The decision to become a caregiver of a loved one is not an easy one to make. If it’s a spouse or child, there is no question. However, when it’s a parent, there’s a feeling of anxiety. If you have siblings, then anxiety may be accompanied by resentment for having to be the one to make the decision. Then guilt sets in. Your parent took care of you, and now you just feel obligated.
Guilt is debilitating and doesn’t just affect you, but also your family and your loved one. Eventually, your initial decision to do something hopeful will lead to destruction. Even when relatives praise you or your loved one thanks you, you will still feel a sense of guilt.
Oftentimes, you feel guilty simply because you are in good health and your loved one is not. Your loved one is elderly, and that is a circumstance out of your control. Feeling guilty about it only distracts you from your task.
What is Caregiver Guilt?
Caregiver guilt is sometimes an emotion that conceals resentment, anger, or simply exhaustion. Taking care of a loved one is not an easy task. It can drain you of all your patience, eat away at your personal life, and occupy your life completely. You may resent your siblings for not doing their part, and you may resent your loved one for needing you. Resentment leads to anger, and ultimately these negative emotions fester into guilt. It is important that you recognize the underlying emotions that cause the guilt, in order to move on in peace.
Know When To Ask For Help
If you resent the fact that you have no life, get a life. Taking care of a loved one should not hinder your needs. Just like having children, parents may feel they need some time alone, and when this is the case, they call in a helper for some relief. As a caregiver, you can do the same thing. And if you feel guilty for taking time away from your loved one, make sure you give him or her some fun time too. Create a balance. Your loved one might feel resentful and angry too if they sense you are burdened by them.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
A parent suddenly feels like the child, and this can cause resentment and anger. They don’t want to feel like a burden, but if you, as a caregiver, are retaining all these negative emotions, you may inadvertently reveal your true feelings to your loved one. It could be in the tone of your voice, a gesture, or a look. With so many negative emotions flying around, animosity will grow and fester, and only bad things can come out of the situation.
Losing the guilt means understanding the situation and reminding yourself that you had a choice, even if the other options were not to your liking. Don’t be a martyr. You are a good person for taking on the burden, but if you reveal your burden to others as a complaint, the good becomes soiled. Find an outlet, like an online forum where other caregivers share situations and feelings. When you realize that you’re not alone, care giving will be easier to bear.
Give Care To Yourself Too
Caregivers need to be well in mind and body. You cannot be a good caretaker if you don’t take care of yourself. Consider relaxing or meditative outlets, such as yoga, Tai Chi, hiking, or long walks. Look to your faith for strength. You must have a strong mind and body to be the best caregiver that you can be. It starts with you. If you are well, your loved one will be well, and your family will be well. No pressure!