Sometimes it takes a 12 year old....

@dawnald (84075)
Shingle Springs, California
March 6, 2009 11:52am CST
Last night I got home late from an appointment. Everybody else had eaten (as per plan) and I made myself some dinner. Survivor was on so I put it on a tray and walked over to the rocking chair. The footrest was too far away so I pushed it over with my foot. Richard asked me, "do you need my help?" "No thanks." And I sat down. As I was sitting he said, "that's right, don't ask for help when you need it." So my 12 year old daughter, Dearra said, "Dad, Mom didn't ask for help because she DIDN'T need it. DUH." And I thought to myself, "why didn't I think to say that? Years ago..." For years I have been turning down offers of help on things that I am capable of doing myself, that I WANT to do myself and being made to feel (mostly by my in-laws) that I'm ungrateful for doing so. Well no, I'm not ungrateful when 1) I ask somebody for help and I get it or 2) somebody asks me if I need help and I tell them where I can use help and I get it. But if I don't need help and I don't want help and I say so, I'm just setting boundaries and I don't see a thing wrong with that.
4 people like this
14 responses
@dmrone (750)
• United States
6 Mar 09
There is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries. Nor is there anything wrong with you wanting to do things for yourself. I ask for help when i need it and i don't ask for help when i can do it myself. Sometimes i will even try to do something and find out i can't and then ask for help. I like having an independent streak for myself. I always tell the one helping me (if i need it) that i appreciate their help, but i don't always need help.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
Husband comes from a family where there ARE no boundaries, so he is struggling with this concept. But we're working on it. lol
@owlwings (41906)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 09
I know just how you feel and it's difficult to know from what you wrote just what tone these kids used when they said what they did but, reading what you wrote, I would say that Richard needed your heartfelt thanks and affection because he offered (even though you value your independence more than he understands); Dearra was absolutely right, too, because she understood why you didn't need help: you are (thank God) perfectly capable of doing it yourself. Help is actually a two way thing. There are people who need help (and are often reluctant to ask for it) and there are people who need to help because it's a way of showing care and love. It may be misplaced (and, indeed, seem like an insult) but it is THEIR need to show care that drives them, not YOUR need for assistance. Sometimes it is good for your soul to accept someone else's care, even if it's the last thing you actually need or want.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (41906)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 09
(Sorry, Richard is not a kid ... well, not in the same way that your daughter is)
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
I did thank him but I did also tell Dearra that she was right. And yep, you got it exactly, he needs to help because it's his way of showing he cares. We just have to iron out when he can and when he shouldn't. And after 26 years of marriage. Sheesh.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
We read that one too and it helped and didn't help. We each figured out what was more important to us, but honestly I couldn't think of one single thing he could do to improve things other than just back off... everywhere...
• United States
7 Mar 09
I happen to have MS, and my last relapse (and only one since diagnosis) is still slowing me down a LOT. I don't like to ASK for help because my friends (and family!) won't come through, so I'll try to do something until my MS takes over and I'm helpless! Most of them remember when I was fine and don't realize the toll that it's taken on me! But after being let down so many times, I'll just do without rather than ask for help.
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Mar 09
Not good, not feeling as if you can count on people...
• United States
8 Mar 09
I agree and that's why I rarely volunteer to help (regardless of the MS)--if I ask someone, and they let me down, that's it. I don't often give second chances--I don't have time.
@MsTickle (25051)
• Australia
9 Mar 09
One of my exes used to get really offended and upset by my constant shows of independence. It didn't worry him at first but it wore him down. I did not realise that I was rejecting him by refusing his kind offers to do little things for me or to help me. I did not realise that I was refusing him when he just wanted to do something nice for me. It was a bit weird though...if he just did it without asking I was fine with it. And we worked together well as a team. I would only refuse when he asked if he could do something or help. Be careful though because you are setting an example for your daughter and besides that, your continued refusal might lead to resentment.
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
9 Mar 09
Oh I don't always refuse but in this case it just didn't make sense.
@mommyboo (13197)
• United States
8 Mar 09
Oh I hear you Dawn, loud and clear. I only ask for help when I need it, and I only ask those I want help from. I don't see anything ungrateful about not accepting help that wasn't asked for, especially when it was offered by someone you just don't want help from because A. you don't trust them B. what they're offering isn't really help C. you really don't need it. I have discovered that most of the time people don't REALLY want to help you, they want to offer to make themselves look good or feel good about themselves, and often it is disguised as helping when it is really just something they want to do FOR you with an ulterior motive. That's why I was so weird about help with my daughter when she was a baby. I WANTED help with chores.. like cooking and shopping and laundry. I DIDN'T want people to hold my baby. LOL! Hello, people!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Mar 09
Amen! My mother-in-law can clean my kitchen any day of the week, asked or unasked. But somehow the idea of her going through my bathroom trash...
• Canada
7 Mar 09
I think you did the right thing. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries. If you want to be independant than do so. Its your own life and your own decision. :)
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Mar 09
I like to think so... lol
@riyasam (16570)
• India
7 Mar 09
sometimes ,our kids say very practical things l.i also donot like to bother people unneccessarily.i find it amazing that even now he gets upset when i donot ask for his help on some matters.9i never previosly did)(so its nothing new to him)
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Mar 09
guys want to be superman, I think...
@cindyhxf (1447)
• China
7 Mar 09
i am thinking of help from different pople's mind.help each other is very good things,oneday we will be old and really need help too.many people like you don't need help really.but sure the one who care you though you need help and maybe they wanted to give you a hand.Happy my lotting
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Mar 09
Sure he did, the problem was that he thought I was turning down help that I needed when I was turning down help that I didn't need. My daughter "got" that right away.
@lynnemg (4536)
• United States
7 Mar 09
There is not a thing wrong with setting boundaries or being independant. I am much the same. If I ask for help, it is because I need it, and on the occassions that I get that help, I am very grateful and am sure to express that. When I don't need help, I simply don't need it, but the common reaction in my home when I decline help is, "Fine then."
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Mar 09
I guess it depends on the tone of voice but I don't think I'd like that response much!
@barehugs (8985)
• Canada
7 Mar 09
Well, maybe I'm out to lunch, but I've read you post over twice, and I don't get the point. First, I think its wonderful that (after you got home late) your family would be offering to help. The point is not that you needed help, but that you were offered help. Second I'm wondering why you are minding those wonderful offers of help? In some families everybody just does their own thing, while the Devil takes the Hinder-most. You are So Lucky to have such a Kind, and Loving family!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Mar 09
I don't mind the offer of help. I DO mind the comment about not accepting help when I "need" it. I didn't need help. But then you didn't hear the tone of voice either.
@Lore2009 (7386)
• United States
6 Mar 09
It sometimes drives me nuts when people, usually my parents, think I'm still a baby and wont let me even bring the heavy groceries in myself. They're getting older and older yet they still think I'm helpless think I need their help and I say, I can do this! But I understand how nice they are, but come on, let me live.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
Sometimes parents have difficulty letting go. Others pretty much throw their offspring off the train. I guess if my choice were one or the other, I'd go with the first one. A happy medium would be nice though!
@savypat (20245)
• United States
6 Mar 09
I think this is part of the problem of changing roles for women. Men often take things the wrong way when we act independent. If the man is not sure of his role, he may feel, well what does she need me for if she doesn't want my help. We are in a changing society and as long as you realize this you can reassure him that he really is needed.
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
It's not just a changing society but also a changing relationship and there's a lot of turmoil going on while we're figuring things out!
• United States
6 Mar 09
Dawn- I don't think there is anything wrong with setting boundaries, nor is there anything wrong with you doing things on your own. I would say that it really seems to reside in the male "ego", in this need to feel "useful". Sometimes I've over come that by stating that I didn't need help with what I was currently doing but offering up "But you could help me with this", and then I give him something to do. And I've learned that I just don't take to heart what the in-laws think. It doesn't matter, and it shouldn't effect who I am as a person. Blessings-Anora
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
Mostly I don't care what the in-laws think either. For a while though, we had this thing going where they were using Richard as a conduit to 'spank' me. "Dawn didn't say thank you." (I did) "Why did Dawn seem upset at me?" (I wasn't) "Why won't Dawn let me iron your pants." (go ahead, just ask first, don't go walking into my closet) And I keep trying to get the message across that if his family has a problem with something I did or said, they should come straight to me, keep him out of the middle and let me deal with it. If they don't come straight to me, it isn't valid far as I'm concerned. He's working on it. But that group is so dang insular, I don't know if it will ever work the way I'd like it to.
@katsmeow1213 (28910)
• United States
6 Mar 09
Smart kid. I guess one of your husband's parents is probably like me. I don't ask for help, even when I do want it. Usually I just get a little over dramatic about how difficult something is until someone offers help, and sometimes I'm not very greatful. I inherited this lovely character trait from my mother. Anyways, it's possible one of your in laws was this way, or similar, this is why your husband expects you NOT to ask for help even when you do need it.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84075)
• Shingle Springs, California
6 Mar 09
Sometimes I am guilty of not asking when I do need it too. Although I don't get dramatic about it, I just laugh and say OK I do need help and then I get it.