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Can you be too independent? How do you accept help?

(12 Posts)
Whatthedinosaursaw Thu 02-Nov-17 22:16:22

Because I am, or always try to be. But I don't know how to stop.

I was brought up that I didn't need a man - my parents taught me to be pretty self sufficient. Stuff I couldn't do, say chopping down a tree or fixing a gutter, I paid a professional if I could afford it or put up with it if not. I was always encouraged to see needing help, or not knowing how to do something as weakness and the absolute last thing I wanted to show. I had to be better at everything than anyone else.

Since I met my partner over 3 years ago I've rarely accepted his help. I don't want to look weak. When we met I didn't have a car but would refuse lifts from him. I still now will often get the bus to his house if my car is in the garage or my DC are using it, I would never allow him to pick me up.

I often do stuff at his house, putting his washing on, hanging it to dry, washing up, tidying. He doesn't ask me to do all that. He's perfectly capable, I just insist on helping.

I'm seeing now though this is backfiring. By wanting to always be more capable, better, less demanding, it's not making either of us happy. He finds not ever being able to help me frustrating. Honestly if ever he asks if I need help I say no I'm fine or no I can do it. I can hear myself saying it. I also feel overwhelmed a lot of the time but that's my fault for being a perfectionist.

I don't know how to stop seeing this as weakness and therefore bad.

I also made a big thing when we met of being low maintenance, not caring about presents, not wanting flowers etc. Not wanting to get married (that ones still true). I feel like I've backed myself into a corner but I don't know if it's me. I think back to past relationships, most were less the ideal but there was one where he regularly bought me flowers, only little supermarket bunches, but that was fine by me, used write me poems, read to me etc. My partner now doesn't like buying flowers because his ex always moaned about them , wouldn't write poetry because he did for her and she didn't like it. etc. So I've said I don't like it etc. But actually I do. Which is pretty messed up.

Where in earth do I start? How do I change my mind set to think someone who allows their partner to put up a rail, or take out the bins, isn't pathetic and lazy?

HipsterAssassin Thu 02-Nov-17 22:32:55

You go to therapy, OP, and examine what the other, deeper meaning of all this was, growing up. It's the kind of stuff you can't figure out on your own. And, if you feel overwhelmed a lot of the time, it sounds like it would be really useful.

Going to therapy - accepting some help - would be a great step. If you pay for it it hopefully it won't seem too uncomfortable - think of it in the same terms of that tree that's too big to chop on your own.

Check out the BACP website and find a good psychotherapist.

Reflexella Thu 02-Nov-17 22:54:32

It seems like you’ve set yourself up some robust defences.

I am similar so following is said with love...

It’s a control thing & control is frightening to give up.

With all of these things talk to him, tell him what you like.

An occasional bunch of flowers and help in the garden won’t make you a high maintenance diva

bestfakesmile Thu 02-Nov-17 22:54:46

I find it very difficult to ask for or accept help. I can't even bear to ask a paid babysitter by text- too uncomfortable!
I've always womdered why I'm like this and my other little weirdnesses like not enjoying giving or reviewing presents. I'm also a workaholic and take most things pretty seriously. I have been on a quest for self improvement for many years and have finally cottoned on the where the problem originates. My parents created quite a chaotic life, especially in my early childhood, and I felt like I couldn't ask for or need anything from them as (they were just too self-absorbed in crazy projects) from being very young. I felt like I had to be the responsible one as they lived so much in the moment it seemed to me that they rarely considered the potential consequences of their actions just went ahead and did crazy things regardless.
I keep my emotions buried so deeply that for the most part, certainly until recently, I'm pretty much unaware of how I'm feeling. I also have trouble working out what I want to do, I have spent my entire life letting others make decisions and then I end up dealing with the consequences.
Maybe your extreme independence stems from a similar root? Basically for me, it comes down to being emotionally neglected by a narcissistic mother. it might be worth reading around that subject yourself and see if you uncover any insights. Good luck

Whatthedinosaursaw Thu 02-Nov-17 22:59:46

I am not sure I feel ready for therapy, it's another help thing. Like I should be able to sort my problems out myself somehow.

A friend was earlier posting on Facebook that her DP had gone out and bought her a new jacket she'd had her eye on. I know that would never happen to me. I've told myself I'd never want that but maybe a bit of me does.

I actually don't think he'd buy me flowers since I made such a thing about not needing them. I've made a massive rod for my own back.

Whatthedinosaursaw Thu 02-Nov-17 23:08:43

Best, I know what you mean, I never ever ask anything from people. I didn't go out on thd evening for years because I had no one to mind my DC and at the time I couldnt afford a babysitter. The idea of asking z parent from school...shock

My parents weren't chaotic quite the opposite, but they heavily reinforced the idea on me I was supremely capable, able to do anything I wanted and absolutely didnt need a man. They died when I was relatively young - I was very emotionally reliant on them and after they died I basically had no one I could rely on until I met my partner 20 years later, all that time I was basically emotionally supporting myself.

I honestly am not sure what I want, and certainly I don't know how to ask for it.

Fixmylife Thu 02-Nov-17 23:09:50

I bought flowers for myself this week, they are lovely! I had similar childhood, chaos all around me so I became the one that didn't need help, that coped and I am still like that. It is about control as I think that means less anxiety about something going wrong. No real idea how you change!

I work with someone who is a bit irritating and a bit self centred but an absolute pro at getting people to do things for her... I just don't think I can be that way. She acts a bit helpless and waits for someone to step in to help and / or do it for her. I don't really respect her for that but I am amazed that it gets results while I soldier on with no offers of help!

Smurfy23 Thu 02-Nov-17 23:19:35

Ive always been hugely independent- it was part of my personality from when I was tiny. Then DF died when I was an adolescent and I think it heightened it even more for me. For a long time my mentality was very much that I didn't want to rely on anyone because they wouldnt always be there and I needed to be able to cope by myself. Control, as PP, was and is a huge part of it. It probably also explains why my longest relationship before I met DH was 18 months and had ended when I was 17!

DH knew I was independent and, generally speaking, it does work for us. We had a few issues at the start with my being "too independent" (his words) and it affecting his self esteem as I didn't "need him". My point which I think I finally got through to him was that no, I didnt need him but I wanted him which to me was far more powerful. I still am hugely independent but there are certain (little) things I will let him do for me to help me which we've worked out through better communication about it. In my head am still uncomfortable about it but I remind myself that he wants to- anything he does is because he offers, never me asking- and its to make him feel better.

Whatthedinosaursaw Thu 02-Nov-17 23:22:52

I can't really espect people who get everything done for them, but I know a lot of them. One has half the men in her family running round doing x and y for her. I think it's lazy but I do also wonder how she does it. She's also the kind of person who meets men and within weeks they're taking her for a weekend in Paris, or buying her n.a. expensive gift.

Whereas I may carry on buying my own flowers.

Fixmylife Thu 02-Nov-17 23:32:10

At least you will get the flowers you like!

Fixmylife Thu 02-Nov-17 23:33:17

I think that might be part of the reason for doing things yours of, that they will be don the way you like and want them to be don, so there is a benefit in there.

Fixmylife Thu 02-Nov-17 23:35:04

For example the week me in Paris, if someone did that for me I would be having ungrateful thoughts about it not being the right date or the flight times being bad or the hotel I. The wrong place etc etc so I do like to do things my way and maybe some of those thoughts have slipped out and put people off doing things for me...

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