Caretaker How often do you place the needs of another over your own? How often do you need to fix the situation or person? Is the only time you feel whole when you are helping out? (It fills an internal void.) Do you often feel exhausted/tired? Do you feel you have failed as a caretaker? Do you tend to criticize others and yourself? Do you blame others for not being as involved as you are?
Caregiver Do you have the ability to care for yourself and your family first, and only then assist those in need? (It is this very act that allows you to care for others in a healthy manner.) Can you give care regardless the outcome? Do you have peace of mind and do not feel that you are the only one that can fix the situation?
Caregiver You can BE with another person without trying to “rescue” them? Are you alert not to take away the power of choice from others, "for their own good"? Do you empower others to exercise their choices and to take action? Do you celebrate other caregivers’ success? Are you unconditional in your acceptance of others?
The mouse Willing to do everything. “Don't worry about me!"... “I don't mind"... "of course I will..." S/he usually is a reluctant listener and tends to be cranky or irritable. Make others jealous or nervous because of their energy level. Maintain constant activity as a way of avoidance. Real feelings of pain are suppressed or anxiety of any situation is denied.
The elephant Everything is going to be fine" … "I'm too busy"... "You are better than that." Prefers not to be involved and tends to down play the seriousness of the situation. Insists that everyone else in the situation be over reacting. Is never available to help out. This uncaring attitude is a mask for their fear for their not knowing what to do or how to respond.
The lion S/he is always the expert: Full of advice and criticism. "You're not doing it right"... "Let me handle this"... "I know about this". Resists other peoples’ opinions. This authoritative approach is the only way they feel some sense of control over an unpredictable situation.
The turtle Refuses to show signs of stress or tension. Hides emotions. "I'm doing fine."... "I don't want to talk about it any more”..."There isn't anything wrong". Isolates themselves and tend to be moody. May experience insomnia and increased dependency on drugs or alcohol. Gets irritated by the small things. Withdrawal and denial are the ways they avoid acknowledging and expressing their emotions.
GUILT RETROSPECTIVE GUILT: GUILT FOR 'MISTAKES' POWERLESS GUILT: GUILT FOR BEING SELFISH OR INCOMPETENT
DEALING WITH GUILT Evaluate, learn and move on Guilt does not change anything - it is a trap and produces nothing more than apathy and inaction. Be realistic and recognize your limitation in any situation. Keep your sense of humor.
ANGER Anger is a defensive response (reaction) to pain. If there is no response to pain (physical or emotional), pain becomes cumulative and devastating. Anger is inherently an action against or towards the source of pain. If managed constructively, anger can be the tool, which allows the caregiver to continue to give, despite the pain and suffering inherent in the task at hand.
DEALING WITH ANGER STEP 1 - RECOGNISE THE VALIDITY OF ANGER STEP 2 - RECOGNISE THE DESTRUCTIVE NATURE OF FAILING TO DEAL WITH YOUR ANGER Do not bottle, displace or dump your anger STEP 3 - FIND HEALTHY WAYS OF DEALING WITH YOUR ANGER
DEPRESSION Depression and exhaustion Depression as a mask for: Anger Guilt Loss Disillusionment
DEALING WITH DEPRESSION Normalize the response Identify, acknowledge and express your emotions Set boundaries and shed your role
GRIEF Grief is a normal part of loss. It is part of the process of letting go. We each grieve in our own way, in our own time frames.