This is a hard point for me to understand. I am by nature a "giver", but I am starting to see that there comes a time when you must teach people how to fish, instead of just giving them fish...I give because I am trying to practice my religion, which says to give of ones' self. I do not have any expectation of return...then I would be doing it for a lot of wrong reasons. I give because it feels good to give.

But lately, it seems that, with my family anyway, that they "expect" me to give to them, and when I do not, they get mad. I am trying to set boundaries, for example. Oh! The screaming and gnashing of teeth that ensued! But I am sticking to my guns, even though it is hard.

In other words, I am starting to see that I have let myself become a doormat, and I am correcting my now they are saying I am selfish! This is almost hilarious.

Believe it or not, all of this came about because I bought myself a pecan pie. I like pecan pie! One of the kids came to me, and asked for a piece of pie, and I said, "No." Boy, did that stir up the fur! I am changing my behavior for the good of myself, and this has caused a great deal of tension in my house...Which means to me that I was giving them too much!

What I am looking for here is NOT a lot of criticism and such, but rather, a sharing of the lessons You have learned about when to give and when not to give.

Merry-Almost-Christmas 2009, Jaianniah

asked 23 Dec '09, 02:23

Jaianniah's gravatar image


I loved the question!! This happens all the time and the answer for me differs from situation to situation..

(23 Dec '09, 09:46) Perfection

@Jai " I bought myself a pecan pie. I like pecan pie! One of the kids came to me, and asked for a piece of pie, and I said, "No." " Even one slice of Pecan pie is not advisable if you have diabetes & you ate the whole pie? Next time have a sliver & share the rest. It makes me wonder if you are trying to kill yourself slowly? Many people in this world choose a slow death.

(12 Apr '13, 23:32) ele
showing 0 of 2 show 2 more comments

I think giving only works as a life transaction when both parties involved are feeling good about it.

If you've reached the point where it doesn't feel good to give anymore then something is out of balance and it's probably a good idea to do something about it (like you are doing).

It works both ways too. Sometimes it doesn't feel good to receive anymore from someone who is always giving, and again it's time to do something because it doesn't feel good to you.

Now, how you stop giving is another matter - and I've yet to find a satisfactory answer that doesn't involve some degree of backlash. Once the dependency relationship exists, sparks are probably going to fly when the dependent receiver notices they are not receiving anymore. :)

It's not your problem, it's their's, but it might be a bumpy ride for a while.


answered 23 Dec '09, 08:21

Stingray's gravatar image


Good answer!

(12 Apr '13, 23:35) ele

I know what you are saying, Jaianniah. It's a hard line to draw at times. For me, with friends and family it becomes enabling when the receiver stops appreciating and starts expecting! Once that point comes, my perspective changes and I am much less generous in most cases.


answered 23 Dec '09, 02:39

LeeAnn%201's gravatar image

LeeAnn 1

"becomes enabling when the receiver stops appreciating and starts expecting!" absolutely!

(12 Apr '13, 23:37) ele

When their constant needs for reassurance begins to drain me and distract me. Also when they are continuing to add drama and upset to their life and trying to drag me into it. I have to ask, what is best for me.

When my feelings of love and wanting to be kind blind me to how I'm feeling.

When after a few years they do not try to learn on their own how to take care of their mental,physical, emotional and spiritual help, but rather lean on everyone around them.

I'm new here and just jumping in ....hoping to attract and allow what I am wanting right now.


answered 11 Nov '12, 12:36

clearheart's gravatar image


edited 11 Nov '12, 12:39

"ask what is best for me?" Good for you! This is an an issue I still struggle with. Don't ever be afraid to jump in @clearheart Just Jump!

(12 Apr '13, 23:45) ele

When giving makes us feel less of our selves, then that is self destruction. When we feel bad like someone wants to take everything we have until there is nothing left to take we are in effect, allowing ourselves to be robbed of anything they want. If someone came along and wanted your house and everything in it and said, "you could go find a box on the street someplace", would you feel bad enough about your self to say, "okay I'll go live in a box", they would probably say, "but wait not on my property go someplace else", would you say "okay."?

It is true you could be like the Zen monk that when thieves came to steal from him, he gave them everything he had and fixed them a meal and tea, then as he sat naked on a rock because he gave the "guest" everything he had and he cried and said, "I wish I could give him the moon that would have been a more fitting gift for my guest." He still wanted to give, but had nothing more to give not even cloths he gave everything he had, he probably would have gave his home if asked. But in his case he was happy to live as a beggar so losing everything to him didn't matter.

But to me I have to wonder if there was someone constantly taking from him, to the point of he is starving because they want his food every time he eats if he could keep happy until he died of starvation. Another thing is if he did, what would be the point, because now the one relying on him would have to rely on his self after the monk died anyway.

Self worth is seeing we have value too, not just those that want to abuse and use us, but we ourselves have value. We deserve respect as much as anyone else, we are no less human than anyone else. You are their mother not their slave, they treat you as if you have no value other than to satisfy them and that is your only purpose.

I am seeing that little girl that always did everything she was told to regardless of what it was or how it made her feel even if it was abusive she agreed rather than be beat. But now you are the mother but the role has been transferred over. I am used to mutual respect here but for you not getting that it seems you will need to set rules and be stern that in your house these are the rules from now on! This may switch you out of that everyone's servant role.

Look back to your past you wrote of here in other places, do you see similarities between then and now? It looks like now your kids have taken over the role your parents took when you where little. I see a pattern here, and you are trying to break that pattern and meeting with resistance here, but to break down walls does take effort and the resistance is the wall that is made of solid rock maybe even granite so big heavy and hard you need a jackhammer to get through. But I have this to say to that, "Look out I'm starting this thing up I'm going to make it through this!", then I'll pull that cord and start my jackhammer going!

You will make it, you recognize it, that is the first thing, you see that you have value and don't deserve that treatment, that is the second thing, you came for help that is the third thing. So I feel like you are already chipping away at that wall and it doesn't like that, you know what? keep going! It needs it, it is time for you to be released from that prison role and realize you are wonderful and valuable!


answered 23 Dec '09, 16:29

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 12 Apr '13, 23:52


"When giving makes us feel less of our selves, then that is self destruction" Absolutely, it's not coming from the heart. It could also be viewed as being a martyr. Very good well thought out & compassionate answer @Wade. No wonder Jai fell for you.

(13 Apr '13, 00:09) ele

My Mother always taught me you give till it hurts,as she went to the kitchen to get two forks. Love and Light Jai and have a Merry Christmas :)


answered 23 Dec '09, 03:30

Roy's gravatar image


What did she do with the two forks, stab somebody with them?

(23 Dec '09, 06:18) Vesuvius

@Roy Pie is ALWAYS best shared.

(12 Apr '13, 23:33) ele

It's enabling when the receiver uses what's given to self-destruct.


answered 23 Dec '09, 06:34

shazsays's gravatar image


I think the point is to understand what is more important for the person (to whom you give) in order to achieve what he/she wants. If just the person wants to have the thing once, twice or multiple times, then it is right to keep on giving. But if the person has desires or if we can help the person understand that he can dream and achieve too.. then that would be enabling in true sense. It is all about loving the other person and seeing the situation from their perspective loosing ourselves and living their life for a moment. It has always been fun for me. In this situation, receiving also becomes giving for me. Just because the other person feels satisfied to get what they want, may it be anything physical or internal satisfaction or anything. Life is all about giving and it is all fun!


answered 23 Dec '09, 09:50

Perfection's gravatar image


This is the way I have been most of my life now remember this at this point and stage in my life I don't have much to give but I am like this if I offer you some of what I have to eat than I am prepared to give you some but if I have not offered you any than the reason I have not is because of the fact that I do not have enough for you to eat or this is something that I really want and I don't want to share this with you. If I offer it to you than you may have but not unless I offer it to you.

So, they had no reason to be mad at you refusing to give your pecan pie away. If it is your pecan pie.

Now if I have at someone elses house and I see something like desert that I might want to eat I usually will wait until they offer me to eat some unless they have made me really welcome to what ever and I always try not to even take the last of a pie or cake. The rule of thumb is always be careful of other people feelings and situations.

Don't be a doormat for anyone and yes, you always retain the right to say No I don't want to give you any of this it is not their right and they know it but they will take it as long as you let them get away with it and don't stop and stand up for your self.

Now, did you explain to them, even thought you did not have to give them any explanation at all, that you love pecan pie and did not want to share it.

Yes, we are suppose to give, share and receive. But if you give and you do not want to give than it does know good at all for you.

The bible teaches it is more blessed to give than to receive. But I believe you have to look out for your self for no one else ususally will not. So I say give when you want to give and when you don't than don't.

Try going over to their house and just start asking for stuff and she what kind of reaction you get. I hope it does not backfire on you. But I don't believe they will give you anything. But if they do than I don't know what to say than. But I do know if you don't want to give than don't until you are ready to give. There are people who have and still will take all that you do have.


answered 24 Dec '09, 06:35

flowingwater's gravatar image


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Asked: 23 Dec '09, 02:23

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Last updated: 13 Apr '13, 00:09

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