How to Stop Feeling Like a Burden

Peripheral neuropathy can cause you to slowly lose your independence as daily tasks become more challenging to perform. Simple things like buttoning your shirt or tying your shoelaces can be difficult because your fingers may be numb or painful. Driving may be unsafe because foot numbness makes it hard to feel the gas and brake pedals. Or you may not feel comfortable walking alone outside because you lose your balance.

As you lose independence, you’ll need to rely more on others to help you meet your needs. It is common to feel like you’re a burden to your family and friends because you can’t tackle daily tasks without aid. This guilt can prevent you from speaking up if there’s a problem or if you need help.

Where do these feelings come from, and how can you get rid of them?

Where It Comes From


Children may internalize messages that they don’t meet someone’s standards as they develop their self-identity.

  • Well-intentioned parents may try to inspire a child to reach greater heights by comparing them to someone else. However, a child may only see that they aren’t as good as the ones they’re being compared to.
  • Some parents aren’t so subtle. They may voice disappointment when their expectations are not met. Not getting on the sports team or receiving a bad grade results in negative feedback, yelling, or even punishment, reinforcing the child’s belief that they aren’t good enough.
  • When a child has a great deal of responsibility at a young age (child babysitters or breadwinners) they can get the idea that if they aren’t pulling their own weight (and more), they aren’t doing enough. Their sense of self-worth can become tied to their ability to provide for themselves and others. When they find they can no longer work the way they did before, they can feel diminished self-worth.


There are other reasons why people might feel unworthy of help, especially in the long term. Most of them are related to self-esteem.

  • Abuse victims often feel helpless and that they need to earn another person’s love and acceptance. They try not to draw attention, afraid to make their abuser angry.
  • People who were bullied as children can carry scars into adulthood unless they have a strong positive influence in their lives to counter the destructive messages they endured.
  • People with mental or physical disabilities may feel broken, neither whole nor worthy.


Unfortunately, some caregivers are impatient or unkind and tell the ones in their care that they are a burden. If this is your situation, know there are community resources to get help, from bathing to cooking to driving you to your appointments.

Losing the Guilt

Firstly, know that peripheral neuropathy in no way diminishes your worth. Throughout our lives, we all go through seasons where we are the caregivers and when we need to accept the care of others. It’s a natural part of the life cycle. You are worthy of love and respect regardless of your abilities.

That said, changing your perspective and being willing to ask for and accept help from others isn’t always easy. Here are some tips on improving negative thought patterns.

  • Turn Negatives Into Positives: Instead of apologizing for needing help, show sincere gratitude. Too often, people work hard for others, and their efforts are never recognized.
  • Do Something Nice in Return: If you need help driving to appointments, perhaps you can do something nice for your driver. A small gift like a Starbucks card, doing the dishes so they don’t have to, or minding children so they get a moment to themselves can be a great help and show your appreciation.
  • Use Affirmations: Some people repeat positive affirmations daily to change negative thought patterns.
  • Seek Therapy: Sometimes, it takes a professional to help us see the errors in our thoughts. Change your thoughts, and you change your feelings.
  • Make Conversation: Have a heart-to-heart with your caregiver. Ask what parts of caregiving are hard for them and if there are ways you can mitigate them. If your caregiver has a difficult time helping you in and out of the bathtub because of a back injury, perhaps a home health nurse could help out. If they don’t have time to drive you, buses may be available to help get you to your doctor appointments on time. Look at the community resources and ensure you and your caregiver have what you need.
  • Remember Your Contribution: You contribute more to a family than you realize. You contribute to their health, happiness, and well-being by supporting and loving your family.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

When dealing with health issues, it doesn’t do you or anyone else any good for you to beat yourself up for things you cannot change. You can seek neuropathy pain relief and treatment and improve your symptoms, but reversing neuropathy overnight isn’t realistic. Sometimes, asking for help is the only logical choice. Learn to accept help graciously and to appreciate the loved ones who care for you.


The information, including but not limited to, texts, graphics, images, and other material contained in this article are for informational purposes only. None of the material mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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