Being a caregiver is full of challenges and when others start to make suggestions and criticize your efforts it can add even more stress. Typically with caregiving, the majority of the responsibility of caring for a loved one falls on one person. However, often other family members get involved and offer their opinions even if they are hurtful. It can be frustrating when you’re selflessly caring for someone and instead of getting the gratitude you expect and deserve, you receive criticism instead.
Here are some tips on how to deal with some of the criticism you receive as a caregiver.
Recognize it’s not about you. The majority of the time, criticism has nothing to do with you or the job you’re doing but is a reflection of the critic’s feelings. If you find yourself being criticized by the person you’re caring for, the root of their frustration is probably about their situation. It’s upsetting to lose your independence and your ability to do things. Although it’s not fair, the person may be taking out their frustration about their situation on you. If you’re experiencing criticism from other family members, their comments may come from a place of guilt for not taking more responsibility for their loved one’s care.
Try and look at the situation from a different perspective. When you’re involved it can be difficult to see the situation from another point of view. Don’t react too quickly, but instead take a moment to consider if there’s any truth in what others are saying, or if you’re overreacting to their comments. If you’re upset, you may be more sensitive to a situation and misinterpret a comment or conversation.
Stand up for yourself. If criticism ever becomes abusive or too much, don’t feel badly for standing up for yourself. Take a step back and as calmly as you can, tell the person that it’s not okay to speak to you in such a manner. If it comes from the person you’re caring for, this may be a good time to ask a family member for help so that you’re able to take a break from the situation. If you’re receiving abuse from other family members then suggest that they leave until they can be more respectful.
Ask for advice. If you’re being criticized for something specific, ask the person criticizing you what they would suggest you do to make the situation better. They might have a good idea that you haven’t thought of or they might realize that the issue they are criticizing isn’t something that can be fixed as easily as they thought.