How to receive help when you’re a helper

How to Receive Help when You're a Helper (1)

 

I don’t know about you, I find it very difficult to ask for help. I have a strong ego that says, “I will do it myself.” My entire life I have taken pride in my independence. I know there are times that I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy if I asked for help. Now that my business is growing and I want to maintain my energy levels, I am asking for help more and more.

As a psychotherapist, I often guide my clients to ask for help. Do you notice as a helper it is almost as if you need permission to do so? We often reassure one another. It is okay to rest. It is okay to do less. It is okay to ask for help at work and at home. You don’t need anyone’s permission because you already are deserving and worthy of help.  

Where does the block to receiving help start?

You were born with an independent streak. You have an independent personality.  I remember being a small child wanting a teddy bear that was in the crib. Rather than ask for help, I reached my little arm through the bar and tried to get the bear out myself. If I remember correctly my arm got stuck!

You don’t want to be a burden or bother others. You have heard in the past a negative response when you asked for help or were manipulated with guilt. As an empath, you sense and know others are experiencing overwhelm and stress. Due to this awareness, you avoid speaking up and asserting your needs.

A fear of rejection. When you get the courage to ask for help, you feel vulnerable and sensitive with your ego. You imagine someone saying “no” as the worst case scenario. Do not give the word “no” so much power. It is okay if someone can not help you. There are a lot of other people out there in the world that can. To take the sting out of no, say, “Who can I ask next?”

You enjoy being the helper, not the one being helped. Some people attribute negative thoughts or feelings to needing help. You may think you are weak for needing help. It is a sign of strength to reach out and ask for help. There will be a time for each and every one of us when we need a little help from our friends.

How to ask for help

Know the signs of needing help. A good sign you need help is when you feel overwhelmed, tense and your energy is depleting. When this happens, think of the people who are in your circle. Who are the ones that offer the kind of help you need?

Pray to the Divine. Ask for a person with integrity to help you with your current situation and trust the Divine has brought him or her into your life. When this person arrives, give thanks and pay attention to the advice that is given. Remember you are never alone.

Ask! One benefit of asking for help is when others are not personally involved in your situation, they can offer unique solutions that you have not thought about. In order to receive, you have to start asking others for help and there is no perfect way to do it. You are going to have to learn how to ask while feeling uncomfortable because it isn’t natural for helpers to seek outside help. When someone says no, keep asking until you get the help you need.

The more specific you can be in your request, the better you can receive help. When you are able to be clear, people can understand your situation better. Be flexible and open, because sometimes a person can not help you as you requested but can help you in other ways. There were a few times I received a healing, I didn’t get what I wanted yet I got what I needed.

For more support and help contact Lisa. 

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who feel drained after their helping efforts, refill and recharge their energy with psychotherapy, intuitive coaching and angel card readings. For more information visit her website at www.lisahutchison.net, while you are there get this FREE gift: 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from Your Life Now!

What helpers like you need to know about burnout

What helpers like you need to know about burnout (3)

 

Helpers and first responders often believe that they can push through irritation and emotional pain. You soldier on despite multiple systems in your body screaming out for you to stop. Some of these warning signs are unending fatigue, sleep difficulties, appetite changes, concentration problems, anxiety, depression, increased illnesses and anger.

As an empathic helper, you are going to experience work or help related stress due to caring so much. When that stress is combined with a lack of self- care and a lack of support more serious stress reactions can occur such as burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization.

Compassion fatigue and burnout arises from too much work, or as many people say burning the candle at both ends. Empathic helpers often absorb other’s pain and take it with them into their home life. Too much sympathy or working with empathy without proper boundaries drains helpers of energy and leads to burnout. In a study of 216 hospice care nurses from 22 hospices across the state of Florida it was found that, “Trauma, anxiety, life demands, and excessive empathy (leading to blurred professional boundaries) were key determinants of compassion fatigue risk in the multiple regression model that accounted for 91 % (P< .001) of the variance in compassion fatigue risk.” (Abendroth & Flannery 2006).

Vicarious traumatization can happen when you absorb the psychological material of your client who has experienced trauma. You feel the trauma in your own energetic system as PTSD symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, irritability and startle responses. This is why it is important to hold the energetic boundaries and seek supervision or your own counseling. If you are experiencing increased anxiety, startle responses or irritation, after your work with a client ask yourself; is this my trauma or yours?

What can a compassionate helper do?

  • You need to limit your use of empathy. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.  Empathy is one tool a helper uses in combination with other techniques to ensure client growth. At times you may need to use more directive or instructional types of methods rather than an all-out holding of the space for another.
  •  Be aware and recognize that trauma and stress are running the show. When you notice a change in your mood and thoughts, review your day and think about who you were with and what was discussed.
  • Self- Care. All empathic helpers need a self-care regime that refills and recharges your energy. Relaxation and energy increasing activities will balance out the fatigue you are experiencing. Grounding through the use of mindfulness can keep your focus in the present moment.
  • Seek psychotherapy with an empathic therapist who can help you with burnout and trauma. Going to a therapist who knows trauma, work stress and energy work can make a world of difference for yourself and your clients.
  •  Get this workbook for yourself and your clients. I have found this to be a valuable resource that I use with my clients: The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms Workbook Edition by Mary Beth Williams (Author), Soili Poijula (Author) Some of the chapters include: Before Doing the Work: Safety, Security and Intention and Helping Yourself When You Re-experience a Trauma. (As an amazon affiliate I receive a small portion of the sale when you buy after clicking the above link, without any addition cost to you. Thank you for choosing this method of purchasing.) 

References:

Abendroth, M., & Flannery, J. (2006). Predicting the risk of compassion fatigue: A study of hospice nurses. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing, 8(6), 346-356.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who feel drained after their helping efforts, refill and recharge their energy with intuitive counseling and angel card readings. For more information visit her website at www.lisahutchison.net, while you are there take advantage of the free gift 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from Your Life Now!