Updated: Dec 11, 2018
Guilt can be a complicated emotion but one thing is for sure, it is NOT a productive one. Sure it is useful when we’ve wronged or hurt someone and owe them an apology. We feel guilty and the emotion is telling us to make it right!
When it comes to Caregiving, guilt can be a persistent and overwhelming emotion. Probably because of the HIGH expectations that our society has for family members to provide care AND the high expectations we put on ourselves. We can be our own worst enemy entertaining conversations in our own heads; questioning our ability to be a caregiver- Am I doing everything I can? Am I doing enough? Am I good enough? Can I do this?
Caregivers have an opportunity to have a few minutes alone and pounce on it. Is it really too much to want 30 minutes to soak in the tub or have a quick lunch with a friend? Then the GUILT sets in. You are with your family, your friend, or your spouse and you feel GUILTY because your Mother is alone OR you are tending to your Father’s needs, appointments, groceries… and you feel GUILTY because you haven’t seen your kids all day!
I don’t have a magic solution to make the guilt go away. It may always be there for you. However, like all emotions, fear, sadness, anger…you need to acknowledge and accept the feelings as NORMAL. You have to lean in to how you are feeling and learn from it. NO feeling is right or wrong- it just is.
Accept that there is NO perfect caregiver. Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself. You are human and you will make mistakes AND you are doing the best you can with what you have, and what you know, right now. Move forward (the only way to go!) and seek out the support of others. Sharing your feelings and your caregiving experiences can benefit so many others; they can learn from your successes AND your failures. What a great way to transform those feelings of guilt into something good!
If you want to learn more about support available for family caregivers, visit our page: www.health-at-home.ca.
To learn more about support available for family caregivers, join our FREE Facebook Community, ICare at www.facebook.com/groups/theicarecommunity/. Hope to see you there!
Good riddance guilt 😊