Gift-giving has become a central part of the holidays. While parents try to fulfill their children's wishlists, children also try to make their children happy with whatever they can come up with. Most parents are just happy with the intention and don't care what the gift is.
However, for this one woman, as a young girl, her mother always found something wrong with her gifts and gave them all back to her throughout the years. Still, year after year, Tijana Daly tried to make her mother smile by thinking of another gift she would enjoy. Year after year, this is how her mother still managed to find something wrong with them every time.
Parents Are Just People Too
As kids, we tend to think of our parents as these experienced superheroes. We depend on them entirely to give shelter, and food, and teach us how to be a person. The older we get, the more we realize that our parents were just people doing their best. Some did a good job of raising us, some struggled, and some were blatantly toxic.
Tijana thinks of her mother as "toxic" and a "narcissist" as she was not able to show her the kind of love and acceptance she craved as a child. She often felt like she wasn't good enough, and the gifts she gave her were no exception.
She's Not The Only One
What Tijana didn't expect was how many people felt the same way. Her video on toxic parenting instantly went viral. While Tijana managed to make a good life for herself as a popular certified personal trainer, she struggled in her childhood to feel good in her body because her mother constantly rejected her attempts to please her.
Christmas time tends to trigger back these memories. According to her, the reason for her TikTok's popularity is that “many people, unfortunately, shared this experience of having their mom give back their gifts.” She said: “Christmastime brings back a lot of these buried memories, and I’m sure my TikTok reignited that.”
Tijana's earliest memory of rejection around Christmas from her mother was when she was just 10 years old. This would be the first of many rejected Christmas gifts. "First we have ice skates and this one was probably the most hurtful because I was 10. Basically, I loved skating with my dad and my mom never came and I wondered why."
As a young girl, she assumed that may her mom just needed her own set of skates so she bought her a pair thinking it would encourage her to join. "I asked her excitedly, do you know what I'm getting you for Christmas and her response was, 'I know and I don't like it.'" When she opened the gift, the mother passed the box back to her daughter.
A Set of Lotions And Sprays
Tijana acknowledges that no one really wants to get this "cliche" gift but at 17 her finances were limited and she assumed her mother would take any gift as long as it was free. However, this one turned out to be an exception: "She left it under the tree for two weeks."
When Tijana asked her mother why she wasn't using the gift, she explained ' I think you got me this gift to be mean to me." Then proceeded to threaten to give it to her boyfriend's mom.
This trend continued on. Even when Tijana tried to get a Guess wallet for her mother when she was 20, knowing she liked the brand, she returned it for being "too big."
Trying Gift Cards
As she got older, Tatijana thought maybe gift cards were the way to go to please her mother. She got her a gift for Hudson's Bay, a department store.
Still, her mother was not satisfied and responded with, " well, I don't have a car. I never shopped there. That's not convenient for me to get to." At this point, Tatijana figured that material gifts would never be good enough for her mother. Still, she wasn't quite ready to give up just yet.
An Attempt At Experiences
Knowing gift cards also failed the year prior, the next year, Tijana thought surely getting an experience would make anyone happy. Now older and with more money, she got her a gateway for the weekend with her dad at Niagra falls.
Her mom still didn't accept it, explaining she didn't like spending time with her husband." At least this time, the daughter happily accepted the gift return and went on the gateway instead.
This was the last year, however, that Tijana gave a Christmas gift to her mother. She gave up.
Should We Be Grateful Regardless?
Parent-child relationships are complicated. We will always physically have been a part of our mothers, and our parents will always be part of our earliest attachments and memories. It's thanks to them that we have a place in this world and that at one point, we had food and shelter. While gratitude is to be found in all of that, is it enough?
By comparison, our parents should also show gratitude for our attempts to show them love and success. For Tijana the focus should have been on the act of giving and not what the gift was itself. By rejecting the gifts, her mother made her feel rejected as a person.
Our Parent's Behvaior Is Not Our Fault
At the end of the day, it's important to make the distinction that our parents' behavior and parenting aren't our faults. Tijana suggested that the very best thing that we can do if we grew up with toxic parents is to seek out a therapist: "unpacking trauma takes a village, and a trauma-informed therapist will do wonders for your healing," she explained.
“Otherwise, self-education is important on how to deal with narcissists. Fortunately, there is a ton of info available on social media right now to help.”
She stresses that it's important not to put the blame on ourselves: “Throughout the process, remember that it is not your fault and you are worthy of a parent who respects and values your emotional health. And get out of there ASAP!”
Women Helping Women
Tijana is now a mother herself who values acceptance and self-love. She has extended these values to her community through her fitness business. Her goal is to make other women feel empowered and feel good in their bodies no matter where they come from: “Since going through my own health transformation, I became passionate about helping other women do the same.”
She continues to be vulnerable and share her experiences on social media, hoping that others will feel validated by relating to her: “I found it extremely therapeutic and validating to share my experience with others. Dozens of people message me telling me, 'because of you, I don’t feel alone,' or that they’re now seeking help and healing… that makes it all worth it.”
The People We Love Most, Can Hurt Most
In any relationship, whether family or friends, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Unfortunately, it's the people we love most that often hurt us most.
For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.