Caring for another, but not yourself becomes a pattern difficult to break. Ask yourself these questions to determine what’s preventing you from reaching out for help:
Do you believe it’s selfish to ask for help?
There are many of us who simply hate the idea of putting someone out. We are the ones offering favors throughout life, never the other way around. The thought of being “a bother” to someone is stressful in itself. However, when we look at the alternative—possible caregiver burnout, ultimately leading to inadequate care for our loved one—it should make us reconsider our own thoughts about thinking it’s selfish to ask for help.
Do you feel inadequate?
Many of us are
conditioned to believe we need to be superwoman/man and that we should work
full time while caring for our loved one, and our children, doing all household
chores, and on, and on. It is common to believe we are not doing enough, and
that we are somehow inadequate, otherwise, we wouldn’t even contemplate needing
help. The truth is, we need to get over this fallacy and remember our physical
and mental health is on the line. And if that falters, the care we are giving
will suffer too.
Is it difficult to put your needs first?
If your spouse or family member is in an extreme depressive episode, it will naturally be difficult for you to contemplate getting out for a little you-time with friends. Even if you could ask a family member to come over to provide some company for your loved one, are you feeling like you can’t put your needs first? So, instead, you stay home and forget the idea of getting out for some much-needed positive away time.
Could you be codependent?
Codependency behavior may be characterized by low self-esteem, denial, compliance, or control patterns. Ask yourself if you have an obsession to please your loved one because the praise feels good; perhaps your role as caregiver makes you feel indispensable, or maybe you don’t think anyone else could do as good a job as you and you don’t want to give up that control. Perhaps none of these fit, but it’s always a good exercise to ask ourselves why we find it difficult to reach out to others for help.
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