Me looking out onto a desolate river

All too often, all my mental and emotional issues come from one feeling, that is, the feeling of being helpless. This likely stems from my childhood because if we’re honest, all children feel this way on some level.

The difference for some children is that they have adults around them that make them feel safe, secure, and cared for; I didn’t have this, as I’m sure many others didn’t. The people who were supposed to be caring for me were the same people who not only triggered my feeling of helplessness, they were also the ones who told me there was something wrong with me because I felt helpless.

I learned how to shut down

I became unexpressive, lacking emotion. I was called a robot by my own family. As an adult, this particular coping mechanism has served me well in professional settings. Still, it has made it difficult to connect or talk to people about my problems. It was part of what lead to the isolation I experienced for seven years in an abusive relationship.

Helpless yet, unable to ask for help

It’s a downward spiral that I have had to experience again, and this time with my current situation, helplessness has to be placed to the side because the problem isn’t about me. I keep reminding myself that I need to be strong and positive for someone else who is bearing the worst part of this situation, and my role in it is much easier than theirs is.

That’s where the helplessness comes in, the fact that I can’t just relieve part of their burden, I can’t just make a choice and change things for the better. I have to be so careful in what I say to prevent them from feeling like their burden is even more significant than it is. I can see this other person trying to help me in return to feel less helpless, showing appreciation and telling me that how much what I am doing is helping them.

For that, I’m grateful.

The best thing I can do for myself is stop, take a breath and remember, all things are temporary.

Tell me in the comments about a time you felt helpless.

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