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When Do You Stop Regressing to Childhood?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One definition of insanity is replicating a behavior and expecting a different outcome. I know that, just like I know being around my mother brings back all sorts of childhood angst and overeating.

Over the last 18 months, I have morped into being a part-time caretaker for my mother, which gets me away from my house and safety zone. My workout schedule disappears and I eat poorly.

If I look in the mirror, I can see the 50 pounds I've packed on taking care of my mother.

So, my question is, when does caring for someone else mean I stop caring for myself? If I know things fall apart when I'm with my mother for extended periods of time, why can't I move on and do something different?

Seriously, how do I get out of this cycle? She is not going to stop needing care and I am going to continue being there. How do I break this deadly pattern?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    OMG ... I'm with 4A-Healthy BMI! Talk with a therapist! I wish I had thought of it during my caregiving years! You can do this, Carrie! Hang in there. You'll find your way. You don't give up easily, Sparkgirl!!!!
    Pattin> emoticon

    2123 days ago
    I wish you the very best of luck with this difficult situation. I was never able to start taking care of myself until I stopped taking care of others (granted, they had to die to make this happen). I really regret that I did not find a better way. I wish you the very best. It's so painfully excruciating trying to weigh conflicting legitimate needs.
    2127 days ago
    Agree with the therapist suggestion...can't recommend it highly enough!

    Also: there are SO MANY community resources when it comes to providing care for the elderly...don't take EVERYTHING on your shoulders! Start researching what services your mother can use to lighten your load!

    2130 days ago
    I took care of my grandmother in my home for about 2 years and I drank more than I ever had in my life. So I guess I can say--don't do what I did.
    2133 days ago
    At 61, I have finally learned that if I take good care of myself, do the spark plan and force myself to do these things, then taking care for someone else or working a job is just easier and less stress. They say on the airlines that if the oxygen masks drop down, put it on yourself first, then on your children. Take care of yourself first, you are really all you got. Just do it.
    Phyllis emoticon
    2134 days ago
    The feelings and emotions that come with the relationship of mother and child seem to continue even though the "child" is grown and the mother has long ago realized that. We still have triggers that can pull us back every time and it makes us nuts inside :)
    The mind set is key I agree. This time of life with you and your mom is so special and important, one to cherish and take care of with your whole heart and soul. You are doing so much. Refocus each time you feel something slipping that you don't like. Not an easy task at all. I wonder how often your mom also thinks "geesh I'm treating her like a child again and I know shes not!" Try to keep humor through it step at a time

    cheryl emoticon
    2134 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/21/2012 11:15:42 AM
    First of all -- thanks for being real all the time! I appreciate you being honest and real. Second -- I think as above comments have said, you do need to make time for you. Try out various ways to take time to eat well and get in some exercise -- some is always better than none. I am sure it is a trial and error process, but keep trying. Also let us know how we can motivate you. We are hear for you!
    2135 days ago
    == She is not going to stop needing care and I am going to continue being there. ==

    Sometimes we get a little locked into a rut of reacting to situations rather than choosing our actions in those situations.

    Try thinking of a common situation with your mother, something that you pretty much KNOW will happen while you're there. How do you normally react to that situation right in the moment? What is it about that situation that stresses you so much?

    Think of something different you could do in that situation.

    IMPORTANT: Don't worry about whether that something different would work or not. It could be as over the top absurd as dropping to the floor and throwing a temper tantrum. This is important because our thinking in that rut is that "nothing will work" and "nothing will change". We wouldn't accept a solution if it ran us over several times.

    Imagine yourself in that situation and using that different response and the subsequent results.

    Then think of another action that you could do. Take off your shoes and curl your toes? Put your shirt on backwards? Play around with silly ideas first so you're willing to actually imagine the results.

    Finally, start thinking of actions that can lower the stress for you within the requirements of care. Can you go for a 10-minute walk? Could you close your eyes and imagine yourself in a "happy place" (on a beach / in the mountains / curled up with a good book) for a few minutes before responding to the situation? Can you claim a shelf in the fridge, a shelf in the cupboard, and stock up on healthy foods and snacks for when you're there?

    Ask others who know more about the situation for ideas. Some won't be workable at all, but don't just think "nope, no good" - look at the idea and see if it could be modified. Be willing to try things you don't think would work to see what the real result will be. If they don't work, what have you lost? You're trying to replace something you KNOW doesn't work, so it's just one of many possibilities scratched off.


    You DESERVE to find solutions, to find ways to care for you. In fact, finding a way to care for yourself better will make you a calmer, happier care-taker.
    2135 days ago
    It's just like caring for HAVE to make time for YOU!!! Doesn't matter if it's working out or just sitting & reading (or something). If you don't take care of YOU there will be no one to care for her. If exercising is important to you, also build that into your schedule. Maybe revisit your time-management plan??

    Most of all, know we are here for you!!! You CAN do this!! It's just a new routine that you just have to get used to!

    2135 days ago
    Find a therapist or counselor that works for you. This is big enough stuff that it might be too much to handle on your own.

    You're a master of pre-planning, logistics, tracking, etc. We know you can do it and do it well. What you need is to figure out a way around the emotional things that are preventing you from doing it...

    Hang in there, Carrie!

    2135 days ago
    I wholeheartedly agree with GOPINTOS - nutrition is key. And I understand how one can get distracted from a healthy eating plan - my challenge is travel - which I do a fair amount and am constantly and continually learning how to maintain a healthy nutritional plan.

    What I have learned is that it starts and ends with my mindset. When I am committed and determined to stay on plan, I have a plan and am more likely to stick with it.

    If I try to go with the flow or wing it, I am more likely to go off-plan. Before I leave, I have to think through every day of the trip and make decisions prior to leaving, cause if I leave it until "in the moment" history shows I will make poor decisions.

    Whatever your situation is, I encourage you to think it through and make a plan for staying on your nutritional plan. If you are consistently going off plan, you can then change the plan.

    You can do it.

    Stay Strong
    2136 days ago
    You have to renew your commitment and your goals and your reasons for wanting this. Our journey is 80% nutrition, so if you can not exercise, you have to eat right. No stress eating, no eating just to be eating. You have to make every bite count that you put into your body. Every bite, every calorie, every macro nutrient has to have a purpose. I track everything and I can see if I need protein, or if I need to watch the carbs, etc. There really is no excuse not to eat right unless someone else is feeding us. You CAN do this!!!


    Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
    Melinda (gopintos)
    Wheat Belly Team
    2136 days ago
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