I am screaming internally for help, but something is preventing my mouth from opening. I won't open so I chock on what's overwhelming me. Someone sees me chocking then performs the Heimlich Maneuver. I am saved, thank God. But what happens when my chocking goes unnoticed and the moment I am about to succumb to such distress is the day I am suppose to break free and learn to seek help but I refuse.
Yesterday I was a guest on a podcast Dope Conversations with Erica Warren. We spoke about a few things, but the "Strong Woman Syndrome" was the topic of conversation. I have had an issue with this for years. I recall a time in my life I was about to loose everything because I would not ask for help. I got a second job and attempted to fix it myself but never asked for help. Having that second job was not producing what I needed and it was wearing me down: mentally, physically and spiritually. A very special person found out after I mentioned something to her, she fussed then she showed up like an angel. Her generosity in that moment brought a level of healing I didn't know it could (H/T Shantae Charles for the understanding on the healing power of generosity). It was at that moment I had to deal with why I do not like opening up when I need help. Before, I never thought it was an issue, I was taught to "wait on God." I was taught begging is not having faith. I was taught these at some point but there was a root these things flourished from within me. I would not have been as receptive to these sayings if there was not something deep within me connecting to it. These things only watered what was there, which is why I never questioned any of it. First of all, waiting on God is not characterized by inactivity. A simple Strong's Concordance word search will reveal the Hebrew word for wait requires activity not passivity. The whole notion of "we are not beggars, only deepens the dysfunction causing people to be too prideful to ask for help. By definition, a beggar is someone reduced to poverty and is homeless. This person lives to ask for food and money. Beggar should not even be a word used among people in a setting who are not homeless and simply need help when teaching having faith. Yes a simple definition just set someone free.
Prior to those two reasons, my experience with asking for help looked like control, being abused, and gossiped about. Some people who have the means to help only do so in order to control when and how you will help them in return. These are those with an agenda. They say I'm not missing my blessing, but from the same well hold over your head what they did in order to control you making you feel they are why you were able to do or have what you do. If you pay a phone bill out of the goodness of your heart, the goodness of your heart will not allow you to say " I pay the bill and they won't even answer my call.
You may have needed $200 to avoid your lights from being disconnected but the person intentionally only gave you $75 knowing you had no means of getting the remaining portion. This type of control is seen often. I have had it done to me too many times to count. I have had what people said was help put me in a worse condition. For those who will read and say, "you should be grateful" you are part of the problem. That's not what this is about. The person doing the controlling of course has some deep issues that need to be addressed. Inner healing across the board is vital.
The most toxic form of emotional abuse is withholding. Withholding comes in many forms but for the sake of this blog we will talk about withholding resources. Withholding has made me feel isolated, ignored, and unimportant. I have been refused $5 for something important only to have the same person buy someone else a pack of cigarettes.
Never have I really asked for much but when there was a need, there was a need. I was a young mother, I raised my own daughter, made a way for us and from time to time I fell short. No food stamps after awhile they were cut and I only made $8.00 per hour. No child support either so I really maintained on my own. However: when I had, I showed up for people, but when I needed it was like the world was empty. In the household I grew up in having money made me feel valuable because I was treated better when I had something to offer. I am a generous person but noticing this only made me feel that I always had to have something to give to be valued (this may also be why this same mindset showed up in relationships where I gave my prized possession just to be loved). Every time I got a lot of cash I was helping everyone but no one seemed to remember that. I did my part and I maintained but there were moments I was spoken to as if I was the lowest of the low and there was no need for me. This affected me so much that if I was running low or in need of help, it meant I was of no value. So asking for help only in my mind confirmed that. I did not grow up in church but I noticed before moving to Louisiana this mindset in the church community too. If you live nice, ride nice you have something going for yourself in Christ. Again, my value reduced to material items.
If you have ever asked for something, only to hear from someone else about your situation that is enough to make you want to give it all back. Not only have I been helped and the person told others in an effort to look good and seem as though they were such a great person to me and I was the one with the problem, there were times I was "blessed" going through the same thing. I was given $200 before that I did not ask for. I needed it at the time but I had not asked for it. Well before it was given to me I was asked if I needed money. The tone in which I asked threw me off but I replied anyway. So I was handed the money, I proceed to pay a bill only to have the next few days a total nightmare. The individual had gone to several people to ask them if they thought the right thing was done by giving me the money (remember it was said, God said to do it). I had a dream revealing where the spouse was so livid it shook me feeling the anger as I slept. At that point I was ready to give it back. I did not want any part of them or their money considering I NEVER asked for it. I did not discuss my financial business with them, ever. I was so hurt, I wanted to do what a hurting person would and that was to give it back and at the time curse them out. Well this only strengthened the complex. I was like I am talked about when I ask and when I do not, what kind of world is this? I have done things for people no one will ever know, ever. Well unless they tell you.
Then there are the remarks that do not make anything any better: "I'm tired of you" "you need a reality check" or "you had the baby not me." As I spoke about in the podcast I was living on my own, raising my daughter, making $8 per hour and after I paid all the bills I did not have money left for gas. My car was low and getting my child to daycare which was in the opposite direction of work was stressing me out. I decided to ask for gas money. I was told to wait so they could ask their spouse. I guess the spouse agreed and I was given $20. I had a 93 Honda Accord then so the $20 filled me up. It wasn't until years later the same person gave me a journal set back that I gave them as a gift. A few pages had been written on so before I tossed it in the trash I read it. (Lets note at this point I had become a home owner, without help.) I read the pages where it mentioned "she over there and do not even have gas to put in her car, she really needs a reality check. I asked my husband, we were going to give her $40 but she only getting $20. If I told you who did this you would understand why this only deepened the wound. I felt so much pain in that moment, it only set me a thousand steps back. Emotionally I was undone. This was just one of the many things the person would do while talking about me to others and creating a narrative in their minds that I was the problem. I never cared to explain myself because if I didn't know anything I understood how manipulative people can be, and how fast people will believe a lie especially if they have an issue with you.
I am available should anyone need help processing negative emotions in regards to the "Strong Woman Syndrome." I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also click the link below to listen to the podcast Dope Discussions with host Erica Warren where I was a guest discussing this topic.