How in the world do you NOT "take it personal?"

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Your suggestions and solutions are appreciated more than you will ever know. Thank you all for your time, knowledge and willingness to share.


What caregiving has taught me so far is that people will say what makes them feel comfortable. We can't know the individual circumstances of people. What is relevant for one parent may not be relevant for another. There are times that we need to take things personally in order to take care of ourselves. An extreme would be if someone with dementia was hitting us with a bat. If someone said not to take that personally, it would be a silly thing. The same is true when it comes to emotional abuse. A caregiver has to protect her/himself. A family caregiver will know the history of the person. If the person was a mean person when they were younger, they will be a mean person with dementia if they have the disease. Then we are left with decisions about what to do based on the circumstances. I don't think there is any real way not to take it personally. I think what that means is not to blame ourselves.
Thank you JessieBelle.
Dear Elizabeth,

Its so hard. I was and am a hyper sensitive person and I tended to take things too personally while caring for my dad. In my heart, I thought I was doing everything I can to "help" my dad, but my dad was so grumpy after the stroke. I don't think I fully understood how to help him sometimes.

In hindsight, I needed counselling or a support group to talk through all the issues. I felt so alone. I only found this forum after my dad passed. It was too late. Dealing with the grief has been harder than dealing with the day to day stresses of caring for my dad.

Another suggestion is to consider respite care and taking at least a day or two off during the week and just do some things for yourself.
Oh yes...a day or two a week off is great stress relief.

I am so lucky that my Mom can have a paid in home aide everyday for a couple hours. I am sure this saved my sanity!
At the peak of my struggle with looking after my mother - during a conversation she didn't want to have - my mother said to me that she wished I had never been born. How on earth does one not take a comment like that personally?

Yes, mom had dementia but she was still very aware that I was her daughter. Insult to injury - I had spent the previous five years killing myself trying to look after her - and my father for the first two of those years. And - there was no end in sight. To use another cliche - the salt in the wound was that mom's golden boy - my brother was getting a complete pass.

I think one would have to either super-human or made of stone to hear your own mother say something like that to you.

Dementia or not - it still cut me to the bone - for one last cliche.
I too wish I had found this site earlier. Or sought counseling while Dad was still alive. I'm a single retired man, and I should have talked to Dad about what he expected when he asked me to move in and help him. Some things happened which caused me to question his level of disability, and the amount of help he needed. And I absolutely took it personal when he accused me of not helping him. I had left my home, and my life behind, to cook, clean his house, work in the yard, maintain the house, make and drive him to Dr. appts and just on scenic rides through the mountains. I helped with PT and OT, did all the shopping, laundry, etc etc. I found my attitude changing when I was cooking dinner and he announced that he would just go driving for a half hour while I cooked. grrrrrrrr!!! I had to help him into and out of the shower, but he could get down stairs, and back up, without help, to smoke when i left to shop or check my house.   It was d*mn personal!
I remember how hard this was. I remember saying to myself, it's her story, not mine; from her point of view she is still just trying to make me perfect so she can keep seeing herself as perfect mom and I also had to just detach and provide care in short and sweet visits focused on some little chore I could do for her. I did her laundry and kept the candy dish full. She always had that power to make me feel like a wretch from all the constant criticism, even though she'd brag about me when I was not there!! But, I could do that and be cheery for a few minutes, and once in while come up with something she actually liked.
Another thing comes to mind to me about "just letting it go". My husband has looked after his Dad in our home for the past 13+ years, and my hubby loved his Mother so very much, but FIL decided to bear his sole to him about 2 years ago, and told him of 2 different affairs that he had, when my husband was a little boy, which broke up the family for a time, and for which I'm quite certain my MIL never fully recovered from.

It all seems so unessasary, why he felt his son should be laden with this sort of information, while I suppose, he felt unburdend by revealing it to him.

It definitely changed how my husband now feels about him, and it's never been spoken about against, by Why did he feel the need to expose just a thingc, especially when he never even speaks her name, noright recalls any special memories of her, or ever wants to look at the family picture albums, she so lovingly put together to remember their 54 years together?

I guess it must have been good for him to get it off his chest, but now my husband is the one who has to live on with that memory, which gives him so much more clarity, on why the family is so dysfunctional in the first place! Yea, he took it personally!

There's been so many things my husband has "uncovered", in the time his Dad has come to live with us, none of it good, and most of it makes him resent his Dad all the more. Too bad he didn't have more of this information before we put our lives on hold to care for him! We definitely would have thought things through a lot more!
When I started taking care of my mother-in-law who had Alzheimers & was legally blind due to macular degeneration, I got offended A LOT by what and how she said things. After a few years, I came to realize, that if she suddenly got in her right mind, she'd be MORTIFIED about the things she'd been saying to me and others in the family. So that's how I had to look at her outbursts, rants etc. from then on. I was so glad she didn't realize how terrible she was acting, cause it would've killed her. ♥
Rainmom your mother and my mother sound a lot alike. My mom put my pictures face down so many times that I just took them all away. I say to myself I don't care? but really, it's gut wrenching and hurts because she does know I am her daughter. She has also thrown away 1/2 my wardrobe and personal things. I have to take all my toiletries in a box in and out of the bathroom every day and lock my door to my bedroom even if I step out of my room to get a drink of water. I take it all personal. Trying real hard not to but it's just a front.

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