Jealousy When People Have Normal Lives!

This is actually a very difficult topic because it is hard to admit that I feel something that I should not feel.  It seems wrong to have the emotions I have right now, but it also seems wrong to feel ashamed about what I feel.  This is where I get into the difficulty of dealing with and accepting certain emotions that occur in the caregiving world.  The emotions that we may pretend do not exist because it seems wrong or shameful to accept them as legitimate.

My mother and father-in-law called today to talk with my husband.  They had not spoken in a few weeks at least, and they caught up on their lives.  When I came home, I listened to my husband talk about the great things his parents were doing, how much fun they were having.  He talked about the way they were spending their free time as retired individuals, and I am genuinely happy for them because I love them, but at the same time, I felt extremely jealous.  My husband can talk with his parents about their great lives, but when I talk with my parents, I listen to the stress and fears they possess as caregivers.  I try to be supportive, but I worry about them and their own health which is deteriorating as they wear themselves down with their roles as caregivers.

How could I possibly feel so much anger and jealousy?  This can’t be healthy, but it is a reality.  I feel like my parents had more than a decade of their life stolen from them.  They have not had family support except for my husband and I , and with two kids with special needs, jobs, and school, we can only relieve them once in while.  I do not blame my in-laws or my husband.  They are lucky to find this enjoyment in their lives, but I am angry at the lack of family support my parents have.  I am angry that they do not get free time.  I am upset with the people who have abandoned them without a thought.  I fear for their health more than anything.  This is just another example to me of the far-reaching effects caregiving can have on families and the complexity of the emotions involved.  I am thankful to have parents who give so much of themselves to be the incredible caregivers they are, but I cannot let go of the worry, and the sadness I feel for them as they work without reprieve.  I admire them, and I wish I could help them all at the same time.  I feel guilty for feeling this way, but it is my truth right now, and I cannot deny my emotions.

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2 thoughts on “Jealousy When People Have Normal Lives!

  1. Sadness, like happiness, ripples out, doesn’t it? Today I discovered a name for the uncomfortable thoughts that come with caregiving: “subjective burden”! The objective burden is the tasks associated with caring and the subjective burden is the “minding” of them. There are studies that have examined this, but no answers to how it can be resolved. I felt the same thing you are feeling for years as I watched my mum care for my dad. Even though she couldn’t be with him in the same house (they separated) she continued to worry about him, care for him, and devoted her life to making sure he was taken care of. Her biggest fear for him was that he would have to leave his apartment (where he was very lonely) and go into residential care. She truly believed that if he went into a nursing home he would “turn his back to the wall and give up” but guess what? He did have to go into care eventually and his last year in the nursing home was the happiest he had had in years. He was looked after by loving young women who fussed over him and he was able to take part in holiday celebrations and his new “home” was a place that family and friends liked to visit. Visiting him in his apartment was painful as his loneliness was overwhelming. It was really hard for my mum to give up the concept that only she could understand his needs. When she eventually had to move to the nursing home herself she couldn’t help trying to take over his care and the staff had to separate them at meals so that he had some peace. My “subjective burden” disappeared overnight as I watched these wonderful women (and a few men) do what they were called to do – overseeing his mediations, monitoring the changes in his body, changing his clothes every two hours, tucking him in at night, bringing him a cup of tea to his favorite spot in the lounge where he could watch the world go by. Everyone’s situation is different and it took months of hard work on my part finding the right place for the right price (in the U.K. care is partially paid for) but my view of nursing homes really changed.

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  2. Unfortunately my dad has alz. and He can’t go to a residental living alone. He does not want to go to a nursing home and I would not let him. Before my mom passed away on Nov.01, 2012 on and off she was in a nursing home 2x for rehab. 2 times I went to see Her and after seeing Her I went straight to the nurses station and told them to call an ambulance. They were monitoring Her. Hello. She needed to be in the hospital. I went 2x a day to see Her to make sure she o.k.. Nooo I refuse to let either of my parents in a nursing home for the rest of their lives. I will take care of my dad and give up my life for Him because no one else can or wants to. I would never rest with him locked away. He would shrivel up and die. I have a hugh conscious and I would never be able to live with myself fearing someone was being mean to Him. No, God wants me to care for my folks and it is a job I take VERY SERIOUS. As my daughter says she gets jealous that We can’t be like Her in-laws. God has us doing it because we could do it best. Yes, I miss a free life but at the same time I care more about the people we care for. That they’re safe and clean well fed with the foods they like. The love that goes into the caring from people they know, not strangers.

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