The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Overcoming Pushbacks, Guilt and Shame In Your Caregiver Transformation

August 15, 2023 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 174
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Overcoming Pushbacks, Guilt and Shame In Your Caregiver Transformation
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When I first began to prioritize my health and set healthy boundaries, my family was less than thrilled. There were pushbacks, guilt-inducing comments, and even some behind-the-scenes gossip. But I learned to navigate through these obstacles, and I'm sharing my experiences with you in this heartfelt episode. We'll explore the emotions your loved ones may feel when you begin to care for yourself and ways to address them, while respecting their feelings and standing your ground.

Don't let guilt or negativity derail your journey to becoming a healthier, happier caregiver. By offering a healthier version of yourself, you can create a win-win situation where everyone benefits from your transformation. If you're seeking balance as a caregiver, I encourage you to consider my personalized coaching and join the waitlist for my upcoming caregiver school. This episode is a stepping stone towards a better caregiver life. So tune in, absorb the wisdom, and remember - the first step towards caring for others is learning to care for yourself.

Get my free resource:  17 SHIFTS TO TAKE CONTROL OF CAREGIVER STRESS that will take you to the best version of yourself.

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Cathy:

Well, hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. We're going to talk about pushbacks today in this episode, because when you start moving towards a better caregiver life, filled with less stress and more joy, and you start putting yourself first, some people may not understand. Some may give you feedback or even question why you're doing what you're doing when you're supposed to be taking care of your loved one. When I'm rolling my eyes right now, then what happens is you start questioning yourself and you start feeling guilt and shame and doubt when you're doing the right thing for yourself and you're doing the right thing for this long game called caregiving. Well, when I'm coaching my clients, this is the hardest part of their transformation, because they feel good about figuring out how to put themselves first and they start seeing progress, but during this time, they feel they need to quit on themselves. It feels wrong because people are questioning thing or people are talking, but it's part of this transformation and working through their thoughts, their feelings and the approaches that they need to take during this uncomfortable time is going to get them to their finish line of self-love and this overall transformation that they need to be at. Here's where, when they finally figure this piece out. I am doing the happy dance with them, usually through the Zoom call, and we're doing it together because they figured it out. So let's dive into a great episode today where we're going to talk about pushbacks, pushbacks and overcoming that guilt and that shame and not quitting on yourself.

Cathy:

You are now starting to prioritize your health and setting healthy boundaries. You feel really good about prioritizing your well-being. It was really hard for you to ask for help, but you know now that you can't do it alone. Your family is now helping out. You are now having the groceries delivered and are making progress on improving your schedule. For the first time, you feel like your day's schedule is under control. You got up this morning and you took a walk. You had a good breakfast and was able to start your job feeling refreshed and was on time, knowing that your sibling is covering and helping mom. Today. Your shift doesn't start until the end of your work day at 4 pm, so let's fast forward now to 4 pm. It's 4 pm and it's your turn, and so you drive over to your mom's place and things feel off. Your sibling seems standoffish and your mom seems the same way.

Cathy:

Using your season 3, transformational mindset. You say to yourself and ask how's the day been going? And try to have a positive conversation with them. The short response is reinforce that something is not right. You ask is there something wrong? Nope, we're fine.

Cathy:

And so, after a little bit of uncovering the situation uncovering the situation and the emotions over the next few weeks this was my situation. My family and my mom were having a hard time understanding and accepting my season three approach. They just were. They were short and standoffish. Eventually I walked my brother out, asked him what was going on. He said we're fine and my mom was standoffish the whole entire night. But after a few weeks I kind of figured it out.

Cathy:

But, being the people pleaser that I am, I felt guilty, I felt shame and then I started getting angry. It took about three months yes, three months to get my mom and my entire family to understand and accept that this was the way it would be and I wasn't going to go back to the Kathy that was overly stressed and burnt out and was having health issues and couldn't even go ahead and function some days. And just as much for me to believe that this was the best approach and situation, I had to go ahead and release my guilt in my shame and my anger Every time for about three months until you know, they understood and accepted it. Yes, I'm sure they talked about me. Yes, I'm sure mom was complaining that Kathy didn't want to be with her. That was so far from the truth, but it was what they believed and maybe what they saw.

Cathy:

So in this episode I want to give you some tips to deal with when that pushback happens, or maybe the gossip happens or the negativity happens, or maybe you are even in the grocery store and somebody comments how is your day going? And you share one of your passions or your things oh yeah, I started a painting class and they are like, oh my gosh, how can you do that? I know you're taking care of Dennis, whatever it would be, and you have to go ahead and learn to go ahead and overcome that and release that guilt. And you shouldn't even be feeling it. So if somebody is complaining or gossiping, whatever it would be, you have to ask yourself first why. Why is that? And with my mom's situation, change is hard and you have to ask yourself why and really reflect on why they're feeling the way they're feeling, and then you also have to think about why you're feeling the way you're thinking.

Cathy:

Give that loved one or that other person that you're dealing with, like my brother. Give them space to share their concerns as well, and I offered many times. I mean I followed up with my brother. I eventually had conversations with him. He truly understood, but when he saw how mom responded, he started siding with her with empathy and concern, and so the more work I had was with my mom. You have to ask them what concerns do they have? Eventually, what it was was my mom missed me. I was with her 24-7 pretty much, and if I wasn't with her I was texting her, I was FaceTiming her. I fed that and I'm going to use the monster I fed that monster of being there all the time.

Cathy:

They may feel uncomfortable too with somebody else. They may feel that way. They may lose their comfort zone. It's kind of like if you have to go to a social event and you have to go by yourself and you've always gone with your significant other, they may be worried too that you are leaving them, and especially a loved one that's not in the right mindset or a parent they may be concerned about. So you have to kind of open up to understand and comprehend that. And then you have to reinforce that you are in it for the long game. I am here for you. But I just have to figure out how to go ahead and stay healthy and happy and making sure that I am not burning out.

Cathy:

And I had to explain to my mom what burning out meant. I had to explain to my brother that these are all the things that are happening and the writings on the wall. I have to figure out something, but you need to take care of yourself and do that and explain that. Yeah, we're just going to go ahead and just kind of figuring out different ways. So, and I had to really kind of get down to the nitty gritty to say mom, I have to work my job. I, at that time I was working my job and and I wanted to I was able to miss work for certain appointments and certain care, but not every day. And even if I worked from her apartment, I wasn't totally focused on my work and I wasn't doing my best and that didn't feel good to me and so I had to explain that. So if there are complaining or gossiping going on, and even with with the situation that I have, if I said to my brother if you have ever any other solutions, let me know, because you don't have to be the go to person for everything. If there are other solutions that you have, I want to hear them. But this is this is the writing on the wall and this is what we have to do and we have to figure it out. The facts are, I would say I had to work my job, I needed my well being time so that I stayed healthy and didn't get sick, and mom needed her care. So how are we going to handle that and what are all of the resources? And I listed out my resources because I started having groceries delivered and our pharmacy delivered and I automated things and all of those things, and so he started helping me with solutions as well, which was a huge win, because now I had buy-in.

Cathy:

But what I want to get at here is the biggest mistake I see caregivers make that are trying to make this transformation into the season three of their life, which is the next step. You want to be a better caregiver and when you're trying to make this transition, many people will quit at this point because when they get pushed back, they think they failed versus. These are just the growing pains. This might not work out the first time, the second time, the third time, and you may have to change and switch things up or you may have to have those conversations.

Cathy:

You're going to feel guilt and shame and that's just part of the transformation. You have to realize guilt, shame, doubt and even anger and other emotions will bubble up, because at first I felt guilty, because when I walked in, their reactions made me feel guilty that I worked my entire day and then came over at 4 pm and I look at it now and I kind of laugh, but I felt so guilty because I wasn't there and what was going on. And then you feel shame for taking time for yourself, which is absolutely ridiculous. And then I got angry. I got angry and that's not a way to show up either. But you need to take a step back and ask yourself why? Why do I feel this way? Why am I letting my negative thoughts ruminate inside of me? And when you let the negativity ruminate like that, it's going to pull up all of the negative confirmations that you really shouldn't believe.

Cathy:

And that's where I have to go ahead and take a lot of my clients and we have to go ahead and dissect all of that and get that back out of their head. You have to go ahead and switch to. Instead of the negative thoughts, you have to switch to what are the facts. List out the facts of the situation and for my situation why is my family and my mom mad or standoffish? Why are they? And I had to go ahead and dig into that and be the detective. I had to ask, I had to have conversations, I had to wait until they would open up to it and really just try to understand why and then collect what are the facts? Was there anything during that day or the times that I'm away that didn't work, and what were they and how could we fix those things? What can I do to seek to understand their emotions, their feelings, their thoughts? If somebody comes up to you in a grocery store and is questioning why you're going to that class, you can let it roll off your back like a duck. You can seek to understand. Maybe society and your culture has always looked at caregivers as martyrs and victims and giving up everything. But you know what Times are changing. We shouldn't have to do that. I would embrace caregivers telling me that you know what? I have somebody sitting with dad right now and they're playing cards with dad and I'm getting the grocery shopping done, and then I'm going to do this, this, this and this and I would say good for you, I am so glad that you have reached out and you're getting out that sort of thing.

Cathy:

You also need to go ahead and stand firm on your expectations and your healthy boundaries, and I, at for the longest of time, I regretted not setting those right from the start and I was like Kathy, if you would have set those from the start, I had to let that go. It just didn't work that way. That was the people pleaser. I went all in and I was totally there. But then I could see how it was affecting me and I took a step back and I grew, set my expectations and healthy boundaries, and the big things is, you have to stand firm on those and you have to explain that I need these.

Cathy:

I had to go to my mom so many times and saying, yep, mom, I need to go ahead and do this for myself and get these things done for my family, and I'm going to go out for dinner with a girlfriend tonight. I can't wait to come back and tell you about it. And if she was mad that I was going out, I had to be okay with that. That was her choice to be mad and it was my choice to let it go. And so those are the things that you have to go ahead and move into and then you have to reinforce that. This is the caregiver plan that is the best for yourself, for your loved one and for your life right now, and you have to go ahead and do that. And it will fluctuate and change depending on the situation, but you're striving to go ahead and be a healthier you and that's the importance. So you may have to explain your season three to your loved one, or your transformation to your loved one and, if you can get them to be your cheerleader, get them to understand why, give them the benefits of your change.

Cathy:

And for my mom, who really, really, really had a hard time with it, I had to explain that I can then show up better for you when I come in and I'm dragging my hinders and I'm crabby, or I am not there with her because all I'm thinking about is getting back to work, because I missed two hours and I have to get this project done. I'm not really physically there with her. I'm physically there with her but I'm not focused in on her, and so I had to really get very clear on my intentions. But one thing that I did and I tried to think outside the box and if you followed me at all on social media, in 2021 and 22, I incorporated with my mom Sundays. Sundays were going to be our day, where we were going to get together and it was her day and I was going to be completely focused on her.

Cathy:

If I could have my time during the week to get my work done and limit visits with her during the week, I could give her a total Sunday and we could get her grocery shopping done, errands done, we could go ahead and manage her bills. I could help her around the house. We could do something fun. I told her she could list out some things that she wants to do and we would call it Sunday Fun Days. Oh my gosh, she looks so forward to our Sunday Fun Days each and every week, especially when I gave her the job of. I want you to look up and see what festivals are coming up, what craft fairs are coming up. Think about some things that you want to do or people you want to visit, let's plan it, and we could go ahead and do that. The only thing I asked is that we go out for dinner at the end of the day and we invite my husband along, so that I don't have to cook any dinner, and it was so fun. We really enjoyed ourselves and that helped for probably 18 months. That helped me, I mean sure there were times in the middle of the week I had to take her to doctor's appointments or do something for her, and I FaceTimed her every day so that we could talk to each other, but I physically saved a lot of the things I had to do on Sundays with her, so I think that was kind of a win.

Cathy:

What I'm trying to get at here is you have to kind of think outside the box and what can you do? That's going to be kind of a win-win situation for everyone. But let's get to the reality though, because not everyone will understand that it's okay. Your transformation is not okay. There are going to be people that aren't going to understand that, and you have to be okay with that. You know what's best for you. You know what's best for your loved one. And what I want to get at here is during the difficult times of this caregiving season, you still deserve joy, you still deserve peace, you deserve to be happy, you deserve to have a better caregiver life, and so you have to go ahead and start trying things and find out what will work best for you. So what do you want your results to be, or your vision of this caregiver life to be, if you haven't even thought about that yet, take 15 minutes or 20 minutes and just sit with yourself, whether you journal it out or you just think about it. If you could go ahead and make your caregiver life a bit better and it would be shoot for the season three, the next season three, the next season of the caregiver life, what would that be? What would it take to get there? And maybe for you it's just getting out one day a week and going ahead and doing one thing one day a week. Well, you need to strive for that. Keep striving for that.

Cathy:

For me, it was, for me, too, my vision also. While I was striving for, for my well-being time, I was also striving for quality time with my mom. I no longer wanted to be known as the nurse, the budget person, the cleaner, the laundry person. However I was, I wanted her to see me again as a daughter, and that vision of being a daughter was being swept under the rug because now I was her go-to caregiver and I wanted that to bubble back up. And for that to bubble back up, what would it take? And so I? My vision was of a better caregiver life was quality time with my mom, better health for me, less stress and more joy. So that's your assignment today.

Cathy:

I want you to think about what would that ideal caregiver life look like for you, what would it look like for your loved one? What would it look like for you, both physically, emotionally and from a social perspective? What would it look like for you If you're, if you're feeling burnt out, if you're struggling? What would that look like? So I hope you enjoyed today's episode and I hope you enjoyed the fact that it was real.

Cathy:

Pushbacks are going to happen, people are going to say things that are going to go ahead and just be shocking to you, because you do have a life outside of caregiving. You are a person inside of that caregiver title and you deserve to go ahead and and smile once in a while and it takes a little bit of work, but I think that when you go ahead and shift your mindset, you are going to go ahead and and find that you can do this. I don't want you to quit. I don't want you to keep striving for it. It will be hard, and you know what?

Cathy:

If you are looking for additional help with your transformation, I have two go-to things for you that I want you to think about. I can do a free 30 minute consultation with you and we can decide on the best possible approach for you, and that could be individualized coaching, which I offer. So you could go to kathielvancom forward slash coaching. Or you can go ahead and get on my wait list for my upcoming and powerful caregiver school. It's so hard to say because it's just brand new.

Cathy:

This powerful caregiver school starts September 18. And so the wait list is open right now and you can get on the wait list and you'll find upcoming things that are going to be coming up. I'm going to do a free podcast series on it. I am going to do some emails on it before it starts officially on September 18. So go out to kathielvancom forward slash empower yeah, that's a new word, but I created that new word and someday it'll be in the dictionary, who knows? But enjoy your rest of your day and here's to a better caregiver life for you. Bye for now.

Navigating Pushbacks and Overcoming Guilt
Joy and Balance for Caregivers
Options for Transformation