NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help

In a prior blog article,  Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help: Part 1, I focused on why people often have fears about asking for help.  In today's article, I will discuss the consequences of giving into that fear and not asking for help.

Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help

Just as the reasons why people fear asking for help are many and varied, so are the consequences of not asking for help, so it won't be possible to consider every possible consequence.  But we'll look at some of the most common ones.

When people are afraid to ask for help, one of the things that they often do is procrastinate for as long as possible.  They might know that, eventually, they'll need to ask for help, but they will delay as long as possible.  Often, they'll bargain with themselves by telling themselves, "I'll do it tomorrow," and then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next.  This often leads to other consequences, including:

     A Situation Can Go From Bad to Worse
When people procrastinate because they're too afraid to ask for help, a situation often goes from bad to worse.  An example of this at the workplace might be that an employee feels too overwhelmed to complete a project with a deadline.  She doesn't want her boss to think she's incompetent so she keeps trying harder to complete the project, but she really knows she can't complete it in time.  Unable to overcome her fear and shame, she waits until a few days before the deadline to let her boss know that she won't be able to do it on time.

There can be worse situations that involve health issues that go from being a chronic issue to an emergency.  Or, when people are afraid to ask loved ones for financial help, assuming that their loved ones have the financial wherewithal to help, it could result in an eviction, poor credit and other similar consequences.

     A Greater Cost With Regard to Time, Money and Effort
Continuing with the same workplace example from above, at that point, this employee's boss tells her that if he had known sooner, he could have shifted other employees from less urgent projects to this one without too much of a problem.

 But because he's only hearing about it a few days before the deadline, he will have to tell these other employees that they must work overtime to get the job done.  This extra effort at the Eleventh Hour will not only inconvenience others, but it will cost the company more in terms of time, money, and effort.

     Lost Opportunities
Giving in to a fear of asking for help can result in lost opportunities.  There can be many examples of this.

The one that comes immediately to mind is one I've mentioned before in another blog article involving a student I met when I was beginning my undergraduate degree.  We were both registering for classes (at that time, you had to do this in person because there was no Internet).

This student, who was about 10 years older than me, mentioned to me that she waited 10 years to go to college, saving all of her money.  She didn't spend money on going out or buying new clothes.  She saved all of her money over the years for tuition.   She had such a fear of asking for help that she never found out, until she registered, that she was entitled to financial aid.  Instead, she put her life on hold for 10 years and made this unnecessary sacrifice because of her fear of asking for help.

A Lack of Balance and Reciprocity in Your Relationships
Reciprocity is an important element in friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships.  In situations where you feel comfortable helping, but you're uncomfortable asking for help for yourself, most of the time, your loved ones become uncomfortable coming back to you for help.

This type of situation can create a lack of balance and reciprocity in your relationships.

I'm sure you can think of many other examples or you know of other situations either from your own personal experience or from people that you know.

Getting Help in Therapy
The point is that a fear of asking for help can have serious consequences for you and others, and overcoming this fear can be a freeing experience.  I'll focus on how to overcome this fear in the next blog post.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and  Somatic Experiencing therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Also see:  Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help - Part 3: Some Tips.