“It’s Too Hard for You”

We Believe In YouSarah has done her homework when it comes to caregiving. She’s contacted every organization she can think of which could help her and her caree. She’s shopped for the best prices for supplies. She’s hired a great home health aide privately so she can save money. She’s organized schedules of help, uses technology to manage any task she can and is active with both a community and an online support group.

Which means she has as much control as she can over a situation that seems to add chaos into her day at will and without notice.

For all the solutions she’s sought, she still sometimes struggles with how little support her family members and close friends provide. It’s not that they don’t listen. They do. It’s what they tell after she’s vented about a bad day or expressed a worry about an overwhelming problem.

“This is too hard for you,” they’ll say. “We really worry about you. You shouldn’t be doing something that’s so hard.”

So, instead of feeling accepted, she feels judged. It is hard, Sarah will often think when a family member or friend tells her it’s too hard, and wouldn’t it be great if you believed I could do it.

During a difficult time, we can wonder if we’re up to the task. So, when we hear we’re not (“this is too hard for you”), we can lose what we need the most: Our belief in ourselves.

In a hard time, we need someone on our side who believes in us, who tells us we can, who reminds us of our strength, who encourages us to continue, who respects the importance of reaching our goal.

We believe in you. We know you can.

Resources

Weekly Comforts

The Caregiving Years

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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.

15 thoughts on ““It’s Too Hard for You”

  1. Profile photo of BobBob

    Wow, really related to this blog. I get a whole host of non-supportive feedback and on some occasions more unsolicited feedback I did not want. I start not believing in myself for sure. I rely on sources of support here, books, educational CD programs from the library, writing, and entering gradually more deeply into my experience/journey with my wife/caree.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of David E

      I find that our family just doesn’t understand how severe my wife’s condition is. Bi-Polar and Schizophranic episodes, and agoraphobic for 12 years. People don’t relate to mental illness as they would to physical issues. She was hospitalized for about 5 yeeks and has been out about 3 months now. The recent episode has been too overwhelming, and I’ve been crying for no reason all week. Sure they say It’s too much for you, but there is no alternative. You do what’s nedessary to care for your wife.

      Reply
        • Profile photo of David E

          Thanks Denise, Someone mentioned, perhaps in the blog or on the chat last night, that there were resources available. It’s sometimes hard to determine what you actually need. In Colorado, and perhaps other states as well, there is some assistance for those over 62, but with a salary coming into the family, it kinda eliminates some of these programs.

          This was a bad week. Dolores’ physical and mental state were not well. She has to agree to take her meds, or to have a visiting nurse come to check up on her status.

          Reply
          • Profile photo of DeniseDenise Post author

            Hi–Would it help you to have a regular support system in place? Blogging here can be really cathartic so please know that’s available for you. Does NAMI have any support groups in your area? (http://www.nami.org/)

            I think part of the challenge becomes how to find the support you need during the really bad weeks. Because there will be bad weeks–and it would be great to know you have support in place.

      • Profile photo of BobBob

        Yes David, it is really painful when people do not understand how absolutely devastating mental illness can be. A compound fracture of the leg is something one can see. The symptoms of mental illness are invisible as you said, unless one were to spend any length of time with the person suffering. Welcome to Caregiving.com. Bob

        Reply
  2. Profile photo of SueSue

    Great reminder…for both the caregiver, who has to deal with these comments and all of us who interact with caregivers. It is really important to hear that you have been strong, but it is even more important to hear “you can do this.” I try to remind my mom of this when she starts to get upset with herself. I try to remind her that she HAS done it and she CAN do it, but she has to believe in herself. I think often, it is so much better to say something like “you do so much – is there something I can do to help you?” Most of the time, my mom can’t think of anything. And I know that I often said no to this question when someone asked, but it was still good to know people were willing and able.

    As a caregiver, I think its important to be sure that we communicate our needs to others though. Sometimes, it is helpful if we start with, “I’m not looking for a solution, just needing to vent.” or “I know that I can do this, but days like today really leave me wanting to tell someone about it.” It doesn’t always work to make people think twice before responding with a “solution” or a “this is too much for you,” but it sometimes does – especially with those who are truly caring towards you.

    Reply
  3. Profile photo of darciejanedarciejane

    I think it’s human nature for people to want to give advice, when we really just need someone to listen to our vent. To that other person it may well appear that we are asking for feedback, and he or she is trying hard to give some. Unfortunately, sometimes that feedback will take the form of “this is too hard for you, you need to do this instead, or this, or this……”.

    And a family member or close friend may have another motive, equally understandable. They want us back the way we were before the stress began! So maybe telling us, in so many words, that this is too much for us, might open the door to finding a different solution. An example of this in my life is being told that maybe my mother should be in “assisted living”. I have had to explain several times to people, what assisted living is, and more importantly, what it isn’t, and why it is not an appropriate solution at this time. So not only am I NOT getting validation that i can handle things myself, but I’m having to defend my decision regularly.

    My solution? Try not to vent so much on the uninvolved family members. Share your cares with others who will understand better, and give you the boost you need.

    Reply
  4. Profile photo of BobBob

    Thank you Sue and Darcy. I think I was little harsh on the people who have really tried to be supportive of my well-being that have said “I think it may be too much” or have given unsolicited advice. It’s all well meant and as you indicated in my view, we need to be clear ourselves where we stand and where it’s more helpful to get support. Heck, at times I have felt myself it is too much–actually many times. So others may be responding to what they are seeing in me.

    Reply
  5. Profile photo of RichardRichard

    You are so right. I totally agree with your comments and appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We are constantly being told, “it’s too hard for you” even if we don’t realize it’s being done. / : ^{ )>

    Reply
  6. Profile photo of ejourneysejourneys

    That’s why this site is such a sanity-saver for me. :-) Ironically, one of the advantages of social isolation is that unsolicited advice drops off, too.

    Seeing what you all go through, including problem-solving strategies, gives me more faith in myself and in the choices I make. Thank you all for being there!

    Reply
  7. pegi

    Totally on the same page as ej. This Community has become my safe place, to vent, to share et al. Gathering and giving advice to the only group of people who really know what it’s like. Yes, it is hard. But reminding us of that doesn’t help any think. So hubby’s health issues are vaguely discussed with well meaning family and friends, the cliff notes verstion; then I continue on with our life. And quite often thanks to you in this community, I feel good about how we’re handling things.

    Reply
  8. Profile photo of TrishTrish

    This makes my blood boil! Yes, it is hard. Sometimes it’s really, really hard. The last thing we need during those times is to be told it’s “too hard.” I fear that will happen in our situation and then we’ll be told to find placement for Robert. It would be better to have the support. I refuse to worry about the future, however, and will continue to do the best I can and even talk about the “hard” days. The only person who gets to decide if it’s “too” hard is me, the caregiver.

    Boy, this makes me want to scream!

    I feel better now . . . :-)

    Reply
    • Profile photo of ejourneysejourneys

      Amen! There is much value in talking about the hard days. They’re real. They’re our war stories because we are all on the front lines here. Those who say “it’s too hard” don’t live where we live.

      And, as I can well attest, there is much value in screaming. :-)

      Reply
  9. Profile photo of BobBob

    Actually, I’m going through one of those hard times right now. In some ways unbearable. But I’m here and I have been beginning to formulate some plans on how I can lessen some of the stress in my life. No one ever promised me a Rose Garden, but I do know there are roses. I can see and smell one right now. A psychologist Denis Waitley suggested trying to do within when we’re doing without.

    Reply

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