Caregiver's Shame, the Chronically Ill can reduce the shame
Folks, it is Real. Long term caregivers experience more shame then they allow the outside world to see. The outside world is divided into categories: public and private. Public is any Tom, Jane, or child that could judge the Caregiver's home condition without enough information. Public isn't just church, work, or neighbor, it can include family and friends. Private is under the Caregiver's own roof. Private includes the long-term person, kids, anyone living in the household. Private also may include the caregiver(s).
Each situation of caregiving is different, but one fear is true regardless, when life gets out of control, the fear of judgement creeps into the caregivers mind.
Chances are the caregiver saw months before or years before what future living accommodations would need changing, what finance decision would need to be take care to protect assets, what legal documentation would need to be put into place and safely kept, what lifestyle adjustments would need to occur so daily life would be easier for both the long-term person and all living in the household, etc.
However, the long-term person doesn't look at life through the same lens. The focus is what they want now, the future is too far away. And the focus of both parties is conflicting. Neither is wrong but as with all conflict there is neutral ground.
I recognize both parties are losing much due to the illness. I need to be straight forward here, the long-term ill person needs the audacity to get through each day. However, cooperation with the caregiver must be a focus as well. If the ill person stands in the way of the Caregiver's preparation either the caregiver will stop preparing and future life will be difficult to handle, or eventually the caregiver will move on with life and the ill person will be left behind.
The caregiver that sticks it out, that is making due and daily life is spinning out of control, will harbor many statements of could have, would have, should have. The one statement of fear is: under my current situation I can't get help, I'll be judged for the living conditions or legally required to get them changed. This then spirals more shame and fear thoughts.
I have to say, I have no profound fix for a caregiver faced with the shame dilemma. I do ask that each of us consider that as we mature there may come a day when circumstances places us as the ill person, acute or chronic. Someone will be deemed your caregiver, how will you handle the relationship?
Jesus told us that we can do greater things than what He had done, what does that mean? If we look with His heart with His eyes with His understanding, do we see more than the angels see?
Music from Amy Grant, If I Could See (What The Angels See):
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