Becoming the primary caregiver for an elderly parent is a tough job and one that takes patience and often self-sacrifice. When the person being cared for or other family members disagree with key decisions, caregivers may often feel unappreciated, second-guessed, hurt and angry. Here are a few tips to help when you're feeling criticized:
- Try Not to Take It Personally
Insults may be thrown your way, but the underlying reason likely has nothing to do with you. The person you are caring for may be angered by their own situation: getting older, losing independence, watching spouses and friends pass away. Unfortunately, caregivers often bear the brunt of the anger for things that may have nothing to do with them.
- Step Back
Try to evaluated the situation as though you were observing someone else's life. Is it possible you’re being overly sensitive? Or has someone treated you unfairly for no apparent reason? A clear understanding of of the situation will help you find the best solution.
- Stop Trying to Please Everyone
Someone will always find fault — even if you're the best and most patient caregiver in the world — someone will always tell you you've done something wrong. It's human nature and none of us can change that. Reminding yourself of this often can help keep you grounded and happier.
- Put Criticism into Perspective
No one likes criticism. No one wants to hear they’re wrong. But everyone has been criticized at some time for something so it's important to remember that receiving criticism is a part of life. And no matter how harsh any comment seems, it doesn’t mean you’re incompetent.
- Stand up for Yourself
If the person you care for or another family member is taking you for granted or even being abusive, you can calmly let them know you will not be mistreated and walk away. While this may be difficult, a strong stance may cause a change in their attitude and behaviour. Maybe it's time to take a break and allow another family member to step in as a substitute for a little while. This will allow them to experience your challenges as a caregiver and perhaps encourage more appreciation, offers of help and less criticism.