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Dec 15

The therapeutic post

Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011 in Family, Something to think about

Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Is it just an Irish thing, where you feel you owe someone a good deed just because they did something nice for you? The mafia would have theories about this and as yet, I’m not sure that I’m with that idea, or against it. Some people like doing nice things for other people. I get that. Do they secretly keep a mental note of how many times I’ve repaid them? That’s the thinker.

This wrecks my head. As a mammy of a ten year old kid trapped in the body of a baby, a hypersensitive yet outgoing seven year old and a toddler with a head-banging/electric socket fixation, how can I not accept help? This is probably that karma thing that people harp on about, helpful neighbours repaying me for the good things I’ve done, but still it leaves me guilty. I didn’t have kids so that I could be weak, I had them because I knew I could handle everything on my own! It just seems so stupid that I should need anyone else. Selfish, even.

But then, life is more complicated than that.

She and I, we went to a Rattle and Hum gig last weekend. I had a ball. I danced the Streets have no Name till the Elevation came home, but that’s whiskey for you. I dragged her back to my place for a Bailey’s Coffee because I knew she was a complicated lady that needed to talk. And talk she did! But amongst it all, she told me that there was something between us that she couldn’t see, that made her uncomfortable. She knew we could never be friends, but she didn’t know why. I had no idea what she was talking about but the fact that she’d minded wee Fartsalot A LOT in the last few weeks was playing on my mind so now I’m confused.

Like Christmas cards for instance. You’ve just received one from Uncle Mohammed and there’s plenty of time to return the postal festivities, do you rush off a quickie for tomorrow’s post, or do you send a half-assed poke on Facebook? It’s up to whatever you can do in the moment. Or what you can push extra hard to do, maybe.

Do your actions really define you though? People tell me that ‘as long as I don’t take the piss, I’ll be okay’, but I don’t believe them. I don’t believe that a million thanks are enough.

What is a girl to do?


Bring on the comments

  1. I really relate to this post. When someone does something for me, my first reaction is to feel grateful. My second is to feel guilty. It doesn’t match my reaction if I do something nice for someone else – I enjoy that and it doesn’t occur to me to expect anything in return. In fact, I mostly feel guilty that I don’t do nice things often enough. I’m talking very small scale here – I don’t have three children and I’m currently in a situation where I don’t need all that much help. But I know that if I did, I’d be very neurotic about asking for it. I’m quite neurotic in general – in me at least, that’s where this comes from.

    Great post!

  2. My brother has done loads of babysitting for us. And he’s since had a baby. And we’re always at him to let us return the favour but he’s never asked us. And he’s always saying to let him know if we want him to babysit but that’s not possible now. He think’s he’s doing us a favour by not asking us to babysit. But he’s not. Because we can’t possibly ask him again until he let’s us repay the favour and notch up some credits. So he’d be doing us a bigger favour by letting us babysit. So that we can ask him again!

    Same goes when someone goes to the shop for you but then won’t take any money. You’re not doing em a favour, because now you can NEVER go to the shop for me ever again!

    This shit is just too fucking complicated.

  3. I’m leaving another comment just because I forgot to click that checkbox below the first time around. (Sorry I’m drunk webbing)

  4. K8 says:

    Jenny; This shit has been bugging me for ages. It never occured to me before to write about it. I’m pretty damn glad you understand!

    John Braine; Me too! I’m so glad you left that second comment even though you didn’t need to, I do that too.

  5. People should do things for other people because it is the right thing to do. Keeping tabs is just wrong. I do things for people because it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, not because of what I might get in return. :)

    That’s like people that do volunteer work, so they can get a certificate that says they did the volunteer work! I rail against that kind of behavior.

    Just be glad you don’t have to worry with the dating scene. That’s another nightmarish ball of wax!

    Facta Non Verba! :)

  6. Granny says:

    Excellent post Kate, It’s really left me thinking. Thinking hurts my shrinking pea brain, stop it and write about flower arranging or somefin.

  7. Ginger Mick says:

    Lord,lady,you’re a complicated one, are you not? Me, being a simple old fella, I try to do what the little man inside me says. He’s generally on the ball, and if it involves me doing a good deed,that’s it. Bugger thanks or repayment.

    I’ve recently been crook and what got me spitting was the number of people who said I only had to ask if I wanted anything done. Stuff ’em; it’s not in me to ask for help. But then there were the others who actually helped by doing the practical – going shopping for me, bringing me food, running me to medical care etc.I don’t feel I owe them, but I know they’re the gooduns.

    I don’t know if this bears any relevance to your ponderings. Just be yourself, kidda, whatever that is. I’ve been reading your posts for yonks, and I reckon you’re allright.

    I’d suggest that the lady who couldn’t identify the ‘uncomfortable thing’ between the pair of you bang her head against a brick wall.It might make things a lot clearer for her.

    Curse you, woman! I’m now watching the letter box in case Uncle Mohammed does send a card!

  8. Jo says:

    Ugh, Kate. Is it the curse of the Irish Mammy?

    John: YES.

    And seriously, what is your-friend-who-can-never-be-your-friend on?? Hmm.

    I ask for help a lot, or people give it to me because they see how helpless and hapless I am. And then I’m mostly to helpless and disorganised to ever give it back. I feel like my help–debt is skyrocketing out of control.

    I think, though, that you are in a position where you just HAVE to ask for help as much as you can, and just not think about it. Let other people wrestle with their issues around saying NO when they need to, and you just … ask away.

  9. Kate, I actually think, for what it’s worth, it’s the stronger people who acknowledge that they need help at times. Knowing your limitations doesn’t mean you’re bound by them. You’re only bound by them when you can’t find a way of beating them. If beating them involves help from other people then fair play to you for taking it. It’s not easy accepting help and it’s not easy having the guilt of thinking you owe someone because they’ve got you out of a jam but I admire people who do it regardless.

    I hate asking for help. There are times I know I need it but It really pains me to admit defeat. I shouldn’t even be using the word defeat because you’re only defeated when you choose to do nothing about it….

    Hope that makes sense.

    We all need people to lean on at one point or another. The people we need today are most likely the people who we’ll support tomorrow.

  10. chicken and egg.

    Just try not to over think it but I am one to talk cause I feel the exact same way.

    Maybe I have some Irish in me? *snigger*

  11. K8 says:

    Jefferson; Helping IS great for the warm and fuzzies, but to be helped can be hard, frustrating even. How ironic is that? Don’t mind that dating scene.. somewhere out there is a chica who understands that you’re not appreciated in your own time, who absolutely adores Earl Grey.

    Granny; Existentialism next week, stay tuned.

    Thanks Ginger Mick. I blame it all on astrology. Damn know-it-alls have us well sussed.

    Jo; So true, I’ve been on both sides so I know what you mean. Watching people squirm can be so entertaining!

    Digital Darragh; You make total sense. Needing help doesn’t indicate weakness even if it feels exactly like it. It’s just that people can be so complex and there are so many subtle exceptions to the rule! It’s hard to read between dem lines sometimes.

    Hi Kelley, damn straight, it always comes back down to over-thinkage in the end. O to have the brain of a labrador.

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