Just as an example…
Worked in palliative care for many years… watched people as well as their loved ones experience many varieties of guilt as they transitioned to pass, and your loved one’s question, well it was the most common one.
There is no answer.
Sometimes my response was more a question instead of an answer:
“How or in what way is it that makes you feel like a burden?” Then they talk, let things ‘off their chest’ and my only part was to simply listen…
Sometimes it was more direct: “No. You’re not a burden. I’m here anyways… who do you THINK it is that you might be burdening?” … and that sparked a dialogue.
The same dialogue.
Then there’s our own loved ones… and am I remiss and cold in saying— I have to question their intentions! ??
Sometimes I feel like it’s a ploy or manipulation to find coddling and passivity???
Yes! I do feel like that’s what’s happening sometimes…
And then I feel guilty because I KNOW my loved one struggles and has moments, times, days, months, etc. and I believe all I can do is be sound and rational and supportive and loving… and that’s a consistency that’s imperative and supposed to hold…through ALL!.. and I won’t exacerbate my partner’s immediate ‘behaviors’ if I do just this, Right?
Well it makes me a selfish asshole.
If I sit back, away, dismissive, act like I’m responding to a child…
Because I’m my partner’s rock,! not his punching bag.
But the truth is illness comes with the abuse.
And you don’t have to be ashamed of that. It is a fact as a caregiver. Mental, emotional and even physical on occasion…
The tough part is those egg shells we walk on. Avoiding triggers explosions or… sometimes who the hell knows what or where or why they come…
Or we can choose NOT to. Be as comforting and supportive as you can. And I advocate honesty in almost all cases (Dr. Xavier would not agree. Don’t tell them that they are sick…) So obviously delivery is most important.
Without feeding someone else’s need or subversion, or practicing pacifying a passing egomania… what do we do?
I say be honest. And strong. LAUGH…
“Yes! When we live and love it’s a fucking burden! Let’s do it together! Focus!..I love you!”
This may be questionable advise.
But it’s ok to have our own weak moments too.
We are all only human after all…
And we are no good to anybody else if we don’t heal ourselves first. You don’t have to feel selfish!