Recovering from SSS and Facing Our Fears


Recovering from SSS and Facing Our Fears

This morning on Your Caregiving Journey, Anna Stookey joined us to talk about Self-Sufficiency Syndrome (SSS), “an inability and unwillingness to ask for help or delegate because of the belief that no one can do it as well as you can.” You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post.

We spoke about the reasons why we may suffer from SSS, including:

1. We become the source of knowledge about caregiving, which means it can be hard to trust that another can fill our shoes.

2. We become attachment to the identity of being the one who can do or of being the hero.

When we become too much of the person who does it all, we can become frustrated, resentful and angry. When we do too much for others, we're not doing enough for ourselves. And, that's where the frustration and anger enter the equation; it's our body's way of saying, "Hey, what about me?"

Anna reminded us that help is healthy and that we each know what feels healthy.

How do we overcome our inability to ask for and receive help? The first and most important step is to acknowledge the fear we have of letting help in.

1. We may fear rejection which keeps us from even asking. We don't ask, so we don't get a "No." (Read Risk.)

2. We may fear losing our value if we're not the person in charge.

3. We may fear our caree's reaction if someone else provides care. (Read Balancing the Happiness Scale for a perspective which may help.)

4. We may fear a lack of control. Caregiving spins so much out of control for us; if we can control the care provided by being the one who provides care, we think we will feel better. (Read Simplify: Use No as an Agent to Prioritize and Reassess.)

5. We may fear involving others in our place of pain. Caregiving can be a very painful place; we may want to protect others from the experience that often can be just too difficult.

We also spoke about the power of not only speaking our fears but of communicating our fears with others. In our comments section, feel free to express the fear that may stop you from asking for help. There's a reason for our fears--but there's no reason to be powerless to them. Whatever your fear, we understand!


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