How to help an over-giver

g11Be generous with you time and your heart   >   It would be hard to have missed the tragic case of the Bristol pensioner Olive Cooke who committed suicide after being overwhelmed by endless cold calls and begging letters from charities. Heralded as Britain’s oldest poppy seller, Olive could not cope with the high level of fund-raising letters and had no more money to give.

Public disgust over charities’ hard sell tactics filled the newspapers with quotes like, “These money grabbers are in for a rude awakening. Relatives are now going to check their loved one’s bank accounts and cancel direct debits to charities.”

Equally condemned were the so cold psychics who wrote to Olive claiming sending them money would keep bad luck away.

To be fair there were other problems which contributed to Olive’s suicide, including health concerns, but the case underlines the need to protect the vulnerable from the unscrupulous.

Those at greatest risk are elderly living on their own. Tonic’s therapists speak to stressed pensioners who say they feel overwhelmed by suffering in the world and theirg123 inability to help. The older they get the more anxious they become that their generosity is not keeping pace with demand. Give once and they open the floodgates for donation requests.

The ‘victims’ don’t realise that these charities target everybody – instead they feel special and worry they will get some sort of reputation if they don’t donate.

There is no point in Tonic in trying to explain to the elderly how to manage their compassion and ration their finances, as generosity is inherent to their personalities. But over-generosity could be a sign of deeper problems, such as loneliness; so if you are a carer or relative, please watch over them.

And if you are one of our elderly clients reading this Blog, don’t let these mass marketing appeals steal your happiness. There is no shame in not watching the news, not opening unsolicited mail or only answering the phone when you recognise the number (ask a grandchild to set up call blocking on your phone!).

You have worked hard all your life, so enjoy your money, give what you can afford and if the problems of the world seem too depressing, you know who to phone …g25a


14 thoughts on “How to help an over-giver

  1. pissed off pete says:

    what hypocrisy
    so let’s get this straight
    ou warn the the vulnerable against money grabbers and then tell them to phone your over-price helpline
    try re-arranging the words …. pot – kettle – black – calling.

    Moderator Sam responds > You make an interesting point. The difference between Tonic and fundraisers is that we are passive service in the sense we never contact our clients – they have to contact us.
    As far as price is concerned, all phone calls to us are capped to either 30 minutes or one hour. Compare that to national 0845 HelpLines and 09 numbers where the provider is motivated to ensure the call lasts as long as possible.

  2. Rose Quiller says:

    Usually uUncontrollable leniency is a sign of low self-esteem; the giver finds it hard to imagine others can think they are worth anything because they have no self-worth themselves. They try to remedy the situation by spoiling those around them, letting them get away with anything and not being their true selves. They’ll go to any lengths to achieve acceptance.

  3. Cat10 says:

    I read that last year the National Scams Team estimated that people were being conned at the rate of £10 billion each year. And of course older people are prime targets as they might not be able to recognise a con when they see one. Preying on their loneliness offers easy pickings.
    More protection is needed for victims and long l-o-n-g prison sentences for the scammers.

  4. Hillary (Client 210) says:

    There are more complex emotions at play here than you make out. Generosity is neither entangling nor aggressive, because the generous person does not expect anything back. The over-giver, on the other hand, expects to be petted and feted and praised and loved unconditionally. It is best to give anonymously and so eliminate expectations of getting something back.

  5. Matthew says:

    ‘When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Heavenly Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.’
    (The gospel, chapter 6 verses 3 & 4).

  6. Lisa M says:

    What happened was that Mrs Cooke’s home became overrun with stacks of letters and she started to go without food to pay off the scammers demands. According to the newspapers she even threatened to disown her family if they spoke to social services about the situation. There is not much anyone can do in such a situation – you can’t even blame the charities they do not know the recipients of their fundraising letters individually. They did not target Mr Cook because she was vulnerable – simply because she was on a database.

  7. “Never give anyone more than they are emotionally capable of receiving or they will have no choice but to hate you for it”

    • Iris (Huddersfield) says:

      People not only need to learn to give but also learn to receive gracefully. Pride is not good

  8. TT-Tonk says:

    I’ve found over-givers rather creepy. Their intentions maybe be good but what do they want in return? It is all about narcissism.

  9. Larry (Aberdeen) says:

    I used to focus on others and their needs. Yet half of my family did not even send me a Christmas card or, indeed, make any contact. Guess I felt compelled to over-give to buy self-worth. What I nwould say to others is … think of your needs first. And if you are on the receiving end, you may want to ask the giver to stop so you can keep your dignity.

  10. (Name & details removed by Moderator) says:

    I have found out the hard way you don’t have to sweep into people’s lives with a big fat chequebook to be generous. Due to worsening health problems I made the decision to concentrate my remaining time, energies and financial resources on looking after No 1. I stopped doing volunteer work and spending my time making other people happy. I even edited my XMas card list and I now know, from the smaller amount I received this year, just who really cares. I wish that I had been more selfish easrlier. Now that I have so little time left of it I realise I spent too much time and effort doing the right thing and being overtly generous.

  11. Tim (Wraxall) says:

    It’s not narcissism. It’s about insecurity & people pleasing. People do this because they crave recognition and love.

    • Chance-boy says:

      Over-givers do not over give… they want more for THEM and they look to get it by doing little things for people that they think will win them accolades. Even if they are not doing that consciously, they have a desperate need for people to thank them. This is not a criticism as such people are truly kind and do nice things from the goodness of their hearts. But they let themselves go beyond kindness because they feel like saying ‘no’ might lose them the affection. At that point it is no longer about other people’s wellbeing.

      • If you go on and on about your own kindness, you are not a genuine ‘giver’ as you shouldn’t be counting up your favours.

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