Tell us about a time when you should have helped someone… but didn’t.
This is an interesting prompt but not one I am that familiar with. My problem has been that I always try to help, even when I shouldn’t. For instance, when I was first trying to recover from the rape and torture, to distract myself I would help others. I love helping other people but the motivation at this time was less about them and more about me. It is easy to lose my anxiety and depression in the whirl of helping someone and that buzz in doing so.
I sound like a selfish cow, but I did help them the best I could with their problem front and centre. In may ways it became my problem. However, it was my unconscious motivation that was the problem. As may people as I could effectively help would not assuage the pain in me, nor change that I needed to work on myself. Instead it added to my worry (about them) and stress (can I really make a difference?) and exhaustion (talking with suicidal people, when you are not stable yourself if exhausting).
Another unhealthy aspect was that when I worked I would put my work aside to help colleagues. They left on time and then I was still there catching up on my work after finishing theirs. It made me feel useful and needed but it was a false sensation built on flawed logic and an uneven power structure. I felt that I was worth nothing bar what I could do for other people and that meant everyone was more important than me and my needs.
I am getting better, I am still never too busy to help but now I might not because doing so is detrimental to my health or recovery plan. I have made that very, very important to me. I am clearer when I say no, like:
I am sorry that I can not help today I have physio and can not change the time. I can help tomorrow though.
I still like helping. I just need to be aware of the cost to me and if I want to pay it, be it time or energy. I need to know my motivation. I need to learn to accept help as well, not always give it.