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Published on October 30th, 2014 | by Discussion Questions

How do you stop helping an overly-demanding person?





Sometimes you agree to help someone and they begin to take advantage of it by having you continue on longer than you were supposed to, or for less pay than they originally stated would be given, or they seem to always be pressing for you to give more of yourself than originally agreed upon. How can we still reflect Christ while backing away from helping when the time/money/energy involved is starting to negatively affect other areas of our lives? And when we do step away (in as Christ honoring way as we can) what should we do if the person is upset, angry, or disappointed? How should we deal with the guilt of not helping the person even though we really can’t and know it is healthier not to?


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  • Man, I had to laugh when I read this question. I have dealt with this a whole lot, whether it be (one of) my bosses, or a family member.

    I can say this, when it’s family there is not much you can do. and really, if you have free time it’s good to help family, but if you have something that needs to be done, just tell them/him/her. they will understand (as long as you really have something you need to get done, and you are not just getting out of work).

    If it’s for your boss, remember

    For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. Matthew 20:1-16

    Always expect what you agree for, and if you get less than you think you should, depart and go your way.

  • alana

    I don’t know. If someone was manipulating me like that, I wouldn’t notice until someone told me.

  • cara d

    It’s a hard one. I’ve been in that situation too. One of the things worth remembering is that if they are being overdemanding, it’s not for you to feel guilty about not doing everything they want you to. You mustn’t feel guilty when someone expects too much from you and you just can’t do it. It’s good to be selfless and to help people but there needs to be a bit of give from the other side too or you’ll burn out.

    From experience, it’s hard to know how and when to step back but when you do, don’t feel guilty. They may nag awhile but when they realise that they can’t get anything more out of you, they’ll either change their ways and realise friendshhip is a two way thing or (and sadly this is more common in my experience) they;ll just move on and find some other person who might give them what they want. Be gracious but firm. I hope your problem is resolved soon x

  • Hey Brett,
    Awesome question. I totally understand. Some people will just keep pressing and pressing and pressing. They have this victim mentality that is actually encouraged by today’s socioty. They have the attitude of “I deserve more”, ” You owe me “, and ” You must share because you have more”, “When I have more, I don’t have to share”.

    How do you deal with these people?

    Family friends of mine have an adult son who doesn’t want to work and keeps asking them for money. When they don’t, he gets angry at them and has the ” I deserve ” attitude. When they do, he just wastes it. How do you deal with it?

    Sometimes my dad works for people who unknowingly ask for more auditions to the work and expect the same price. He has to just say right out: “Sure, I can do that for you, but it’s going to cost more then what we already agreed on.” Sometimes they get upset, but that’s out of his control. Most if the time though, they’re like “Oh…” And then either work it out to pay more or just drop it.

    Then there are the people who want to pay you less then what you agreed on. They will say things like “Well, I can’t afford it right now…” And never pay you completely. Or, “Once you do ‘one more thing’, I’ll give you the money.” For these people, you have to be kind, but firm. But if they get into a fit over it, you turn the other cheek, don’t get payed what you agreed on, but also stop working for them in the future. Even if they ask over and over, you just say, “Sorry, but no.”

    Yeah, right.

    Also, my father faced something similar a while back:

    A few years ago, my father started working in a retirement village community as a contractor. There was nothing official, like a contract with the HOA or anything, it was just him working for one person at a time. Because of excellent work and kindness, the happy constimers spread the word about him.

    Well, a few months ago, he did work for an older lady. Shortly after he came in, she was complaing about the last contractor that worked on her house. Not a great sign.

    Well, he did the work very well, and like the other customers, she was very happy with it.

    Then her son (adult) came in and started saying nasty things like “This is terrible!” “He ripped you off!” “You’re so ignorant!” “This looks like (cuss word)!” And on and on…

    She then got angry at my dad, who reassured her that he did a professional job and great work. But she just kept getting angrier.

    Eventually he just said, “Look, I did great work here. But I don’t want to make you think I was trying to rip you off. So, you can keep the money for the work.”

    She simply responded with, “I don’t want your filthy money!” And she still spreads lies about him to the rest of the village.

    So the question remains, “How do you handle people like this?”

    Well, you just have to be kind, but firm. Say, “I’m sorry, but I’m done.” Giving in does not help them at all and definitely doesn’t help you. You didn’t see Jesus obeying the Pharisees’ every whim. It’s hard, but it’s what’s best for both of you, weather it be someone who is asking you for welfare or if it’s someone hating you even when you’re doing right.

    So, after all of this long message, that’s the point: kindness, but firmness. (Also, pray AMAP). At times, you just have to dust off your feet and leave.

    God bless and don’t stress, Brett,
    – Trent

    • Thanks so much, Trent! Though, just to be clear. This was a submitted question from “Miss M.” — not one I wrote myself. =)

      • Sam the programguy

        You threw us of by making a profile that doesn’t have Alex’s name on it. :)

      • Oops. I just assumed that because this one has no name in the description of the message and that your name was in the author section, that it was you. lol. Next time, I will try not to assume. :)

    • Trent, Not painfully long! It refreshing to read!

  • I think that you should always keep a good attitude while assisting a demanding person. And if you need to back out of the project, I’d do it in a respectful way and give advice to the person before you leave.
    But if God isn’t closing the door, then you (or me) should always keep our exuberance. God might be preparing us for an even bigger challenge that you may need to prepare for.
    It would be really frustrating dealing with a person that doesn’t always agree. But when I’m in tribulation, God answers my prayers. So as long as we’re in prayer, God should bless us even when helping a very demanding person.
    And through prayer and the Bible, God could be telling us to stop the project. That’s why it’s important to stay reading God’s word.
    However, I don’t think I’ve helped anyone demanding. So, whoever has might have better knowledge then me.

  • W-Aid

    sometimes i think you just have to speak out nicely and say enough, I agreed to help you but please could treat me a little nicer. You could also talk to a parent or a close friend about it and they could go with you to talk to the person. Use Matthew 8: 15-20 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed[f] in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

  • Guest

    In my first year in college, I bacame part of a big church and was under

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