I Hate Accepting Help

Dont bite the hand that feeds you image by BPL

Patrick Brothwell is trying to figure out why he continually bites the proverbial hand that feeds him.


I very rarely perform under budget. I blame this on my mother.

The good news is that I plan overspending into my budgets so it hasn’t exactly come to bite me in the ass in a giant way yet. This summer was no exception. I went to Iceland in June and accidentally booked an extra night. I also planned on only drinking two or three nights and limiting how often I ate out. Neither of this things happened. I put my car in the shop before we took off due to what I thought would be a routine inspection bill. It turns out my car wasn’t in as good shape as I thought and a $500.00 bill was there to greet me. I took two unplanned trips to the beach and the bill for the anniversary party I threw for my parents ballooned to triple what I thought it was going to be. Note to self: don’t construct an actual adult party budget based on the keggers you use to through in college, it’s apples and oranges (very expensive oranges too).

On top of all of this my iPhone decided to bite it and replacing a phone (and getting the case and car charger etc.) is not cheap. Now, as much as I despise the term, I realize this rant is the epitome of first-world-problems and all and I’m not looking for pity. I’m just explaining some background.


Now I’m still on the family plan as far as my cell phone goes. I send my parents a check every month for my data usage. Sometimes I forget and this particularly busy summer was one of those instances. I owed my dad for three months, one of which included international rates as well as the money for the new phone I purchased last month which I’d charged to our account at the time. I mailed him a blank check and asked that he just let me know how much he was going to write it for in case I needed to move money around. He texted me yesterday to say that it would be approximately $500.00. I wasn’t thrilled with this but these were costs I accrued and I needed to pay up. He texted me later that day and asked if I’d want him to only pay half the cost now and the rest at that end of the month. My mother texted and asked the same thing. My parents are aware that I’ve been pinching pennies this past month and that I’ve been just pretty stressed in general. They didn’t need to do this and I know they know I’m good for the money, but it was just their way of helping their kid out. In all actuality making two payments instead of one would’ve been great.

You know what? I couldn’t find it in myself to say, “thanks guys, that would be great.” Instead I gave them some BS answer to the tune of, “I mean if you want to do that I’m not going to say no but I don’t need you to.” I have no idea why I couldn’t just be grateful that I have parents willing to throw me a bone once in a while and the thing is, this is far from the first time this has happened.

Historically, I don’t have problems asking for help (although I have realized I’ve inherited my dad’s penchant for thinking I have an innate sense of direction that requires no asking for directions and blatant disregard of what my GPS says). I asked questions in class in both high school and college and had no problem staying after for extra assistance. I frequently ask for assistance at work and have little to no problem admitting that I often have no idea what I’m doing and I’m not one of those people who always thinks he’s right or knows everything. But when it comes to my parents I bristle at the thought of assistance. It doesn’t make sense.

I can’t even count the times my parents have offered to help me out in various capacities in the last couple of years and I’ve turned it down. And they aren’t the smothering, helicopter, control freak parents who are offering help under the guise of watching or controlling my life. They’ve always let me do me own thing. They genuinely want to help. They’ve offered to throw me a few bucks here or there when I’ve told them I’ve had to skip social engagements to save money, they offer to empty the fridge for me to take back whenever I visit and my mother frequently offers to come down to my apartment to help me clean and purchase the type of things guys like me forget about, like curtain rods (to be fair she probably has some secondary motivations here, like thinking this will force us to spend time together, but can I really fault her for that?). Time and time again I say no, that I’m perfectly capable of doing it myself.

What I’m realizing is that this doesn’t make me seem independent and more adult like. It makes me seem petulant and like an ungrateful dick. I could over analyze why I’ve been behaving in this manner but I don’t think it’d make any sense. I think I should just be happy I finally came to my senses and realized that I should be lucky to be in the situation I’m in and I think that I should probably text them as soon as I’m done writing this and tell them it’d be very nice if they’d let me pay them back in two parts.

Image: Boston Public Library / Flickr

About Pat Brothwell

Pat Brothwell is a high school English teacher who’s doing his best to complete the cliché by also being an aspiring novelist.  He documents that journey (as well as other useless information) on his personal blog http://brothwellwriting.wordpress.com/. Pat also oversees www.paweekendfun.com, a travel blog advocating for weekend adventures in and around the Keystone State. You can follow him on twitter @patb130.

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