I want to share Joy Johnston’s recent post COPING WITH THE DIFFICULT EMOTIONS OF CAREGIVING on her site The Memories Project and also try to answer the question Joy raises.
“Caregiving is a tough task, both physically and emotionally. There are many emotions that can arise while one is a caregiver, and many are not pleasant. However, it is important to recognize, acknowledge and process these feelings. Caring.com offers an excellent article, The 7 Deadly Emotions of Caregiving: How to Cope.
The 7 emotions the article focuses on includes:
The article explains how these emotions arise while caregiving, the risks that come with these feelings and most importantly, what you can do about it. Many caregivers will find the above list familiar; some of us will experience one emotion more than another. For my mother, it was loneliness and worry; for me, it was worry, guilt and resentment.
I think it is important as caregivers to acknowledge what we feel, and equally as important to figure out how to best process these emotions so we don’t damage our own physical and mental well-being.
What caregiving emotions do you feel most consumed by, and how do you cope?”
Most consumed by? Hmmm.
Guilt is always with me, because I am so frequently full of Resentment, Anger and Defensiveness, the terrible trio that I fight constantly if often unsuccessfully. Worry, too, because it is generally tied closely to Guilt, Resentment, Anger and Defensiveness. I find it impossible to eliminate or even order my priority of emotions. Loneliness is strongest when I am beside Ralph unable to share in the communication on which our relationship was built. Grief seems a bit strong, overblown and pretentious for what I feel since others have much more to grieve about. But maybe if I’m honest I work to repress the primal strength of grief because typing this sentence a black wave of emotion washes over me, emotion I do not want to feel.
Of course we are all dealing with these emotions in one way or another everyday in small and large moments. But looking at them as a whole has given me a sense of perspective I can easily lose or at least forget.
(P.S. Thanks again Joy, for allowing me to share and for asking the question.)