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feelings of guilt & inadequacy - Carers UK Forum

feelings of guilt & inadequacy

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hi there - I'm new to the forum but wanted to ask a question if I could. I was my mum's carer back in 2010, from her diagnosis of terminal cancer to her death 5 months later. I was 24 at the time. Although it was a few years ago now, I still have feelings of guilt from that time - i.e. that I wasn't a good enough carer, that I wasn't patient enough, kind enough or altruistic enough. I often went away for weekends, and once for a whole week, to 'have a break', but now feel bad for putting myself first in that way. There were also a few occasions where I was irritable/snapped at mum, when I should have been putting her first. I was also worried about money at the time and sometimes let this show, even though I was the one to volunteer to be her carer in the first place (i.e. she hadn't asked me to give up my job, I chose to). I keep running these things over and over in my mind. I'm sure she knew that I sometimes resented the situation and resented caring (although by no means all the time - most of the time things were good - or as good as they could be in that situation).

I guess what I wanted to ask is, do any of you ever feel similarly?

Thanks everyone.
All too common feelings Victoria. x x
Welcome to the forum!
Guilt and resentment are all part of the territory. You are not alone!
I lost my elderly dad last year. We'd been on holiday and the drive back to his care home was a nightmare and I snapped and shouted at him more than once. He was very ill afterwards and passed away a week later.
The nurses in the care home reminded me to balance things up and look at what I did rather than what I didn't do. Perhaps you would find it useful to do the same.
Sending hugs
Victoria I can only second what Juggler has already said - none of us are super-heroes we're all only human.

I, too still suffer from the same feelings of guilt and inadequacy. My Mum had Alzheimer's and when I could no longer cope with caring 24/7 she moved into a residential care home - she died 6 months later having given up on life. I wonder, almost daily, how much longer she would have lived had I had the strength to continue to care for her in her own home. I too wasn't always patient and at times I did resent the role that had been thrust on me at a time when I should have been looking forward to my retirement.

But I also know that I did my best and that's all any of us can do.
Hi Victoria, I have to agree with all the replies so far.

No one is the best carer in the world, all we can hope for is to be the best carer we can be.
Hi Victoria, I was widowed 8 years ago when my huuband died of a massive hesrt attack, and I too went over and over things. In the end I decided, rightly or wrongly, that my brain needed to do this to try and understand something so traumatic. You can help the process. Whenever this sort of negativity wheedles it's way into your thoughts, block it with a positive thought. Things like you were there for mum, not unable to help living in Australia. You went away? That was vital, as mum needed you to be well, mentally and physically. Caring is a stressful job, that we didn't want, and had no training for. My mum has just gone into a nursing home full time. It wasn't what we wanted, but it was what mum needed. Don't let the negative thoughts in, be proud that you helped, and enjoy your life as mum would wish for you.
When it comes to guilt, I can stand back from that a bit and ask: "where does this guilt spring from"? And very often it springs from other people's unreasonable and often controlling behaviours. We are all free individuals, hopefully we choose the values that we stand by. Family is important, and we inherit some values and much of what makes us who we are whilst children, but we are not mindless slaves to them as adults, otherwise there would be no human progress. I am glad that my parents always encouraged me to be myself, and have rarely criticised my own judgments and values even when they are markedly different from their own. They let go when I reached the age of consent: and I owe it to my kids to do the same.
Hi Victoria. The short answer is you did nothing wrong in having a few breaks.

Fact is, too many carers struggle on without a break because they don't feel able to take one or can't get one from their local services.

You did exactly the right thing, but in a situation like yours there will always be the moment where you feel that maybe you should have spent more time with your mum. After all, she was part of your whole life for 24 years. Hard to let go.

Snapping at your mum is part of being a carer, and it could easily be argued that it showed that you both needed your breaks.

And I've no doubt that your breaks also gave you something to talk to your mum about - conversations can become too focused on caring needs sometimes.

Guilt feelings are completely natural - but when you really look at it, there's nothing to feel guilty about.
Hi Victoria and welcome. It sounds to me like you might be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
You're trying to cope with something that you couldn't control and ended in the loss of your mother, probably the most significant and constant figure in your 24 years. It's natural to blame yourself in this situation even although all logic tells you it was not your fault and there was nothing more that you could do to stop her leaving you. If it is impacting on your life, particularly if you suffer from dreams about it or the same scenarios keep repeating in your thoughts, please go to your GP and ask to be referred for counselling where you can learn how to cope with your grief. The earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to heal.
All the best :)
Hello Victoria...welcome to the forum. As you can see there is plenty of support here for you and your feelings are very common, for want of a better word. I struggle still with my feelings after Dad passed away in 2007 and Mum in 2009. Could I have done more? Possibly but the decisions I made at the time were made for a reason. Looking back after a period of time when you are in a "different" place perhaps we wonder why we didn't do this or that but you have to remember your life was totally different then.

Caring isn't easy and in a way it is a shame that you didn't find the support here when you were caring as I am sure you would have realised then that what you were doing to help and care for your Mum certainly takes a toll on you (on any carer) and not only did you deserve a break but you also needed it too.

I am sure you will have lots of experience to share with others so please have a look around the forum and join in whenever and wherever you wish. We in return will support you in any way we can.

Welcome aboard!

Bell x