One thought on “Caregiver Guilt: The Untenable Position

  • June 18, 2019 at 4:10 am

    I am sorry about this most recent diagnosis, and all the previous years of misdiagnosis. I think in your shoes I too would be inclined to try be the person who makes your husband’s burden bearable and, really, to be his rescuer. I think the authentic truth is that you can be (and are) a great resource for him – his burden would be so much greater without you – but sadly you can’t take all of his suffering away.
    Maybe considering yourself as a resource could mean that he can choose to tell you in the moment whether this is a good time to offer him help or not, or whether a hearty meal would be a tonic or a burden to him right now. I think this means that you are being responsive, but he is still responsible for articulating his needs so that you don’t have to guess.
    Also, as his main resource, you will need to have respite and your own positive experiences, so that you can bring some authentic positivity into his (currently) small world – especially since his own thoughts are so often stuck on a negative track. Again, its not that you are responsible for changing his thought patterns, just that after respite and self-care you may feel authentically better within yourself, and this may show in subtle ways that lift the atmosphere, even if only slightly.
    I think this ‘reframe’ means that time away is not a guilty squandering, but a necessary gathering of the strength that you are both relying on so much right now. Your wellbeing is so very important to your supportive role in increasing your husband’s agency as he is currently laid so low. To my mind this is a more authentic role to see yourself in, and I think that may go some way to alleviating the understandable need to drop the act you feel you have been performing.
    If there is any way you can tell well meaning friends what they might actually help you with that would also be fantastic. Can THEY be a resource to YOU in some way at this difficult time?

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