Why can't I depend on others?

I think I am too independent. I love my independence and I am not afraid to go places alone or do things alone. However, sometimes I feel like I have an inability to lean on people. I feel weak if anyone helps me in even the smallest way. I have really great friends and I can barely let them carry a bag of groceries for me...particularly my male friends. One guy friend of mine carried a 12 pack of soda from the convenience store to my dorm (Freshmen year, we didn't have cars) which takes about 15 minutes and it rained on the way back. We were all soaked when we got back but I felt super guilty that he carried my soda in the rain and had no umbrella. He kept saying it was no big deal, but I felt really irresponsible. I bought the soda, so I should have been able to carry it. My life gets ridiculous because I can't let others do anything for me. In addition, I've had some really tough times lately such as anxiety attacks from stress and the death of a loved one, and they are always there for me when I need them. But, I still feel like I am taking up their time or getting in the way. Any advice on how to accept the kindness of others but not feel like a burden?


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  • You need to figure out why you feel weak when someone helps you, or why you have the need to feel totally strong all the time. Go back to your childhood and figure out if the circumstances were hard for you or your parents. Lots of times, kids in difficult situations are forced to convince themselves that they must be perfectly strong all the time in order to deal with problems. Because as a child, they have no choice but to put up with whatever is going on.

    Just think about how being totally responsible all the time isn't realistic or healthy. And that if people weren't meant to help each other, there would only need to be one human being on the planet at a time. With over 6 billion of us, it looks like there's a lot of help that needs to be given and received. Also, think about how if you don't let anyone help you, you're basically being a control freak. Because you have to do everything yourself. That's going to increase your anxiety.

    The way you need to get over this is by slowly letting other people help you do small thing. Think of the things that are the least scary for you to get help with. Make a list of things that are not scary all the way to super scary. Like on a scale of 1-10, it sounds like your friend carrying your soda in the rain was like an 8? Anyways, rate how much it upsets you for someone to help you in various situations. Then start out with the easiest ones. Like maybe having someone get you a glass of water is a 1. The more you can make yourself let people help you will little things, the easier it will get. Then you can move on to the harder stuff and let people do more nice things for you.

    Another thing that might help is repaying kindness. Like if a friend wants to do something nice for you, let them do it, but then do something nice for them in return. It's best if it's a similar thing, that way you can know that it's about even. So if a friend buys you lunch one day, you can do it the next day and stuff like that.

    Hope that helps. Just realize that people get over phobias and issues like this every day. You're not alone and you CAN get better. It's great that you even recognize this about yourself and want to change.


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