I have alluded to the gifts that CF bought me throughout our marriage. Some were good. Some were very bad. What I have found interesting is that a lot of people, especially those involved with a narcissist, report that they, too, received really crappy gifts. The thinking behind that is that because these people don’t empathize with others they can’t think outside of their own wants when it comes to purchasing gifts. In other words, since they don’t really give a damn about others they don’t really care about whether or not you’re going to like the gift and they can’t even begin to figure out what you might like. It’s like trying to teach your dog trigonometry.
I think that makes a lot of sense. It also explains why he took it so personally if I didn’t like something he had bought.
I apologize for any of the repeat information and I will give him credit for the good gifts as well. I’ll even start out with a good one.
One year, right after Rock Star was born, he gave me a ring with her birthstone in it as an anniversary gift. It was very pretty and I had no idea he was going to give it to me. He told me later that what he had really wanted was a ring (or maybe it was a bracelet) that would incorporate all 3 of our birthstones. That was also the year he bought me a digital camera and maybe even a camcorder. When he hit it out of the park he really hit it out of the park!
He liked to follow the anniversary guides for gift giving. Your first anniversary is the paper anniversary. This would have been 1995 and Friends was a huge hit. I loved watching it and never missed an episode. He bought me one or two books about the show and the actors portraying the characters.
For my birthday right after we moved from a place we had both loved I told him what I really wanted was for him to fly our really good friends up to where we were living and that’s what I got.
Surprisingly, the potato peeler he bought me ended up being a pretty good gift. It’s a very nice peeler. It does a great job.
Other good gifts: 3 laptops over the years, another camcorder, a computer monitor, a tablet, an iPod, an under-the-counter iPod player, a regular docking station for me to use with my iPod jewelry, flowers, a Ninja crockpot, a Ninja blender (he refused to splurge for the VitaMix), the prepaid phone I asked for, gift certificates for massages or spa treatments, my under the counter can opener and later my portable electric can opener, a dual VCR, and a Blue-Ray Disc player.
My only quibble would be that he would often buy me something and then that gift would end up replaced. For example, one year he bought me a gorgeous 26 inch computer monitor for Christmas, and then a few months later bought me a laptop for my birthday. The computer monitor was rendered pretty much obsolete by the laptop. Another year he was very proud of himself for buying me a Garmin. Two problems with that. 1. When I saw it was a Garmin I thought it was for tracking mileage when I ran. It wasn’t. It was a navigation system. 2. I had just got a new phone probably two months earlier. It had GPS on it so a Garmin wasn’t necessary.
He was also very good when you gave him a list. I recall one year he asked for a Christmas list and I gave him one that included a ruby bracelet and a 3 tiered diamond necklace, among other things. He bought me both of them! And other things as well.
When he had to work off the list, though? Oh my. I believe I have already recounted the year he purchased almost everything from As Seen On TV. He was so proud of himself. He told me he bought me a lot of really great stuff and he was sure I was really going to like it. I got the Pedi-Egg, the no edge brownie pan, the things you use to rub hair off of your face, the pancake batter dispenser (yes, I used it), and the sliders griddle. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get the Genie Bra or the automatic watering balls.
Another year he gave me tickets for a car wash in my stocking. That was probably the year he presented me with a spaghetti pot with a strainer lid (because I made spaghetti and this would be easier for me), a water filter (because I liked to drink water), and footie pajamas that were 2 sizes too big (because I liked pajamas and it was cold where we lived???). The one thing he got me that was even remotely okay was the molded plastic figures from Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. There were a ton of them. He knew I liked Rudolph so he bought this Christmas decoration for me.
Another year he bought me finger flashlights. Yes, that’s right. A single tiny flashlight that you put on your fingertip. Very handy.
I also recall the year he bought me a rubber butter dish with a lid that would also slice through the butter. He was very proud of that. He likes to give practical gifts. He knew I liked butter and that sometimes I needed to cut butter for a recipe. So, logically he should buy me a rubberized butter dish.
He bought me chocolate covered cherries almost every year even though I told him numerous times I did not like them. Chocolate covered strawberries? Those are a whole different animal!
I do give him credit for filling my stocking every year. I told him it was required and he did so diligently. I often got very good candy and there were always a few really good things in there, like iTunes gift cards.
He was very good about sending flowers, although I think my favorite was the year he sent me two bamboo shoots that were arranged in the form of a heart. I really loved that plant. I tossed it into the trash when I found out he was cheating on me.
Our last anniversary he gave me a platinum rose in a display case. He was extremely proud of this gift. He had researched what the 20th anniversary gift was supposed to be- platinum- and decided upon this. I think it really devastated him to learn, thanks to Blockhead, that I didn’t particularly care for it. Come on! Twenty years together and I get a platinum dipped rose? Making it even worse was that when I opened it, thanks to part of the packaging, I thought it was a family tree with our names on it. I was excited about the family tree. Not so much about the platinum rose. I of course assured him that I liked it just fine but that delightful asshole Blockhead rushed to let him know that I wasn’t all that fond of it.
In all fairness, for our last anniversary I bought him 3 different bottles of bourbon. One was the brand I know he really loves and prefers. The other two were also some of the more expensive bourbon; I figured he could try them and might end up finding a new favorite. That might seem like a crappy gift; maybe it was. In hindsight, with all the damn drinking he ended up doing it probably wasn’t wise. In my defense he hadn’t started spiraling downward quite yet, that I knew of. He liked bourbon and he was never very forthcoming about what he wanted. You can only buy so many shirts, hats and ornaments from his alma mater or his favorite sports team. I made the obligatory Elvis purchase each year as well. He got a lot of golf shirts and movies, too.
Our last Valentine’s Day he was in a psych ward so I got a colored picture declaring his love for me. Crayons and coloring pages were the only things he was allowed to have.
I don’t even remember what he bought me for my last birthday.
Our last Christmas I got my laptop. He also bought me a thong, a matching zebra print bra and panty set (I think we can all see where his mind was), a new hand mixer (not a bad gift really; mine had blown up and I needed a new one), a car safety kit (some people might not appreciate that but I did; it wasn’t romantic but it was useful), some clothes and pajamas that I dumped at Goodwill after I found out about his cheating, and probably some other things. That was also the year he bought me the finger tip flashlights. Why? I don’t know. To fill the stocking, I suppose.
Most of the time, though, it was simply an anticlimactic gift. Sure, I liked them. I appreciated them. Hell, generally I was the one that asked for it! I did appreciate the years that he would buy me polar bears to add to my collection. One year he bought me a really expensive ornament, too. I only know that because he told me it cost a lot of money. Another year he bought me a winter coat which I still wear. I’m pretty sure he spent a lot of money on it. It’s wool, I believe, but very nondescript. Really, who gets excited over a coat? Yes, it’s useful, practical. I forget what else he bought me that year. I do tend to recall that the coat was actually the highlight that year.
Occasionally he would give me jewelry (very infrequently) on his own. I told him repeatedly that jewelry was always welcomed and appreciated but he rarely bought me any unless I specifically asked for it. I would have loved a piece of platinum jewelry for our 20th anniversary. Instead he bought me a platinum dipped rose.
Looking over the sum total of his gifts he wasn’t a horrible gift giver all the time. I know it might seem like he did very well certain years, but keep in mind many times I told him what I would like- the tablet, the laptop, the iPod just for starters. I suppose I was fortunate that he was willing to buy it. I still get the feeling that he never really knew me. He tried but often missed the mark unless I was guiding him. Unfortunately for him I will never be able to forget the As Seen On TV Christmas, or the Christmas filled with unfortunate gifts (hello, water filter!). I will definitely never forget the platinum rose! I believe that was the beginning of the end. The great news is I don’t ever have to deal with any of that again.