Holding a boundary of being unfair?

Bit of a panic.

Background: I have disengaged from family a lot and don't do what I used to in terms of helping out and fixing things and taking responsibility for everything.
At the moment I see my parents 2-3 times a year and phone every few weeks. Limited contact.

Recently my mum had a hip operation. I have text a few times and phoned a couple of times. I haven't visited.

She's just phoned to say my dad is really stressed out and needs helps with the cooking and I should come at least once a week to cook and help. I said no I don't have time. She said ok and said she needed to go.

Am I being unfair?
Or is this ok?

They are elderly (both 79) but also I can't see why he can't cook meals and do house work.

The 'old' me took time off work and cooked and visited. Whilst being told I was doing it all wrong, and also never enough.

This time I haven't been at all.

What is the middle ground here? Have I gone too far the other way? Or is it ok to say no?

Is this panic just backlash from saying no or inside knowing it's not a kind response? Or both?
 
Actually, I think I have solved it!
Just a bit of a panic and stressed.
But I text my middle sister, who lives the same distance to them as I do (if not a bit closer) , and mum hadn't asked her for help. Just me.
Which is old patterns. Always me that was made to manage everyone's situation.
And this is about my dad being stressed and it being my job to make him less stressed as my mum doesn't like it.

So it is holding a boundary.

Visiting them once a week to do intimate care, because it wouldn't end at cooking, it would be washing mum like I used to do, is something I can't do. I can't cope with my mum's body so saying no is the right thing for me. I can't have that relationship with them where this level of relationship happens. And the reason I can't is on them.

So go me for holding a boundary!
Work on the intense panic next but boundary held!
 
I think it’s fair for you to set a boundary wherever you feel comfortable.

I don’t know a lot of the family situation, but could there be a middle ground here? As in, maybe you say no once a week is too much of a demand on my time, but I could drop off a batch set of freezer meals that will last you, or I could order in ready meals for you?

It’s not on you to manage the stress of everyone else, they are adults, they can sort their own stress without dumping it all on you. If you don’t want to help/too busy/relationship not in that place then it’s a totally fair boundary!
 
Thanks @nomore.
Going to see them means going to the area most of the trauma happened. So I like to limit going there. I was there in May and that's the last time I saw them. In my mind the next time I would see them would be in the autumn and also not in their home: more neutral ground.
But if my sister is going down, I could make some meals for them to freeze.


But also, they are only going to get more sick and stressed and I had decided I am not the person to get involved. So maybe actually not helping at all in this situation will set the tone for future I'll health situations. I.e.: I won't be around to help.
 
What other resources are out there depends on where you live, of course. (I'm in the US, in a fairly progressive state.) Here, there are resources out there to help people with tasks like that, in situations like that. People don't always find them, or think to look. When my parents were in a similar situation, I contacted their local resource person, only to be told shortly after that "their services weren't needed". (I need the eye rolling emoji we used to have here!) Long, complicated story. But, my mom did the same thing, where she wanted help but the help was never ok. I don't think you have to play that game unless you want to.
 
Thanks @nomore.
Going to see them means going to the area most of the trauma happened. So I like to limit going there. I was there in May and that's the last time I saw them. In my mind the next time I would see them would be in the autumn and also not in their home: more neutral ground.
But if my sister is going down, I could make some meals for them to freeze.


But also, they are only going to get more sick and stressed and I had decided I am not the person to get involved. So maybe actually not helping at all in this situation will set the tone for future ill health situations. I.e.: I won't be around to help.
Ah I see. So it isn’t about the food - it’s about the fact that your mum is picking up on your dads emotions, and rather than managing it herself, she’s going back to the old pattern of dumping it on you. Expecting you specifically to come in and play rescue, to make it all okay for them again. For sure, I think setting a precedent of showing you can say no, back off, dictate the terms of the relationship is a great one. They aren’t entitled to your care or help.

I think scouts idea is a great one, if you want to get involved in some way. Hold your boundary, refer to outside services and I would bet all of sudden they can manage. It means offering help, while holding your boundary of not getting personally involved in the emotions
 
What other resources are out there depends on where you live, of course. (I'm in the US, in a fairly progressive state.) Here, there are resources out there to help people with tasks like that, in situations like that. People don't always find them, or think to look. When my parents were in a similar situation, I contacted their local resource person, only to be told shortly after that "their services weren't needed". (I need the eye rolling emoji we used to have here!) Long, complicated story. But, my mom did the same thing, where she wanted help but the help was never ok. I don't think you have to play that game unless you want to.
Thanks @scout86 . I imagine it would be the same if I suggested that to them. They could get a cleaner in, they can afford that. They choose not to.
 
This seems reasonable. Having to go there once a week is a lot and if they're still like that and saying you're doing things wrong and not enough seems like it could be way too much stress and not good for your mental health. And if that's the case it seems like they don't appreciate what you are doing and don't care how you are.
And there you need to set boundaries.
 
Am I being unfair?
Or is this ok?

Even if she had asked your sister, it’s okay to say no. It’s hard to set boundaries like this, so yeah, go you.

The panic and unsettling feelings will lessen.

But, my mom did the same thing, where she wanted help but the help was never ok. I don't think you have to play that game unless you want to.

Same here and I couldn’t agree more.
 
Ah I see. So it isn’t about the food - it’s about the fact that your mum is picking up on your dads emotions, and rather than managing it herself, she’s going back to the old pattern of dumping it on you. Expecting you specifically to come in and play rescue, to make it all okay for them again. For sure, I think setting a precedent of showing you can say no, back off, dictate the terms of the relationship is a great one. They aren’t entitled to your care or help.

I think scouts idea is a great one, if you want to get involved in some way. Hold your boundary, refer to outside services and I would bet all of sudden they can manage. It means offering help, while holding your boundary of not getting personally involved in the emotions
Yeah, I think it's exactly about their emotions and these games.
 
Back
Top