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Confusing situation regarding "ownership"

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Maybe it's not really that confusing, I'm pregnant and I have a bad cold, so I'm not exactly clear-headed. A former housemate of mine has been wanting a singing bowl back that I ended up taking with me when we all moved out of our house and went separate ways. During the time we were there (6 months) there was a singing bowl that was in a common area. My son and I started enjoying it on a regular basis and it eventually ended up in our room. I wasn't sure if that was okay or not, but I figured that she would knock on my door and ask me for it if it wasn't okay. She wasn't there a lot of the time and when she was there she never seemed to care or do much with most of her possessions. So this amazing bowl that my son and I grew to love stayed in our room the entire time and when it came time to move out, I decided to bring it with me. I knew that I needed to ask her if this was okay, but, again, she wasn't home and I was in a hurry to move out (due to major drama with a different housemate). I now loved the bowl and so did my son and it felt right energetically for it to go with us, especially since it didn't seem like she cared about it much at all.

Well, a few days after we move out I get an e-mail from her asking me if I have the bowl. I told her yes and she said she wants it back. She has a few of my things that I either gave her or they simply ended up in her room so I asked if it was okay for us to declare it a fair trade. She said she wasn't okay with this because the singing bowl holds a lot of sentimental value for her so she can't bear to part with it. I told her I would try to get it to her as soon as I could, but it might take awhile because I didn't have my own car (we were now living about 30 to 40 minutes apart). Over the course of the summer, she reminded me a few times about it and also about the items she has of mine, but she never offered to drive to me (which wouldn't have been difficult for her at all).

Now that I'm living several states away, she e-mails me yet again and asks if I can mail it to her. This situation is getting old, so I decided to dig deeper within myself and see why it's not being resolved. It would be so simple just to give her the bowl back, right? Yes, it would, but there are deeper layers to take into consideration. For example, when I explained why it seemed like she didn't care about the bowl (after it being in our room for months without her saying anything to me about it) she tells me that she was aware we had it in our room since she heard us using it on occasion, but she felt bad asking for it back. She didn't like the fact that we were using her bowl since it's something she typically only uses in ceremonies, but she wouldn't communicate this with me. She didn't say anything at all until we moved out and then it took several months after that for her to tell me that she knew I had it all along but refused to say anything to me about it. It could have been as simple as, "I want my bowl back," or "Make sure you give it back when you're done"...anything of that nature. We lived in a community-style house in which our possessions were getting shared and swapped pretty regularly. The things we didn't want to share or swap we either kept in our separate rooms or made it clear to the others that we didn't want to share it (like how she put a gate up around her sewing area downstairs to keep the kids out and to designate the space as hers). The fact that she had the bowl in the common area and then didn't say anything about it when it was in our room for several months made it seem like a reasonable conclusion to me that it didn't matter to her what happened to it.

I don't know, though, I'm having a hard time feeling completely clear about this. I've offered to pay her for the bowl but she doesn't want my money. I don't want to give her the bowl just because of the principle of it, especially because she has never seemed to genuinely care for it the way my son and I have. A singing bowl is a sacred object to me, something that needs to be treated with respect, which is why I'm taking this situation so seriously and not just doing the logical thing, which is what I normally do. I'm trying to really feel and sense what's right, but it's not easy because there are levels of gray which makes it hard to see clearly. I'm hoping that you guys can provide me with your own opinions and insights to help me gain more clarity Thank you.
post #2 of 50
You are muddying this up, and if I had to guess, I'd guess that you're doing that because you don't want to do the simple, obvious, right thing.

There is nothing in what you've posted that justifies you keeping another person's property when that person has (repeatedly) asked for it back. Pack the bowl up carefully and mail it to your ex-roommate ASAP.
post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
You are muddying this up, and if I had to guess, I'd guess that you're doing that because you don't want to do the simple, obvious, right thing.

There is nothing in what you've posted that justifies you keeping another person's property when that person has (repeatedly) asked for it back. Pack the bowl up carefully and mail it to your ex-roommate ASAP.
Ditto.

It isn't your bowl, it is her bowl, give it back.
post #4 of 50
I'm with the PP. The bowl belongs to her. You moved it to your own room without asking permission, and then took it with you without asking permission. Whether or not she was there when you moved it is immaterial. It's her bowl. The default would have been to leave it there, not take it with you. Get that bowl in the mail to her ASAP. It belongs to her in every legal and ethical way.
post #5 of 50
I agree with MeepyCat. The bowl is not your or your sons, simple. I have things which hold a lot of sentimental value to me and I may barely use them but that is my right as is your old roomies.

You really had no right to even take the bowl with you when you moved. Maybe she really did feel awkard asking about it. I probably would too if I saw that someone was enjoying an item of mine.
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
You are muddying this up, and if I had to guess, I'd guess that you're doing that because you don't want to do the simple, obvious, right thing.

There is nothing in what you've posted that justifies you keeping another person's property when that person has (repeatedly) asked for it back. Pack the bowl up carefully and mail it to your ex-roommate ASAP.
this. You took the bowl because it felt right "energetically?"

I'm sorry to be harsh, but I think you stole because you wanted it. Your roomate was being nice by letting your son and you use it, and to not return it now would be the hight of mean.

I would take great pains to return it ASAP in the most careful manner possible, even if I had to borrow money to mail it back with insurance and proper packing.
post #7 of 50
Yup. With the others. It's hers and she has every right to it, no matter how justified you feel...
post #8 of 50
I just wanted to add, I"m hindu, and I'm familar with the idea of sacred objects that need to be respected and cared for.

I would be absolutely livid if someone took one of my murti's because they felt that i wasn't caring for it properly.
post #9 of 50
I admit, I am not seeing the grey area here. The bowl belongs to her. You took it, without express permission, first 30 mintues away and then several states away. It sounds like she has been more than patient with you. I undestand that you and your son are now attached to it, but that doesn't make it any less her bowl.
post #10 of 50
It's hers, you took it, it's your responsibility to get it back to her as quickly as possible at your own expense.

The "deeper layer" is that you want to keep it because you like it.

Regardless of your impression at the time (which sounds to me like she was just trying to be nice and never dreamed you'd actually take it when you left since you know it's not yours), she has made it clear to you that she didn't want you to have it and she wants it back.

It might be a sacred object, but it's HER sacred object. She shared it with you for a long time and didn't want to do the swap when you offered to swap after she asked for it back, so clearly she had no intention of it becoming someone else's property just because she left it in the common area of your house.
post #11 of 50
I can understand your attachment to the bowl, especially if you had been generous towards her with your things. Is she willing to send those items back to you?
post #12 of 50
Return the bowl, carefully packaged and shipped.

Your perception about how much or how little she values her own possessions is not germane. It is her bowl.

You also don't want to teach your son that you can take other people's things, just as long as you think they are more sacred than the owner does.
post #13 of 50
it's not yours, like dawningmama said, theres no gray area here. Send it back to her, and buy your own singing bowl(if its something you can buy?)
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amatullah0 View Post
it's not yours, like dawningmama said, theres no gray area here. Send it back to her, and buy your own singing bowl(if its something you can buy?)
Yup, you can absolutely buy them. Most moderate to larger towns have bricks and mortar places you can buy (I know where to get one even here in Kentucky) and if not, you can online.
post #15 of 50
Yep. You took something that didn't belong to you. Do the right thing and send it back.
post #16 of 50
You shouldn't have taken it, and you know that. It doesn't matter how much you perceive that she does or doesn't care about the bowl -- it's hers, not yours. I have things in my house that I rarely use, but that doesn't mean that my friends are allowed to take them and refuse to give them back when I ask!

It was rude of you to refuse to send it when she asked, or offer money instead, or proclaim that you love it more than she does and therefore you deserve it more. If I were you I would send it back with a sincere note of apology.

If you love it, buy your own!
post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
You are muddying this up, and if I had to guess, I'd guess that you're doing that because you don't want to do the simple, obvious, right thing.

There is nothing in what you've posted that justifies you keeping another person's property when that person has (repeatedly) asked for it back. Pack the bowl up carefully and mail it to your ex-roommate ASAP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post
Ditto.

It isn't your bowl, it is her bowl, give it back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawningmama View Post
I admit, I am not seeing the grey area here. The bowl belongs to her. You took it, without express permission, first 30 mintues away and then several states away. It sounds like she has been more than patient with you. I undestand that you and your son are now attached to it, but that doesn't make it any less her bowl.


and if you want your things back, you cannot, legally, hold her possession as collateral. Any judge would say that's silly and wrong. You should never have taken it with you when you moved out, that was stealing, and you definitely should return it to her. It's not her job to drive several states away to get back what you stole from her.
post #18 of 50
I would send her the bowl and buy a new one for your son. It will make you feel better to finally do the right thing.
post #19 of 50
Mail it back. Pack it very carefully and insure it.
post #20 of 50
I believe you already know what the right thing is to do
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