So many people say to me, “if you need anything, just ask” but I very rarely do.
People offer to look after S while I sleep, to help clean the house, to do my washing up, to go to the shop for me. I know I have certain neighbours upon whom I could call at practically any time, and ask to borrow anything from a cup of sugar to an electrical appliance, and if they had it, I could borrow it. But I don’t ask, and I probably never will. We have our Home Start volunteer who comes every week and is an absolute godsend, but I feel very uncomfortable that she comes at all. I don’t like to ask for help, and often if it is offered, I will refuse. And these are the reasons why:
People let you down
Being let down when you thought you had help on the way is worse than just having to do it on your own. If I know I have to go here, do this, make this appointment, call that person, go shopping, wash up, get the washing done, cook dinner, visit that person, buy this, make sure that is done – I just take a deep breath, put my head down and get on with it. If someone offers to help me, I tend to see that as a light at the end of the tunnel: “oh, I don’t need to worry about that because this person is coming to help me with it/do it for me.” If they then forget, or just don’t bother, my workload suddenly seems a lot worse than it did before, when I was prepared for doing it all on my own. I also tend to react fairly badly to that, and get upset with the person in question – which can make for difficult friendships.
I don’t like to put people out
The other day when D came round, she did my washing up. I cannot tell you how guilty I still feel about that. It’s difficult enough for me to accept that she comes round and plays with S for a couple of hours for me so that I can make phone calls and things, but to have her cleaning up after me, I feel awful. I hate to bother people for things. If I’ve run out of coffee I know full well I could go and knock on my friend’s door and she’d happily give me some coffee – but I’d rather just go without coffee until I can get to the shop. I know that I could call any number of people and ask them to go and buy coffee for me and bring it round, but I’d rather just put a coat on myself and S, and wander off to the shop myself. I have no idea why I am like this; I’m perfectly happy to do things for other people, and don’t consider myself to be put out at all, but when they offer to do the same for me, I invariably say no. I also offer that people may not really mean it: they offer because they figure I’ll say no. Like when you’re a kid and you offer to help your mum do the housework because you know she’ll say no because you’re crap at it.
I need to know I can do it on my own, without help
I spent most of my pregnancy, and the first months of S’s life feeling that I wasn’t really capable of doing anything without a certain person assisting me. When that person kept removing himself from my life, I was thrown into a state of panic: how could I ever do this on my own? What had I done? What would become of me now? Now that I have been on my own for a while, it’s incredibly important to me that I not rely on anyone else too much. I need to know that if everyone buggered off tomorrow, S and I could still function on our own. I need to prove that to myself on a daily basis. Even with big things like putting up curtains or decorating rooms, I’d rather not have to rely on anyone else to do it for me. I like to know that I can do this on my own.
This is a bit of an odd post, brought on by the fact I’ve been wondering why I find it so hard to accept help when it’s offered.
And now, off I go to pig-headedly struggle through my life without asking for any help.