Throughout my life, I learned to not depend on anyone to help me do anything. I realized as I typed that sentence that this is a very sad statement and a horrible way to live. It isn’t good to do life on your own. It’s lonely and hard. Also, when you start to accept that you do life on your own, it becomes less and less likely that you will ask others for help or to walk alongside you in hard times. I have lived most of my adult life increasingly asking people less and less to walk the road of life with me.
But why do I do this? In all honesty, it’s because I have listened to and taken to heart the comments made to me that I am a bother, have no value and am not a good friend. I wonder why someone would want to be with me and, since this healing thing has taken so long, I think people are tired of me, mainly because I’m tired of me. I think I have slowly learned that I was being a problem if I asked someone else to do something for or with me and that I couldn’t count on those I pay to do work around my house.
When I was a girl, Dad was the only one who drove, but he wasn’t home much and he usually didn’t want to go anywhere once he was there. So, the immediate answer we almost always received when we asked Dad to do something or take us somewhere was ‘no’. He ended up doing it eventually on different occasions, but, to me, it was too much of a bother and it made me feel I had to beg to get to do something. I found out later that my brothers and I all got to the point that we would ask Mom to ask Dad to do something. I found that funny but it made me realize it wasn’t just me who received ‘no’ as an answer. However, being immediately told ‘no’ most of the time left me feeling like I wasn’t worth doing anything with or for, whether that’s what Dad thought or not. I hated having to beg him to do something and it got to the point that it just wasn’t worth it in most cases.
When I was married, the one I loved was very handy and could accomplish about anything he set his mind to doing. However, as the years went on and he got more into his addictions and living life outside of our marriage, he wanted to do less and less. The comments were the hardest part of it with him and they just became too high a price to pay to have something done for me. So, I would usually do without or figure out how to do it on my own.
Since he has died, my brother has helped so much with my A/C and fixed some things around the house for me, but the workers I’ve paid to help and thought I could depend on ended up not being so. One was taking advantage of my situation by actually making other things not work while he was here as well as not doing the work I paid him to do well or at all. Another didn’t do things he said he would do but then not tell me that he didn’t do it. He didn’t charge me specifically for doing the work, like the other person, but I generally didn’t know the work wasn’t completed until something started not working and then I was left in an emergency situation.
So, this is where my thoughts have come from. I know the way I have lived this way is not fully right but it’s not fully wrong either. By living this way, I have learned that there are many things I can do on my own and I am not dependent on always having someone doing the work for me. I have had moments of feeling accomplishment when I figure out how to do things and actually complete the work. However, there are times that it really would be comforting to know there was someone there to help me. When I have something that needs fixed right away, the feelings of being abandoned and having the weight of the world solely on my shoulders is intense. But this, really, is not the most important part of the issue.
Where I struggle most is inviting people into my life. I have many people with whom I am acquainted, those I have spent a period of time doing life with like those in a Bible study or classes I’ve taken, friends that have been deeply part of my life for a time and then those who I know will stay close friends and we will be part of each others’ lives for the rest of the time here on earth and into eternity. I am thankful to each one of these people and each has made an impact on my life. That’s what people do if we take the time to invite others in as well as make it a point to be part of their lives. I know this to be true but I still hesitate so much so as not to “bother” people.
I know this has cost me some close friendships and I may even make other people feel like I don’t want them to be part of my life. However, that is not even close to the truth. I love and care for people deeply and want to be there for others as much as I am able, and then some at times. But I don’t know how to break free of these chains of lies, misconstrued comments and beliefs in my head that hold me back. How do you break away from this way of living when it’s all you know? I am starting to learn that you just take one small step in the right direction.
A week ago, I took my youngest to a camp in another state to help him learn how to control his anger and see life through happier, more grateful eyes. He will be there for a month! It was a HARD decision to make and I went through so many struggles internally up until the moment I left the camp (parents spent the first weekend with the kids). I know that through this time I had so many horrible thoughts coming my way. I know these were attacks but it was so hard to take on my own. I asked for prayer from a couple of people occasionally, but other than that I was taking it all in and trying to sort it out on my own. It was very overwhelming.
Before I started the journey to the camp, which took two days, one of my friends gave me some reasons she believed I should have a group of friends in prayer for our trip, for me as I took and left him there as well as for my son. Even with the extremely difficult trip I was about to take, it was extremely difficult for me to ask for prayer. In fact, the only way I could finally do it was thinking about how much I wanted prayers for him. My son having prayers focused on him helped me to be calmer about my decision to ask for prayer.
After I sent the e-mail asking for prayer and explaining everything, a few people responded back to me. Of those responses, half of them commented on how they were surprised that I had asked for prayer. This was a bit shocking for me. First of all, I never really thought anyone ever thought about what I did or didn’t do, but even more, that the thoughts went to the point that I never asked for help or prayer in hard situations.
This was eye-opening to me. I hadn’t realized how far I have come to believe that to depend on someone to be there for me was misguided faith. It also hit me that I have come to believe people are way too busy and what time they have is better spent helping those who have more need for help and prayer as well as spending time with their close friends and family. I couldn’t interrupt them.
These facts are true about the busyness and needs of others, but that doesn’t make what I’ve been told about myself true. It also doesn’t mean that I’m not a close friend to some as well. So, how do I come to terms with this and how do I start to live my life differently without making a paradigm shift in my thoughts about myself? The answer is that I can’t. Then what is the first step?
Maybe, just maybe, my writing about it now is the first step. Putting all of this into words has hit me a couple times as to the sadness of how I’ve lived. I am beginning to understand the extreme loneliness I have felt most of my life, sometimes even when I’m with a group of people. I hope this is the beginning of the end of feeling I have to do life alone and that there are even a few people who would want to come along with me. I honestly don’t know where to go from here, but I pray God will guide me as to the next step