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Caregiver Guilt… An Unnecessary Evil

Many Caregivers use “Should Statements” as a form of motivation… “I should make a doctor’s appointment for mom…” Or worse, “I should’ve taken the keys from dad sooner!”

The problem with using “Should Statements” (a Cognitive Distortion – See Below for a LINK to Learn More) is that it creates a trap for the person using them… if you do something you “should” do you take no joy because you tell yourself you really had no choice; if you ‘fail’ to do something you ‘should’ do… you obligate yourself to feeling guilty.

In this way; the Caregiver cannot win.  Guilt can inspire you to summon the best within you… or it can trap and immobilize you.

Keep in mind, guilt, like all other emotions or painful experiences is your “psyche’s way of paying attention” to a mis-balance between your intentions and your obligations.

In your distorted vision of ideal world you believe you ‘should’ be able to meet that deadline at work; attend all of junior’s games and princess’s recitals AND take your mom or dad to the doctor… or so you tell yourself because you are living in the world of should!

This, as I like to say, is a “shouldy attitude” and it is not real nor accurate… and it resigns us to live in a world of GUILT…which, as I also like to say… is a practice of Gathering, Unrealistic, Illogical, Loathing, Thoughts… and then applying them to Yourself… thus making you GUILTY!

So then, if already GUILTY in your own eyes when it concerns Caring for others; how can you ever Care for yourself?  Well… you can’t!

Accept… you can… and here is why and how! 

Argue the opposite… you SASS these thoughts and subconsciously and very intentionally put alternative… SASSing thoughts in your head where you put “Shouldn’t’ Against Should Statements” and having done so; you freely choose a course of action without guilt, regret or remorse… and most of all… without judgment.

Here is how it goes; “I SHOULDN’T expect myself to go to both a game and a doctor’s appointment after work because it is not possible and those that rely on me will benefit from learning that there are other options available to them and to me!”

Once your irrational subconscious mind meets your rational SASS oriented thinking you are free to take action without guilt because you have broadened the possibility of reasonable and acceptable behavior for yourself.

Please enjoy your new SASSY self!

Thank YOU for Caring!

Source:  The term “Cognitive Distortions” comes from the work of Dr. David Burns author of “Feeling Good:  The New Mood Therapy”  His work was the inspiration of this blog and much of my work!

Click HERE to Learn more about Cognitive Distortions like:  "Should Statements"


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