Of all the issues of caregiving what seems to induce the highest level of caregiver guilt?

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I am curious to find out what two or three things in the life of a caregiver seem to create the highest level of guilt and what are the successful ways to deal with the associated guilt?


Losing my temper.
The only way to deal with it is to forgive myself for being human and to ensure I get as much help and time away as possible to help keep burnout at arms length.
That's a very amusing question. I would be interested to know too. It seems that guilt is a very pervasive emotion that a vast number of caregivers seem to have. It really baffles me why loving caretakers harbor such a painful emotion, when they are knocking themselves out giving care to their family members. Many give up their outside interests and activities, sacrifice financially, and endure enormous stress and sleep deprivation to care for a loved one who has dementia or is otherwise disabled, but, then they top if off with feelings of guilt, even though they are doing their very best. As Cwillie says, it's good to be reasonable about the matter. I mean you are only human. When you're doing your best, why feel guilt? I suppose it's a psychological phenomena like survivors guilt. It's not rational, but, still exist.

I won't question people's emotions, but, I sometimes wonder if what is labeled guilt is actually anger, worry, pain or disappointment. I suppose that I'm fortunate, as I have always done what I thought was right for my LO and put her need as my top priority. I'm not perfect, but, I have never felt guilt, because I know my heart is in the right place, I work hard, devote my time, do my research, act as her advocate and seek the best for her.
Feeling anger. There is no set way to handle it other than to stay away as much as I can. This is not easy to do, since I live in my mother's house. I have to do a lot of self soothing. If someone isn't good at self soothing I would tell them to never try being a caregiver.
Just read what you wrote, sunny. It is very simple to feel guilty about feeling angry. If we were better people we wouldn't harbor feelings like anger and resentment. But we fall short of those perfect people marks. And it is our parents. That is why we feel guilt about not being totally loving all the time. Is it logical? No. But it is the way it is.
Oh, my! I feel guilty whenever I say "no" to my mother, and she plays on that too. This week my mother and I had to postpone our regular trip to the library and Walmart because she was sick. Now that she's starting to feel better, she wants to go right now. Today. Friday. Even though I told her that Friday was the only day I couldn't take her because I had a podiatrist appointment. She's like "Well, I guess if it has to be Saturday, it has to be Saturday. I sure hope I don't run out of books before then." She has a way of communicating the idea that if she doesn't get exactly what she wants when she wants it, it's a major tragedy. And on some level I always buy into it and feel responsible, even though I know it's nonsense. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!
Maybe I simply don't have a conscience, because there wasn't a lot of guilt associated with caregiving for me. Losing my temper did make me feel guilty, as it should. It is OK to feel guilty when you do something wrong. That will probably help reduce how often it happens in the future. (That is the legitimate purpose of guilt, right?)

When I lost my temper I apologized. I hugged him. I assured him that I loved him and it was the darn disease that I hated.

Maybe I didn't feel guilt much because I recognized other feelings: anger, regret, powerlessness, frustration. I'm not saying I didn't have painful feelings as a caregiver -- but usually it was not guilt.

I had a lot of people -- family, friends, the doctors, a caregiver support group -- to tell me over and over what a great job I was doing. I'm sure that helped a lot. My heart really goes out to those who have people trying hard to make them feel guilty and who point out everything "wrong." I'm afraid it would take more strength than I have not to be an emotional mess in that situation.
I'd have to say frustration while watching formerly competent people just lose their desire to do anything for themselves. Yes 89 is very aged, but I have friends in their nineties that are still making an effort at LIVING to the best of their ability. My mom can no longer feed herself due to severe sight loss, but my dad sits there while a caregiver or myself feeds her. She's HIS wife and he is still able to do those things for himself and I sit thinking, "she's your wife, why don't you take care of her as best you can". there, got that out. Thanks for the place to vent. (I'll have to note that this man was the "breadwinner" in his working years and was never expected to care for us kids or mom so honestly it just may not occur to him). That's just one of many things that raise guilt in me.
Ditto jeannegibbs comments. I don't feel guilt. Although it is terribly difficult to be a caregiver of a spouse who has Alz, frontal temporal dementia and ALS, I consider it an honor to be able to care for him at home - someone who gave me the best of his life and someone I know would do the same for me. Sadness at seeing such a vibrant person lose his independence, memory and judgement, yes. Frustration at the fragmented healthcare system that makes mistakes and causes him pain and discomfort, yes. Disappointment in some members of our family that don't understand my husband as my first priority these days over them or their children, yes. Am I impatient at times, yes. But feelings of guilt or anger, no.
Triple ditto to Jeannegibs. No guilt. I'm doing what is supposed to be done and to the best of my ability with the resources on hand.
Not guilt so much, but resentment. Just when we are both retired and could do some fun things like travel, my husband "takes a powder" from life and I have to pick up the pieces. I have to remind myself often that I'm not the only one dealing with this; this is the row I'm destined to hoe; I am glad I can function and keep loving him. If I ever feel anger, it's against our friends who seem to have dropped us from their mind and never come to visit, so I feel lonely in this endeavor.

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