So this just happened to me.
Picture it. Raleigh, NC. July 2019. Lunchtime
I usually enjoy my lunch on the balcony sitting area at my job. It's cool, I can the sounds of the fountain, and I am usually the only one out there so, I enjoy the peace. I had my handfuls full with my bowl of salad, my one slice of pizza on a plate, a bottle of water, and whatever else. One of my coworkers walks by, sees me struggling, and stops to ask, “Are you going outside? I can hold the door for you”. I immediately respond, “No. I'm ok”. The coworker assumed I wasn't going outside and walked away.
BUT I WAS GOING OUTSIDE!!!!
Why did I tell him I wasn’t? Why could I not let him hold the door? What is wrong with me?
As I continued to think about what happened, I realized I have done this before. If my tire is flat on the side of the road, I can change it myself and will. Family members and kind strangers have offered help, but I’ve always said, “No. I got it”.
I fell into depression back in 2017 because I refuse to ask for help or let people know that I was struggling.
Since that depression, I have worked with a therapist to find out how this behavior formed and how I can mend it. We realized that being raised by a single mother who I did not see ask for help, I adopted that same model. As the oldest sibling – like most oldest siblings – I felt the need to be the more responsible one who could not come to my parent with a bunch of problems. As I child, I never came to my mother with the problem but with the solution to the problem because I would find a way to solve the problem myself.
There have been times in my adolescent life where I did ask for help, and the parent (mainly my father) or person I asked made me feel like it was a burden or that help came with a lecture shaming me about the situation that had me asking in the first place. So eventually I stopped asking for help altogether, struggling and sacrificing to figure it out all on my own.
Do you see how this issue formed?
I am not blaming my mother. She was the best mother to my sister and I. I love that she taught me strength and independence, but I may have gone overboard with the execution of the lesson. Asking tor help is not a weakness, but a strength.
My therapist said in cultures or families where “asking for help” was not an option it is very easy to teach or show the children of the following generation to not ask for help. This is not because “asking for help” is a bad thing but because they never had the privilege of doing so and they don’t know the benefits.
With help from my therapist, I have been able to work through come issues of asking for and accepting help when I need something from family or friends without breaking down into a pool of emotions over the fact that I need help in the first place. However, this is an issue I struggle with a lot because of my past experiences and traumas. You can’t expect to unlearn practices you have done your whole life in such a short time.
Do any of you have issues asking for help? What practices have you done to get better at asking and accepting help?