Handling Criticisms When You’re the Caregiver of a Sick Family Member

Handling Criticisms When You’re the Caregiver of a Sick Family Member


Criticisms are a part of life. Often, you’ll hear them in unexpected circumstances. But how do you handle such harshness when caring for a sick family member?

Younger woman supporting an older relative
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Unfortunately, people are going to find out something wrong about what you’re doing, no matter how much effort you’re making. This is usually the case when you are taking care of someone they care about. They’re afraid that you might not be taking care of their loved ones as much as you should.

While this is okay if you’re a paid caregiver, things are different when you’re also a family member who has to give up work to take care of a sick parent or grandparent. How can other members of the family criticize you despite the sacrifices you made?

Believe it or not, people are not as open-minded and understanding as they are supposed to be. Many of them see only what they want to see, ignoring the enormous sacrifices you make by taking care of a sick family member. Deciding to work from home or take advantage of the FMLA in Florida (if you are from there) is a huge undertaking.

Not many will do that for the sake of even their closest family member. But here you are, sacrificing your career, time, money, and relationships. Yet, people still have the gall to criticize what you’re doing?

It would be best to learn how to handle these criticisms by attending a Family Constellation workshop, or you’re going to go crazy and break down. Criticism is an inescapable part of life. People will say what they want to say regardless of who gets hurt, so it is up to you to stay your ground and focus on what really matters.

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Listen First

When it looks like someone is going to criticize you, the immediate reaction is to shut down. But if the critic is respectful, why shouldn’t you listen to what he/she has to say. Sometimes, you need a different perspective of how to do things, too. Who knows? You might learn something from what this person has to say. You can use this new knowledge to better yourself and become a better caregiver to the patient.

What did you lose when it turns out the criticism is misguided? You lose a few minutes of your time. That’s okay rather than completely ignoring what others have to say. Stretch your patient a bit and learn to listen.

Do Not Respond Immediately

You are not required to respond to criticism at all. If you do have to respond, don’t do it immediately. The reason arguments break out in families is that someone did not think straight before opening his/her mouth. Let the critics say what they have to say, but as for you, think on your feet and don’t give them the benefit of a reaction.

Take time to weigh what they said. Try to be as objective as possible before giving your response to them. If the comments are empty, shrug them off and forget about them. But if they make sense but were not delivered respectfully, then you can reach out to that person and remind him/her about what respect means.

Carer about to take older patients blood pressure

Try To See The Positive

It’s hard but try to be the bigger person in every situation. Criticisms sound negative because people see them as such. However, if you try to look for the positive, you may find one or two that will be helpful in your task as a caregiver.

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Yes, it is hard to take care of a sick loved one. But also, yes, the other family members are just as concerned about the patient as you are. Always try to think from this perspective, so you don’t see as negative whatever comes out of their mouth.

Learn How To Walk Away

Some criticisms are good. Some are bad. Then, there are a few others that are just plain evil. Know when to walk away from these situations. When someone is rude, excuse yourself and leave the event (if it’s a family event). By walking away, you are breaking free from instances where you will be ridiculed or criticized needlessly. Criticisms are okay to a certain degree, but not when they are made to belittle your person. The power is in you to not allow other people to make you feel less.

Remember who you are doing this for. You’re doing this for this sick family member who is dear to your heart. As long as you know you’re doing the right thing and the patient remains healthy, then criticisms are just things that people say to be spiteful. They shouldn’t weigh as much as what your patient thinks, feels, and acknowledges.

Featured Image & Post image: Supplied by the author
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