When you try to help someone, it can feel like a personal affront if they turn you down. The first tendency is to feel rejected – a sure trip to that downward spiral. Instead of feeling bad about yourself or the other person, instead of anger or frustration, take into account the following reasons that may be a play:
Pride. Sometimes, accepting help can feel like admitting inferiority, inadequacy, dependency or defeat. An offer of money, for example, even as a loan, can make someone feel like a charity case, and accepting help on a project may register as an inability to successfully complete something unaided.
Unworthiness. If people grow up thinking that asking for things without explicitly earning them is unacceptably selfish, they might feel that they have no right to your help. If these individuals did allow themselves to take what you are freely offering, they would end up feeling guilty or even anxious.
Indebtedness. People who seem excessively independent may have learned to be that way because their experience validated the notion that taking anything from anybody is too risky. If your offer threatens their sense of freedom, independence, security, or autonomy, they’ll feel compelled to reject it.
Vulnerability. Those with serious trust issues may fear that accepting a favor will create an imbalance, weakening their status in the relationship. If in the past such “taking” was, unexpectedly, used against them, why would they risk reexperiencing such betrayal.
So, stop yourself going on a downward spiral the next time you get rebuffed. Don’t take it personally. Look to one of these interpretations. After all, your interpretation of the event is what produces your success and wellbeing!
Source: Psychology Today, January/February 2013, p. 10