Last month, we spoke about Self-Sufficiency Syndrome. Today, we took a closer look at those in the family who don’t help. And, as happens, when we look at others we turn to ourselves.
Anna shared an important an insight this morning: When we ask for help, we ask to be different and to be seen differently. We may take on a certain role in our family (nuturer, doer)–a role that we and others become comfortable in and with. When we ask for help, we are changing our role, which can cause discomfort for ourselves and for others.
And, here’s the key: We can be–just be–within the discomfort. It’s not our place to change other family members’ discomfort to comfort by saying, “Oh, gosh, I guess I can keep doing this. There’s no need to help.”
Here’s how it can look:
Carol, the family caregiver: “It’s really important for me to here for our caree. I can continue as long as I have two days off every month. How can we make that happen?”
Frank, a family member: “Oh, come on! You can’t be serious. You know I have too much going on right now. You know I’ve got a stressful job, an ex-wife who won’t give me a break and a teen-ager trying to send me to an early grave. I can’t believe you would ask me to help out with all that I’ve got going on.”
Rather than caving and removing her request, Carol says: “Yes, I understand. It’s a tough time for you. I also understand that I’m often worn out. I’ve made significant sacrifices. To keep going, I need two days off every month. I’ll let you give some thought as to how this can work. I’m open to all ideas. I’ll give you a call Tuesday to discuss.”
In this exchange, Carol spoke her truth (what she needs to continue) and dared to be different. She’s given Frank time to consider options. She’s also given herself time to research alternatives, in case Frank cannot step in. More important, she saved herself from rescuing Frank from his discomfort.
This next week, give some thought as to how you can dare to be different. Tell your truth, then take the dare.