Ungrateful Husband

Updated on January 04, 2010
C.B. asks from Oskaloosa, KS
13 answers

i have a question ladies. i have many faults (one of which is overreacting), but one thing i am not is ungrateful. it would not occur to me to question why i didn't get something i asked for, for christmas or a birthday, much less say anything. i purposely don't ask for lots of fancy things, only a few specific things to those who ask, and then i try to put my "wish list" out of my mind and just truly enjoy the season. it is NOT about what you get! anyways i'm sure i'm preaching to the choir here. my frustration is, my husband is the exact opposite. this morning he yelled from the bathroom, "D***! i KNEW i forgot something!" and proceded to grill me about why he didn't get "X" gift. he was a complete jerk about it! we got into a huge fight. i just DON'T understand how he can be so ungrateful, it's like he's slapping in the face everyone who cared enough to get him gifts for christmas. how can i deal with this? HOW can i instill a sense of gratitude in our three year old son? i'm fighting a losing battle, here...

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So What Happened?

thanks as always ladies. i handled it badly by being on the defensive and letting it turn into an argument...i think like many men he just lacks some sensitivity regarding others' feelings, and at times i get SO tired of his complete lack of consideration. sometimes i don't think it occurs to him that the things he says and does can hurt people. well...i married him! thanks for the support and encouragement. i will sit him down without our son around and have a quiet talk with him about it. and it didn't really ruin my christmas, but with the weather and all i think tensions in our house (as well as many others i'm sure) were higher than even a normal christmas. thanks again!

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answers from St. Louis on

I would not get him anything. Then see how grateful he reacts. Short of ditching him, tell him to grow up - go talk to his M..
Or maybe he did that with her.
That is being a jerk! Sorry, you will have to make some decisions.

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answers from Kansas City on

I am totally with you and I do think men are sometimes worse than woman. My husband has ALWAYS been this way. The man complains about every gift I give him. He's been telling me for 25 years that I don't know how to buy gifts and never buy him anything nice. Then when I try and be thoughful, he sometimes is even really MAD saying I should know him better or that what I gave him makes him look old or whatever. He tells me not to get anything for Christmas because we always have so many other expenses at this time of year. Then when I still buy him something, he wants me to return it over and over. It totally ruins the holidays for me. It's hard enough to not have the money to spend and then to feel so insecure about trying to think of something. I really am the worlds worst gift giver. But I think a lot of it is because I'm so shy about even trying because of the knock down drag out fights we've had about gifts!

I would never even consider behaving that way about something someone gives me. It's not only completely rude, it hurts peoples feelings.

About how to teach your son...It may be too soon. But here's one example. My 2nd daughter lives out of town and confided in me that she bought a computer program for our 9 year old. I know she already has it and I didn't have the heart to tell her because she was so tired of shopping and depressed about not having much money. So I explained to our 9 year old that she will be receiving this gift and will already have it. We talked about it and she agreed to just say she loves it and not to tell her she already has it. In fact, it probably will be an updated version and might be a little different than what she has now. But the real point is how to respond to the gift giver.


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answers from Kansas City on

First, don't expect to ever change this man. Or anyone else for that matter. It has to be a heart change that only they themselves can do with God's help. Ungratefulness is a slap in God's face too. More and more selfish people will be emerging as the kids of today are given everything they want, things that cost more than most adults dreamed of having years ago and it will come with a cost.
Give him a gift certificate and let him see how fun it is to buy for himself. Then let it go. Some people just never would be satisfied.
As for your son, you can respond right to your husband when he complains, gripes about gifts and complains. Be sure you don't argue back and show your son how to be kind and grateful yourself. Also don't let him copy that behavior if you see it happening in him and take action if you do. It's hard to teach a child the right thing to do when they see the opposite too but it's their choice in the end which behavior to follow. You don't want to be seen a the 'bad guy' if you join in with your husband in arguing and if your son is wise he'll see the one who is responding correctly in time.
I'm sorry you have to live with this.
P.S. to this advice.
I was thinking after I wrote this that maybe taking your son to give to others and even share some of his own gifts and doing for others in ways that 'cost' him would also be a good teaching tool and he'd learn first hand that blessings are in giving and not in 'getting.

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answers from St. Louis on

I don't have anything profound to say, but I do know that kids pick up/soak up everything around them, starting at very young ages....especially when you least expect it. Your husbands behavior is completely inappropriate and unkind. I don't know how to best teach your son kindness and respect other than though example and by pointing out the "right" things to do in specific situations. But, your job is harder because you will have to make up for your husbands poor example at the same time you are trying to teach him the right things to do. If your husbands behavior is just around the Holidays/gift giving times then maybe it's something that can be worked on, but if his unkind and bottom line jerkish behavior is more often than not then your marriage might be worth reevaluating. From some experiences in my own family I have seen kids somehow pick up on every negative quality of the father....if your husband treats you horrible, no matter how hard you try, your son will learn that that is how you should treat people.

It seems apparent that your husband does not build you up or help you shine....that is crapy and no one deserves to be beat down like that on a regular basis. We all have faults and things we don't like about ourselves, but it is not the job of your spouse to pick those out and let you know just how bad you are. He should be helping you see how great your good qualities are and if you decide you want to change something about yourself then he should be there to support you....not there to tell you how bad you are.

Check out some books are Narsasistic Behavior.....it sounds like he fits the mold to a 'T'.

I wish you the best of luck and always try to do what is best for your son first, but then don't forget to take care of yourself too. Getting beat down just to keep the peace will only teach your son how to be treated, or how to treat others. You are worth much more than that!

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answers from St. Louis on

I have the almost exact same perspective qualities as you. I am very dramatic at the most inopportune times, as well. I would imagine a nice little "clip" of himself doing that and maybe even a shot of your 3 yr. old hearing it all would do the trick.
I know if I saw myself at my worst, in action, that would do it for me. I esp. would be humiliated if I could see how it was making my son feel.
Good luck.
Try to keep the inner-child of yourself smiling.

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answers from St. Joseph on

Sounds like you've already handled this, but one of my brothers once said something similar about not getting a particular gift for Christmas. My response was an exaggerated look of surprise and then I teasingly said, "Wow, and here I thought this was *Christmas,* not 'get whatever you want day.' Where's my million dollars?" He got the hint!
Maybe if something like this happens again, that line might help you, lol. ;-)
Hope you have a great Christmas season and a happy New Year!

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answers from Wichita on

Good Morning C., I am so sorry this happened to you and it made Christmas tense in your home. One of our daughter in laws did that one year when we got her everything on her want list EXCEPT a Match Box 20 CD.. She talked about that for a Very, VERY long time.. Since then she gets gift cards from Simon Co. or a Visa gift card she can use them anywhere and get whatever she wants. This is the DIL who makes every single birthday or holiday completely miserable. Doing something really stupid to focus all the attention on HER..

Give your hubby gift cards and tell him to have fun shopping your done trying to please him. Sounds awful doesn't it!! It is awful, it's hurtful to us and demeaning when they are so ungrateful cause we have basically bent over backwards to please them. I want to tell our DIL to Bend over F*rt blow your head out of your @$$. I can't though as she is vicious to our son when she doesn't get her way. Women aren't the only ones who are victims of DV.

Keep talking to your son C., let him know the True meaning of what giving means. He is young and hopefully you can show him love,respect, gratitude, unselfish behavior.
It takes two to argue, walk away..Let him stew in his own juices. If only I had done this years ago.

God Be with you C., Trust in him to show you how to love
and respect one so unlovable at times.
You can't change Him C. you can only change how you react to his out bursts.
There is a Book called "The Power of a Praying Wife", by Stormie OMartin. This book helped me so much. Barnes & Noble for $10.00 Also "Lord Change Me". Evelyn Christenson
For $9.98 www.barnesandnoble.com
K. Nana of 5
God Bless you C.

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answers from St. Louis on

I think the whole thing is nuts! My husband and I agree every year not to exchange presents and just spend money on our kids and family, I mean it is both of our money, so I think its kinda silly to exchange presents. Although most years I will get my husband something little, just to surprise him because he works so darn hard for us. I did that for a couple years and he didnt get me anything, because after all we agreed not to get each other anything. Well this year I really didnt get him anything because I asked him a million times what he would like and he couldnt tell me anything, so I finally gave up, I didnt have time for it and I didnt get him anything, and this year he got me something! lol! Its funny, I guess it just became a game for us. I NEVER expect anything but its always funny when we surprise each other. Or some years, we agreed to spend a little extra money on something for the house as a present. But really, who cares? Its a really silly thing to fight over as adults! Its his money too, so tell him to go out and buy what he wants if hes going to act like a little kid on Christmas.

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answers from Joplin on

I have three children and can assure you that all you can do is try to lead by good example even when one parent is so obviously lacking, as they get older they will see the drastic differences between one parent and the other and hopefully they will gravitate towards the better way of behaving.

Also I would not talk about it in front of your child but would have a quiet non confrontational conversation about this situation...tell him how it made you feel. Also maybe remind him that he is very fortunate, I know many families this year who struggled, my husband and I certainly have not been able to afford to give each other gifts for the last several Christmas's. Also there are huge discounts and sales after Christmas, if his attitude doesn't change I would go with the other posts advice and give him gift cards and be done with the hurt.

Sorry this put a damper on your holiday.

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answers from Wichita on

Tell him that you love him, but that his ungrateful behavior makes gift giving no fun. Say "until he can behave in a mature fashion, he will have to choose his own gifts." He will have to abide by the budget too. Make him wrap his own gifts too. Maybe he will; maybe he won't, but if he doesn't, then, it is his own fault that he does not receive anything.
Sorry that his poor behavior dampened your holiday spirit.
May you have a blessed new year.

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answers from Kansas City on

If this was my husband, I would give him an envelope and cash at every "gifting" time and say go buy what you want so "YOU" get what you want. If he does not like this, then tell him that he should be gratefull for what you and others get him and to stop the complaining, as it only makes things worse.

I bet you after a few times of this he might realize that getting surprise gifts are much better than know exactly what you are getting every time.



answers from Kansas City on

didn't you post a couple of months ago regarding your husbands crappy work ethic/jobs? Simply remind him, if he'd get a real job then he just might get what he wants! Good luck.



answers from St. Joseph on

It's hard to NOT go on the defensive when you are attacked like that. Heck I felt defensive for you! Cash is the universal gift. I would suggest that you just hand it to him the next time and save yourself the frustration. Frankly, I would have told him to stop right there, remove your son from the situation (put him in a room to watch TV) and carry on the conversation...it certainly isn't something that your child needs to be exposed to.

As for teaching your child, you lead by example. You may hate to criticize your husband but I would certainly tell him "is THIS the type of behavior you REALLY want your child to learn?" Because he WILL...Oh yes, he will throw a tantrum just like that or worse by the time he is a teen if allowed to do so!

Me? I'm on the opposite end of this...my husband doesn't appreciate a darn thing I do...stupid that I even buy him anything at Christmas or his birthday but I take the higher road that it's the "right" thing to do...well, my kids even noticed that he never buys me anything and told me that if I didn't get anything at Christmas they were going to share their presents with me! Needless to say, I had to go buy my own presents and wrap them so the kids at least "thought" I was remembered by Santa...how sick is THAT!???!

Nope, lead by example for your child and have open conversations with him. You do that, and he'll NOT turn out like his daddy. My kids know their father is in the wrong but there isn't a thing we can do about it outside of getting up and leaving...we've all had conversations with him and he's just more caught up in himself than anyone else. I won't tolerate it with my children and I am pleased often see them putting friends before themselves. So, YOU do what you know is right. Try to set him straight but know that it might not do any good.

Next question: Christmased Out/Over It.