Confusing situation regarding "ownership" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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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.

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#6 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:45 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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Yup. With the others. It's hers and she has every right to it, no matter how justified you feel...

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#8 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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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.

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#9 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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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.

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#10 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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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.
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#11 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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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?
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#12 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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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.

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#13 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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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?)

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#14 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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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.

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#15 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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Yep. You took something that didn't belong to you. Do the right thing and send it back.
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#16 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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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!

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#17 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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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.
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Ditto.

It isn't your bowl, it is her bowl, give it back.
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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.

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#18 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 05:18 PM
 
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Mail it back. Pack it very carefully and insure it.
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#20 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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I believe you already know what the right thing is to do
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#21 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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There is nothing confusing about the situation. It's her bowl and she wants it back, there is no way to justify keeping it.

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#22 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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Like all the PPs have said, you're rationalizing stealing something because you want it.

Send it back to her.
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#23 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 06:21 PM
 
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Dude, you totally stole her bowl! You don't take something without asking because you think you deserve it more!

Send her the bowl back, apologise profusely and buy your own!

It's complicated.
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#24 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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Dude, you totally stole her bowl! You don't take something without asking because you think you deserve it more!

Send her the bowl back, apologise profusely and buy your own!
this! there is no grey area here, you took her bowl and she wants it back.

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#25 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I get what you all are saying, but the confusing part is...why didn't she ask me for it when we were living there and why didn't she just come by and get it when we were living nearby for 4 months after that? It feels like she wasn't taking responsibility for her bowl, that's the point I was trying to make. Yes, it's her bowl, yes I should have asked her before I took it with me, but she never communicated to me about it, and then add on top of that the fact that she could have come and picked it up while I was still living there. If it were my bowl and I was treating the situation like this, I wouldn't blame the other person for not caring enough to go out of her way to give it back to me. I don't know, I guess it's just me. You don't purposely not say anything when you very well know someone else is using something you didn't want them to use in the first place and then, on top of that, not go and pick up the item you dearly love. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Also, might I add, she moved my salt lamp that was in the common area into her room without asking me first. She did mention it sometime later and I said it was okay for her to borrow it. But she didn't go out of her way to give it back to me when we were moving out nor did she think to drop it off at my house after we moved. I told her I would like my things but not having a car made it difficult to go pick them up.
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#26 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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I get what you all are saying, but the confusing part is...why didn't she ask me for it when we were living there and why didn't she just come by and get it when we were living nearby for 4 months after that?...
So what? It's her bowl that you took. Why she did or didn't ask for it back earlier is not relevant. She's asked for it back now; you've acknowledged that you took it without permission, and all the rest is irrelevant. If you were to send it back to her and she were to immediately throw it in the garbage, that would be her right because it's her bowl. Whether you think she treated it respectfully or not and whether you think she really cares about it or not are just not relevant.
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#27 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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OP- Did you ever get your salt lamp back?
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#28 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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It doesn't really matter why she didn't say anything earlier, does it? It's hers and you moved out of the house with it. You took it out of the house, which is an entirely different thing than using something while you are still living with some one. It's your responsibility to get it back to her, not the other way around. If you want your things back from her, then I think it's fine to ask for them, but this isn't a tit for tat sort of situation. If you knew she had your lamp when you were moving and you wanted it, you probably should have just walked into her room and taken it with you (and maybe left her bowl in its place?). The big difference it that you left your lamp when you moved, she didn't take it from the place you were living.
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#29 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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Umm, there are people in this world who are just non-confrontational by nature (me) even when we have every right to be.. we don't like to ruffle feathers, we question ourselves, etc. Maybe, just maybe, she didn't say anything to you about using the bowl while you were living together BECAUSE you were still living together. She hated that you were using it, but she knew where the bowl was, it was still *with her* in a sense. She was basically allowing you to use it without her verbal permission. Did that give you a right to quite literally steal the bowl when you moved? No.

As to why she didn't come pick up the bowl when you still lived near each other, who knows.. still could be the non-confrontational thing. Or it could be the fact that she shouldn't have to come get something that YOU took.

She has asked you to send the bowl to her repeatedly. You know the right thing to do.. you're just trying to rationalize why you should get to keep her bowl.

I'm sorry to come off so harsh, but really, taking something that you know doesn't belong to you is just wrong.
Send that bowl back asap and go buy another for your family. Bring your son along to help pick out the replacement bowl.

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#30 of 50 Old 10-21-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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I get what you all are saying, but the confusing part is...why didn't she ask me for it when we were living there and why didn't she just come by and get it when we were living nearby for 4 months after that?
She shouldn't have to. If you borrow/take something that belongs to someone else, it's 100% your responsibility to take good care of it and to return it to its owner promptly before doing something like, oh, moving. She shouldn't have to ask for it, you should have given it back freely. She definitely shouldn't have to drive to you to pick up the bowl that you stole from her.
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