We are supposed to depend on each other

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"I can't burden anyone with this"

"Other people have their own problems"

"No-one will understand"

"I'm too ashamed to tell anyone"

There are many ways in which we rationalise decisions not to ask for support when we are struggling. Sometimes beliefs about being strong, being a helper, or being perfect get in the way of being able to let others offer support.

Sometimes feelings of shame, embarrassment or inadequacy stop us from honestly revealing what is going on inside. Sometimes a sense that we are just not entitled to help stops any request from passing our lips.

The trouble is, humans are social animals. We evolved to live in packs. In earlier days we could not have survived without others. Our young are born vulnerable, needing parental care for an extended period. Our brains develop through social interaction. Connection and community are normal.

Cutting off and being isolated can be symptoms of pain, and they are also causes of suffering. Research shows the benefits of social contact, of shared interests and companionship for mood and well-being.

Next time you feel yourself hesitating to let another person know you are suffering, or a pulling back from asking for help, ask yourself:

- how is this so challenging for me?

- how can I support myself in showing my vulnerability to another?

- what would I like to have happen?

- Who can I ask for that?

- How will I go about it?

Giving some thought to the patterns inside that make reaching out difficult can help you to overcome them. Identifying and checking out your assumptions about others and about human nature is important. You can then challenge the beliefs that no longer fit or serve you.

Another important aspect of reaching out is receiving. Who do you want to be available and receptive to in your life? How can you communicate that? The energy you put out is most often what you also receive back, so be the change you want to see.

For help in identifying, being with, and updating your beliefs and behaviours around depending on others, get in touch.


Go to the profile of Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

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