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 When to say no to your mom?

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PostSubject: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:30 pm

I've been a little frustrated lately because I feel like my mom is taking advantage of me.  She was never there for me my whole life.  Even when I lost my first trucking job when I was an over-the-road driver, I would often spend my whole paycheck making sure they had plenty of food and their bills were paid, but when I was no longer employed, I was treated like a burden and was pushed out.  

Now that she lives here in Michigan, she expects me to take care of her.  Not in a way that meets her needs, but her wants.  She's always throwing up hints and guilt trips about what she wants or expects me to do for her.  She already has me paying her cable, but I told her to get basic cable and she went with a more expensive version.  I have an older laptop and am considering saving up to get a newer one and she keeps pressuring me to buy a new one right now so she can have my laptop AND wants me to pay for her to have internet.  

I gave her my phone because the other one wasn't good enough so she can get online.  I keep trying to explain to her that I'm on a limited budget right now because I'm trying to catch up on rent and can't afford a laptop and other things at the moment.  I have more important things to buy.

But when I get a little something for myself, like my new Kindle, I'm made to feel guilty that I spend my own money on myself when my little sister (Heaven forbid) goes without a phone.  I'm doing what I can to help others out, but it's like people are watching me and what I do with my money, as if they have a claim on it.

I don't know what to do or what to say to them to just get them off my back and let them know that I don't owe them anything and I need to focus on getting my own life on track.  I'm a generous person and don't mind helping out a little bit here or there or surprising my friends...I love that...but I just don't know how to tell my mom and other family members to back off a little bit.

I hope I don't sound selfish Embarassed 
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:37 pm

Yeah, sounds like she's taking advantage of you. I'm all for helping out family, but you've got to draw a line somewhere. And she should respect the fact that you're not in a great financial state at the moment. If you were to say, "Sorry, mom, I can't afford to help you out any more"... would she get upset, or would she say, "I understand. I'm just happy to spend time with my son"?
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:48 pm

I'm afraid she'd get upset and pull another guilt trip. Or act like it's fine, but it'll hurt her feelings. I don't want to paint her in a bad light or dishonor her. Just not sure how to approach this.
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:54 pm

I do think you need to insert some boundaries into your relationship, Tony. And I also think that you just have to let her say what she's going to say and not let it affect you. She can guilt trip you all she wants, but if she's in the wrong, then it doesn't matter. It's not your obligation to provide for her financially, and especially when it comes to unnecessary things like phones, internet access, and computers. If you get a new computer, sell the old one and get some money for it. Don't give it to her. It's not selfish or lacking in generosity to do that. You need to start getting ahead financially before you can think about giving money and expensive items away.
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:35 pm

Awesome Sauce wrote:
I'm afraid she'd get upset and pull another guilt trip. Or act like it's fine, but it'll hurt her feelings.  I don't want to paint her in a bad light or dishonor her.  Just not sure how to approach this.  
Guilt trips only work if you allow yourself to take the responsibility for their feelings.  As adults we have to choose to seperate between someone else's responsibility and our own.  She has to realize that you are your own person now, and while you are willing to help her, there's certain things that you will no longer put up with anymore.  You have to put down some ground rules and then stick to them.

She probably won't listen to you, until you actually start enforcing consequences / actions and force her to take responsibility for her choices. It sounds harsh, but it's reality and also in this case it's the loving thing to do. Not easy, but it needs to be done.
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:59 pm

RJ, Paul, and Kevin are all spot on. And I think you know what I'm about to say, too.

Your mother is, without a doubt, trying to take advantage of you. Perhaps she's exhibited this kind of behavior so much over the years that she's now at a point where she no longer recognizes that it's wrong, or that she is even doing it at all. Not that this would 'excuse' the behavior, mind you.

The fact that you're now reaching out to others for counsel tells me that it's time (well, it was 'time' as soon as it started to be matter-of-fact) you put your foot down and have a private and serious discussion with your mother about this. There is nothing selfish about your feelings in this! It has nothing to do with your wanting or not wanting to help your mother out, but everything to do with the fact that you simply cannot help her. It is critical for you to be putting your money towards bills, gas for the truck, groceries, and other essentials, and finally after many months you are able to do that! It isn't a question of 'if' you should speak to your mother about this but a 'must'. I can imagine that it will be difficult, but this is something you need to do. This doesn't mean you can't still help her out in others ways, such as taking her to and from places, appointments, ect. if she needs a ride or whatever, but giving her money that will only go to towards frivolous things that she can clearly live without (such as the expensive cable TV, a better phone with internet, a computer) is completely out of the question.

As you've said yourself, she will probably be upset about it and pull another 'guilt trip'. So, knowing what her reaction is mostly likely to be gives you a sort of 'heads up' of what to expect. Tony, I know you love your mother and would do just about anything for her, but you really do need to put your foot down. Saying 'no' to her, though it may seem unloving and selfish, is in reality the very best thing for her. It's called tough love.

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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:27 pm

Thank you all for your advice. Ya'll are right. I definitely need to say something to her. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't acting out of selfishness or dishonoring my mother. I appreciate you all being honest with me Smile Hug
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:51 pm

Mothers and Guilt trips go hand in hand. So no you are not being selfish, your mother like most other mothers is taking advantage of your generosity.
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:06 am

I agree with what everyone else said, so I can't add anything to this discussion really. But I just wanted to say that I can understand how it feels when other people guilt trip and pressure you. I have been around it, and it is hard to stand up for yourself if that is how you have been treated your whole life, and especially with parents. It is a big step, but I think once you make your boundaries clear and don't feel guilty about it any more, life will be a lot easier. I know it is a whole lot easier said than done, for me, it is extremely difficult to talk to my parents about some things, so I hope that it goes well for you.
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PostSubject: Re: When to say no to your mom?   Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:30 pm

Yeah, this sounds kind of like my mom too. And she hates me now because she knows I won't put up with it for too long. That's why she kicked me out of the house when I was 18. I mean, I'm glad to help with some things when she needs it but she always ends up totally taking advantage of my generosity and before long, asks me to do everything for her. And if I mention that she's doing it, she flips out and acts like I'm a terrible person - hoping to make me feel guilty. I hate all the mind games she plays...
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