Dear Snarky – I Had a Gaslighting Christmas

Dear Snarky,

My sister and I have a problem with our mother who ruined Christmas – again. Last Christmas (2021) she told my sister and I that she didn’t want a present and instead we should use that money to pay off one of our bills. (We’re both in our 20s with jobs that don’t exactly pay a lot.) 

Of course, we went ahead and got her a present because she’s our mom and who doesn’t get their mom a present? On Christmas morning she lost her shit because we “didn’t listen to her and respect her wishes” etc. etc. It was a pretty big meltdown that included tears and slamming pots and pans in the kitchen.

This Christmas she again said she didn’t want any presents so based on her fit last Christmas we got our mom nothing. Her breakdown over the no presents from her “ungrateful daughters” was even worse. 

I want a solution to this issue now instead of pushing it under the rug until Christmas and then trying to figure out if my gaslighting mom wants a present or not? Do you have any ideas how we can get in front of this?

Signed, Daughter of a Crazy Mother

Dear Daughter, 

I think you’re extremely smart to want to pounce on this issue right now when memories are still fresh. If you wait 11 months, to quote Queen Elizabeth, “recollections may vary.” 

So, I suggest you and your sister sit down with your mom and ask her why she says she doesn’t want a Christmas gift and then when you don’t get her one she throws a tantrum? AND when you do get her a gift she also has a breakdown? 

I’m going to guess she won’t be able to answer those questions in a satisfactory manner so this is when you tell her that moving forward you will be giving her a gift. If she chooses to have a hissy fit about receiving a gift it will be the last one she’ll ever get from you. Period.

I would also add that her behavior is turning Christmas into an emotionally volatile event and you’ve reached the point where you may decide to celebrate the holiday away from her theatrics. 

I’m sure your mom will turn this around and claim that you and your sister are the crazy ones and she really doesn’t know what you’re talking about. I say this because your mom sounds like one of those people who live in the land of “I’m never wrongwhich is located in the county of Gaslighting.

BUT you still need to give notice that you’re done playing this game with her and then be prepared to celebrate the holidays minus your mom. Because if you let this continue every Christmas, you’ll never break this cycle


Let’s all now take a deep breathe and release the bad mojo from that letter. You know what else would help? A good LOL. Luckily I have a couple of books I can recommend for that. There’s Empty is a “laugh till you cry” menopausal revenge adventure. Back to School is a hysterical read for any mom whose experienced elementary school parent drama. Trouble in Texas is a tall tale of what happens when a daughter lets her septuagenarian mom enlist her in a wild scheme that could end up with both of them in jail. And Four Seasons of Snarky is full of short stories (perfect for the person who doesn’t have much time to read) that feature tales of suburban revenge.  

Please click this Amazon link for to experience the fabulousness.