You are doing the best you can!

by michellerogers on May 21, 2015

This post was inspired by a CAREGiver that was experiencing feelings of guilt and was seeking guidance in how to work through these feelings.

When the CAREGiver started working with this client she was reporting to his home.  During her shifts they would go on walks, do activities, she would assist him with activities of daily living, and most importantly, she built a relationship with him and provided companionship that he otherwise would not be getting on a regular basis.  As time passed his cognitive impairment was becoming more apparent and his family made the decision to move him into a memory care unit.  This is where the guilt began…

His family did not move him into the memory care unit; they asked the CAREGiver to take him there.  While the client clearly has some memory impairment, he also has moments of lucidness.  When they got to the facility and he realized what was happening he became very angry.  He was furious with his family and told the CAREGiver that she betrayed his trust!  This was heartbreaking for her.  As she continued to report to her shifts at the facility she could not shake her feelings of guilt, in fact, they only got worse.  He would always ask her to take him home and she had to keep telling him that she could not.  His anger continued build and soon, the CAREGiver could see that, “he had lost his sparkle” and she felt responsible.

Feelings of guilt are our own perceived failures and guilt happens when we do not live up to our own expectations.  It’s important for CAREGivers (professional, or family) to know that these feelings are normal and that it is imperative  to recognize and accept the feelings so you can work through them.  If you don’t work through them and you let them take you over, these feelings will not allow you to move forward and you will be of no help to your client, or loved one; the focus becomes shifted to you instead of the client.  We may not realize it, but hanging on to guilt is our way of punishing ourselves for our actions, behaviors, or perceived mistakes.  Allowing feelings of guilt to have power over you essentially will cloud your judgment and affects the actions we take or the decisions we make in the future- which leads to unnecessary stress.  Dealing with guilt will free you from your own imprisonment; your positive thoughts and emotions will return.  This in turn allows you to provide a much more positive life experience for your client, or loved one… Only good can follow.

STEPS TO HELP DEAL WITH GUILT:

1. Identify all the negative feelings you are experiencing- put it all out on the table.  When you understand and acknowledge these feelings, it gives you an opportunity to look at things differently.

2. Be honest with your self and identify why you feel this way

3. Letting go and overcoming guilt requires self-reflection and acceptance; not going back to “fix” things

4. Forgive yourself!

 

I’m sure many of you can think of a time when you have had feelings of guilt.  What did you do to overcome those feelings?

 

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