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crazyandbeautiful's avatar

How to help someone who does not want help?

Asked by crazyandbeautiful (548points) November 29th, 2015

I have a family member that complains that “We as a family do nothing to help him out.” But when we suggest or advise on things we get this run around on why they cannot do that job or ” Because, or….etc. I find it odd they want help but yet push every option of help away.

Here is a good example. September to visit for the weekend at their place. Asked how the job hunt was going (been out of work since 2009). I suggested applying for Holiday work someplace near the home. I get “I cannot drive far from home to use the gas in my car up.” Plus it is only part time work.
Me: If you do a good job they will keep you through Christmas and hire you on a full time basis.

Him: Thanks I will pass.

Me: If it were me I would take it.
Him: Silence.

Week before Thanksgiving. Same thing…but I suggested again trying Christmas work and other family member suggested going out to some stores near him and just applying again. Gets rude with us both. Says enough talk about work. I am done. I cannot talk about this anymore.

Had to change the subject. How do you help someone who does not want help? But then if we don’t help them gets offended at us like we are bad people. I don’t know anymore.

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22 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

Two words: you can’t.

Haleth's avatar

Live the best life you can in order to lead by example. Periodically let him know that you are still willing to help. If he’s ever ready, he’ll take you up on it.

johnpowell's avatar

Here is a good example. September to visit for the weekend at their place. Asked how the job hunt was going (been out of work since 2009). I suggested applying for Holiday work someplace near the home. I get “I cannot drive far from home to use the gas in my car up.” Plus it is only part time work.
Me: If you do a good job they will keep you through Christmas and hire you on a full time basis.

Totally condescending. I was there and my sister was just like you until she wasn’t.

Try asking why they are in their current position and how you can help. For me it was that I had been homeless for a bit and all my clothes were shit. I looked and felt like crap so job hunting was futile. And my option was to spend 2.50 for a bus to drop off a application for a job I wouldn’t get or eat . Simple.

Your attitude is harmful. So harmful that I no longer talk to my aunt and uncle since they did the same shit to me.

Try to help instead of claiming superiority. You will say that isn’t your goal.. But I know it is.

kevbo's avatar

How do you help a plant grow? Do you tell the plant how many branches and leaves and which direction or do you water the soil?

I’ll suggest that you just listen and offer nudges of guidance to whatever extent you are interested in doing so. This isn’t the time for more information. It’s a time for more connection.

My ex-gf’s son was being supported by her in his early 30s. She credits my advice along these lines for helping to straighten out their relationship and to getting him self-sufficient. It took him a year or more to get moving. Now, though, we are a few years down the road and he is thriving, and has a job he loves.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@Haleth covered it well. There is no other way. The more you try the more he will clam up!

jca's avatar

Is the pressure to help coming from your other family members? If so, tell them that it’s time you all bud out and let the unemployed guy deal with his own issues. Are you all supporting the unemployed guy? I am guessing not. If you’re not supporting him, let him live his own life.

Cruiser's avatar

Stop enabling. Encourage those who are supporting his lazy lackadaisical lifestyle to stop and when his handouts dry up he will be forced to fend for himself.

jca's avatar

If the family members are supporting the unemployed relative, then next time they talk about him, tell them to look in the mirror when they’re looking to blame someone.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am curious what form of help your family member is looking for. Does this translate into giving cash or gifts? If that is the case, I would say that any direct assistance comes with strings attached, like taking a part-time job.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@johnpowell GA for possibly showing the other side. You made a couple of great suggestions most of us would not consider. Thank you!
Asking what’s needed is a useful option. Ideally the person says what he needs to get a job. (in your case help doing laundry, driving to job sites or employment office or even a place to collect mail and phone messages. But…. What happens if month after month the person just keeps asking for cash? Do you do it? When do you stop?
I have a “self-employed” nephew, who is out of work waaaay more than he works. I have helped him many times in many ways, including cash. This summer I mentioned I needed help splitting wood (I have a 27 ton gas splitter, not swinging a maul.) for winter. I do it myself so this is not a job I am just tossing off on someone else. Two people can finish it in about 4 weekends. I offered to pay him cash $10, per hour which is actually 2x what I get in heat value for my own effort. I also figured on paying for as long as he was here even during our breaks and meals.plus I toss in some gas money. He came over once – and stayed for only 2 hours. Once!
Every time I wanted to do it he was busy, canoeing with friends, golf league, hunting…
I just gave up..
At Thanksgiving he told me his car’s check engine is on (misifre code 0300) and won’t pass inspection. I have spent many afternoons working on his car. but this time I just gave him the number of the garage I use.

johnpowell's avatar

The ivory tower bullshit here is amazing and terrifying.

You have no clue about what the person is going through and you are so quick to vilify and call a lazy freeloader.

Look.. I was in this persons shoes. I was dealing with a very traumatic time involving a few deaths and kinda lost my shit. I lived in my sisters garage for three years. I paid rent by cleaning her house everyday. Oh, and I got food stamps. Thanks Obama..

The only thing in this thread that isn’t depressing is Cruiser not being a racist.

Cruiser's avatar

@johnpowell Call me insensitive or other labels all you want, but simple math tells me this person has been out of work for SIX YEARS!! There is no other way to characterize this person than lazy. He has whoever is supporting him all this time bamboozled and why they continue to coddle this person is lacking in detail here but I am sure this is part of the reason @crazyandbeautiful asked this question.

jca's avatar

@johnpowell: To quote what I wrote, ”tell them that it’s time you all bud out and let the unemployed guy deal with his own issues. Are you all supporting the unemployed guy? I am guessing not. If you’re not supporting him, let him live his own life. I think that nothing I wrote and nothing anybody else wrote is what I would refer to as “terrifying.” Some pointed out that if there’s financial support of the guy, maybe it should stop. Otherwise they should bud out.

CunningFox's avatar

Next time he complains about you guys not helping, tell him he didn’t want any of it the last time you tried to help! Ask him how else you’re supposed to help if he just casts down every single idea you have. And then if you’re running around in circles with him still, stop trying so much. Tell him to get off his lazy butt and go do something for himself.
And you continue to do the best for yourself as you can and don’t wait around for your family member anymore. It’s your life, don’t waste it on him.

marinelife's avatar

You can’t help him if he won’t. You can stop his complaining. Next time he starts (and every time thereafter, since it will take more than once), say “Frank (insert name), over the years I have given you plenty of suggestions (list just a few of them), and you always have reasons why they won’t work. So, I am done assisting you. You seem to know best. As a result, I will no longer listen to you complain about lack of work.”

Darth_Algar's avatar

Rather than telling him what he should do have you tried asking him what you can do to help?

Judi's avatar

I didn’t read the other answers, but you really can’t help someone who puts you in a double bind situation.

Cosmos's avatar

Hard to say on the minimal details you have given.
Do your best to encourage in whatever positive thing they do. If they have a hobby that helps their mind / body / economy make encouraging comments about that. Encourage them to be physically and mentally active.
Concentrate on asking rather than telling. Smile when you ask.

msh's avatar

Right now, he is his own worst enemy. While well aware of the situation, he has put some insurmountable roadblocks up for himself. Like the fox in Aesop’s Fable: “Those grapes were probably sour anyway.” He hasn’t hit his bottom point yet.
Do you rember what was being spoken about when his ” you never”‘s occurred? He may have felt left out of something that was beyond his means at that point. No excuse- just a gut reaction by someone who is unhappily chasing his tail. And he knows it. Give him some space. Tolerate the jabs for now. He’s not hearing anyone’s suggestions at this point.
Hang in there.

crazyandbeautiful's avatar

He has a small part time job. But want more money. He needs to pay off his home he’s afraid to lose. I do give him gift cards. Has a friend that does not pay rent. I haven’t called him in a long time. Avoid his calls, etc. i get his emails and posts on Facebook. He recently contacted me to send pics from HIS PHONE TO MY MOM. I said why not text her? He said why can’t you? I said I am busy. Which I was. Since when did I become his secretary? And no I didn’t send e pics to my mom.

jca's avatar

He owns a home, has a roommate who doesn’t pay rent and he has a part time job. It sounds like he’s not that bad off.

crazyandbeautiful's avatar

He asked emailed me the week before TG asking how much an ipad was. I emailed him back telling him how much I paid for mine. He said I cannot afford one. I knew that. I got an email from another family member saying he may buy one. I said with what money? But I am staying out of it. I would probably open Pandora’s box anyway.

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