I have a loved one that I feel is taking advantage of my kindness and generous heart. I have been fuming about this for some time – months in fact. Fuming is not even the word. If I am not careful, I will erupt in anger when talking about my loved ones antics to friends. It has been very difficult to not obsess about this person’s actions. I have been taking steps (perhaps baby steps) to create boundaries but it has been difficult as I have to keep enforcing those boundaries over and over again. For someone who naturally wants to help, it is difficult to keep those boundaries in place. But I have to keep those boundaries in place for my own health and sanity. In the last 2 weeks I have been asked to do a variety of different things for my loved one. They ranged from slightly inconvenient to rearranging my plans for the day. As far as I know, I don’t think I have asked that loved one for a single solitary item. To be honest, I don’t need much from them. They have much more need of my services than I have of theirs. But on Sunday, I asked a favour. The favour probably fell into the moderately inconvenient range. They decided not to do it. The reason given was "I don’t want to." Seriously, you don’t want to? Did it ever occur to you that I didn’t always want to do all the things that you have asked of me? And when I complained the person started going on about how if that was how I felt they would blah blah blah (extreme action on their part which actually would make me pretty happy if they did do it but chances are that a few minutes of rational thought will make them realize that said extreme action would actually be inconvenient for them and they won’t). So I will not get my favour granted which means, ironically, that I will be inconvenienced by them again. Said favour was actually to ask for a break from their inconvenience.
Last week, the topic of being meek, generous of heart and submissive came up in my small group at church. I brought this issue of continually being asked to help out someone. Was helping out mandatory as a good Christian or at some point, could you refuse? I said that I felt that I was being taken advantage of and that my help wasn’t always necessary but rather was their way of moving the burden of inconvenience from them to me. I have discovered that at times, it wasn’t that they couldn’t do what they wanted me to help out with but that it was very inconvenient for them to do it. And so? It has been fairly inconvenient for me to help them… sometimes as inconvenient as it was for them. I was counseled to consider putting up boundaries that we didn’t always have to do, do, do as part of our role of being Christian. I had already been doing this so I felt like I was on the right track.
But refusing my favour has been the last straw. When it is convenient for you to do what I have asked – you will do it. But doing it for my convenience means you won’t do it? Sorry… I need to start looking out for myself because clearly you are only looking out for yourself. I am going to do my best to grant no more favours and simply finish those commitments that I have already agreed to.
Now of course… I might get surprised and see my favour granted but at this point the bad feelings caused by your refusal (as well as the other things that have gone on before) will have negated any good will you could have generated by just saying yes in the first place. I am not your beast of burden and you have placed your last burden on me.
UPDATE: Apparently I am being granted my favour but at a price. In return for granting my request, they have asked me to do something in return. Sure… it is great that I get a break but my favours didn’t come with terms and it is apparent that this relationship is not a two way street.
UPDATE 2: At the last minute – no favour granting. I am not even going to go into the details of the excuse because it was just too hypocritical for words. I can’t even fathom how they could think such an excuse would be acceptable and when I called them on their hypocrisy (and yes… I used that word), they had to get me to explain how they were being hypocritical.