Dealing with your own emotions while taking care of somebody else is at times very difficult and challenging. There are times that it does not take much to knock you off balance and you can loose your cool. You will regret this instantly but you cannot take it back. It has happen.
If you would like to get some ideas about how to deal with this type of situations then here is an excellent and insightfull article:
Everyone I cared for triggered me emotionally. Sometimes I would feel insulted, sometimes I would feel ashamed, and sometimes my feelings would be so hurt I would burst into tears. It came with the territory for me because I cared for my parents and had a historically rocky relationship with my Mom and then I later cared for a family member who was an active addict.
Not everyone will have the histrionics or the dysfunction of addiction to deal with but most relationships have normal little bumps in the road and sickness, worry and pain can cause even the most gentle of patients to be grumpy at the very least. When you add in exhaustion and burnout of the caregiver, we can have a messy emotional mix that feels awful. So being triggered emotionally is bound to happen. Having our buttons pushed and then feeling a wide range of emotions from guilt to anger is not unusual but can feel pretty uncomfortable. My least favorite tactic that can trigger me big time is the shame and blame tactic, where I get blamed and then shamed for something I had nothing to do with.
I like to share a few tricks I use when I feel myself off and running after being emotionally triggered. I can’t stop being triggered or having my buttons pushed but I can respond rather than react and be easier on myself and everyone else.
Be aware and observe
This can be extremely hard to do but with practice, it gets easier and happens faster. Get in touch with how you are feeling. If all of a sudden someone says something or does something that upsets you in any way, be aware. Make note. Check out what your mind and body are doing. Is your heart racing, is your stomach in knots are you blushing? Rather than wanting to strangle someone, step back and observe what’s going on for you. It almost as though you are watching what is happening from a distance and something very interesting is going on. Awareness and observation can actually diffuse the power of your immediate reaction. This can give your brain the job of watching you and what’s going on, softened the blow and help you take it all less personally.
Help yourself out
Help yourself out by focusing on your breathing. Take some deep breaths. Think of something that makes you relax. Take a break. Leave the room or the situation. For instance, I’ve said: “Oh I’ll be right back”, and then left with no further explanation. I’ve even left a meeting that way and never went back! And the sky didn’t fall in. I would never suggest walking away from a situation that would leave someone we care for in danger, but in general, if we can take a time out and regroup we will always feel better, faster. Anything we can do to give pause to our reaction will help us.
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