Every caregiving situation is unique, but almost all of us experience significant, sometimes painful shifts in one or more of our relationships due to the strain of these circumstances.
Some relationships intensify – for better or for worse… some relationships become strained or more distant… some become closer… and, in some cases, the dynamic changes completely.
Chronic pain, medication, and/or cognitive decline can alter your loved one’s personality.
There can be a shift in the power dynamics between a child and parent – or within an entire family.
Some spouses and couples who once functioned as true teammates (sometimes for decades) have to watch that component of their relationship dissolve as one of them is forced to take the lead in making decisions.
As a coach, I’m often helping caregivers process and adjust to these emotional upheavals, and I want to offer you three suggestions to help you sustain your ability to give care over long periods of time:
1) Please be gentle with yourself.
This is difficult, grown-up, messy stuff. It’s not something you were supposed to be prepared for, it’s just something you have to deal with.
2) Please be honest with yourself.
This is happening. Your relationship is shifting. Rather than deplete your physical and mental energy denying it, get some help to process it.
3) Please be supportive of yourself.
Remind yourself that you will not die from this heartache, or grief, or sadness. Emotions are vibrations that move through your body. Rather than expending extra energy resisting them… feel them, learn from them, surf the waves of them.
My heart goes out to you. Let me know if I can help.
And thank you for being one of the ones who care.
Details about my group coaching program for caregivers are here.