For those of you tracking week-by-week “Carol-Ann’s Top 10 Caregiver Lessons”, how are you handling the eldercare craziness at this point? Building on wanting to tell your parents what to do, I believe we have for you today another extremely trying topic.
It regards feeling forced to endure tired stories you have heard ‘billions’ of times. If you want to shove a towel or other silencing device into a parental mouth… If you wish you could wear airplane-proof noise cancelling earphones in their presence… Then you will probably relate to these oft-repeated coaching client laments!
Why do I have to put up with hours-long diatribes while waiting to make my points?
At the height of my eldercare woes, my husband coined the bang-on phrase, “Did I tell you…well, anyway…” I’m hooting and hollering! Derek used it to denote our (close to screaming) exasperation over my father’s latest repetition. Rarely did Pa ask if we’d already heard it. Even if we responded in unison with a resounding “Yes!!”, he’d march ahead anyway. We finally figured out what was really going on. Care to know why we let him drone on?
Why won’t my aging parents listen to me?
Without his stories, my father had no identity. He needed to recite his glory days as a way of gaining life force. I urge you to remember what you learn in all those communication skills courses at work. Placing your attention on what you want to say will cause you to miss vital information. You know how stealthy your folks can get. You will not forget your points while waiting to speak, typical a concern as this is. Don’t interrupt. Listen first. Your turn is coming.
Do they have any idea how they’re killing me?
Do you want the short or long answer? The short version is no. The longer version is a reminder. No one can pinch you off from the competent person you are without your permission. Are you allowing your folks to shrink you into that still-small child within? Please do not allow that. You’re granting them too much power. You’re in command. If anything, they need the parenting. As with an infant, be present to their needs without sacrificing your own.
To access the questions and answers to The Impossible Parents Questionnaire (from which today’s blog is extracted), please add to your cart my book called Coping with Un-cope-able Parents: LOVING ACTION for Eldercare. You can find it at https://www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com/shop.
Next week, we have for you the reason it is critical to see through your caregiver journey with aplomb. Remind me to share the poignancy of reading for the first time in 34 years cover-to-cover a lovingly crafted booklet my mother gifted me full of her stories.