I haven’t always liked myself very much. That is a side effect of growing up with horrible people who blamed their behavior on me. But I have always been openly proud of my independence. I have always seen my ability to function without help as a powerful strength.
It didn’t matter what I had to do to get everything done on my own. It didn’t matter if I forgot to eat or slept for 3 hours a night all week long. It didn’t matter if I was practically dead from exhaustion. As long as I did it all myself, everything was great. I was succeeding in life.
When I started down the road of recovery, it became clear that my concept of success might have been tainted by my past. I started to realize that I might not have everything quite right. I realized that my life situation was going to make my previous independence less possible (although my controller was still willing to try). My recovered memories and shift out of “doormat” status sent my family, husband and “friends” running for the hills. They didn’t want to know a woman with boundaries. So suddenly, I was a single mother with no family and very few friends. I was on my own.
Let’s be fair. I was on my own when they were there. Why? Asking for help was not okay. To take it a step further, asking for help was dangerous. But as I recovered, I realized that it might be possible to have some people in my life who could be helpful, less critical, more supportive. I know what you are thinking. “That doesn’t exist.” I haven’t seen much of it either. But that might have to do with my expectations. I attracted what I expected. And when it came to others, my expectations weren’t high.
As I have made progress, I have taken small steps toward vulnerability and asking for help. Sometimes this was a necessity. Sometimes I was giving it a try. I wanted to know if it might work out for me, if support really was available for someone like me. But more importantly, I wanted to see if support might come without strings attached. Recently I had a setback. It has taught me that I still need to hone my discernment skills in this area. But it has also taught me that my parts have a lot to say about it. Here are some of the reasons that my parts want to do everything on their own (in their own words).
- There are always strings attached. I will owe them forever. They will constantly remind me of all they have done for me. They will tell others too. I will walk around with this debt on my shoulders and there will never seem to be enough to pay it off. It is best not to ask for help. It may be exhausting, but so is the weight of those contracts.
- I want to be free, so I can’t ask for help. If I allow people to get involved in my life, they will take it from me. I cannot be free to live my life if others have helped me. I can’t make all the decisions because I didn’t create my on my own. Others will be able to take credit for it and I can’t do anything about it.
- If I need help, I am not good enough. I am weak if I need help. Asking for help is vulnerable and vulnerability is weakness. It always will be. I am responsible for figuring out my life by myself. I can’t bug others with my whiney neediness.
- People don’t love people who need help and support. People only want to be around people who can help them. They don’t want to help me. They won’t be my friend if I need something from them. It is best to be as self-sufficient as possible. I can’t ever show them that I need their help.
- I don’t need anyone. Nobody can help me. They don’t have what it takes. I am the only person who can do what I need to be done. Everyone else is not capable. Everyone else will mess it up. I just need to do it on my own. That way, it will get done right.
This inner chatter is there in the background of my life. And honestly, I don’t have the answers to resolve it yet. I do hope there are people in the world who will support me unconditionally. I do believe I can find those who won’t hold their support over my head. I know that I can be vulnerable and imperfect with some people without feeling threatened by it. But manifesting it has proved challenging (as have most relationship issues). I won’t give up though. I won’t let my mantra continue to be, “I don’t need anyone.” It isn’t how I want to live. It isn’t how humans are supposed to live.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW