3 Reasons People Don’t Ask For Help

My father loved to help people but he rarely asked for help himself.

In spite of deteriorating strength in the latter years of his life, my father steadfastly refused the help of others, often evoking a deal of distress and frustration for other family members. I frequently referred to my father’s behaviour as ‘stubbornness’ however I also knew that beneath this insistence on doing things without the help of others, there was a desperate need to be in control and an overwhelming fear of what letting go of control might mean for him. He lived his entire life that way however there was a physical and emotional cost that, had he been able to ask for help, may have had a less debilitating impact upon him as he aged.

Captivated Images;Girl & spider webIt is my experience that many people find it difficult to ask for help, even when they are not coping well. Can you identify with that experience? The beliefs you hold about yourself and who you are in relationship to others, will inform much of your behaviour including your willingness to ask for help.

Here are 3 reasons why people don’t ask for help and the underlying beliefs that might support each reason.


 1. I Don’t Need Help

Who Am I in Relationship To Others?

  • I am strong
  • I am right
  • I am independent
  • I cannot rely upon anyone else to do the job the way I want it to be done

The truth is that even the strongest among us can feel stressed, overwhelmed, time poor and fatigued. At times such as this, the failure to ask for help creates inner resentment, frustration and anger that, unattended to, is redirected to the people closest to you.

Consider this:

  • What is the emotional cost to you by not asking for the help you need?
  • What is it you fear when asking for help?
  • What would be the benefits to you and others, if you asked for help sometimes?

2. I Should Be Able To Do It Without Help

Who Am I in Relationship To Others?

  • I should be strong
  • I should be competent
  • I should be in control
  • I should be independent

‘Shoulds’ betray the false belief that you are only acceptable to others when you behave in a way that meets the expectation of others. Underneath those ‘shoulds’ you might be feeling inadequate, incompetent, indecisive, scared and isolated. The fear that you will be exposed and consequently embarrassed and/or rejected prevents you from asking for the help you need.

Consider this:

  • What is the physical and emotional cost when I comply with my ‘shoulds’?
  • Whose voice is it that keeps insisting I ‘should’ – is it a parent or some other significant person past or present?
  • What would it be like if you were able to find the help you need to cope with daily life and all that life requests of you?
  • What do you find most challenging about asking for help?

3.  Others Should Know That I Need Help

Who Am I in Relationship To Others?

  • I expect others to understand my feelings
  • I expect others to anticipate my needs
  • I expect others to take their responsibility to help seriously

Between what you expect of others and what others actually do for you, there lies a vast gap. You may be feeling tired, resentful, and easily irritated and undervalued.

The ‘expectations’ we have of others are seldom met unless we first have a conversation and find common agreement on those same expectations. It is my experience that people often fail to communicate their expectations well, believing that others ‘should know’.

Consider this:

  • What is the physical and emotional cost to me when I expect others to meet my needs yet never ask?
  • Why should others know what I expect – are they mind readers?
  • What do I find most challenging about asking people for help as opposed to expecting them to mind read?

Asking for help is:

  1. a sign of strength not weakness
  2. An acknowledgement of the resources that others (partner, family members, friends, wider community) possess and the contribution they can make to your own health and wellbeing.
  3. an opportunity for personal growth
  4. necessary for a healthy relationship
  5. a form of inclusion and encouragement to others

Is one or more of these reasons for not asking for help, familiar to you? Why not challenge yourself to ask for some help this week? It may be a matter of picking up your phone and contacting that friend or ringing a particular help-line. It may mean doing some research online to access the resource you need. It may simply mean sitting down with your partner or family member over a coffee and telling them what it is you need help with. It may also mean finding the professional help you need. I encourage you today to take the first step towards asking for help. The oft quoted phrase ‘No man is an island’ is so true for all of us, we need each other’s help but first of all, you have to ask.

If you experiencing difficulty and need help, direction and support  then here’s what you need to do contact me on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how I can best help you or press book now to book on my online diary.

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