Feeling all alone is one more layer to being a caregiver.

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When I occasionally go out to a bar or restaurant, I often engage someone next to me in conversation. Often I am with my girlfriend. She claims that I am rude and it appears that I ignore her. But with such a limited social circle as a caregiver, I often feel the need to connect with new people. How can I get her to understand. Or maybe I am rude and selfish.

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Everyone has different needs. I once dated a guy who had a job where he saw no people all day. When he wasn't at work, he felt the need to start up conversations with strangers. I, on the other hand, had a job where I talked to people all day long, so at the end of the day, was in need of some down time. I found it odd that he would want to talk to strangers during our dates and he probably thought it odd that I preferred some one-on-one conversation. I think it's healthy to get the right mix of one-on-one conversation with your partner and outside conversation with others. Nothing to be gained in making either person "the bad guy", we all just have different needs and communication preferences. I recommend you talking this out with your girlfriend to see if you can reach some happy middle ground that takes both of your needs into consideration.
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It's bad enough when the person for whom you are caring tries to make you feel guilty about taking some time for yourself without other family members and so-called "friends" doing it too! As long as you have provided the best care possible for your loved one while you have some time to yourself, you can't let someone who has never walked in your shoes make you feel guilty.
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As a caregiver of almost four years. When I do get a free moment, and then get past worrying if the person staying with him can handle it or I'm going to get a call that cuts my evening short, or that because it costs my sister for me to have a free non spontaneous moment, I want to be like I was in my life before caregiving...free-spirited...yet my BF, that lives with us, is as are many men...needy, because unfortunately society has raised many of them that way...to look for their Mom in the woman they love...so as a daughter taking care of a Dad...I often feel pulled by both of them in their neediness and that's selfish...so I tell my BF that I cannot and will not be pulled between them both. And, I will take time for myself to do those things I love, that he is not interested in, and go out and socialize with others that are having adult conversations about topics I am interested in, without the smells,sounds, and stress of staying stuck in the house as a caregiver, and I don't care what anyone else thinks because they are not in my body all day dealing with this as a primary caregiver so they also don't get to dictate what type of stimulus I need in order to keep going. If your GF is there for you then she has to talk to you and you find that balance between spending time together and spending time with others....you can't get everything you need from one person....
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I so agree with hadenough! Unless you are a caregiver there is no way anyone can hold a conversation with you longer than 15 minutes. Everyone says join a support group, but who watches your loved one while you try to go the groups? I did have a bf before I began taking care of my mom and trust me he would listen for a while but after about 30 minutes he wanted to talk about something else and to get on with whatever else is going on. Being a caregiver for a period of time makes you isolate yourself in your own world when you have no relief. I would like to start a support group where singles come to meet someone and can enjoy conversation. I bet you if you get to caregivers talking about the same thing for an hour, there would be another conversation starting up soon after because you would have gotten all your frustrations out and then could talk about yourself. Caregivers don't talk about themselves much in public because if they have been doing caregiving for awhile, there is not much to say about themselves, only about their caregiving duties. I care about all of you
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Are you having real conversation with the stranger or using them as a sounding board. Maybe you have the need to say things out loud so that you get the chance to hear yourself as a way of sorting things out. Employ a psychotherapist whose job it is to listen and be non-judgmental and will help you move through this emotioanl roller-coastering caregiving process.
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Are you having real conversation with the stranger or using them as a sounding board. Maybe you have the need to say things out loud so that you get the chance to hear yourself as a way of sorting things out. Employ a psychotherapist whose job it is to listen and be non-judgmental and will he you move through this emotioanl roller-coastering caregiving process.
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Scared,

I understand what you are saying, we travel so I don't have friends around either unless it is near one of my friends. Most of my friends have been or are currently caregivers, so that gives me a network.

I do not discuss somethings with my siblings via phone either because it upsets mom. Some days she tells me she doesn't have Alzheimer's so I have to be careful around her as well.

I just find it amazing how people abandon each other as they age. A couple of my sisters are just in denial, but I have one that is coming into an understanding. My mom told me not to share it with her siblings because she said they still wouldn't call. So I understand what you mean by using email and texting, I count that as something in my world too. My mom does like to go out, but we have take things with us so we are prepared.

I don't even understand children at all. I have 3 stepsons and they confuse the daylights out of me as well in terms of how they interact with my husband with no health problems. So I imagine we are much older they won't talk to him either.

It just amazes me how people react that is all I can say. I don't have the answers but it does amaze and surprise me.
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We have no friends here. Our friends are all in other states. They used to call every 6 weeks or so, but since my husband had gone down hill so rapidly, they don't call. I guess they don't know how to talk to him. I don't know. I try to get him to call them, but they don't return his calls either. We don't have any family here, either, and his sons aren't interested. They hadn't called for a couple of years anyway, and even though I called and told them what is going on and they said they would call their Dad, they haven't. No surprises there. It's just a sad situation. Most of my communication is via e-mail and texting because I can't carry on a conversation when my husband is around. He listens in to everything I say so I can't discuss anything with anyone on the phone without him getting mad at me.
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Scared,

I am sorry that has to be a challenge, my husband is the opposite he will run the errands and be gone an extra 20 minutes because he is visiting. I am the one that doesn't get out much and sits with my mom while I work. I work online so my interaction is mostly my computer and my friends that live far away.

I am surprised by my sister and happy about it a the same time. I have one that calls when she feels like and one that calls everyday but it is because she is bored, but she is not really concerned with what mom is doing. It is a weird situation, but I am grateful that one is willing to call more frequently and on demand now because in the past it wasn't her behavior.

Right now my mom is napping, my husband is at a laundromat and I am enjoying the breeze and the birds. Right now that quiet is so peaceful to me, it is giving me energy.

Does any of your husband's friends ever come for a visit? That is what bothers me the most for my mom. When mom is at home, no one comes to visit it, but the moment they find out we are leaving town suddenly they want to come for a visit. It just drives me nuts. My mom went to the same church for over 40 years but no one calls or comes to see her. She has 5 living sisters and 3 brothers, yet only 1 calls regularly another one calls every once in a while otherwise she doesn't hear from them, but they get mad because she doesn't call them. Oh and my mom is the oldes of all them. So this what bugs me the most for my mom. It use to be that people would come for a visit or make a phone call but now that just doesn't happen.

So I was just curious if your husband ever spoke with his friends?
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It's great that you have a sister who will call your Mom and try to brighten her day, too. Yes, we certainly all need communication with more that just our care giver or receiver. I wish I could get my husband into some kind of group where he could interact with other people, but he is and always has been very selective how his friends. He won't go to any of the functions in our development or within our local community because he doesn't want to socialize with just anyone. It's hard to believe he was a very successful on-the-road salesman nearly all of his working life and made his living by talking to anyone and everyone with whom he came in contact. He made his livelihood "cold calling" in people, but somehow he has lost that interest. He used to talk to everyone we met at a restaurant or in a store, but now he doesn't say much to anyone except to complain to the server about the food. It really is such a dramatic change for him...but one he doesn't or won't recognize.
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