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You are not alone. All through my life, when people have asked for help, I have immediately said yes and leapt to do what is needed, and never once have I thought less of them. And yet, for me? I feel inadequate, as if I have failed if I even feel like saying help, because the words actually never come out.
When my husband died, friends said "call me if you need any help" and did I ??? Heck, no. That was a disaster. It still is in a way. And now, you see, everyone sees me as invincible and tough as nails, and never sees the quaking mess. Ah well....all I can do is warn the rest of you not to be as stubborn as me. And to remember how you all feel about the people you leap to help when they ask for it. And I am fervently praying that in my next life I will be pink and fluffy and blonde and helpless, and that the world will rush to my aid at all times. I will also be tiny.


You are so very not alone. When someone is in need I am the FIRST ONE to offer help or step up and do something to lessen their load even if it's just making them take a moment to breathe.

However, when the roles are reversed I rarely ask for help and if I DO I'm embarrassed and feel like I'm adding to that person's burden and inconveniencing them.

Currently? I'm staying at my inlaw's home 2.5 hours from my husband and son. I had to have oral surgery yesterday and they got me to the appointment and back and are taking care of me until I can go home. I feel so ... in the way? That's not really the right word but I feel like such a pain in the ass to them that today, the day after I had general anesthesia and had 6 teeth surgically removed, I cooked dinner so my MIL wouldn't have to when she got home. I totally feel you!


Yes. I think part of it is that I don't want to inconvenience anyone, and part of is that I am very sensitive to the idea that someone might say, "well, that's why you shouldn't have four kids" or "that's why I only had two." And those people *are out there.


My mom was a Type A person and very resistant to receiving help, even when very sick with Lupus. It took our preacher telling her one day - "Who are you to deny someone the chance to be obey God when He told them you needed help? That other people need to be blessings to you just like you obeyed God when He told you to help them and were blessed by helping others."

I try to remember that when someone offers help when I don't ask for it. Maybe God sent them to me not just to help me but maybe to help them too. Amazing how God told our preacher something years ago that is almost exactly what your priest said this week.

I hate asking for help and almost always offer to help out btw.


OMG, you are SO NOT ALONE!!! You have just summed me up - willing to help, UNWILLING to ask for help in return! I chalk it up to the lessons from the women in my family - strong, uncomplaining, seemingly self-reliant in all matters. But who knows, maybe they are inwardly begging for help too and just not asking out loud.

I have just begun to ask for help for very small things (please be sure my son gets across the street from the bus stop safely because I'm vomiting and can't leave the bathroom). But I can't even bring myself to hire a housekeeper to help me because *I* wanted this big house and *I* should be able to keep up with it myself.

I wish we did still live in villages where asking for help wasn't a sign of weakness. It would make us all so much less self-critical, wouldn't it? Why is it only after a few glasses of wine that the women in my neighborhood admit that they feel underwater, too?


You are so NOT alone! I refuse to ask for help unless there is absolutely no other way AT ALL. And then I only ask for the tiniest amount of help possible. It is the way we were raised. I'm sure it is. Strong - self-sufficient - reliable women that never ask for help but always offer to help.


I know this is off topic, but do you know if there are any grocery stores or drug stores that deliver? A small delivery fee might be worth the gas and time you save driving back and forth. Might be worth looking into.


Interesting. I'm not a mom so maybe this has something to do with it, but I have no problem asking for help. No one person can do everything -- we all need help sometimes.


More on topic, sometimes you have to put your pride aside and ask for help to do what's best for all involved. A mommy spread too thin is an unhappy mommy. An unhappy mommy = unhappy kids and unhappy hubby.


I needed to read this today. So many of us are in this exact mindset. We volunteer, take on extra children, run our own households, help with anyone else, and yet... we just can't ask for help for ourselves. So true. So sad. Having a larger family, I often think if I ask for help that people may have the thought of 'then you shouldn't have had so many kids' or as you said would think less of me as a person. We have friends, neighbors, family, etc. We help them if they ask, why is it so hard for us?


BTW, this post brought tears to my eyes. And what a statement "the reality of the load you carry is that only parts of it are visible to the public"! People never really know the load that others bear. I have always tried to teach my children and to live by the standard that you never know what is going on in someone else's life. Thanks for being so candid ;)


Add me to the group. You need me and I will help in any way I can. But it is just impossible for me to ask for help, no matter what the situation. I view it as a failure on my part if I need help, like I am somehow less than or I have done it wrong, or whatever. My husband insists it is because I don't think I am worth having anyone help me and I don't want to bother them. *shrugs* Whatever the reason, I am trying to get better about asking for help, but my is it hard.


Just repeating, You are not alone! I am one of those who is the first to offer help or agree to do something. I don't trust people very easily because of being burnt. Well meaning people, just really don't mean well. So I nearly kill myself doing what I need to get done by myself.


I think in my case, why would I ask another person when my own spouse is unwilling to help? I am afraid that they would be resentful, rightly so, if they had to be inconvenienced, while my spouse goes about as if everything is handled fine.

Maybe I shouldn't even post this, since it is a sore subject with me right now.


I sooo feel like that. I always feel bad if I ask for help, but am always quick to say yes to other people's requests. And then - because I'm crazy (and I realize it) - I get mad because I always help and no one helps me. It's because I DON"T ASK FOR HELP. But they should be able to read my mind, right? RIGHT?


I have felt this way. After a lot of rumination, I decided that, for myself, it was due to the "sin" of pride rather than the "virtue" of self-pride.

When I developed cancer and needed three months of chemo and 7 surgeries in one year, I discovered that I wasn't as independent as I thought. I needed to ask for and accept everyone's help. I did not like admitting that I couldn't manage, but this thought came into my head, "Who are you to hold yourself above needing others?"

Although, I still have a way to go, I am now much better at asking for and receiving help.

I hope, Carmen, that you can arrive at this point in a much less painful manner than I required.

Nelson's Mama

I try to ask for help when I really need it; if I've never asked for help, others are never going to be comfortable asking me for help.

To me, it's a two-way street - if I'm your friend, don't deny me the opportunity (yes, it's an opportunity), the good feeling, the joy, of helping you.

When I don't ask for help and do everything myself is when I'm in martyr mode and there is nothing virtuous about that...


Wow! I never want to ask for help, not ever. This week though, I was helpless. I had a hysteretomy last week, and figured, no biggie, I can stil do everything after 2 days of "rest". Hahahahahahahaha! I had to let others help. And yes, they were happy to do it, even volunteering to do even more than necessary. And I let them. It was beautiful to feel the love for a change, and now I truely believe that letting and giving are necessary. BTW, the hysterectomy will be a godsend someday, I know!

Headless Mom

I'm getting better at it but still have a kibg way to go. It helps to have a good friend whose kids are similar ages to mine that we can trade driving, play dates, etc, when things get to be too much. We are also close enough to be ok with it when one of us has to say no.

It's really freeing. You should try it. ;-)


Carmen, it's so interesting that you bring this topic up, because something happened just last week that started me thinking about it -- but I stopped because I didn't like the way it made me feel.

I think I have trouble asking for help because I don't want anyone to have anything to hang over my head. I don't want to be indebted. I don't want to allow an opportunity for anyone to make me grovel. I feel especially strongly about this if it is the result of a decision I made that turned out badly (as opposed to an accident outside of my control).

I'm not sure why I feel this ... defensive, I guess is a word to describe it. I fear what kind of negative things it says about me, though I don't feel like I keep score or hesitate to help others.

Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

I think Father was at the heart of the issue, it has to do with pride, and the flip side of that, humility. I have had a crash course in humility for the past 18 months, and although I am extremely grateful for all those who have helped me and my family, sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable, vulnerable feeling. It has everything to do with pride.


I had this problem after I got married (at 36). I was accustomed to taking care of things on my own. When I get overwhelmed I get more bitchy than usual ;-) So I sort of learned to ask for help before that happens (most of the time).


I'm good with accepting help from my husband and close family but that's about it. Otherwise it's game face all the way.

But I'm also good with saying no to people. If I don't want to do it, if I'm not going to have time to do it justice, if it's not going to enhance my life or the life of my family, I will say no and I will not feel guilty for a single minute about it. I have my own stuff to deal with. I don't need to add more water to a sinking ship.


To add to what a few above have said, I think the crux of the matter is an illusion of control that we think we have on our lives which at any given moment, can shatter. It's then that most of us are forced to ask for or accept help. Perhaps centuries ago people had a more realistic sense of the fragility of life. People get sick, people die, people lose jobs, wars happen, ships sink, fortunes are lost, squandered, etc.

Another thought is that it's easier to ask for help from someone who doesn't feel the need to lecture you or try to "fix" your life.


My eyes seriously bugged out of my head reading that list of places you've been in the last week. If I ever have 2 doctors visits to make in a week it throws me off completely. Geez! You're amazing once again...

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  • Carmen Staicer is a whirlwind of energy and execution who rarely sleeps and loves coffee and happens to have six outstanding awesome, incredibly loud and opinionated kids who are always right no matter what. Her passions include Zumba, hiking, photography, homeless ministry, reading, cooking, and spending time at the beach as often as possible. She's a college student studying to be a social worker who works as a Barista. State of mind? Tired, y'all.