As a caregiver, how do you overcome the feelings of resentment for family members who show no appreciation for your efforts? - AgingCare.com

As a caregiver, how do you overcome the feelings of resentment for family members who show no appreciation for your efforts?

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Once in a while it would be nice and provide an uplifting state of personal worth to have a family member comment or say "we appreciate the really great job you are doing taking care of family member X or Y". Family members automatically assume you are totally resilient and need no words of encouragement or appreciation from time to time. As a caregiver how, how do you overcome the feelings of resentment for family members who show no appreciation for your efforts?

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I'm so sorry that your family is so unappreciative but even with families who get along well it's common for the non-caregiving siblings to not have a clue about what the caregiving sibling is dealing with. Your sacrifices, your stresses, your concerns, your time, your own health - all of these things are not evident.

Sometimes it's because they don't want to see, but other times it's the very human situation that when we haven't experienced something it's hard to really know what someone else is going through. You can try to explain your feelings, but try to let the resentment go by just accepting that this is the case in many, if not most, families. Other caregivers are your best support because the know what it's like.
Blessings,
Carol
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Being a caregiver is often a lonely and thankless job, there's no doubt about that. And for every one or two little tasks our families see us doing for our loved one there are a hundred other things they don't see.

I think resentment comes from an unfulfilled expectation. You expect your family to appreciate everything you do and when they don't the resentment sets in. To solve this try to temper your expectations if you can. It'll take work and practice and it will be a process but if expectations can be readjusted that might help the resentment.

Also, you know you're doing a good job for your loved one. You know everything that goes into caring for another person. Pat yourself on the back once in a while. Know that your loved one is in loving and capable hands with you as their caregiver. At the end of each day take a few minutes to stop and think of everything you did for your loved one that day and realize that it's not so important that someone recognized what you did but that your loved one is safe, clean, well fed, comfortable, and content because of you.
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So sorry that you aren't getting any appreciation demonstrated from family members for what you do. It's a real shame too. It wouldn't take much, but, I suppose they are either too dense to realize why as humans we need and thrive on words of support or they are just not willing to give it for some selfish reason. Maybe, there are family dynamics at work that make them act this way. Can you just shake it off?

Can you get some validation from other sources? I know that prayer and online sites help me. I also find that I get support from NON family members It's amazing that none of my cousins family members on her dad's side have said one word about everything that I do for her. Not one word in 3 years! Not one inquiry about her either! I try to just let it go. I do get comments from doctors, nurses, and the staff at the MC unit about how great it is that she has so much love and support from her cousin. Everyone initially thinks she's my mom. They say they've never had a cousin be a caregiver. Hmmm....

Just know that you are loved and appreciated and that the family members who do not honor that, can't take that away from you.
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Others who ask this have had great success by allowing a relative to take over completely for one full week, living with the elder. What an eye opener that turns out to be!!!
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I don't care if I ever receive a thank you from family. I don't need validation for any of those do-nothings. I view myself as an only child and my brothers are irrelevant to me. But what is slowly killing me is the lack of appreciation from my mother.

She has re-written history in her mind and now remembers my brother as a caregiver instead of the leach that he is. She seems to thing that when he was living with her, he took care of her. That is not the case at all. She actually took care of him - physically at first when he came to her with pneumonia and financially for years afterward. She was in much better shape then and was mostly independent.

I would love to hear a thank you from her as I am wiping her butt or changing her soiled sheets or feeding her. That is who I would like some appreciation from. I am the one in the trenches and I still feel like I am a disappointment to her.

(formerly Mom2Mom)
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My brother tried to shelter me from knowing just how bad it was. Once I knew what he was dealing with, I became his emotional supporter. So if you haven't already, share some of the "dirty details." They can't know what you're going through, if you don't tell them.
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This is very common. Expect little or no gratitude from relatives. Before you decide to take on the task of caretaker, be sure either you or a non-relative trusted professional is the POA and Health Advocate. Your job could become a real nightmare if a relative is in control and NOT the caretaker.
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I know everyone on this forum knows exactly how you are feeling. It's so very common in families, it's frightening. Getting any of my siblings to step up for a few hours, let alone a week, just doesn't happen. I had to pay for help to come in and stay with mom so I could go out of state to my younger daughter's wedding. Really?!
So, I decided to change my attitude. That has been my life preserver. I think all care givers have to learn to change their attitude. That is the key to staying strong and positive during the care giver journey and well after.
I don't know if you have ever read Viktor E. Frankl's book: Man's Search for Meaning. It's a great book on his life in Nazi death camps between 1942 and 1945 and the lessons for spiritual survival. He states there is only one thing that no man can take away from another, and that is "attitude". He proved you can survive the worst of the worst by adjusting his attitude.
I, personally, have found that to be so very true. It's not an easy task, but with time and practice, it is very doable. Good Luck. Take care of yourself.
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My dad is been living in a full care nursing home and has been for the last 3 years. I have always been there for him. Whether it is to take him to appointments, hair cuts, shopping or just out for drives. I am his Power of Attorney. I also have a sister who lives a couple of minutes away from him and a brother that's also close by. They only come in to see him once a month if that and that's just to check up on things. They have never taken dad out for walks or anything for that matter. Having to do it all is very exhausting, especially because I work full time. I have hired a couple of caregivers to come to see dad twice a week. It's a little expensive but so worth it! This takes the pressure off me and they can take him to appointments, etc. I'm sure if they knew that this was coming out of their inheritance they might step up.
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I am right with you jajocaregiver08. I don't need praise, but it would be nice if the family were grateful that I am giving up everything so they can have there homes to themselves, a quiet dinner with their spouse on there anniversary, the freedom to go on vacation, etc. These are things I had to give up to be the sole caregiver. I have one sibling who hides from anything hard so I get to carry it all. I wrestle some days with being so angry and hurt. I truly understand how you feel. I remind myself that I'm doing it for mom, no one else. Not to make my brothers emotional discomfort easier (The Lord knows I have emotional discomfort on a daily basis), not to keep his life free so he can come and go as he pleases, but because mom gave it all up for me. That's why I serve her. It helps me cope, it helps me know that when the end comes I will not have the load of regrets that he has. I feel for him in that way. Do I wish I had help? Oh, yes. Do I wish he would at least call to ask me how everything is going instead of calling an unloading on mom who has dementia and can hardly remember? You bet I do. Would it be nice to get a phone call asking if there is anything he could do to ease the load on my family seeing how I have a chronically ill, grown daughter living at home too? This is a very sensitive topic with me because there is no excuse for any of it. Soooooo, on a regular day-to-day basis I have to forgive him. I have to realize that my life, my day, is not about me, but it's about my trust in God who knows where I am and what I am facing at all times and because of His Sons great love for us displayed at Calvary, I can love even through hurt, tears and sorrow. I can love and serve my momma because God first loved her and she taught me that Jesus loves me, and now I can love her. \0/ His grace is sufficient to carry me through.....even if every bit of it is unappreciated. God knows and He sees you. AMEN.
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