Difficulty Asking for Help
Written by: Tonya Keane Chrysalis Effect Referral Practitioner Ireland
Difficulty asking for help.
Turns out, I’m not the only one. M. Nora Klaver, author of “Mayday! Asking for help in times of need” believes there are many reasons people globally are scared to ask for help.
The primary reasons are not wanting to seem weak, needy or incompetent.
During my illness, asking for help was a no-no. I did not seek it and I got angry with those that did not offer it. I had to learn to break this cycle and dig deep to discover the reasons why I was not comfortable asking for help. At first I thought it was because I am a private person, but on further investigating I uncovered the reasons why.
In order to get it, we have to seek it. There is no way round that part of it and that’s where all the problems start.
When we look at our reasons why we have difficulty asking for help we are faced with three main fears.
1. Fear of appearing weak or being out of control.
No one likes to freely admit their incompetence, and in a way we think that’s what we are doing when we ask others for assistance. This becomes a real big issue when we are ill and struggling, willingly showing another individual our weakness leaves us feeling very vulnerable.
When we ask for help, we depend on the other person’s response to dictate our next set of actions. That dependence is extremely undesirable, it forces us to give up our own power which in turn has to do with self-presentation, something I tried very hard to protect when I was ill.
Research shows that in cultures that place a high value on self-sufficiency, e.g. western cultures, people tend to find asking for help a lot more difficult.
Asking for help takes us out of the driving seat and puts us in a passive position. It comes as no surprise that we have difficulty being comfortable with asking for help.
2. Fear of being a burden or rejected.
People will not ask for help if they believe the cost of that request will outweigh the helpers effort, in other words people have trouble asking for help if they believe, it will place to great a burden on another.
3. Fear of being indebted to another.
What will asking for help cost me? What will this person want in return?
As social creatures maintaining equilibrium in relationships is a fairly important thing for us, asking another for help shifts the power balance in the other persons favour.
We have all come across someone who simply won’t let us return the favour, or on the opposite side you’ve dealt with someone who simply won’t stop helping you even after you stopped asking for it. We don’t like to open ourselves up to these kind of unpleasant social situations, so we avoid them all together by not asking for help.
I think the most important thing to remember is that most people want to help and actually find great gratification from it.
Asking for help is not a bad thing; it does not mean we are incompetent or incapable. It is, however, a part of life that we all need to get a little more comfortable with.
Once I dealt with my fear and started asking for help, life became so much easier.
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