Therapy and caregiving.

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I have been seeing a therapist lately and for all he most part it has been helping put myself first sometimes and focus more on my own needs. I am also trying to deal with all my anger and resentment at my eo nothing siblings.

The previous sessions I have left there feelng better and more empowered. My therapist is a caregiver herself to her 95 year old father so she does understand somewhat what i am going through. The difference in us tho is she has some support with her husband and her sister moving here to help her. She also has some really good friends who really care and offer any support she needs.

She thinks I should find a support system...She knows all about my worthless siblings and extended family and that they offer no support at all. She keeps asking about friends who offer unconditional support..i told her I really dont have such friends. i just have surface type friends who i go out to lunch,dinner or a movie with occasionally. None of them understand caregiving nor do they want to hear about it.

My therapist says I need to find a support system but i dont have this just one more thing for me to do? How do i make people care when my own family doesnt care? I feel really down now.

I want therapy to help me function..and not have to depend on others.

Any caregivers out there who are going through therapy but have no support system like me? Any opinions?


Raising hand... me. I am also seeing a talk therapist, started a month ago along with pills to take the edge off... and I have been having good luck seeing her, she has been there done that with an elderly parent so she fully understands. But she hasn't had me seek a support system.

If she did, who? I am an only child who never had children. My sig other isn't all that helpful. My peer friends were dealing with their own elderly parents or with new grand babies. I have cousins but they are older, we are all senior citizens, live out of State, and are still recovering from their own exhaustion with their own parent(s).

My therapist would prefer that I think for myself, stand up and say "no" which I am slowly doing. I wish I would have met her years ago when I was first on this weird journey of dealing with very elderly stubborn parents. I had zero training for this, and no mentor to help me.

My Mom passed last year and Dad made his own choice to move into senior living... YES !! But those prior 7 years of exhaustion, extreme stress has taken its toll. I am trying to find my old self.
Thanks for the response FreqFlyer!

Im glad to see someone is being helped by therapy without having much of a support system. I agree with setting boundaries and focusing on self care (we have been working on those). I was just really lost and down when she tries to see what support system i have...and that i will need one to survive this. If i had a great support system in place..i prob wouldnt have as much need for therapy.

Ideally, my goal is to be able to set boundaries, focus on self care, not be so affected by anger and resentment, jealousy...but would rather not depend on support from others for my survival.
Yeah, it's kind of like telling someone who is malnourished and poor to go to a restaurant, sounds like good advice but not really helpful or practical.
Katie, I see from your profile you are currently dealing with both of your parents. It is so hard to say "no" to one's parents any time they ask for help. My parents [in their 90's] refused to move and wanted to stay in their own home which was no longer elder friendly.... good grief, all those stairs. I was glad I was under my own roof to, and still had my career.

My parents never took care of their own parents as they lived too far away. I tried to explain to my Dad that his Mom, back when she was in her 90's, had his two other brothers, their wives, and there were 11 grown grand-children who still lives nearby the family. That a huge support system. But for me, I was doing the same work as all 15 of those relatives.... I was so tired and exhausted.

Similar on my Mom's side of the family. Her parents had 6 children, each were married, some had children. So there was a steady stream of help.

I know the neighbor across the street said if there is anything they can do they would help. But it is hard to ask a neighbor to help, especially when they were having issues with their own 90 year old Mom who lived out of State.

Oh how I wished I would have set boundaries from day one. As years later it is very difficult to stop doing something one had been doing for years. I tried the age routine, that I was a senior citizen myself with my own age decline.... heck, who would pick ME up if I fell. But that fell on deaf ears. I believe our parents still view us as "kids" with a boatload of energy.
my support system is this forum.
I have not yet gone to therapy like my dr has told me a zillion times to do. I have few physical friends, only ones on the internet and that is great. I am also still angry at siblings and have decided to set up bounderies for the first time- I am blocking one's contact completely and not responding to the other. Your goals are mine.
I would be kinda resentful of a dr telling me of her (better) situation- I used to hate being told by others that they had family to help!
Learning to stand on ones own- tell her you need her to provide you with the tools to do so. NO GUILT :D we will somehow help eachother find our 'old self' or for some of us, our 'new self' . ((HUGS!))
Cwillie...yes, that is a good analogy and feels exactly like what she is doing. I plan on letting her know how upset her advice was.

FreqFlyer..yes it is very difficult with both parents. Both do not want to let go of their independence and fight fiercly for it. They moved here 2 years ago and will eventually have to move to an assisted living or a care home. My moms memory is slipping as well now. For now they have me to watch over them and caregivers while i work (i have a full time stressful job). My dad still wants to "go home".

One of my boundaries is Saturday mornings are mine and i have a caregiver come in so i can have those mornings to myself. My mom is still complaining about that one.

Micalost ..this forum is also a support system for me to. No one else comes even close to understanding. Yes it upset me when my therapist was talking about her support system. I plan on discussing this with her next time and telling her i left there feeling very down and upset. I will never have family or friend support since it has been 2 years now and i have had none. It would be foolish to depend on that suddenly materializing.

I can't leave mom alone for very long so I spend my days online and have taken a lot of those psych quizzes for burnout but although I score fairly high it never seemed to really fit. Today I took some for dysthymia... hmm, scoring pretty high there too, and for SAD. But the last thing I want/need is someone who sits down and tells me all the things I should be doing differently (reach out socially, exercise, and my favorite is "put your mom in a home so you can go back to feeling like her daughter again" ugh!), I know all that already. Is there really a magic pill that can make my life have meaning again?
cwillie dysthymia- yep thats me since a toddler... my siblings and mother resented me from birth and crushed my spirit. How does one even know what any other kind of life is? I also cared for both my parents from my 20's to now in fifties even though they were abusive...which is why the siblings did not. Dad just passed and now i am in no where land.
katiekay nice to meet you and great for you hiring someone- it is actually a huge step.
Wish there was a magic pill! If you find one can you let us all know.? ;)

I think you lose yourself in caregiving because you focus on another persons needs so forget about your own and really begin to disappear (this is happening to me). Anything you can do to focus on yourself and make your day just a little better? You matter and are important. Dont ever forget that! Do something just for you today.

A good therapist will let you talk and listen and be does help. It helps me to talk and have someone listen. Therapy has been pretty good so far..except for this last session. They shouldnt just be giving out advice...we all know to do all the things you mentioned but we dont focus on our own needs enough and end up forgetting ourselves.

cwillie, what you wrote was perfect. katiekay, I was thinking your therapist sounded like she lived in a white-bread world where all was rosy. She knew what helped her, but had no idea what it meant to have no family that cared and friends who just faded away. Sometimes I wonder why we go through therapy so we can continue caregiving. We must be nuts! (Just kidding here, kind of.) I do agree with your therapist that friends are valuable. I wish I had just one or two good ones. The ones I had I left in TX when I moved. I've not made any real new ones here. It is hard to pluck friends from thin air after you get a certain age. I am always envious of the people who have a caring spouse. At least they have that support! I think it was rather sad that your therapist said something that was so insensitive to the alone-ness that caregivers often feel. I'm glad you are going to talk to her about it. It may keep her from "helping" someone else in the same way.

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