Is she being a CF or just not thinking?(52 Posts)
I'm due to give birth in just over two weeks, it's been a complicated pregnancy and I've had some health problems.
A member of the family keeps asking me to do things for them. They are seemingly oblivious to the fact I'm about to have a baby, am somewhat immobile plus have other DC at home to look after.
She has no children, no physical disabilities, is fit and well but does have mental health problems.
All within the last month or so shes asked me to go and clean her flat, paint her feature wall, run around collecting her photos from boots and now she wants me to go round tomorrow for a few hours to go through a load of paperwork for her and discuss her medical history (its all something to do with her wanting to apply for a higher rate of PIP)
The requests go back for months and there's always something she wants me to do for her.
She has offered money which I don't want, but it's not the point.
I dont know anything about the benefits system and have suggested she talk to somebody from her support team. She has a support network and doesn't need me to do these things for her, least of all the manual things at her home.
I'm ashamed to say I'm getting a bit annoyed with the requests and think she's being extremely cheeky putting things on me at this point.
Aibu? Prepared to be told I am.
Arrange to meet her at a cafe then she can't spring jobs on you.
It doesn't really matter whether she's a cf or not, you can't help as you're currently pregnant and then will have two children to parent.
She needs to contact her team for help.
I think it's possible that her MH issues play a role, but it's still CF'ery.
People severely deficient in empathy may not even consider the impact on you, or that you would have a negative reaction, in asking you to do these things. All that matters to them is that there would be a benefit to them if you did them.
I have someone close to me with significant MH issues. Other family members consider them to be bone idle which isn't the case. It is a symptom of their MH issue. However, my relative is the opposite and won't ask or even accept help when it is offered.
I think that self-awareness is on a spectrum with some MH issues. You have to be very close to be able to determine if they are very idle or a CF.
PIP reviews are a minefield for those with MH issues. The form looks a doddle but shouldn't be attempted by the inexperienced unless you can cope with the stress of the Mandatory Reconsideration and Appeal and Court Tribunal. You sound like you don't have the time to do this (or need the stress).
Their Support Worker needs to be told so they can provide the right level of help. As they receive PIP pethaps they could be persuaded to spend it sometimes on paying for things like painting to be done?
How about responding to her requests with "I'm unable to help you out on this occasion, but if you need a hand, I can put an advert on MyBuilder.com for you and someone will no doubt be in touch." or maybe "It really would be better if you got a paid professional in to do the painting/rewiring or be your personal assistant. Why don't you advertise in the local shop for someone who might be interested in the position".
YANBU. She’s being overly demanding bearing in mind how pregnant you are and lm sure there are other things you need to be doing for yourself e.g. batch cooking, resting etc. To me she comes across as selfish and self absorbed. Surely some of those things she can do herself. PIP forms are typically quite tricky, it’s not a quick or easy job. She is best seeing if someone from her mental health team or from her local branch of MIND could help. MIND have a wealth of resources and support.
I can relate too easily to all of this. I’m currently signed off work due to my mental and physical health. My Mum is aware of this but bombards me with requests of things to do for her. Sometimes l wake to 6 text messages from her. Yes, her mental health isn’t great at the moment but l have my own stuff to sort out
I text her the following
"Im sorry I can't help you with the forms etc as I don't have the headspace for it at the moment, babies almost here. I thought it was just a cuppa and a chat you wanted. Citizens advice are good for benefits advice but if I were you I'd have a chat with (support worker)"
She didn't reply.
We were very close up until around a year ago when I had to step away to focus on my own family, so whilst I can't be completely sure all of her CFery isn't a symptom of her mental health I've observed alot of outright lazy behaviour that i struggle to attribute to her mental health. An example would be inviting people round for coffee then asking them to run around for her, asking guests to do her housework etc but then being perfectly capable of travelling around alone and doing things for herself when there's nobody about to do it for her.
I'm in agreement with those of you who suggest the MH thing can be a contributing factor. I have a DD with ASD and other things and her social skills are not good. She is perfectly able physically to do things but often doesn't see the need and or expect other to do it. She also has a lack of empathy mainly for immediate family but is great with animals!! So the fact that your relative has not twigged that you are pregnant and have a lo as well may well just never occur to her. A chat with her support worker is needed.
Just ignore her. Block her, If its stressing you out. If she asks why, just explain you're busy. She will stop asking you, if you keep ignoring her. Look after yourself, children and growing baby.
Just keep telling her no. Keep repeating ‘I am about to give birth and am therefore unable to do (whatever she has asked)’. Repetition may work!
Honestly, I don't know that it really matters how much of her demands/attitudes are based in her MH versus just her personality. The two are probably intertwined, and it may not always be possible to definitively say one way or the other. The bottom line is that she's asking too much of you.
Even if she never gets the hint, there's nothing wrong with saying no, repeatedly. It will get old for you, unfortunately, but may be a necessary, on-going part of having a relationship with her.
My counsellor once said to me that you can’t pour from an empty jug. You simply don’t have the physical or mental energy now to be at this person’s beck and call, and it’s better that they realise it now - otherwise you’ll be in labour and she’ll be texting you.
Some MH conditions exacerbate very self-centred behaviour but some people with MH problems - like many without them - are just not that nice! Having any illness doesn’t mean some people aren’t CF who can be quite sulky and manipulative (e.g. not replying to your perfectly reasonable text).
Firm boundaries are the way to go. Only meeting at a café when you’re ready is good advice. Turn your phone off and put yourself and baby first.
She has responded now, she said that's cool and would I still like to meet anyway.
I'd rather not to be honest, as she says this now but i's never just a cuppa and catch up there's always something on the side and I just don't have the energy at the moment so I'm going to say I'll catch up with her after the birth at some point.
It's true you can't pour from an empty jug and I'm sad to say this but I find our meetings quite draining
You’re tired,you’re busy,midwife says rest.
Who is going to look after you if you get post natal depression brought on by having this cf in your head all the time.
Cut her out and do it now.
I’m not surprised, @MoaningMertyl. It is draining when you know that any minute now someone’s going to ask you for yet another “favour”.
Saying you’ll catch up with her “sometime” after the birth sounds sensible.
Just say "bit busy with baby stuff at the moment and really tired so I wont say yes at the moment, I'll catch up with you soon" then never do. Whoever this person is just drift away from her she sounds awful.
The fact she has an actual mental health issue to me means it is not a deliberate act of CF, just more not so conscious of the impact on the other person and wanting their own whim (part of the illness). Having said all of that you must learn to say no, otherwise you’ll be doing things with a newborn in towe.
Mental health is not an excuse for someone to treat you like shit OP.
I used to have a friend who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
So her cycles of being up and down and inbetween i made allowances for.....i distanced myself after some of her behaviours were unacceptable to me. Things like posting nasty, passive aggressive posts on facebook (clearly aimed at me) because i didn't read her texts that she sent at stupid o'clock at night, because i refused to be at her beck and call, despite encouraging and praising her i'd get a snarky message 'it's alright for some' on the very rare occasion that i went out and did something.
I'm a homebody and a hermit and suffer from chronic anxiety so it was a big deal for me to do things most people take for granted or find normal.
I realised it was always only about her, she was never interetsted in me, my life etc.
Part of her CF, selfish and passive aggressive, sly and calculating personality was down to having bipolar - but it's taken me my whole adult life to date to finally understand and have personal boundaries.
She crossed them - whether aware or not - and it was unacceptable to me.
There was no way i was going to have that discussion with her as no doubt it would affect her bipolar so just chose to distance myself and slowly phase her out.
She knows she crossed the line though because she's never contacted me since that last time.
Don't feel guilty for putting your own wellbeing first.
Thanks for all the perspectives
If it weren't for her diagnosis I'd have been alot less patient up until now, but knowing she's unwell does make me question whether she realises she's being a CF or not and so I struggle with how to respond (other than a clear no sorry, which I do put across)
I suppose in the grand scheme of things it's true that it's not really relevant whether it's her MH or a sense of entitlement, because the bottom line is I'm not in a position to do all of these things so won't be obliging.
You are not up to all this running around, it is ok to say no.
She has support workers around her, they are there for a reason.
Look after yourself and your baby
Why don't you turn the tables "it was anice idea, CF, but I'm heavily pregnant ATM and the health worker says I must get all the rest I can. Maybe you could pop over and give me a hand instead? I need some furniture moved, and it would be very helpful if you could put some flat pack furniture together for me. Plus there's a big grocery delivery due on (Thursday). I always find it exhausting putting the food away, and I'm sure you're very good at it".
Hang on, so you haven't actually helped with any of the things you list in your OP? She's just asked and you've said no? If that's the case, I kind of fail to see how she's being a CF.
Benefits for MH conditions are notoriously tricky to navigate and she's unlikely to get anywhere with the CAB even if she does manage to see someone. Likewise MH support services are cut to the bone so I doubt very much that she's getting the support she needs - if she is, she would be untypical for someone in her situation.
And yes it's perfectly possible to be able to do some things (eg go on holiday) and become overwhelmed by others. That goes with the territory.
That's not to say that you have to say yes to her because you don't, due to your own reasons. But the justification you've given doesn't ring true tbh.
Say to her "I'm about to give birth so I'm not really able to do much I'm afraid. After the baby arrives and once we're settled in I'll let you know as it would be lovely for you to pop over and say hi to her/him"
That's it. Any other requests to do things just text back one "no. We've been over this".
Whether it's related to her MH or not (likely a combination of personality, MH & CF) , you have a young family & new baby coming.
She's asking you because you're there in her flat, so either drop in breezily with "I only have 20 minutes just enough time for a cup of tea" or "I'll meet you at (cafe) but it has to be short". Or an upfront "I like seeing you but I'm not coming over if you secretly want jobs done/when I'm heavily pregnant/have new baby"
There'll be times she can and times she feels less able /motivated. None of that means you have to step in unless you want to, because it'll be endless and you're running on empty.
I'm not saying this a one size fits all, but in this situ, for your relative, I'd be building her up, deflecting and reminding her "I think you can do that yourself, you're capable of so much more . Talk to your support worker about it if you get really stuck. Remember last year you went to Greece? And you're always out? Where else do you go? ..."
(Except the PIP, in which case , say you know nothing about benefits and she definitely should talk to her support team to ask who'd be better at advice).
Glad you are saying 'no sorry.' for your sake. She has others in her network.
Ps it's ok to think her behaviour is selfish. It is what it is.
I've helped her with many, many things in the past but made it clear in the politest possible way that having children and now being pregnant means I'm not available to do it any more. For whatever reason that doesn't sink in and she keeps asking regardless of me saying no.
Me and another member of the family moved her whole living room around for her and decorated 18 months ago whilst she was on holiday and now she wants it painting again.
It does feel like she takes the piss sometimes so I've been firm in saying no to random favours for the past year.
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