In researching resources for caregivers, another aspect to my life, I came across a forum for caregivers to post their questions and receive support. The majority of the questions posed are in relation to the relationship between parent and child, with the child now being the primary caregiver. A rough transition. There are two sides to every story and our history will determine our responses.
It is a larger problem to provide care for someone in your family. It is personal when the one receiving care is angry, resentful, flinging insults, and generally difficult to deal with. No matter how many times you repeat this person would treat someone else the same, it is not believed. As the son or daughter, granddaughter or grandson, niece or nephew, or other relationship to this person you have taken on the care of, it is always personal and hurtful.
In my recovery journey I discovered a very basic fact for myself, at least. In seeking out support during the early years, I would get met with derision, sarcasm, caustic comments, and well meaning advice. One morning it came to me, “No one can care for another until he or she resolves her or his own pain.” It is like looking into the mirror. You see your own inadequacies, faults, mistakes, and perhaps self-loathing.
The other issue with family caregiving is the history you have in the family. What unresolved problems, hurts, or slights still linger? These must find resolution or you will never move beyond and provide adequate care. You will burn out and sink into depression. Building on the history.
Until this is resolved, you will always take it personal.
One advantage I see to caregiving is the opportunity to continue healing. Those memories, problems, and hurts have set festering, it is time to face them, look in the mirror and love yourself. You can do this.
We spend a life time avoiding unpleasantness, using small statements of reassurance, not one of these efforts has created a healing environment. The fact is it is avoidance. When faced with the opportunity, heal. Use this time to let yourself heal and be loved. As terrifying as it can be. When this happens it is so much easier to smile and allow the other person to have his or her feelings, thoughts, and attitude.
Caregivers Support System is available. Here is a great resource I belong to: Aging Care.