What Does It Mean to Feel Like a Burden?
Experiencing the sensation of being a burden can entail a persistent fear that you are causing inconvenience, irritation, or frustration to those around you. This apprehension may lead to concerns that others are growing weary of your needs or requests, and it can hinder you from being authentic, seeking emotional support, or establishing personal boundaries. Even when reassured by those in your life that you are not a burden, the nagging doubt can persist.
What Causes This Feeling?
The feeling of burden can originate from various sources. It might have its roots in childhood or develop later in life. Let’s explore some common origins of feeling like a burden:
1. Parental Expectations from Childhood: The upbringing a person receives can cultivate a sense of being a burden from a young age. Parents who impose high standards may convey the idea that their child is only deserving of love, affection, or even basic needs if they perform flawlessly in every aspect of life. This message can be subtle or indirect, creating an expectation of perfection. Feeling like a burden can also stem from being assigned excessive responsibilities during childhood, leading one to believe they should be entirely self-sufficient and reluctant to seek emotional support as an adult.
2. Low Self-Esteem or Self-Worth: Low self-esteem can be a significant factor contributing to the feeling of being a burden. It may result from various sources, such as toxic relationships, bullying, strict religious upbringing, or cultural messaging. Believing that you are fundamentally unworthy can intensify this sensation. Improving self-esteem can empower you to request assistance and accept love, as high self-esteem correlates with success and well-being in various life domains.
3. Physical or Mental Illness: Individuals with physical or mental illnesses or disabilities may require additional support, making them feel as if they are imposing on others. This feeling can lead to over-apologising, isolation, or frustration with one’s own needs. Similarly, individuals in recovery from addiction may perceive themselves as a burden, as addiction may have placed stress on their loved ones. Recognising that everyone needs help at times and acknowledging the positive impact you have on those around you can help address this feeling.
How to Overcome Feeling like a Burden:
There are several strategies to overcome the feeling of being a burden:
1. Build Self-Esteem: Elevate your self-esteem over time by practicing positive affirmations, spending time with supportive individuals, setting and achieving goals, challenging negative thoughts, and adopting healthy habits. Joining support groups can also provide validation and encouragement.
2. Reverse the Situation: Consider how you would feel if someone you loved needed help or support in the same way you do. This perspective can remind you that you are deserving of love and assistance, just as others are.
3. Reframe Your Apologies: Rather than apologising for expressing your needs or accepting help, try reframing your apologies in a more positive light. Show gratitude for the support you receive to shift your perspective.
4. Gain Compassionate Insight into Cognitive Distortions: Educate yourself about cognitive distortions that contribute to the feeling of being a burden. Recognising and challenging these distorted thoughts can help alleviate negative feelings.
5. Talk to a Counsellor or Therapist: Seeking the guidance of a mental health professional, especially one who offers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help you identify and modify flawed thought patterns. Therapy can also address past traumas, build self-esteem, and improve communication skills.
Whether you choose in-person therapy or online options, with assist you in overcoming the challenges associated with feeling like a burden.
If your relationship is being plagued by your unhealthy beliefs and behaviors from childhood, it might be time for a RESET.
NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.