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How do you deal with guilt?

It can be difficult to rely on someone else for tasks or other help. Caregivers also report feeling guilt that they aren't doing enough. How do you cope with these feelings?

  1. It is so interesting that this post came up now. As many of you here know, I'm the caregiver for my wife, Kelly Mack, who is a contributor here (although I've never been comfortable with that title). This weekend is her 25th college reunion. She made plans with many of her old college friends (old as in long-time friends, not that they are old 😀 ). Thursday night it became clear I was coming down with something. If I couldn't drive us, it would mean she couldn't go. I felt guilty at the prospect of being the potential cause of her not making it, but she made it clear that my health mattered too (plus, I needed to able to safely drive both of us).
    Friday morning I pulled myself together, knowing that if I got us there, she would do events with her friends and be fine with me resting in the hotel (and spending some time here with all of you, while staying away from her and making it less likely she would catch anything).
    On the drive, Kelly talked about worrying about how much she relies on me. I reminded her of everything she does to make our life plans, including time for caregiving work.
    My main point in relaying this story is the importance of open communication and recognizing that everyone brings different things to a relationship. Things will not always be equal, sometimes one will need to lean more on the other - and that's o.k. Things worked out this time, but sometimes it may even be necessary for one to disappoint a loved one - and that's o.k. too, as long as it is understood that we're all human and have limitations and are doing the best we can. Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    1. I took care of my mother as she battled cancer and I certainly went through a cycle of guilt. At the time, I also had my two daughters to raise and a husband. I felt torn between the time I was spending with my mother, making sure she didn't feel alone, and managing time spent with my family. I didn't want my mom to feel left out. I basically needed to clone myself. It was hard. But the great thing about the situation was that my mother and I had great communication. She was understanding and gave me so much grace. That alone took away a lot of the guilt. I ultimately moved her in with my family and it was a great time until her passing. We knew that for things to work, we had to help each other and be on the same page to know that it wasn't us against each other, but us against her sickness. -Latoya (Team Member)

      1. A lot of the time, adding more guilt, because I dont want to be a burden to anyone, and I want to be independant. But that ends up making me hurt myself and be in even more pain.

        1. you're definitely not alone. I know that a lot of our community members here can relate to that feeling of not wanting to be a burden to anyone, also. I know you saw another article about RA and burden, but I thought you might also appreciate this article from our health leader, Kelly, about how people are not burdens, https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/burden-fear-internalized-ableism, and this article from our health leader, Daniel, about the "b" word, Burden, https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/burden. It definitely is something that hits home to a lot of people here. Sending you gentle hugs! -- Warmly, Christine (Team Member)

      2. This is a great question and topic that needs to be discussed more so thank you for bringing it up on the forum here. There are various arthritis organizations that offer support for caretakers through meet ups and events. They may have them in your area. Also connecting with others you know who are caretakers or even friends may help. It's not easy and I applaud you for helping out a loved on in the best way you can. Just know you are doing a good job even on days you may feel like it's not enough. Sending love your way. -Effie, team member

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