Weekly Newsletter

May 31, 2023

Quote of the Week:

" I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails

to always reach my destination."

– Jimmy Dean

Moving Beyond the Trap of Guilt

Guilt: Cambridge English Dictionary defines, "Guilt is a feeling of anxiety or unhappiness that you have done something immoral or wrong, such as causing harm to another person."

For caregivers, the presence of guilt: can have many faces leading to the determination of not doing "it" right.

Among them:

  1. Reactions to loved one's behavior before diagnosis.
  2. Wanting to get away.
  3. Resentment
  4. Feeling trapped
  5. Asking others for help
  6. Feelings of failure
  7. Comparisons with other caregivers...
  8. Self-neglect
  9. To be determined...

A realistic self-assessment can enable caregivers to avoid the "shoulda/coulda/woulda" motivation trap by asking themselves: "Am I doing the best I can?" Can I cut myself with slack? Am I willing to learn from "when I know better, I do better"?

When feelings of self judgement arise regarding my caregiving, do I check in with myself to assess: Am I hungry, tired, or frustrated? Am I overwhelmed, in physical pain, or feeling a level of grief over the circumstances I'm facing?

 It is common to turn on ourselves when in a state of overwhelm. Take the opportunity to take deep breaths, walk away, practice “mindfulness” by imagining compassion for yourself now faced with the disappointment, grief, and lifestyle circumstances never, ever anticipated.

Moving Beyond the Trap of Guilt

  • Acknowledge that guilt exists.
  • Examine the reason for guilt.
  • Make amends, if possible
  • Keep a journal (reading the struggles and resolve later, can be very therapeutic)
  • Accept that you have needs and make time to attend to them.
  • Eliminate negative self-talk, replace negative thoughts with encouragement... practice being your own best friend.
  • Establish boundaries: “NO” is a complete sentence, when necessary.
  • Make time to get away for “me” time
  • Factor healthy socialization into your schedule
  • Join a support group that builds a supportive community for a “safe place to fall”  (or rise!)

Tips to Ward Off Guilt

  1. Stay real, honor your own "truth"
  2. Focus on what you can do
  3. Do not fight guilt within guilt
  4. Do not "should on yourself."
  5. Embrace flexibility
  6. Forgive yourself
  7. Practice self-respect not self-incrimination
  8. Accept loss of control
  9. Recognize the grief within guilt
  10. Use guilt as an agent for change
  11. Let go of the myth of perfection
  12. Start where you are





-Karen Kelleher, M.A

DayBreak Caregiver Support Coordinator

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