Do you hear yourself saying, “I’m not good enough”?
Ask any caregiver this question, and you will get a yes.
Whether caring for a baby or aging parents, it’s easy to find fault in your actions.
But you know what? If you’re feeling this way, there’s good news for you.
Today we’ll discuss what to do when you question your worth as a caregiver.
So stop saying I’m not good enough and start doing these things instead.
The task of taking care of someone in itself is an emotional process. And a massive part of caregiving has to deal with the expectations that come with it.
One morning, you get a call from a cousin you haven’t heard from in a while.
You pick up the phone, wondering if he’s about to ask you for money or to remind you of a family event you missed.
You hear a quiver as he tells you your dad fell hard this morning in the garage.
He slipped while standing on a stool, reaching for something on the upper storage shelves.
It’s a good thing the shelf of lawn tools didn’t fall on your dad, he also said.
Now you’re booking the next available flight to your hometown. And when you arrive, you hear the doctor say that your father will need hip replacement surgery.
The surgery goes well, but they see other complications because your dad is almost 80. From what the doctors say, he’s in the middle stages of dementia.
Now it makes sense: the incoherent conversations, the paranoia, the unexplained anger and resentment you’ve been getting from your dad.
The doctor tells you that your dad needs full-time care. And you’re the only person that is next of kin.
You check on relatives who can help, but no one is available. And caregiver services seem to be an expensive option.
Then you find yourself asking, now what?
It may sound a bit dramatic, but what you just read is a reality for many people.
Whether gradual or sudden, most are never ready to face the challenges of caregiving.
Even those in the business of providing caregiver services often say it’s a handful.
Everyone tends to cope in their way. But sometimes, it can get to be too much, too quickly.
If you’re on this roller coaster of emotions now, don’t worry. It happens to everyone.
And the first thing to do in these situations is to acknowledge what you’re going through. After that, you will only start understanding and finding better ways to cope with your case.
Here are the types of guilt most caregivers deal with daily.
Some caregivers carry the burden of ‘what-ifs.’ What if they could have prevented the accident? What if they spent more time with their aging parents? Would things be more different?
Most caregivers have other roles to play: a wife, a mother, a sibling, and a child. But, because caregivers almost always prioritize their aging parents, they also feel guilty for not prioritizing their spouses or their own families.
Taking some time off may be expected for some. But for many caregivers, it’s almost a sin to feel good while others are in pain.
Because of this, they tend to skip self-care altogether.
Some caregivers find themselves as the “official caregiver” of the family because some members overstep their boundaries.
They are also often made to feel guilty for not showing the same concern towards others as they do to their charge.
This is common for caregivers, especially if no other family member is stepping up to share the responsibility.
Instead of addressing anger or resentment, they try to keep a positive approach to the situation.
Feeling guilty about many things is easy when you’re in a caregiver position.
But know that feelings are a part of being human. So all your feelings: anger, resentment, loneliness, anxiousness, and regret, are valid.
What’s not good is blaming yourself for things you do not control.
So the moment you hear yourself saying I’m not good enough, take a step back and think.
Your mind and body may tell you it’s time to take a break.
You may not see it, but you’re doing your best with what you have. And that alone speaks volumes.
Don’t deny what you feel because feelings and emotions can pass. Instead, identify why these emotions are coming up. Doing so will help you understand your feelings and manage how you respond to them.
One thing that helps is to have a gratitude journal where you can record your journey. This will help you track and identify the events that trigger these responses from you.
The better you recognize these triggers, the more aware you will be about how you respond.
It will also help you let go of the unnecessary guilt that you are made to feel.
Learn more about how to manage caregiver burnout here.
It’s never easy to deal with guilt feelings as a caregiver.
So whenever you feel like saying, “I’m not good enough as a caregiver,” take a step back and look at how far you’ve come.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. And know that you’re doing the best you can.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!