Ask an Expert: I Hate This!

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Ask an Expert: I Hate This!

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Hi,

I’ve been taking care of my parents for the past few years. They’re nice enough and seem to appreciate my efforts. I think I have a pretty good system in place so that they have what they need when they need.

Here’s my problem: I hate being a caregiver. I feel awful admitting this, but I just hate it. And, the guilt! Oh, do I feel guilty!!

Am I the only one?


Hello,

I think many people dislike aspects of their caregiving responsibilities. It’s absolutely normal to feel this way. You’ve taken on a huge responsibility—and something had to give. Most likely, because you’re available to your parents, you’re unavailable to the relationships, interests, hobbies that you enjoy. Who wouldn’t hate that?

A few suggestions:

  • Think of a new word to define your role in your parents’ lives right now. Perhaps you supplement their lifestyle with some help, or provide assistance when needed, or oversee their home and lifestyle. Perhaps defining what you do in a different way will help you feel some separation from “caregiver”.
  • Find a comfortable venue to vent your frustrations. Maybe you want to put your feelings into your garden, your journal, an exercise program. A good support group will understand your emotions and respect your honesty.
  • Recognize your limits. Our Caregiving Mission Statement can help you put your limits into perspective.
  • Forgive yourself. You’re doing a great job because you’re doing your best.
  • Look for ways to refresh your relationship with your parents. Have you recorded their life stories? It can be a fascinating exercise to learn what life was like for your parents in their youth. You may see them—and yourself as it relates to them--with fresh eyes.

Hope this helps!

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ejourneys

Hi, P -- My partner has MS that acts like traumatic brain injury (her preliminary diagnoses include OCD and schizophrenia). I've been her sole caregiver and have supported her fulltime since 2001. Years ago a friend told me, \"If you go down, you both go down.\" That's the hard truth.\r\n\r\nIt's hard to turn away especially when people become so needy. But sometimes it's necessary for one's literal survival. Caregiving does not have to be all-or-nothing, even though it feels that way 99 percent of the time. I agree with James -- find any corner and any moments you can to take a breath. (My version of the long hot bath is listening to music and being in nature whenever I can, even if it's just in my yard.)\r\n\r\nGuilt used to overwhelm me, too. I had to learn to cut myself a lot of slack, especially with how I perceived societal \"shoulds\" coupled with all the demands my partner was making on me, her criticisms, etc. (My detaching from her emotionally ended up helping both of us because I was able to get rid of a lot of my own knee-jerk reactions.)\r\n\r\nYou are already doing scads more for your friends than anyone else. You have stepped in and are doing the best you possibly can. Taking care of yourself is part of that, too. If social and community services won't come through (check the National and individual state resource groups here), maybe there is a neighbor with whom you can barter, so that you can get some home care that frees you to see to your own health needs. Your local hospital might be able to provide information as well. Keep asking around.

Denise

Hi P--Just to add to James' comment: Caregiving is really hard and it's pretty much impossible to do it alone. Have you been able to find time to look for help in your community?

Denise

Hi Donna--I feel for your son and I feel for you mother but OH! the vision of how that sounded just made me laugh. :) Hope your quest to convince was successful.