hand mixer, for batters and things like that. I called my mother, an avid garage sale patron, and asked if she had a spare one. I could sneak it into my car at the birthday party. The stuff was supposed to be a surprise, because that way, they couldn't say no to the charity. (This only makes sense in my family, I think.)

At the birthday party, my brother came in with the hand mixer as if he discovered America. My mother jumped off of the couch and started pushing housewares on the girls. She offered her only rolling pin. She and my brother offered her best china, the Cuisinart mixer, here's a ming vase, here's a Christmas tree. Together, they sounded like Rosemary Clooney with a hokey Italian accent.

I took them both aside twice, to tell them that we already got them all the things they offered, we just needed a hand mixer. They really pushed it, almost ruining the surprise at every turn.
They both kept it up all night, until the two girls were hiding in the back room, wondering where all this sudden generosity came from.
They wanted to leave. To make matters worse, the third girl's birthday was forgotten in the mad rush my family made to divest themselves of their fortune. The girls were living on their own for four months, now suddenly all this?
Now, when they come to my cookout, they will be more bombarded with things. Perhaps I should explain to them what happened?

This is my family. I'm in the middle of it. I'm not sure if it was grand-standing, or guilt, or an attempt to make themselves holier than thou, or what. I might add at this point, I'm the 'bad guy' of my family. They are the church going angels, so you can see that I"m totally confused by this behavior of theirs.


edit on 21-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:23 PM
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a reply to: TheCounselor

Ick, Maybe take the things to them instead of doing it in front of everyone like that. I personally would be mortified if someone, even family, gave me a bunch of stuff like that in front of people. But that's just me. And as far as the one who's birthday was forgotten, take her out to dinner and get her a gift. You can't make right the actions of everyone else, but you can make sure that she knows that you meant to see her have a nice day too.

Just my two cents.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:30 PM
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a reply to: TheCounselor

They don't want you to worry about them.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:35 PM
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a reply to: MojaveBurning
That's why the cookout at my place. I didn't take the stuff to my family's house. It was supposed to be a private little "Here's some stuff" moment. I wasn't the one grandstanding. I'm not an attention seeker, as in my post, I'm the bad guy, we don't make noise, everything we say or do is wrong.

It's all boxed up here, at my place, ready to put into the trunk. going to have just a cookout for the two girls before they left to go back home. They come here regularly for dinner, so it's no big deal for me to invite them.
I looked over my post, and no where am I seeing where I took the items to the party, but then again, no where does it say I didn't. I didn't. There's really too much to shove in my VW.

I'd asked my mom over the phone for a spare mixer, when she asked why, I fudged it, and said, we had spare pots and pans we didn't want to throw out, and I was going to give them to the girls.

It wasn't until my mom offered to skin herself so that they may have a throw rug, did I take my brother and mother aside and explained to them what I had done. But even after I had explained all the stuff, they kept offering the same stuff I had bought. My mother only has one can opener. I told her we bought a can opener for the apartment, then she rushed into her junk drawer and offered her only can opener.

It was really confusing. It's like they couldn't hear what I said, or, heard what I said, and were trying to piss me off.

I'm going to steal your idea of taking the birthday girl out for dinner. She's been dying to hit the big coasters at the local amusement park; rides and dinner would be grand.
edit on 21-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:46 PM
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I'm confused.

When were you going to give the stuff to your nieces? Have you given them the stuff?

If, yes, how did they react? If, no, why not?



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 08:49 PM
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a reply to: Moresby
Not yet, tomorrow night. I know for a fact, they won't see this post. They are too busy at a concert right now.
The birthday party was Sunday, where I was going to sneak the hand mixer into my car. Cookout is tomorrow night.
They are sweet girls, and would understand why I did this on the sly. They were just confused at the switch in my family from "You won't last there a month" to shoving housewares in their hands for a seemingly unknown reason, for, hopefully, they do not know about the stash sitting here.
It was really strange behavior, like a feeding frenzy, only in reverse, and with ... eggbeaters and spoons and wine goblets.
I just don't know why my immediate family did that.
edit on 21-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 09:12 PM
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originally posted by: TheCounselor
a reply to: Moresby
Not yet, tomorrow night. I know for a fact, they won't see this post. They are too busy at a concert right now.
The birthday party was Sunday, where I was going to sneak the hand mixer into my car. Cookout is tomorrow night.
They are sweet girls, and would understand why I did this on the sly. They were just confused at the switch in my family from "You won't last there a month" to shoving housewares in their hands for a seemingly unknown reason, for, hopefully, they do not know about the stash sitting here.
It was really strange behavior, like a feeding frenzy, only in reverse, and with ... eggbeaters and spoons and wine goblets.
I just don't know why my immediate family did that.


Ah, okay, now I follow.

Your family's reaction doesn't seem that odd to me. They were just doing a bit of grandstanding. They didn't want to be one-upped by you.

But it might all work out for the best. It sounds as though your nieces may need additional help from time to time. And at least now the whole family is on the same page regarding this.

It also appears that you're not a family that communicates especially well. That might be something to work on. It could nip future problems like this in the bud.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 09:19 PM
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originally posted by: Moresby

originally posted by: TheCounselor
a reply to: Moresby
Not yet, tomorrow night. I know for a fact, they won't see this post. They are too busy at a concert right now.
The birthday party was Sunday, where I was going to sneak the hand mixer into my car. Cookout is tomorrow night.
They are sweet girls, and would understand why I did this on the sly. They were just confused at the switch in my family from "You won't last there a month" to shoving housewares in their hands for a seemingly unknown reason, for, hopefully, they do not know about the stash sitting here.
It was really strange behavior, like a feeding frenzy, only in reverse, and with ... eggbeaters and spoons and wine goblets.
I just don't know why my immediate family did that.


Ah, okay, now I follow.

Your family's reaction doesn't seem that odd to me. They were just doing a bit of grandstanding. They didn't want to be one-upped by you.

But it might all work out for the best. It sounds as though your nieces may need additional help from time to time. And at least now the whole family is on the same page regarding this.

It also appears that you're not a family that communicates especially well. That might be something to work on. It could nip future problems like this in the bud.


And how! You hit the nail on the head, I think. It's a very hard family in which to communicate.



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 09:40 PM
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I suppose asking your mother why she didn't think of this a few months ago or why it is suddenly so important to her now is out of the question?



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 09:51 PM
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a reply to: awakendhybrid
Only if I want a BS reply. Mom's not the type to question herself over why she does things.
I think that's another thing that confused me about the events; it was suddenly so important to her and my brother; she was shoving things she really used and needed into plastic bags, thankfully, the girls 'forgot' them when they left, because my mother wouldn't have been able to bake of cook without some of the things she wanted to give away. It was a mindless scavenger hunt.
I was lucky to have the opportunity to do something. My wife and I text the girls all the time- we knew they needed help, and I had the sudden means to do so. We both thought of the same thing when the opportunity arose.
Maybe my family didn't realize they needed held until that precise moment, but they found out when I took them aside that all of that was taken care of.

edit on 21-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 09:59 PM
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This is a really cynical take on it - so grain of salt me please,
but I think your mama wanted all the new goodies you bought for the girls.
So she preempted by off loading a heap of her old things in the hopes that once the nieces leave (supposedly grateful for the crumbs) you would step in and offer to replace her kind deed with the newly acquired windfall...



posted on Jul, 21 2014 @ 10:03 PM
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a reply to: wagtail

I didn't even think about that; giving away her old things, when I had bought new things for the girls.
well.... next windfall, maybe.



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 02:29 AM
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I am thinking along the same lines as wagtail above. I do ask for you not to take it personally (what I say) as I do not know you or your family... But my family puts the "func" in dysfunctional at times so I am coming from there.

I am not sure your mother and other family wanted all the new stuff for themselves, but I am thinking that it was an "on the sly" way for them to get on your good side since you hit your "recent windfall". I am wondering if they too, are not hoping to gain something along the lines of cold hard cash out of this at a later date. They knew you liked these girls and didn't want to risk you feeling some sort of way about them for not helping beforehand. They wanted to change that quickly for some reason.

Did your mother and others know of your recent windfall?

If it isn't the above, then I would say that they were happy to not help the girls while everyone else was not helping them. They didn't have to feel as bad about it if they had company in the feeling. Maybe they realized suddenly how bad it may make them look and didn't want to be "those people". They likely would have never helped had you not done this.

Families are weird. I have had a very recent deal that went on in my family that would have made outside folks think that Escalades were being sold for $1 a piece, there was only one left and every damn body in the whole damn family tree wanted it.

About all you can do is feel good about what you did and why you did it. Leave the others to look the way they make themselves look. Others will see it for what it is.



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 08:21 AM
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originally posted by: TheCounselor
a reply to: MojaveBurning


It wasn't until my mom offered to skin herself so that they may have a throw rug...




OMG, you deserve 'writer status' just for that line alone!!! (too funny)


It sounds like they couldn't stand you being the 'hero', so they all had to jump on board and suddenly be generous.
Too bad you mentioned it to them.

I once had a small windfall too, and it was amazing how people reacted. I tried to help a few people who needed help, but also got 'taken' by greedy selfish friends. (fiends?)

You have a good heart, Counselor...next time just do your good deeds quietly.

jacygirl



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 03:02 PM
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originally posted by: Kangaruex4Ewe
I am thinking along the same lines as wagtail above. I do ask for you not to take it personally (what I say) as I do not know you or your family... But my family puts the "func" in dysfunctional at times so I am coming from there.

I am not sure your mother and other family wanted all the new stuff for themselves, but I am thinking that it was an "on the sly" way for them to get on your good side since you hit your "recent windfall". I am wondering if they too, are not hoping to gain something along the lines of cold hard cash out of this at a later date. They knew you liked these girls and didn't want to risk you feeling some sort of way about them for not helping beforehand. They wanted to change that quickly for some reason.

Did your mother and others know of your recent windfall?

If it isn't the above, then I would say that they were happy to not help the girls while everyone else was not helping them. They didn't have to feel as bad about it if they had company in the feeling. Maybe they realized suddenly how bad it may make them look and didn't want to be "those people". They likely would have never helped had you not done this.

Families are weird. I have had a very recent deal that went on in my family that would have made outside folks think that Escalades were being sold for $1 a piece, there was only one left and every damn body in the whole damn family tree wanted it.

About all you can do is feel good about what you did and why you did it. Leave the others to look the way they make themselves look. Others will see it for what it is.



Kanga,
They only found out when I took them aside and explained what I purchased, then they went full bore- and I do mean bore. It's like the party became an unwanted rummage sale.
I think your thoery about the positive activism may be right. When one guy stands up and says he's going to do something about a situation, not just whine about it, other people suddenly notice something needs to be done; like Clooney (again with the Clooneys!) and Darfur, only on a microscopic kitchen counter scale.
You helped a lot in letting me see a family dynamic.
That's one of the reasons I posted on ATS about this. This forum draws thinkers that go outside the norm.

Jacygirl,

Thank you for the compliment.
Yes, in after thought, I should have just bought the mixer- but I have a KitchenAid number, and my memories of all the disasters that occurred with my sister and hand mixers made me leary.
I was in the store, looking at them, thinking "Which one doesn't grab hair? Which one doesn't splatter pancake goo allover the walls? Which one won't fling a beater across the room?" In retrospect, I realize that it may not be the mixer, it could've have been my sister's own hand mixer ineptitude.
Money is strange, it's a good meter to learn who's real in your life. You have to learn to put up with being called an asshole by the people you say 'no' to.


edit on 22-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 05:07 PM
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Very interesting, and recalling some anthropology coursework, gifting is recognized as potentially disruptive by many societies, which is probably why it is often highly ritualized.

In some cases clans would literally try to out-gift each other, for example, with pigs in New Guinea, or the Native American Potlach.
I've also heard of banquets amongst some Chinese people, for example, where families are willing to face years of debt simply to outdo each other in lavishness and generosity.
Amongst some tribal people the bride is expected to show no emotion while the wedding gifts are presented, since showing more joy at one gift rather than another could lead to fights.

I think that especially European cultures have a history of classicism and once being poor (Germany, for example once lay largely in ruins).
In my family it was more between my parents and grandparents.
Although it wasn't very ostentatious, I still got the feeling that people who had once been poor simply don't want to be seen as "poor" by any comparison.
Even if the value of the gifts may be the same, one interest group will always exaggerate the supposed benefits of their gift as opposed to that of the "competition".

In South Africa we have a whole youth culture of people in the impoverished townships who literally burn money and designer clothes, just to show that they are "richer" than their neighbors. mg.co.za...

I can well imagine that some family members will suddenly loudly proclaim the benefits of beating food "the old way" (a spoon even works during power failures, after all), rather than admitting that they really can't afford to buy a new food processor.

It seems that issues around giving gifts have much to do with status, and can therefore be quite delicate.

Too much public giving can inflame jealousies, and accusations of being a show-off.
edit on 22-7-2014 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 22 2014 @ 09:35 PM
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a reply to: halfoldman
Well as an update, the girls just left, and I'm grateful they drove the Buick, and not the VW.
They were surprised and happy, so whew.

Halfoldman, What you provided is a fascinating overview of the situation. I could see this happening, and I didn't recognize it. Of course, my parents lived through the Great Depression, and here I was, growing up in the tech age. We have different viewpoints of what "wealth" is.
They grew up truly poor, where, even now, though people bitch about the economy, I'm not so broke I have to eat souse.
I didn't want to be ostentatious, I just didn't want my mom giving away her only can opener, and I stated before, I had a fear of hand mixers, but still, I can see where they thought I was undermining them.

Maybe next time a gift card?



edit on 22-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 07:32 PM
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originally posted by: TheCounselor
Maybe next time a gift card?


Or just another idea? Only don't spend any money until after the reactionary grandstanding.

I've had a similar experience, where the gift I arranged suddenly became a gift from somebody else, without any mention of me or my contribution. Ouch! I've since made the gifting thief help others by telling him I intended to and then felt satisfied when he followed through. Some people just need a nudge or a shove in the right direction.



posted on Jul, 23 2014 @ 10:51 PM
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a reply to: teapot

I am so stealing this idea.



posted on Jul, 27 2014 @ 09:02 PM
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Haw, teapot, you know how to make a call.
Just saw a post from my brother on FB bragging about his generosity.


edit on 27-7-2014 by TheCounselor because: (no reason given)



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