General Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What is the proper response to this guilt trip?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19026points) September 25th, 2010

“I would think you might be happy to help me”

So far, I’ve got “I know, it’s shocking that doing chores at your house isn’t quite as fun and fulfilling as a romp in the hay…” but I feel like maybe that’s going to far?

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27 Answers

weeveeship's avatar

Without knowing more details, I would opine that you could just decline and say that you have a prior engagement to attend to.

It would help though if you posted more details. It’s rather difficult to give an answer without knowing the details of what happened. Like is the speaker a friend? a parent? an acquaintance? And what was the something that they asked you to do? Just help them clean? vacuum? do some heavy lifting?

I think it is important to weigh the significance of your relationship with the person as well as the importance and difficulty of the task they have asked you to do. What comes around goes around.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I taking a stab here going off your posted words so far but if your primary reason for going to their home is to romp in their hay and not much else then you need to say so. If your hay romping partner thinks there’s more to your companionship (or wants there to be) then bringing up doing some cleanup chores together is a good testing ground to feel you out. Time to state whether or not you two are more than f**k buddies?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Neizvestnaya No, no, no…... We’re not fuck buddies. Not at all. I was comparing doing chores to fucking. The two aren’t at all related. No…

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, I think we all need a little more information. Who said what to whom, under what circumstances and about what? Who, what, when and where are always extremely useful things convey, I think.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

My mother, asking demanding that I take care of her house while she’s out of town. She’s out of town half of every month, and her house is a half-hour drive from mine, no freeways (sadly).

lillycoyote's avatar

What exactly does she need done when she’s not there? What kind of chores are there in an unoccupied house? It’s not like dishes are building up in the sink when she’s not there. Whose romping in the hay? You or your mother?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote Just checking to make sure there are no packages or any other signs of her being away. Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but she’s stopped asking if I would do it, and started harassing me about it. On Friday, by 10 am I had gotten 2 texts and an email asking what happened with the package she never asked me to bring into the garage for her. Then she’ll ask tons of follow-up questions instead of trusting that I’ll take care of it.

Forget the romp in the hay.

BarnacleBill's avatar

“I would be happy to help in an emergency, or if it were an infrequent request. But you’re gone half of every month. What you’re asking is that I take on the second job – of caring for your house while you’re away.”

“Sure, I’ll be happy to help you. Here’s the phone number of ____. She lives near you, and will be happy to look after your house for a reasonable price.”

lillycoyote's avatar

@papayalily No guilt then at all. She should instruct the post office to hold her mail while she’s gone if she’s gone that often. She shouldn’t expect you to do that. And what @BarnacleBill said. It’s reasonable for your mother to maybe ask that you stop by maybe once a week or so. That seems like something a daughter should be willing to do but above that, no. She’s a grown up. It’s her house. She can arrange to have her mail held. And she has neighbors. Does she have a good relationship with any of them?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@lillycoyote The mail is held, as are the newspapers. The packages, the flyers people put on the door, the flags they stick into the ground when they spray pesticides – those are what I’m supposed to look for. Really, I wouldn’t mind it at all if she asked every time and didn’t flip out and start harassing me if I didn’t do it quickly enough for her liking. She’s really, really, really paranoid about people breaking in and stealing stuff. You’d think the Hamburgerler spent all his days hiding in her bushes.

The guilt trip is in how she phrased it – that I should be happy to help her instead of suggesting she get a service to take care of this stuff.

snowberry's avatar

How about, “I am happy to help you. And I also live a long way away. It is the equivalent of a part time job, only I work for free, have to travel “x” miles, and “x” minutes, and I still have to pay for the gas! I am sorry, but I cannot afford to keep this up, because it’s wiping me out! However, because I love you, I am willing to stop by there once a week for you. Then do as previous posters have suggested, and suggest she hire a neighbor or a service to look after the details.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know @papayalily mother daughter relationships are so difficult sometimes. Hopefully someone here will have some good advice for you. I wish I could be more help but I just don’t know on this one.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am happy to help you, and I’m even more happy that I can find competent professional help for you. We are very lucky.

augustlan's avatar

Once a week is reasonable. Nagging you and guilt tripping you isn’t. I’d go with @snowberry‘s advice.

BarnacleBill's avatar

She needs to hire a neighborhood teenager to do these things for her. It provides income for a teen, and teaches responsibility. The girl across the street is a sophomore in high school, and she does all of those things for $5 a day – takes mail in, waters plants, gets the stuff out of the door, etc. For $10 a day, she will feed the cat/dog, and walk the dog twice a day.

Marva's avatar

You should be happy to help her:
Is that true? Can you be sure that under these circumstances, you should be happy to help her?
It would probably be very nice if you would want to help your mother with small things she needs to take care of, or big things occasionally when you can and want to, but why should you be happy to help her run her life on a constant basis?

your mother is laying a coast to coast guilt trip.
You could very much assist with the Byron Katie Work on what people should or shouldn’t do, it will help you find the best way to stand up to this, without causing pain for the two of you.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@papayalily: Ooh, mom stuff. My mom would probably expect the very same thing and I’d begrudingly go and do it. All the questions and stuff seem normal mom stuff too. Mine lives with me, wanna trade?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Neizvestnaya No, I know how to handle this evil

I know it’s kind of a normal “mom” question, but apparently, there’s healthy responses to guilt trips that help establish boundaries without being inflammatory, so I was hoping someone would have one of those. So, not “OMG, you suck soooooo much!!!” (aka what my head is thinking…).

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@papayalily: I suck with healthy responses, mine are the typical lame ones about “yes yes yes, you’re right and gosh I wish there wasn’t so much traffic on the road… mom, I gotta go know. I’ll call you later when I get back home.” I don’t call back.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Unfortunately, she’s just gotten an iPhone and discovered texting. I try to not text back, but then she just harasses me. Which is what leads to my current predicament.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@papayalily: I’m so sorry. My mom was going bonkers with text until she figured out she was being charged up the ying yang and the bill spoiled her for buying into a text plan so she let it go :)

Try these to clear some space:
Mom, I’m trying not to text or be on the phone when driving,
Mom, I’m still tring to figure out how to answer more than one incoming call without hanging up on anyone.
Mom, my plan charges per text so I can’t always answer everything back when you want.
Mom, my migraines are acting up so I turn off the celly when I can.
Mom, I love you and like to help but don’t make me feel like don’t do enough right to where I feel unappreciated and then don’t want to talk at all for the day.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Very nice. I give it the sticker of approval.

alamo's avatar

If her main concern is a break in, ask her to get a burglar alarm. “Mom, if you get a burglar alarm, we’ll both know that your house isn’t being broken into when neither one of us is there. I think there’s an app for that too.”
PS. I think there are alarms that can monitor for water leaks too.

snowberry's avatar

And another thing…my mom always told me not to should on myself…(thought you’d appreciate that one)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@alamo She has a burglar alarm. Really, she has everything, she’s just paranoid. In the 20 years she’s lived there, the worst thing that’s ever happened is the kids down the street TPing her trees on Halloween. They even got a rent-a-cop service a few years back. She’s just paranoid.

@snowberry Lol. Yeah, that’s the problem – I’m not shoulding on myself, but I’m also trying not to unleash tons of “stop shoulding on me” built up over the years. She’s a FOG factory.

Inspired_2write's avatar

How about saying” Yes I am happy to let you learn to do things on your own”.

snowberry's avatar

“Mom, I find a constantly ringing phone a distraction to my work/driving, so please keep in mind that I turn it off every chance I get. I WILL call you at X time, and I will have 30 minutes to talk to you.” Then follow through with your commitment.

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