Caregivers, raise your hand if you’ve ever said any of the following to yourselves or someone else (don’t worry, nobody will see your hand up): “I need to do more”, “I should have been better attuned to _____”, “if I had done or changed X, my loved one would not have fallen”, “I need to ask better questions”, “I need to anticipate my loved one’s needs sooner”, “I need to be more efficient in giving care”.
Sound familiar? Then you and I share a common affliction called perfectionism. We hold ourselves to a standard that we have to get everything perfect and we chastise ourselves when we fall short. We spend a lot of energy criticizing ourselves; being unwilling to forgive and remind ourselves of one simple Truth: We Are Human.
You as caregivers increasingly take on the household roles that were once shared with your loved one in addition to caring for them. That is challenging enough. Why waste energy trying to be superhuman when your humanity is what your loved one needs most?
Moving past perfectionism takes more than a blog post or exclaiming “My name is ____ and I’m a perfectionist!” Seeking out fellow caregivers is a good first step. Perhaps caregiver groups should be renamed Perfectionists Anonymous?