Never Ending Role of the Care Giver
It is so easy to get caught up in care giving. We get so focused on the needs of everyone else, we loose sight of the care we need to take for ourselves. This might look like not taking the time to do your hair, or exercise, or make healthy meals. Everything becomes about taking care of someone else. Eventually, this will deplete us both emotionally and physically. Then we’ll often turn to food or alcohol for the love and care we are not giving ourselves.
Easier Said Than Done
There was a point where my husband was confined to either a couch or a bed. He was so weak he needed help to just get into a sitting position. I had reached out to family to help care for him when I returned to work. However if I was home, he would only want me to help him, even though someone else was there. He was comfortable with me and we had developed a system that worked well. Other people were not as practiced as he and I had become with things like helping him to stand, etc. Him only wanting my help was exhausting. I was also beginning to resent him for it.
My wise aunt pointed this out and told me that I needed to take care of myself a little bit. He would have to adjust. This was hard, but I was so depleted I knew she was right. That afternoon the minute I walked in the door, he called for me. I said, “hon, I just need a minute to rest and change, someone else will help you.” He was angry and hurt. I held firm to my resolve to take a few minutes for myself. After a half hour or so, I went to check on him and he expressed his hurt. I explained that I was exhausted and what seemed like a small request to him was literally pushing me over the edge. It was difficult to be so honest with my needs when here he was bed ridden and weak from his cancer. It was exactly what I needed to do because I was getting to the point where I had nothing left for him or me.
Sometimes we need to recognize when we are at our limit. If you are beginning to feel resentment or anger for the care your husband needs from you, then you are not taking care of yourself. It is your responsibility to ensure you are treating yourself with the same love and care you are giving everyone else.
It may mean you get help with care giving, or meals, or other tasks. It may mean you don’t always come at his beck and call when you are taking time for your self.
Setting boundaries is what we do to take care of our self. It is how we show ourselves kindness and love. It is a way of recognizing the needs of you as the caregiver. This must come from love for yourself and them.
By recognizing that this is what you need to do in order to fully be there for them, you are showing love for the other person. By willing to be truly honest with him, even though it may cause their anger or disapproval, you will actually bring your relationship to a deeper, more honest level.
Self Care is easy to overlook. When we don’t do it, it will come at a cost to ourselves and our relationship. Are you forgoing yourself to take care of someone else? If your answer is yes, then think about where you may need to set some boundaries. Sign up here if you want to join me and learn more.