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ABU to expect food when providing free labour of 15 hours a day for a cousin?

(117 Posts)
Flossynoodle123 Mon 15-Aug-16 23:58:14

Cousin and wife buy a small hotel. I see them once a year maximum. Never lived anywhere near them and have never spoken on the phone until 2 years ago when he asks for advice.
During a call when he asks for legal advice (again) I say I'll "give him a hand" as DC would be with the father when they moved in. He phoned back a week later to book my attendance for the full 2 weeks. I was so taken aback i was rendered speechless. Fortunately completion was delayed so I only had to do 6 days (still WTF frankly).
I arrive at 11 am on Wednesday having driven over 130 miles to get there. Start stripping wallpaper straight away. Not even shown my room, no offer of a drink. I get offered a hot drink after 3 hours.
Wake in the night (in the worst room in the place despite it having 20 percent occupancy. Single bed, not cleaned since takeover, v grim indeed). Kidney infection it turns out. Had to take myself off and get medical care, ended up as a temporary resident at a GP practice and told i was an hour away from being admitted to hospital. Silly me spends the rest of Thursday flat out decorating. I hadn't been offered breakfast (despite them doing full cooked breakfasts for guests). I was made a cup of coffee later that day. I work until 11pm.
From arrival on Wednesday to leaving on Sunday I was not once offered breakfast, was given one sandwich a day (never before 2.30pm) and had only 2 dinners - I was offered a microwave curry one night at 11.15pm as I finished work but declined!
I was never told to help myself. They made no enquiries as to my health and they did't thank me when I left (early!) on Sunday.
I stripped wallpaper, sanded, decorated and lugged about during my summer holiday without DC with a kidney infection whilst sleeping in the smallest single room on earth with no food and a shower so weak I couldn't even wash my hair.
I'm 50 next year so it wasn't easy physically. I feel so upset as I know I've been not just taken for a ride but abused.
My husband left me when DC was days old. Not a call from them let alone help!
I just needed to rant. I know the behaviour is off the scale unacceptable.
I wish I had a mug like me to do all her dirty work!!!
I have slept 18 out of the last 24 hours after getting home as I was so ill.

Somerville Tue 16-Aug-16 00:00:12

Please rest up and get plenty of fluids.

And in future you really do need to say no to piss-takers. But I think you just learned that the hard way.

gamerchick Tue 16-Aug-16 00:00:17

Why did you stay? confused

PenelopeChipShop Tue 16-Aug-16 00:00:42


MillionToOneChances Tue 16-Aug-16 00:02:16

Why on earth didn't you stop at meal times and after a reasonable period of time and insist on food and rest?

Flossynoodle123 Tue 16-Aug-16 00:10:16

I think i'm learning! I offered. They accepted. No mention of payment. Fine for "family" - despite me seeing them annually at best, them having money and me worrying about the cost of 270 miles of petrol. I am very shocked and depressed by this behaviour.

OlennasWimple Tue 16-Aug-16 00:11:49

You seriously need to learn the power of saying no...

ImissGrannyW Tue 16-Aug-16 00:15:57

Bless you! flowers

Peppapogstillonaloop Tue 16-Aug-16 00:16:35

Why on earth would you stay and do all that? That is really odd..why not ask for food or just leave?

Anonymouses Tue 16-Aug-16 00:18:46

You should have left as soon as you got
I'll. Please
Don't let people take advantage Of You like this.

Floggingmolly Tue 16-Aug-16 00:20:15

Why didn't you tell them you'd been diagnosed with a kidney infection, and go home? confused. It sounds ridiculously awful; but you did it...

Flossynoodle123 Tue 16-Aug-16 00:22:31

It's called being nice. That's why i didn't leave. I have never let anyone down in my life. Also, when you are used to being the family skivvy you get used to it. That's not "odd" - what is odd is people who abuse decency and kindness. My "odd" behaviour has rendered me upset and depressed so maybe I should just refuse to help people. I hope I don't end up that way.

Diglet Tue 16-Aug-16 00:23:52


Why on earth would you do that? Its quite bizarre of you to have agreed to it and then even more bizarre that you stayed.

Didn't it cross your mind to ask for food, to stop working or to leave? confused

BurningBridges Tue 16-Aug-16 00:27:17

Flossy I don't think its being nice, I think its being daft but it sounds you have issues around saying no and standing up for yourself. They really took advantage of you - when you talk about helping people, you should be thinking of people who are in real need - of course you wouldn't refuse someone like that if you could help. But your relatives weren't really in any need at all, they were just selfish.

Hope you feel better soon, and have a think about when to help and when to step back. Do you have any other support in RL?

Peppapogstillonaloop Tue 16-Aug-16 00:29:01

It is beyond decency and kindness to go and work for 6 days straight for distant family who treat you like crap. By that notion you should be slogging your guts out every hour of the day for any random acquaintance who needs a hand confused
I am a decent kind person who would always go over and above to help out friends but I would never have stayed in that situation. they were taking the mickey and you should get out of the mindset of being the family skivvy, you are clearly worth much more than them.

Vickyyyy Tue 16-Aug-16 00:29:34

Please do not ever do this (or ANY favour...hell even something as small as nipping to the shop for something) for them again. Sounds horrendous and they clearly see you as a doormat for treating you this way in the first place. Hope you feel better soon.

MillionToOneChances Tue 16-Aug-16 00:31:37

You don't owe them that, and for your own sake you need to set up reasonable boundaries. I'll help anyone, but when I need a break I take one, and when I need food or drink I make sure I get it. No need to martyr yourself to the cause.

Floggingmolly Tue 16-Aug-16 00:32:04

It really is not called being nice. It's called being a doormat, actually.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 16-Aug-16 00:33:14

You're clearly a vulnerable adult who needs support. You're behaviour is not within the norm.

Is there anyone you can call for support, if not I'd recommend calling your GP for an appt.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 16-Aug-16 00:33:43

Your, not you're (stupid corrections)

Vickyyyy Tue 16-Aug-16 00:34:43

there is being nice and there is bending over backwards to help people who seem to treat you worse than something stuck on the bottom of their shoe. they are taking advantage and you seem fine about that. Hell its even been detrimental to your health to do this favour for them and you don't even get a fucking thank you?

Please please please, if you think what has happened to you is in any way acceptable speak to someone about self esteem issues. You are worth more than this. I am not trying to be patronizing but this has really upset me to be honest, someone thinking its fine for them to be treat this way :S

Flossynoodle123 Tue 16-Aug-16 00:35:22

I could have decorated my entire flat in the hours it took me to do what I did there. I have been a mug and I feel so upset. Yes I should have left. Yes I should have told them they were taking the piss. But - family innit? Despite me hardly knowing them it's ingrained to help "family".

PickAChew Tue 16-Aug-16 00:36:03

You've been taken for mug, but did you never stop to ask, "what's for dinner, then"?

someonestolemynick Tue 16-Aug-16 00:37:06

Being nice does not mean you have allow others to take advantage.
My default answer is always "yes". If I can, I will help but really you need to learn to step back when someone's obviously taking the piss. At what point do you start standing up for yourself? How far will you allow people to push you? Do you think your relatives were worried about letting you down?

Also, there really is nothing wrong with asking for stuff. You were doing them a massive favour. Seriously woman up: "Sure, but I'll miss out on 10 paid working days. We'll have to work something out." "I'm starving. When's lunch?" "Haha, very funny about putting me in the walk-in cuppboard. Where's my room?" "Ooooh, that looks delicious. Coffe and brown roast with mine."

PickAChew Tue 16-Aug-16 00:38:22

And you're their family. They should treat you with respect.

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