003: When Your Help Doesn’t Help


Different life events (surgery, childbirth, loss) can place a person in need of help and unable to fulfill typical day-to-day tasks for example:  cooking, laundry, driving, etc.

What are the barriers to getting the help you need?

  1. Not having a social support group or local family.
  2. Not asking for it.
  3. Being a people-pleaser.
  4. Not being direct about what specifically you need.

How do I get the help I need?

  1. Sometimes it means recognizing that you have difficulty being direct.
  2. Understand that others can get frustrated when you are not direct.  You may think you are being “nice” by not being direct, but you could actually be frustrating the person trying to help.
  3. In what seems to be overwhelming or difficult situations, people like to feel like they are contributing.  Giving someone a specific task can make them feel that they are truly helping you.
  4. Recognize that some people are not really sincere about helping.  They may want to “look” like they are helping, when in actuality they have an ulterior motive.  (This is commonly seen in examples of the birth of a child.  When I was discharged from the hospital after the birth of my son, a nurse told me about a woman who had just had a c-section and family had come to visit and she was cleaning her breast pump while the others cooed over the baby. NOT helping.)
  5. This can be a cultural phenomenon.  Women often feel that they must entertain those who come to visit, even when they are in need of an extra set of hands.
  6. If you notice that someone is not helpful, and you have been direct with them, it may be in your best interest to delegate tasks to others who are more helpful rather than keeping up the charade that the other person is helping.
  7. You may need to look at your pride.  And ask yourself, “Is my pride getting in the way?”
Had a baby recently and struggling with the people that are supposed to be helping? Listen to “When Your Help Doesn’t Help” from licensed professional counselors Laura and Vincent Ketchie of Relationship Helpers and their podcast to gain insight into ways to improve your situation.

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Vincent & Laura Ketchie

Vincent Ketchie, LPC and Laura Ketchie, LPC are the hosts of Relationship Helpers, a podcast where they discuss family issues and interview relationship experts. Vincent and Laura are licensed marriage counselors.

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