I don't want to do this. I am 20 and in college and feel that I am way too young for this. I have a (male) cousin (my uncle's son) who is around 40, who is also single and not tied down with a family, but has more life experience. I do not like dealing with other peoples' bodily functions. I am not close with this grandmother, she has never encouraged me, and has made put-downs in the past and told me not to aim high. Aside from the fact that I am not close with this grandmother, I just don't want to do this. Even if she were my favorite grandma, I do not want to get involved in her bathroom functions and bodily fluids and just feel grossed out. My other grandmother found out I said no to my uncle's request for the first grandmother and called me selfish and said that if a granddaughter loves her grandmother, she will help her with the bathroom. I don't want to speak to this second grandmother. It just feels like my boundaries have been violated. I have made it clear that I don't get involved in other peoples' bodily functions. Both grandparents have Medicaid, free home health aides, and other services. I am not necessary, and I will resent it if emotionally manipulated into helping them with bodily functions/bathroom stuff. I just can't look at either grandmother right now. I am okay with visiting them but not okay with helping them with personal care once they need it (they both have Medicaid, Medicare, and free Home Health Aides). The second grandmother said that I need to accept that I am a female and that caregiving is a woman's role. I feel like the second grandmother is anxious that I won't help her with bathroom functions when she gets older. And that is true. Bathroom help, bodily functions, and diapers are my non-negotiable boundary. I feel so grossed out by both grandmas right now, I can't even look at them. I feel like a parent has to get over diaper changing if he or she wants to have a baby, but I don't think a young girl in her 20s, who does not have children and has never changed a diaper, should be asked to do this for an obese and manipulative grandmother. Am I overreacting? Am I too sensitive to bodily functions? I've set this boundary, and I feel so violated along with the boundary. And I just feel like I shouldn't even be asked this question in the first place. I don't know if I should feel ashamed because I am disgusted by both grandmothers because of being asked to get involved with their bathroom functions. I just feel like I want to throw up, and I probably would, if I had to go to the bathroom with them. Is this normal? Am I being selfish? Is it okay to set a boundary of no adult diapers/bathroom/bodily functions, especially when they have free caregiving at home and at the hospital, there are trained staff to help with that sort of stuff. I am not even trained in bacteria, gloves, and pathogens. I don't want to be a caregiver.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Politely tell the uncle that "sorry, but I can't do it. I am busy with school, and beside I can't take care of someone's bodily functions."

Practice saying this line over and over until you're comfortable saying it to him. Don't offer anything further. If he keeps pressing you, keep repeating the same line. Don't give him anything to fight you on.

No, you are not selfish. The uncle wants to foist this unpleasant job on the you because you're young and a woman, and he thinks he can bully you into it.
Helpful Answer (16)

You are completely right in sticking to your boundaries.

I am APPALLED by your second grandmother. She is wrong, wrong, wrong. This makes me teary, as a grandmother. You should NOT be out in this position.

Dear sweet girl, stick to your boundaries. I am repeating it so that you repeat it to yourself.

Sending you a HUGE hug.
Helpful Answer (12)
CareGiverItis Mar 2021
Thank you for your kind words. It feels validating to hear the opinion of someone who is a grandmother. :-)
First of all, you are not in any way selfish.

I would like to know more about your uncle. What makes him think that he can ask you to do this?

If my brothers would have asked my daughters to do these things with my mother, their grandmother, I would have been terribly upset. My daughters would have felt like you, even though they were close to my mom while growing up.

I had a hard enough time as my mom’s daughter to be her caregiver. I would never expect my daughters to do it.

You are a college student. These are your building years. Your job is going to school so you can support yourself in the future. That is your priority!

You said it yourself, you are not needed. Your grandmother is being cared for. If there is a shortage of staff at the hospital, your uncle can help his mom by paying for a private sitter. He has no business asking you to help!

Why would you be inclined to help a grandmother that isn’t supportive of you? As you say, even if you were close, it would still be hard to do.

Don’t do it. Don’t apologize for not wanting to. You don’t even owe an explanation.

If I am pressured. I say ‘no.’ If I am asked why, I don’t feel that I owe them an apology or an explanation so I will ignore them, close the door and never look back. I no longer waste my time with unreasonable, irrational people.

I suggest the same for you. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in my life. It’s so worth it. You will be at peace.

Do not ever give up your independence. Plus, your feelings matter every bit as much as theirs.

You are young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Make the most of it!

Your uncle does not have the right to tell you how, when, where and with whom to be charitable. That is entirely up to you and it will mean more to you because however you choose to volunteer your time, it will come from your heart.

Manipulation is not an acceptable way to solicit help. Tell your uncle to back off!
Helpful Answer (11)
CareGiverItis Mar 2021
Thank you for your supportive words. It was nice to get a perspective from a mother of daughters. I am not sure what made my uncle think he could ask me, but it may think it may be my father's inability to set good boundaries with his original nuclear (his parents and sibling). My uncle does a better job of protecting his own son and his own (distant) grandchild. I was surprised my father was okay with my uncle asking. The idea had to come from my uncle, not my father, because my father just told that uncle will be calling me with a request. I think that maybe having an older brother ask may have given it some sort of "gravitas" (as in the family is asking). Not sure though. I don't think my uncle would have been pleased if my father had called my cousin and asked him to help with toileting an elder (male or female).
I am LIVID for you 🤬

Look that Uncle in the eye. Say "No. That is not something I will be doing". If there is any pushing, say "I said No. I will not be bullied by you. I will no longer discuss it".

I loved my Grandmothers very much. I never did bathroom duty for them (it never came up actually) but I have helped other relatives - at my choice!

That comment 'If you loved me... you'd do xyz' is emotional blackmail. Silly. Ignore that.
Helpful Answer (10)

One of the hardest things I ever had to learn in this life is to say no to the people whom I care about.

One of the second hardest things I had to learn - and am still struggling with - is that I can say no without giving any reason or justification for my answer.

Even if you are being "oversensitive", so what? You were asked; you gave an answer. Any further discussion is, in my mind, nagging.

It always, always amazes me when I'm called "selfish" because I'm not doing something that someone else wants me to do, especially when it's the person who is asking me to do that thing calling me selfish.

Stick to your guns. Your grandparents are not your responsibility, in any way, shape or form.
Helpful Answer (10)

Just say no. Don’t do it if you are uncomfortable with this.
Helpful Answer (9)

Echoing everyone else here... no, you are not being selfish or a bad granddaughter. It is your family that is uncaring. Funny how you're fussed at for not wanting to do this, but they're not willing to step up themselves. And if she's in a hospital, there is staff to do that. It's odd of them to even ask you, really.

Your boundaries were indeed violated and really, they're flat out insulting you. It implies that your time and work is much less valuable than theirs. Since you're young, single and no kids, it's assumed you have all the time in the world for whatever they want you to do. When you refuse, they respond with what a selfish, uncaring person you are!

The other grandma can say what she wants. Like you said, she's making you feel bad because she expects you to step in for her when she needs it. As for being a bad granddaughter, they should understand that a good grandmother doesn't treat her granddaughter terribly and then expect devotion and love when she's shown very little to you. She's had 20 years to be a loving grandma to you, and she chose not to be.

Could even frame it as "Well, I don't think grandma likes having me around and I'd hate to upset her."
Helpful Answer (9)

Yes, you are overreacting.

You have just used 539 words where one will do.


Or three, if you want to be polite about it:

"No thank you."

Your uncle asked you if you would assist your grandmother. You are not close to her, you haven't the least aptitude for caregiving, and you don't want to. Fine.

Too sensitive to bodily functions... I don't know, but presumably you cope with your own, don't you? - despite your lack of training in bacteria, gloves and pathogens. In time you will doubtless discover that even other people's bodily functions are not so very terrifying up close, but you are twenty. There's no rush. One day you will be your second grandmother's age and by then you too will probably think that it's all been a gigantic fuss about nothing.
Helpful Answer (8)
JoAnn29 Mar 2021
I am 71 and I don't like others bodily functions.
See 4 more replies
First I am very surprised that the hospital would permit anyone to stay with a patient at this time. And there is a liability issue, if something happened to you or grandma and they permitted someone untrained to assist it is a potential lawsuit in the making.
The hospital can and will provide a “sitter” if it is needed.
Staff aids or nurses are there over night to help patients to the bathroom or with any other help that is needed.
The fact that someone has said that it is expected that you take on this role because you are a woman is appalling.
Put on a stern face, look directly at Uncle and your grandma and say “No I am not going to be able to do that. It is not my responsibility”
Helpful Answer (7)

OK I've calmed down now 😶.

Uncle can ask, you can decline. Simple.

I just prickle up when I sense that someone is expected to do certain tasks just because they are female.

This may be a really good opportinity to discuss cultural, gender & age expectations with the Uncle & other members of the family in an adult to adult way.
Helpful Answer (7)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter