• The myth of the self-sufficient individual and of the self-sufficient, protected, and protective familytells us that those who need help are ultimately inadequate. And it tells us that for a family to need help--or at least to admit it publicly--is to confess failure. Similarly, to give help, however generously, is to acknowledge the inadequacy of the recipients and indirectly to condemn them, to stigmatize them, and even to weaken what impulse they have toward self-sufficiency.