If you’re a parent I’m sure you remember that first day home alone with your newborn, no instructions on how they work, and they are crying. You’ve changed the nappy, tried feeding, nursed and rocked your precious little babe but still the crying. In that moment you have no idea what to do. You feel helpless! It’s a feeling of complete vulnerability mixed in with your love and desire to fix the problem but not knowing how. It’s normal. This is not the kind of helplessness I am referring to in the insufficiency mentality.
There are two key beliefs to insufficiency helplessness. One is the belief that it is our right to be helped; and the second is that it is our right to say no.
These two beliefs create two expectations about others in those with an insufficiency mentality. The first is that people ask for their needs to be met; and secondly that people only do things they want to.
It is in the behaviours that these beliefs and expectations are more easily identified. Someone with insufficiency thinking are often direct, strong, and assertive about asking for help and getting their needs met. Yet they will claim the opposite to be true. They don’t experience themselves how we do. In fact, having to ask for help is the problem in their mind, because it’s their right to be helped it should happen automatically and doesn’t indicate anything about their strength, capabilities, or assertiveness.
A common experience of the belief to say no occurs when others are helping them and they don’t consider the effort, inconvenience, or giving involved. Insufficient thinkers don’t associate others as experiencing any discomfort because they consider them as only doing what they want to do in the first place. There is often a lot of unexpressed frustration in relationships with insufficient thinkers.
If we challenge the behaviours, beliefs, or expectations of insufficient thinkers they become helpless to avoid changing the dynamics of the relationship. Declarations will be made like, ‘No one ever wants to help me,’ ‘I have to do everything on my own,’ ‘You could have said no. It’s not my fault you ended up in that situation,’ ‘Well don’t worry about it I’ll never ask you again.’
Insufficient thinkers will immediately focus on how this impacts on them and feel abandoned, discarded, and rejected. They will deflect the feedback from others by turning it around and say that it is them that in actual fact feels used, pressured to help, inconvenienced, or the one making all the sacrifices.
That is how you know you are dealing with an insufficient thinker! If anything you have expressed to them is told back to you as being caused by you to them recognise the helplessness as a defence mechanism to avoid being held accountable. Don’t take it personally; it’s not about you.
Can you recognise yourself in this explanation? If you have experienced someone else’s insufficiency response how did you feel and what did you do?
The whole concept of power has been distorted in our world because it’s mostly associated with corruption, control, and domination. If you looked the word power up in a dictionary you would find it defined as ‘the ability to act.’ We have power when we can act on our own behalf; when we believe we are worth acting for; and when we believe we have the right to act. We experience ourselves as powerful when we take action to implement change or create a certain outcome.
Powerlessness is the experience of not being able to act or obtain the desired outcome intended. Personal power is how I like to describe what it is we can and do all have. We have the ability to act on our own behalf; we have the right to act for ourselves; and we are all innately worthy so acting for ourselves, ideally should be a given.
Of course, in the real world we can experience something very different. We don’t have control over others, unless they are children and it is our responsibility to take care of them while we teach them how to be independent and self-reliant. As adults we make choices and sometimes they aren’t the choices the other adults in our lives would want us to make.
When we want something and it depends on another person participating in making it happen then power becomes a messy filter. Our personal power to make it happen appears as limited by the actions of another. We can only do our part. We can be successful in our part but what we want may not manifest.
When we collapse into insufficiency thinking we personalise the absence of what we want and deny our true nature – we only have the power to control ourselves. If what we wanted hasn’t come about and we have done our part fully, then we are not powerless. When we reject this truth but instead sulk and feel wronged, we coagulate our sense of powerlessness as insufficiency.
When have you felt powerless and rejected yourself by denying what you could do?