Dealing with the 'favor' game

My family has a rather annoying behavior- I call it the favor game. Basically, the favor game involves forcing favors upon others, to use as blackmail in a sense to get the person to do what they want. My mom has been playing the favor game ever since I can remember. Now, I am all for “one good turn deserves another” and if someone does something helpful for me, I will do whatever I can to make it up to them. However, there are certain limitations behind this-

1.) I never call a favor I cannot fairly repay.

2.) I never ask people who would relentlessly hold it against me in the future.

However, my mom ‘forces’ favors on me. How? Well, for instance, I had to get the lock on my trunk unjammed. Had I not acted quickly, my mom would have actually called a locksmith herself to fix the problem, then harp on me about how irresponsible I was for not dealing with it myself (even though it is MY car) and mention how much I owe her for ‘saving me the troube’. Rather than deal with that bullshit, I managed to call the locksmith myself and get it dealt with. I was out of town that weekend, and while I was gone, she had her boyfriend buy a replacement lock for the trunk. When I got back, he explained he got it, and that I owe him $60. I told him I didn’t have it, and he got in a huff! :mad: I tried to explain to my mom if she just LET ME DEAL WITH IT MYSELF there would be significantly less bitching involved.

I am the constant recipient of unwanted favors. It might sound wierd, but I hate it. I hardly ever get a chance to deal with problems my self, because my mom or her boyfriend always jump ahead of me and do it for me. There is this annoying ‘loop’ that goes on-

a.) I need to deal with something
b.) My mom decides I’m not competent enough to deal wtih it myself and does it for me as a ‘favor’
c.) I’m forced to go out of my way to do something for her to return the ‘favor’
d.) I try to take it to myself to deal with the problem ALONE, but am so inexperienced I often fudge up.
e.) See ‘b’

It is the main reason I want to move out. I would be history, if not for the fact that I’m just starting school and currently have some credit card debt to pay off. My mom doesn’t mind having me here, yet at the same time she drives me bonkers with this ‘favor’ crap. I tried to explain to her, unless I ACCEPT a favor from her or her boyfriend, it doesn’t count in the ‘favor’ game. I consider it an act of charity. And of course my mom is COMPLETELY UNABLE TO PROCESS THIS.

I want to deal with shit myself! Even if it means making some dumb mistakes. The fact is I feel dumber/more imcompetent when someone is always jumping ahead and doing it for me. Its as if my mom wants me to feel so inept I wouldn’t feel capable of moving out :mad:

Is there any way you could turn the “favor” on its head? Something to the effect of “You did X without my permission? How dare you, now it’s going to cost me Y amount of money to get this done the way I wanted?”

Make it clear that the “favor” is an intrusion.

No, you do not owe your mom’s boyfriend $60. They din’t ask you if you wanted the lock on your trunk replaced. You never said you wanted the lock replaced. Your personal property was tampered with without your knowledge or permission.

Another thing you could try is letting “favors” rack up, un-repaid, until it runs into a substantial amount of money. Subtly goad your mom into suing you in small claims court (no, I don’t owe you for this. You did it without my permission. I didn’t want it done/would have used a different company/different brand lock/whatever. If you want to be repaid, you’ll have to sue me."

If she actually does take you to court (and something tells me she’s the type of person who would), then she would get a dressing down from a harried judge who is having his time wasted by a frivolous suit. Public humiliation of asshats is a beeyootifull thing.

The thing is, nobody messed with my car. Her boyfriend merely went out and got a replacement lock mechanism himself while I was out of town. Granted, this was rather convenient, but I would have rather he let me do it myself. Why?

1.) So I’m better equipped on how to deal with something like this in the future (Where to call, who to talk to, etc)

2.) I DONT HAVE THE MONEY! :mad: I would have done it when I could AFFORD to. Like when I get reimbursed for calling the locksmith, or get paid at my job (both could take a couple of weeks.

At this point, it is just simpler to pay him when I am able to, since we’ve already installed the lock in my trunk. But yeah, in the future, I’m definitely doing what you were suggesting as far as not ‘counting’ favors I do not ask for. I will tell my mom very bluntly, “Anything you do for me on your own accord is out of your own generosity, and I can’t be obligated to pay back for something I never asked for”.

Clarify for me, please…you had already called a locksmith and gotten the trunk fixed before the boyfriend bought the new lock, or you hadn’t and accepted the boyfriend’s help in replacing the lock?

Because if you accepted the lock and the boyfriend’s help in replacing it, then you accepted the favor. There’s no forcing involved. The only way they would have forced a favor on you is if they’d actually replaced the lock while you were out of town.

Just because you accept the favor to avoid all the hassle involved in rejecting it (and believe me, I know that situation) does not absolve you of the responsibility of having accepted the favor. Hassle is not coercion.

How about you try an approach something like,

“Mom, I know you’d like it if I handled more things on my own; I’d like a chance to handle them on my own too. But as we both know, I’m young, and not too sure of what I’m doing. I’m going to call the <locksmith/doctor’s office/bailbondsman> but can you give me an idea of how I should approach it?”

If you’re not sure, ask for help. Don’t wait, hoping it will magically fix itself - that’s what necessitates your mother stepping in to help. And she is helping. And to fix it, I’m assuming you would have needed to buy that piece anyway; sounds like the boyfriend was fronting you the funds until you could pay him back, as opposed to making you wait until you could afford it himself (hint: if you can’t afford 60 bucks for a mechanism, you can’t afford a locksmith).

Didn’t you post another rant a few months back about problems you’re having with units needed to graduate at SJSU? How are you just starting school now?

Anyhoo, if Mom’s having too much trouble cutting the apron strings, it’s looking like you may need to take charge and cut them yourself (i.e. move out). Honestly, this may sound harsh, but you’ve been posting these same whiny rants in the pit over and over again, with even more frequency the past couple months.
Quit whining about how your mom, your best friend, your employers, your hamster keep doing things that bug you and take charge of your own life. You’re not a teenager anymore, it’s time to stop acting like one.

Basically, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you want the convienence of living at home, you have to deal with some of the drawbacks. If they’re too much for you, then move out and deal with some of the drawbacks there. Nothing in life is perfect, quit expecting it to be.

The behavior you describe is called passive aggressiveness; that’s why they call them "mom"s. Are you sure she’s capable of changing? Most moms are not. I suggest you practice reminding yourself that the issues are all hers and not yours, and get better at letting it go and moving on.

Well, my answer was going to be “stop associating with your mother.”

But lezlers’ reply is even better.

The logical thing to do is to stop reporting problems of any kind to your mother and deal with them yourself, quietly.

However, since I suspect some kind of codependence is in play, logic may not apply.

He stole my answer.

If someone interferes in your life when they know something is wrong, stop telling them something is wrong. You need to pull back.

Is it possible that your mother actually does things to stop you whining about them? Because I think we’ve all been there. (This isn’t an accusation of whining, just an idea.)

I’m starting the Fall semester in school. This should be my last semester in college.

My mom/her boyfriend knew I had a problem with my trunk lock because I had asked him if there was any ‘trick’ to opening a jammed trunk. I asked him to assist me in physically trying to unjam it, which was unsuccessful. For his efforts, I returned his favor by giving him my old bicycle (I have a new one that I use) so he can exercise with it. At that point, I told the both of them “I’ll deal with this myself”. The locksmith told me I needed to get a new mechanism, which I planned to as soon as I had the money. Imagine my surprise when my mom’s boyfriend presents me the new latch mechanism, along with a sixty dollar debt to him.

Had they stayed out of the matter, I would have owed them nothing. But now I ‘owe’ for both the cost of the lock and the time he spent looking for/getting it. If this was some act of kindness on his part I wouldn’t mind, but he’s doing it with the expectation of getting something in return. Personally, I’d prefer to cut the middleman and deal with these things by myself.

I’m *not * expecting them to be. I think you’ve been wooshed here (as before). I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to decide whether or not its worth the difficulty of being a full-time student and trying to afford to live by myself. I have strong pressure from my family to stay where I am at least until I get done with school, to try to give myself a nest egg so I’m financially stable enough that I don’t ‘boomerang’ back. Particularly now, when I am so close to finishing college, it is really frustrating deciding what I should do.

When I post these rants in the pit, I’m expressing my frustration about the whole thing. Being the pit thread, I figured this would be the appropriate place for feedback about the issue. I’m not afraid to be blasted for my decisions or actions, but at least sharing it gives me just enough determination to finally deal with things.

Thanks for clearing that up. Usually when people are in college, they save the “I’m starting school” for when they’re starting college. The way you phrased it made it sound like you were just starting school, not about to graduate.

See, there’s your problem. As others have mentioned, if you don’t want people with a history of interefering in your life to interefere when you’ve got a problem don’t ask them for help. You know what a true sign of insanity is? Engaging in the same action over and over again but expecting a different result. I’m not calling you insane, I’m just trying to make the point that if your mom and her boyfriend have a history of interference when you tell them you’ve got a problem and you keep on telling them about your problems expecting them to somehow act differently this time, you’re in for a nasty suprise. Seriously. You’ve only got control over your own actions, so excercise that control. Do something different. If you don’t ask them for help and don’t tell them every time you’ve got a problem, they can’t know about it and butt in, can they? Ask your friends for advice. Post on the boards for advice. Just don’t ask the same people you bitch about interfering for advice.

That should’ve been the only thing you said. To yourself. See above.

How did your moms boyfriend know you needed a new mechanism? Did you tell him?

I think we’ve established how that can be possible. Also, people don’t typically spend a lot of time, energy and money helping someone out if they think that person really doesn’t want any help. You may have said you wanted to deal with this by yourself, but do you think you could’ve been sending any non-verbal signals? Think about your conversations with your mom and/or her boyfriend before boyfriend went out and got the mechanism. Could anything you have done put the idea in their heads to go out and do it for you? Did you appear outwardly overwhelmed? Were you asking them tons of questions about how to do it?

Reminder: future analysis of this kind can be avoided by not mentioning these problems at all.

How have I been whooshed before? All I know is I see thread after thread here in the Pit that you’ve started always whining about the smallest of percieved slights. Sometimes it appears as if you’re looking for stuff to bitch about. It honestly frightens me that you’re about to graduate college because it appears as if you’ve got a lot of growing up you still need to do.

A bit of a drama king, are we? Look, I know San Jose is a pretty damn expensive place to live. Check out my location. Not to mention I went to college at SFSU. See, I had roommates. That’s the usual solution to high housing costs. And getting a job that pays more than $25 bucks or however much you make a day at that tutoring gig. Ever consider waiting tables? I supported myself and paid my entire tuiton while attending school full time and had money to burn waiting tables. My point is, you’ve got choices. This whole hand wringing, “oh whoa is me, so many choices, so hard so hard” act is wearing thin. You’ve got a semester of college left. You don’t want to worry about paying rent while in school? Fine. Personally, I think you’re cheating yourself a little by living at home your entire time in college. But to each their own. If that’s the right choice for you, then embrace it and unfortunately, all the drawbacks that come with it. Just make sure it’s your choice. It sounds to me like you’re having a bit of control issues with your mom and are having a bit of a time truly living your own life. Well, honey, no one is going to fix that problem but you.

Sure, vent all you like. As long as you realize that venting is just that. Venting. It doesn’t solve anything. That takes action.