Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Caregiver Wednesdays- Out of control without boundaries



Our dog has a dual personality.

When my husband is home, he is the most compliant, peaceful little fellow. If he is in trouble, Hunter only has to call his name and he stops the bad behaviour. I have seen his already short legs at half mast as he crawls to him, craving approval. His little halo and wings are clearly visible.

When he is alone with me, a different dog appears. Demon dog.

Even though I take him for walks, get up in the night in answer to his barks, and feed him, he doesn't crave my approval. Me, he plays like an instrument.

On Monday, I had the day off and was enjoying a more leisurely pace. While drinking my second cup of coffee, I was preparing breakfast and cut a few slices from a sizable chunk of cheese. Bailey jumped to the counter and seized it, dashing over his self-proclaimed race course around the living room, dining room and through the kitchen, with me in hot pursuit. I ran, I yelled, I fumed. Bailey ate and ran. Finally, he stopped under the table and looked at me. A tiny crumb of cheese fell to the floor. His snack was finished.

A caregiver without boundaries is like me running around the house after the dog.

There's a feeling of helplessness. Things are out of control, and I can't get the reigns of control back.

The "out of control" feeling can lead to depression. "Oh, what's the use. I'll never get this dog to obey me. In fact, I'm useless as a dog owner. I just can't ever get it right."

Frustration can quickly turn to rage, which could lead to abuse.

For all these reasons, caregivers need to establish boundaries in their caregiving situation.

Sometimes you're too close to the situation. Here are some questions that can help you discern whether you need to look at some boundaries in caregiving.

1) Sometimes overwhelming situations creep up on us. In what areas of your situation do you find it difficult to keep balance?

2) Is it difficult for you to hand over the reigns to others? What are your strategies for getting help?

3) Do you know when it's time to say "no"? How do you recognise when it's time to do that?

4) What area of "taking care of yourself" is most difficult for you? What strategies do you use to overcome this?

Do it today. Don't wait until you are in a "chasing the dog" kind of situation!

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