Many years ago for one Christmas, my then-mother-in-law gave me a pair of scissors for my kitchen. They were nice, sharp scissors with a plastic sheath, and I still use them today.
A couple of years later, my now-late husband asked where his scissors were. His scissors? I didn’t know what he was talking about. He clarified that he meant the scissors that belonged in the kitchen drawer.
I told him those were my scissors because I’d gotten them as a gift.
“Why do you think you got them? I told Mom to give them to you so I would always have scissors in the kitchen. They’re mine.”
Wow! It was a reminder that what was mine was his and what was his was his. He said that fairly often. Needless to say, I felt angry that he would say that and sad that what I’d believed was a thoughtful gift for me had been his way to manipulate the situation.
It’s not as if we didn’t have scissors in the house–in the office desk, in our daughter’s desk, in the garage, in our bathroom. Scissors everywhere. In fact, I’d never heard any of the tools in the house given a specific ownership except to the room in which they belonged.
“Where are the kitchen scissors?” would have been a perfectly correct question. But he made it about him and his possessions, and I didn’t deserve joint ownership for anything. It was all his. He said, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is also mine,” on more than one occasion.
It also kinda gutted me for another reason. How many other things had his parents given me as “thoughtful gifts” were really because he wanted me to do something differently or because he wanted access to them?
One of the largest missing pieces of our marriage was a partnership. Yes, we did things together, but always on his terms. I guess, that included my gifts from his parents.
Now, that time seems very long ago. I’m happy to say that what was his is mine.