Tag Archives: help

help

While not able to fall asleep last night, my mind raced through details trying to calm itself. I wondered if my upcoming counseling appointment is perhaps weighing more heavily on me than I thought. There is a fairly large sense of guilt looming over me for not being able to manage things by myself. Objectively I see counseling as an intelligent activity: there are experts to help with that. But personally, it falls in the same sort of shameful indulgence as having a cleaner come do my house. I just can’t permit it though I do not judge those who do. In fact, I envy them. 

So I wondered why I feel such shame in asking for help. I should be able to manage my own house and my own emotions. But the reality is sometimes otherwise. It’s just hard to stay on top of it all.

And then I wondered if perhaps my parents shamed me for asking for help at some point. My mom and dad went to a counsellor named Sheldon, I think, when I was ten or twelve and they were beginning to separate. My brother and I saw him once. He asked us what we thought was wrong or what we thought might help them. My clear childlike answer was “Money.” They were financially wrecked and we bore the aftermath of that for years. I expect they set the example for me: they dug themselves out of that mess without declaring bankruptcy.

I will ask for help sometimes. I have been known to ask a bus driver for help finding my stop. I will occasionally ask for advice from someone I deeply trust or about something that seems inconsequential like, “what types of birthday presents are appropriate for 4 year olds?” At work I have no trouble asking questions about policy and formality. But if I am stuck in any situation I perceive I have put myself into and there is anything remotely shameful about it (i.e. I’m lost), I feel it is my own responsibility to bail myself out or suffer the consequences. Asking for help is hard. Very very hard. And when I do ask for help, if I sense I won’t get it, I quickly retract my request. “Fine, I’ll handle it.” I will whinge but I will get it straightened out eventually. That’s not very efficient, but it has required me to be resourceful.

Back to the situation at hand, though, I wonder if other COH (Children of Hoarders) have this same problem. How hard is it for you to ask for help? Did our parents, especially the narcissistic ones, teach us not to ask? I’d rather chew off my own arm than ask my father (HP) help me get out of any situation. He would probably be only too happy to help me — well maybe, he might also knock me over the head for it — but I would never hear the end of it. “Look what I did for you!” 

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meddling

For the past two months, I’ve been thinking about Sid from My Mother-In-Law is Still Sitting Between Us…  and her ability to successfully urge and encourage people, even strangers, to get out from under the hoard. Sid, by the way, thank you.

I would like to say that I am not a meddler, but that is not entirely true. I speak my mind freely, have been known as judgmental and self-righteous, and I enjoy introducing people to each other. However, when it comes to emotional and health issues, my usual response is to ignore sad looks and bad behavior outside my inner-circle. If a person wants to share, I’m more than open, but I have tremendous difficulty asking people if they are OK on a deeper level.

Thinking about the impact Sid’s blog (and the Children of Hoarders listserv and other resources) has had for me, I have to wonder what my life might be like if I could throw myself out there a little more, be the brave one, and perhaps even help a few people out.

Maybe I’m not quite there yet. While several kind strangers encourage me to say something to my parents about their hoarding before it really gets out of hand, I still can’t make myself do it. It’s almost as though I want to see if they will self-destruct on their own. But I do want to learn to make myself more available, even if it means I have to call up my folks and ask  how their pile of crap is doing today.