How do you deal with guilt?


My Dad is living with me due to a stroke. The other day he had another stroke and ended back in the hospital. He has been with me almost 2 years, but I feel guilty for enjoying the freedom and alone time. My Dad is total care and quite demanding. The guilt is overwhelming. I love my Dad...his care has consumed my life. Ahhh the guilt.

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My Dad and his illness seem to consume me.i'm used to being there for I can only be there for my Dad. My kids, husband all seem to be on the back burner. I just have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot do it all. Especially if I have a nervous breakdown!
BTW, I love this site and treasure the support. I felt alone for a long time, it's nice to know I'm not!
Helpful Answer (1)

Guilt is a pretty common background feeling for caregivers. Try to keep in far in the background and go on with your life.

Unless you caused your Dad's stroke so you could have some time to yourself (duh, I don't think so), then you have nothing to feel guilty about. But, sigh, the old guilt buttons don't always respond to logic.

Many years ago my husband and I took a series of classes on living in a blended family. The lesson I remember best is "Don't feel guilty for taking advantage of a sad situation." For example, if you have 2 kids and spouse has 2 kids and all of them will be with your exes for the winter school holiday, that is very sad for you. You could mope around for two weeks and feel guilty and depressed. That won't change anything but you could do it. Or you could say, "Holy cow! We can finally take a nice skiing holiday for just the two of us. WooHoo!" Feeling guilty if you enjoy some aspect of what is basically a sad situation is common, but totally unnecessary.

As a caregiver, you deal with a lot of uncomfortable feelings every day. Don't add to that unnecessarily!

Also give some thought to littletonway's suggestion. Perhaps this is a good time to consider nursing home placement.
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We live with guilt. Sometimes I think it is because the little person that is us peeps out from behind the mounds of responsibility and wants some of our attention. Too often we start to live the life of the other person and forget about ourselves. Then we feel guilty instead of being able to enjoy pampering ourselves.

I hope that your father's second stroke was caught quickly enough and didn't do any extra damage. I understand why you feel guilty for enjoying your time. I think it is okay to feel guilty sometimes, but I still hope that you'll take this time to relax. You have earned it and need to regroup for the task you'll be facing in the future. Hugs to you and your dad.
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It is probably time to look into Nursing Home. Talk to his doctor or social services at the hospital. Usually the social services person will come to talk with the family before release and have options available; and the doctor would have recommendations as well extended care for therapy, etc.

You have nothing to be feel guilty about. Two years of 24/7 care is more than one person can/should handle alone. I know - been there - done that and it took a toll! We are not meant to sacrifice our lives for our parents. You can see that they are well cared for, comfortable as possible and safe without that happending under your own roof. Your first responsibility is to yourself! What happens to Dad if something happens to your health!

Best wishes!
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