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Old 06-08-2014, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Planet Earth
2,782 posts, read 2,441,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
OMG, your post reminded me of a gnarly uncle on my husband's side of the family.

I never could understand why everyone catered to him. He was CONSISTENTLY late for get togethers - I'm taking about two hours late for things like THANKSGIVING DINNER. He also claimed to be allergic to onions, and paprika, and garlic, and a variety of other common ingredients (don't know if this is true or not but I suspect this was exaggerated at the very least). Now listen - if I was allergic to so many common things, I'd just pack my own meal rather than expect people at a POTLUCK STYLE GET TOGETHER to remember all my idiosyncrasies. But not him - oh no. He expected everyone to wait, and for everyone to cater to him. He expected people to provide two forms of dressing, for example - one with onions and one without.

Well, that all came to an end when we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. This was not without warning. First of all, we told everyone that dinner was going to be served at 1 pm sharp. So at that time, we said, "Ok, dinner's ready - let's all sit down!" and you should have seen the consternation and alarm on some of the faces! "But Uncle Buck's not here!" "Well," my husband said, "He knows that dinner's at 1 o'clock." "Shouldn't we wait a bit longer?" a cousin asked. My husband said, "He's got a cell phone. Has he called anyone here and said he's stuck in traffic, or has a flat tire, or that his dishwasher flooded his kitchen this morning, so he might be a bit late?" Of course not. So we sat down and my husband said grace and we ate.

Boy, was Buck surprised when he showed up an hour later. We cheerfully said, "There's plenty to eat! Help yourself! But by the way, the dressing has onions, so you may want to avoid that. Everything else should be fine." "I can't have any dressing?" he said, "And everything is cold!" I said, "I didn't say you can't have any dressing. I said it has onions in it. And all you need to do is pop your plate in the microwave for about a minute. By the way, what do you want to drink - I'll get it for you!"

Do you know that old coot sat down and ATE THAT DRESSING? Now what's up with that? Oh and POUTY - he was so pouty all afternoon, and when he got ready to leave he said, "I have to go home - my stomach is upset from those onions." OH BROTHER.

No - I do not accept the care and feeding of that monkey.
Your family responded appropriately-while I can relate to your cousin's concern for the uncle, your family was right to go on and eat. Onions are yummy---he just NEEDED something to complain about.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,758 posts, read 36,172,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlowerPower00 View Post
I, clearly, see your point. The 16 y.o needs to learn patience and it sounds like it is a lifestyle for them to be helpless and use people.
EXACTLY. I felt like it was at the very least an opportunity to model responsible, independent and yet kind behavior to her, as well as modeling healthy boundaries. Clearly she's not getting those examples at home.

By the way, this teenager likes me a lot. She often wanders over if she sees me outside working in the yard, and she seems genuinely interested in learning how to do new things. I know some of her interests and I've done things like telling her about cool stuff she might like that I saw at a local garage sale, and then helping her go over and buy the things and hauling them home. We've had her over for dinner when we've been outside grilling. We are kind to her - but we're not going to cater to dysfunctional behaviors.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:41 AM
 
9,595 posts, read 5,802,878 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
It's not just about setting our own boundaries - it's about helping others in a more productive and healthy way.
Exactly. In my situation, I was helping a friend with childcare because her ex would not always respond to her attempts to communicate about who was watching the kids. I initially felt bad for her and especially bad for the kids so I agreed to help. The thing I realized was that it wasn't all the ex and that her communication was also a problem. I also saw that she was continuing to rely on her ex who she had been divorced from for years, who she knew was not reliable. I was enabling her to stay in this dysfunctional situation by "helping". Instead of her going to the court and getting a schedule put into place and her finding a sitter for her days and him finding a sitter for his days they were just continuing their dysfunctional situation and in turn, hurting the kids who never knew who was picking them up from school or who's house they were sleeping at from one day to the next. I was the one who was often left picking up the pieces for a problem that was not mine to begin with. Once I realized that I was enabling things I put an end to it but it sure did take me awhile to realize it. She is a nice person and I love her kids but "helping" was the wrong thing for me to do.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Up North in God's Country
670 posts, read 817,707 times
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Yes, I absolutely agree with your philosophy. However, I do not think people would understand, "I do not accept the care and feeding of your monkey," actually means if you just blurted it out. You would always have to stop and explain.

I usually say, "I'm happy to help out in an emergency, but I do not want to take on the responsibility on a regular basis." I might then make a suggestion...such as the "post-it note" idea as a reminder or "stop the mail online," and I'll be happy to watch for packages. Helping out someone in an emergency is one thing, but having the responsibility to take on someone else's children at your house involves legal responsibility...and confines you to what you can do at that time of the day. She should call a lawyer about how she can get her ex-husband to pick up the children in a timely manner.

I'm all for helping out other people (such as volunteerism), but not for other people dumping their problems on me. Everyone has enough of their own problems to deal with.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,758 posts, read 36,172,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissSoBelle View Post
Yes, I absolutely agree with your philosophy. However, I do not think people would understand, "I do not accept the care and feeding of your monkey," actually means if you just blurted it out. You would always have to stop and explain.

I usually say, "I'm happy to help out in an emergency, but I do not want to take on the responsibility on a regular basis." I might then make a suggestion...such as the "post-it note" idea as a reminder or "stop the mail online," and I'll be happy to watch for packages. Helping out someone in an emergency is one thing, but having the responsibility to take on someone else's children at your house involves legal responsibility...and confines you to what you can do at that time of the day. She should call a lawyer about how she can get her ex-husband to pick up the children in a timely manner.

I'm all for helping out other people (such as volunteerism), but not for other people dumping their problems on me. Everyone has enough of their own problems to deal with.
LOL to clarify, I don't just blurt out "I don't accept the care and feeding of your monkey," unless 1) they already know the meaning of the phrase (for example, family and co workers who have heard the explanation) or 2) I am prepared to explain it AS WELL AS offer a more independent and responsible solution that is well within their abilities to perform.

But yes - you get it.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,783 posts, read 4,836,241 times
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Kathryn, it sounds like you have a good set of boundaries and I get what you're saying. DH and I are definitely on different pages when it comes to boundaries. He loves to be a helper to others, and often is generous with his time and belongings TO A FAULT in my opinion. Where his friends are concerned he is often used by them and, even when he realizes it, will not draw the boundary. I, on the other hand, can be a little too quick to say no, because I'm super independent and don't view willful helplessness as a trait that I like to encourage. Most people can figure things out if left to their own devices, so I try to overcome my urge to jump in and solve their problems as much as possible. I have my best personal growth when forced to deal with difficult situations and I think others would to, if they could just quit expecting others to pick up their slack.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:42 AM
 
12,577 posts, read 13,309,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Some of you may have heard of this concept, but apparently it's a new one to a lot of people, based on how often I have to explain it, so I thought I'd share it here and get feedback. Some people are delighted when I share this concept with them, and others think it's awful. I worked for years with a woman and we always got along fine, but when I left and they had my little going away party, she told me that she had never forgotten when I told her this and though it really took her aback, she realized immediately what my personal boundaries are and has applied this to her own life and passed it along to her kids as well. This concept is one of the basic, core concepts that I've applied to my own life and wow, it works!

What does "I do not accept the care and feeding of your monkey" mean? It means this - I am not going to allow you to shift a responsibility that is entirely yours on to me.

Let me give some examples:

Say that your co worker says, "Oh my gosh, DON'T LET ME FORGET that I have to call Mr. Smith after lunch." Now - seems innocent, right? But it's not. If you say, "Sure, I'll remind you," then if you forget to remind the co worker, and they forget to call Mr. Smith, then suddenly it's partially your fault - when it was their sole responsibility until you agreed to help them remember to make that important call.

My response is, "I'm sorry, but I don't accept the care and feeding of that monkey. Why don't you write a note and stick it on your computer screen or set an alarm on your phone?"

Another example - say that your grown daughter is trying to coordinate child pick ups and drop offs with a difficult (ornery) ex husband. She says, "He's always making me wait on him - he's ALWAYS 30 minutes late. I have to be at work at 8 am, so can I just have him pick up the kids at your house instead of mine? That way I can just drop them off and it won't matter if he's late or not - I'll be at work on time then and the kids will be in a more comfortable place in case he's late."

Now - wait a minute. Now HER inability to enforce boundaries has become YOUR problem. The issue isn't about her being late for work - that's a symptom of a deeper issue, which is her ex husband's lack of respect for her time (and I can promise you, he won't respect your time either). So now she goes off blithely to work and you sit and wait for her ex husband.

My response is, "I'm sorry, but I do not accept the care and feeding of that monkey. Now, I don't mind watching the kids till you can line up something else, but I'm not going to deal with your ex husband on this level since he obviously doesn't respect the time frame laid out by the court. Here's what I suggest - that you tell him you'll meet him at 7:30 sharp and then if he's not there by 7:35, he will miss the opportunity to pick up the kids. Then you bring the kids over here - but do not tell him where they are or that he can come by later and pick them up. Just tell him that since you have to be at work by 8, it's important that he be punctual, so you've made other arrangements this time and will every time in the future." Sorry, but there's no way I am going to take on the job of dealing with some jerk who leaves people waiting EVERY SINGLE TIME for a half hour to an hour or even longer.

Say your 12 year old says, "Mom, I need help with my science project," and you agree to help - and then you look around and you're googling the topic, making a list of things to pick up at the hardware store, etc and he's sitting on the sofa playing video games. BINGO - "I do not accept the care and feeding of this monkey!" There's nothing wrong with helping a kid with a project, but doggone it, he's going to sit right there beside me and look things up and make the list and go to the store with me and load the cart and do the project right alongside me!

My neighbor recently scheduled a vacation and called me and asked me if I'd pick up their mail the following week. "I do not accept the care and feeding of this monkey." Now, to clarify, I asked if they were expecting any packages from any source other than USPS and they weren't (I would certainly go over and pick up and hold any packages rather than leave them sitting on the front porch). It is SO EASY to go online and put in a mail hold request - and you can do it the night before you leave! You don't even have to go to the post office to do it. I do it all the time. So why should I make a point of walking over to their house every day and gathering up their mail and saving it for them when all they have to do is put in a mail hold request? Now, I want to keep peace with my neighbors, so I did say, "Did you put in a mail hold request?" They said they hadn't. So I told them how to do it and said, "Let me know if you have any problems with it - you're not leaving till next week, right? It's safer to have them hold the mail than to have it sit in your box overnight, and I often go visit my parents or my daughter on the spur of the moment and may stay overnight. I can't do that if I'm worried about your mail sitting in your box - so put in the mail hold - I do it all the time!" I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "And by the way, I do not accept the care and feeding of your monkey." But I was thinking it!

I don't mean that I'm never helpful - I AM a helpful person. But I help with the intention of teaching people to fish, rather than taking on the responsibility of giving them a fish every day, if that makes sense.

Your thoughts?
You should come and speak to my management.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:40 PM
 
17,002 posts, read 20,679,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquietpath View Post
Jeez.....what's the harm in going out of your way a bit for your fellow man? This me, mine, scr## you attitude that has pervaded the country is way out of hand.

OP, I like your outlook on many things, but this one turns me off in a big way.

Agree, especially the one about going to pick up the neighbor's mail.

OP better hope she is never in need of some help, or is traveling and her home is broken into.

If you can't be bothered to walk across the street to collect someone's mail for a few days, perhaps they can't be bothered to wonder why people are carrying items out of your home and into a van.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:51 PM
 
12,115 posts, read 6,692,609 times
Reputation: 12963
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
EXACTLY. I felt like it was at the very least an opportunity to model responsible, independent and yet kind behavior to her, as well as modeling healthy boundaries. Clearly she's not getting those examples at home.

By the way, this teenager likes me a lot. She often wanders over if she sees me outside working in the yard, and she seems genuinely interested in learning how to do new things. I know some of her interests and I've done things like telling her about cool stuff she might like that I saw at a local garage sale, and then helping her go over and buy the things and hauling them home. We've had her over for dinner when we've been outside grilling. We are kind to her - but we're not going to cater to dysfunctional behaviors.
And what helpful things has she done for you? Does she help with the barbeque by preparing food or bringing something? Does she tell you when there are cool garage sales? I think she likes what you do for her, not really you. The monkey is quietly waiting.

Sorry, but I've known people like this all my life, if you give an inch they will expect ever much more, and eventually it can get very ugly to where you do end up being responsible and you didn't even see it coming. I think, be polite but don't befriend or try to help them at all, it is insidious. It is not unkind to say a friendly "hi neighbor" and leave it at that.

I grew up with family members like that, it's a bad dysfunction that your kindness will not change.
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,758 posts, read 36,172,094 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seain dublin View Post
Agree, especially the one about going to pick up the neighbor's mail.

OP better hope she is never in need of some help, or is traveling and her home is broken into.

If you can't be bothered to walk across the street to collect someone's mail for a few days, perhaps they can't be bothered to wonder why people are carrying items out of your home and into a van.
Oh come on. There is a huge difference between the two scenarios. First of all I offered them a solution which inconvenienced NO ONE. If I agree to pick up their mail all week it means I don't travel at all that week overnight, which they know I do on a regular basis. All THEY have to do is go to Usps.com and put in a mail hold request. It takes literally two minutes max. They are very computer literate. Can you tell me why their idea is better than mine? apparently they don't know how to do that and now they get to learn a new skill that saves everyone some trouble.

I have an alarm system by the way. Yep it costs me some money but with my travel schedule I don't expect my neighbors to be responsible for watching my house.
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