Guilt Be Gone !

October 2022

Care PARTners experience emotions that can often vary from day to day, hour to hour, or even minute to minute. This is a completely natural and understandable response to the role of caring for someone else.  If these feelings are not acknowledged, additional ones can emerge.  Specifically, feeling less healthy and well or feeling overwhelmed and burned out. 

When care PARTners can find a safe space to reveal their fear or GUILT, they invite themselves to address their own needs and self care.  By admitting these emotions and trusting the process, these feelings will subside and more freedom can be found. 

But wait…. How do I know if I really have GUILT?

Sure, it’s probably easy to relate to feeling guilty for indulging or forgetting someone’s birthday.  People who admit wrongdoing might feel guilty and apologetic.  The person who had a stroke or other condition that requires your care, may feel guilty for causing your role to change. Care PARTners are usually, innately giving of themselves or accepting of their obligatory role.  But when the process of caring becomes chronic, care PARTners often accept their role, bury their emotions, or fear admitting GUILT.  In order to avoid disappointing others, showing weakness, or being unable to meet expectations, Care PARTners choose to ignore the feeling of GUILT.  

Signs of GUILT

  • Sleep changes
  • Fatigue
  • Worry, concern
  • Change in appetite
  • Being irritable, angry, or sad
  • Feeling down or depressed
  • Having no time for yourself
  • Resentment
  • Gain or loss of weight
  • Social isolation
  • Wanting excess alcohol or drugs
  • Living with household chaos and disorganization

The struggle is real

Are you aware of the saying, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”?  While you may be completely capable of doing “it all”, it may not be wise to do so.  But if you don’t, who will?  

Human Giver Syndrome is a real phenomenon – typically experienced by females – it is the instinctive reaction one has to be a consistent, reliable presence in someone else’s life.  What ensues is a sense of responsibility and reputation to uphold along with not wanting to disappoint.  Care PARTners often face big decisions, tugging at the heart because it becomes a struggle to admit GUILT if saying “no” feels right. 

Does the guilt ever go away?

Frankly, no.  Whether sacrificing your own self care or passing along care needs to someone else, it is likely that feelings of guilt will exist.  BUT (with a capital B) the feelings can be less, different, and rationalized. 

Tell me how

A coaching program that targets your personal struggles and needs will provide a framework that takes you on a path toward finding better balance in your life.  You will have a realistic way to remain true to yourself and to the person for whom you are caring. 

Here are 3 ways to address your GUILT right now:

  •  Greet and name your guilt. Do not ignore it. Do not hide it.
    • Sit by yourself in a quiet space.  Say or write the following words and complete the sentence with your thoughts, “Yes, I feel guilty and it’s okay because I am experiencing/struggling/wondering……………….”.
    • Remind yourself that feeling guilty is normal, understandable, and real. Say or write the following words and complete the sentence with your thoughts,  “I am human. I am a mother/father, sister/brother, husband/wife, who also cares for……………………………”
    • Picture a superhero in your mind.   Say or write the following words and complete the sentence with your thoughts, “Because I am not a superhero, I cannot………………………………….”
    • Allow these prompts to resonate with you and give yourself grace to feel sad, relief, or confusion.
  • Pick up the calendar of your choice (digital or paper) and look at the next week. 
    • Find at least 20-30 minutes EACH day that you block for YOURSELF.  This can include time to: 
      •  cook (alone)
      •  sit outside (alone)
      •  drive to do an errand (alone)
      •  take a long shower (alone)
      •  call and make doctor appointments (for yourself)
      •  meet a friend for a meal, drink or stroll
      •  pamper yourself 
      •  pay bills
      •  listen to music, watch television, read for work or pleasure. 
      •  nap, meditate
    • REST: let people know you are: Really Enjoying Some Time alone
      • ICOMMUNICARE has a separate resource for this reminder
    • These blocks of time are NON NEGOTIABLE unless there is an emergency.
    • Midway through the week, repeat this time blocking for the following week
  • Share The Care and say “YES”
    • Remind yourself that you are not a superhero who can do “it all”.
    • Remind yourself that your health is at risk when you ignore your needs and the guilt
    • Remind yourself that there are people around you who want to and can help
    • Accept help knowing that the person offering will feel good when you say “YES”
    • Set realistic goals that focus on one day at a time
    • Lean in and welcome the community around you. Support groups, friends, neighbors, companions, family members have purpose too.  Embrace it.

When Care PARTners address their guilt, they and the person being cared for, will find more freedom and a better balance of health and wellness.

ICOMMUNICARE’S coaching for care PARTners will provide this framework for you.

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