There are a lot of similarities between the Superwomen I work with and one of the most common characteristics is that they have trouble asking for help.
The lifecycle of the Superwoman is something that we’ve been conditioned to fall into over time and as Superwomen we’re constantly under pressure to push through a task even when feeling burnout or overworked.
We feel like we’re not worthy of love or praise if we aren’t doing everything and being everything.
We are reluctant to ask for help, because we feel like we’re not doing enough if we don’t do it all ourselves.
Let me tell you about Melissa.
When You Can’t Ask For Help: Melissa’s Story
Melissa is a woman in her mid to late 30s who is extremely successful in her career. She has a high pressure, high risk job, and she makes an impressive salary.
Her work days are high-stress, but she doesn’t delegate tasks or ask for help with work at the office. Instead, she finds herself doing the work of her assistants and other co-workers, always choosing to inconvenience herself rather than ask for help.
At home, her husband works part-time and is doing most of the childcare. However, she is still responsible for tasks like laundry, shopping, the majority of the cleaning and about 50% of the cooking. Growing up, Melissa’s mother ran the household while her father worked. But for some reason she still feels responsible for both roles in her own family today.
Is any of this sounding familiar yet?
Between work and taking care of most of the emotional labour at home, Melissa rarely gets to spend any time with her kids. Even when she wants to take a break, she finds herself feeling antsy when others are working and she isn’t. She can’t even sit and let her husband cook dinner and clean up by himself because she feels like she has to intervene or he’ll think she is lazy or ungrateful.
Because of this, Melissa has grown resentful of her husband and how much free time he has to spend with the kids and do things for himself. She feels guilty for working so much but also feels guilty asking for help because she doesn’t want her husband to think she’s ungrateful that he gave up his career to help out more. However, over the years she’s still adding more to her plate while he does the same.
Melissa is the same at work. So what does she do? She keeps on pushing because she doesn’t want anyone to think negatively toward her. She would be devastated if she made a mistake that someone else had to fix so she is always hyper vigilant about staying on top of everything.
For Melissa and other Superwomen like her, there are lists, phone apps and calendars to keep everything on track. And it feels like everything around her would crumble if she took a break for even a day or two to catch her breath.
Essentially, she is earning her respect and her love by outworking everyone, and those around her have settled in quite nicely to the pattern because it allows them to do less.
Melissa and her husband are on the path to divorce and talk about it fairly regularly. Additionally, her libido has diminished and they haven’t had sex in over a year. She misses feeling like herself because this isn’t who she was.
So, what does she do?
Melissa found me.
Through our work, she started to learn and integrate the teachings of Feminine power to heal the Feminine Burnout she’d been suffering from since high school. This included breaking down outdated beliefs that told her she needs to do everything and be everything to be worthy of love, and learning to understand her desires and feel pleasure again.
Melissa is working on becoming the woman who can ask for her needs to be met without feeling guilt or shame. She is finding strength in her Feminine vulnerability after years of wearing her overworking like armour.
Not being able to ask for help is a classic trait that many of us experience. We have been taught that we are inconveniences because we grew up in a society that expected us to work twice as hard to prove ourselves. We were taught to be “good little girls” who got their homework done (and then maybe even helped our brother’s finish theirs).
Asking for help is unfamiliar for us Superwomen because we are so capable of handling things on our own. But it doesn’t mean we should have to. So as always, we take on more and more so we can prove our worth more and more. And then we do it until we are so burnt out and exhausted that we feel like a shell of ourselves.
This is where the healing starts.
This is how we undo the damage of Feminine Burnout. This is how we teach our daughters they don’t have to kill themselves to be worthy of a good, happy life.
If this sounds like you and you are ready to break the pattern too, click here to fill out an application to work with me.
I also recommend listening to episode 62 of The Pleasure Principles podcast where I talk more in depth about Melissa and her healing. Stay tuned for more episodes of this series where I dive into the lives and experiences of women living with Feminine Burnout and how it affects their lives, relationships, health and success.