Typically, caregivers are family members who have given up their own lives to care for their elderly loved ones. For this reason, caregivers often have a family history. Some of that history may be incredibly unpleasant, disappointing and even abusive. If this all sounds familiar to you, then you may have lasting scars from your times with your loved one. Moving past this type of abuse, disappointment, and unpleasant history can be difficult. But, when your loved one becomes ill or incapacitated and it becomes your duty to take care of them, you often have to swallow your own issues and take responsibility. This may be difficult, but by taking care of your loved one you are doing the right thing and helping out other family members.
Many family caregivers struggle with their responsibilities of taking care of loved ones, even if they have a pleasant history with their elderly loved one. The responsibility of taking care of another person is often thrust on them suddenly and unexpectedly. Caregivers sometimes feel as if they are stuck. They understand how society and the rest of their family members believe they should care for their aging loved one, but they may not feel as if they can give themselves emotionally, physically or financially to their loved one to care for them. Even so, many caregivers still drop their jobs and their lives to care for their aging loved ones. If you fall into this group, and you have an unpleasant past with your loved one, then you may feel resentment towards them. Resentment and anger about their past actions can haunt you for many years. It is essential that you remember that healing only occurs when you find a way to forgive them. Even if your loved one is not in their right mind to say they are sorry or that they regret their past actions, you must find a way to forgive them and let go of your own anger and resentment. If you would like to let go of your anger and forgive your elderly loved one, then here are a few tips that may help you.
Focus on Today
Psychology studies have shown that one of the keys to longevity and good health is to develop a habit of gratitude and do not dwell on the past. To be an effective and happy caregiver it is vital that you focus on today and try to forget the past. You can forgive your loved one and still not forget. But you should not waste your energy on events that happened in the past and cannot be changed. It is unhealthy to dwell on past events and it is extremely counter-productive. If you are constantly angry about past events then your loved ones will not receive the care they deserve or need and you will not be a happy or well-adjusted person. Make it your goal to stop judging family members for their past behavior and forgive them for all of their failings and misgivings.
Build a New Relationship
Everyday estranged families reunite and become closer than they ever have been. Just because your family may be dysfunctional or estranged does not mean that all hope is lost. You can do your part by forging a new, different and better relationship with your elderly loved one and set an example for the rest of your family. To break the cycle of your childhood experiences, let go of whatever you are holding onto from your past and begin a new era in your family’s history. It is likely if you suffered disappointment or abuse from your elderly loved one then so did others in your family. By forging a new relationship with your loved one, you can set an example for your family members and bring your family together.
Understand They Have Flawed Pasts Too
One thing to understand about your elderly loved one is that they have flaws too, and may have been raised by parents or family members that disappointed or abused them. If they had a less than perfect childhood themselves then they may have continued the cycle with you and their other family members. This does not make their actions in your own childhood right, but it can help you to understand that they are human beings and have flawed pasts as well. This may help you care for them and forgive them.
Accept the Circumstances
Do not waste your energy wishing that things could be different and you did not have to take care of your elderly loved one. This will simply make your situation worse. Instead, believe in yourself and your own strength. Once you have accepted your role as a caregiver you can do the best with the situation and do the best for your loved one.
You cannot control the past, but you can control how you react in the present. You can choose everyday whether you will be positive about your situation or be negative. By choosing to stay positive in your situation you can change your attitude and control your own happiness.
If you just cannot seem to get rid of your anger and resentment, then you may wish to seek counseling. A counselor can help you forgive your elderly loved one and work through your feelings on a deeper level. Talking about your past experiences with a counselor can help you truly forgive your loved one and be the best you can be at your caregiver job.
Being a caregiver is a difficult task that becomes even more difficult when you have a horrible past with your elderly loved one. If you suddenly have to take care of your loved one, then you may feel anger and resentment towards them while you complete your caregiving tasks. However, to be the best caregiver you can be, it is essential that you try to forgive your loved one. By forgiving them you can become a happier person and be a better caregiver. Use these tips to try to let go of the past and truly move towards a better future with your loved one. You both can live happier and healthier lives with a more positive attitude.