Caregivers: Avoiding Self-Pity

be-healthyLet’s face it, sometimes Caregiving can be hard.  We do what we can and we forge ahead, sometimes it is simply mind over matter.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.’  I believe that her quote can be a motto for every family caregiver! 

Eleanor Roosevelt: political activist, First L...

Eleanor Roosevelt:  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought about Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote today after having a conversation with another family caregiver who asked me  how I avoid self-pity when in the midst of Caregiving.    His question forced me to look (hard) at my role as a Caregiver and the times when I fell into the trap of self-pity.    I concluded that (my) self-pity  comes out in  negative comments or better yet, (actually worse yet!) negative non-verbals.   When we are in the midst of Caregiving, it is easy to fall into those negative traps.   This conversation today reminded me of one very simple statement  that ‘TLO’ taught me from his Caregiving experience with his partner Herman.   ‘Remember, it’s the disease talking, not the person!’  Wow!  Learning from your caree is one of the greatest gifts we can receive as a caregiver!   The conversation also served as a gentle reminder to me that when those late night Caregiving duties arrive, as hard as they might be, they are not planned, they just happen.  (It’s the disease talking, duh!) 

As Caregivers, we can lose a sense of self in our role as a Caregiver.   Avoiding self-pity can be as simple as finding a way to turn a negative into a positive.  Some other tips that I have found helpful along the Caregiving Journey  are: 

  •  Share your story with other Caregivers
  • Join a support group ( I recommend
  • Journal or Blog about your experience
  • Block out time for yourself, even if it’s just 5 minutes
  • Remember, “It’s the disease talking, not your caree!
  • Reach Out for Help, it’s a sign of strength not weakness
  • Be kind to yourself!

Self-pity only makes the Caregiving experience more difficult; I am thankful that I had a friend today who was willing to challenge his own Caregiving issues, while in turn, helping me with my Caregiving issues too!  Eleanor Roosevelt had it right…’With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.’

You see, we might have Cancer;

But Cancer does not have us! 

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Chris MacLellan is a Caregiver for his partner Richard Schiffer who suffers from Esophagus Cancer



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Filed under Caregiving, The Purple Jacket

12 responses to “Caregivers: Avoiding Self-Pity

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  2. Thanks for this nugget of wisdom. As a long-time caregiver for my depressed husband, you’ve given me a tool to help me curb my tongue when his words seem hurtful and maddening.


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