Recently I’ve had to deal with a few overbearing people and I have extremely mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, being overbearing can be a sign that someone actually cares. (It could also be a signal for someone being controlling!) But on the other hand it’s extremely frustrating because I’m 36 years old and being asked to do things like “call when you get home so we know you made it alright.” I’m not 12. I don’t like people hovering over me.
One of the things I am proud of is my ability to live independently. The extent to which I need help is extremely minimal, particularly since I tend to set things up so I can do them myself vs. having to ask for help all the time. So when someone asks me to do something like check in with them to make sure I’m alright, it’s as if they’re saying to me “I don’t think you can take care of yourself and something bad might happen to you.” You know how when you’re walking and someone steps on your ankle or hits you with a shopping cart from behind? That’s exactly how an overbearing person makes me feel.
It also bothers me sometimes when someone offers to help me with something they know I can do myself. For example, “Can I cut up that chicken for you?” is another type of question that drives me nuts, particularly if that person has seen me cut up my own food before. Someone said that to me once and one of my aunts chimed in and said, “Hey, Dan, do you want me to chew that chicken for you too like a momma bird?” So now that’s our running joke.
What has started to bother me recently is why these things bother me in the first place? People are just trying to be helpful and yet it’s irritating me tremendously. They’re being concerned or nice and it makes me mad. I don’t totally understand where it’s coming from. If I can do something as simple as checking-in and it will calm someone else’s nerves, why don’t I just do it? Why does it drive me nuts?
Changing my reaction is definitely something I intend to work on in the future. Someday I might need a lot more help than I do now, so it’s best not to alienate people who are already willing to help me.