A Triangle Which Meets Both Needs

Yesterday on Your Caregiving Journey, Holly joined me for our monthly chat on Table Talk. (You can listen to our show via the player below.) We began our conversation with a continuation of our discussion from last month’s show on vision boards. From vision boards, we moved to this question:

When my needs and my caree’s needs are in conflict, what do I do?

I offered this example to Holly: I’m in desperate need of a break. So, I’ve planned a day away. When the day of my break arrives, my caree is having a bad day–and really needs my support and presence. I want to go. My caree wants me to stay. What do I do?

Holly offered the following exercise, using herself as an example, to help you find the win-win solution:

  1. Move to an area of the house where you can be alone in your own space. You’ll need a three-foot space in which you’ll create an imagery triangle. One corner you’ll name for yourself (“Self”), another you’ll name for your caree (“Other”) and the third you’ll name “Observer.” Call the center of the triangle your sixth sense; you’ll find a solution that works for you and your caree here.
  2. Next, stand in the corner of the triangle that’s called Self. Ask yourself: What’s important for me?
  3. Now, move to the corner called Other and take on the perspective of your caree. Ask yourself: What’s important (for my caree)? Answer as if you are your caree.
  4. Next, move to corner called Observer, where you’ll be like a fly on the wall. Look to Self, Look to Other. What’s important for both? For instance, Holly needs to have fun and take care of her husband. Dave wants Holly to have a good life and have companionship.
  5. Now, step into middle of triangle, letting go of any internal chatter. Because solutions come from the moment, relax into the moment. Ask yourself, “What do I know that is the best solution?” Then, listen.
  6. For Holly, she heard this answer: “My neighbor wants to help, so I’ll ask him to spend the day and work with Dave on the puzzle. I’ll be able to meet my friends. I may be a little late but this will work.”

Let me know when you try to the exercise and how it works for you. And, be sure to listen next month (September 15) when Holly joins me for our next show.

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

3 thoughts on “A Triangle Which Meets Both Needs

  1. Avatar of Bette

    Denise and Holly,
    Thank you for such a great show, and the reminder to literally make the effort to move to the other parts of the triangle.


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