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How involved to get when family is ill

Stress 101   (1,925 Views | 8 Replies)
by B1hedw58 B1hedw58 (New) New

525 Profile Views; 3 Posts

Hi, my father was diagnosed with mixed dementia, and I'm not sure how involved to be with his care. He has a great time looking after him but it's still my father. My family has always had boundary problems when it comes to getting me involved in their personal healthcare, I have mostly limited contact with my mother and two brothers for that reason and keep the relationships at a professional distance. My father has now been placed and that is the best thing for him. I worked hard to say and do everything I wanted before he got very ill so I have no regrets. I am worried about seeing him now since his further decline. Thanx for letting me vent and suggestions are welcome

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BellionRN has 7 years experience and specializes in Critical Care.

117 Posts; 6,704 Profile Views

I'm not sure I have anything helpful to say but I am so sorry to hear this and I'm sending you many positive vibes. I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. ❤

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54 Posts; 3,314 Profile Views

I wish I had more to give you other than to say I'm right there with you. My family of origin sounds similar- in this case me, mom and brother- I am the only "rational expression" of the family gene pool". I too keep my distance because since I am the one who functions, everyone would all too happily dump the entire mess on me.

Some relatives now are starting to see how that works (they over-rely on them, anyone who doesn't say "No"). I literally only get a call when she needs something. Whatever I do, I do it because it feels "right" by my own personal standards. "Doing the right thing" over the years has been completely twisted to "you do our bidding; you get no gratitude, kindness or decent behavior for doing that; this is your duty for being born into this family (mess)"- I have finally had to really set limits.

The hard part is other people outside the situation (who don't know the dynamic) will judge my actions based on how people behave in more functional families. "But they are family" is often lobbed at me, by people who just don't get why I have to set limits. People who throw that at me are usually people who grew up with supportive (not perfect mind you, but at least supportive) families and can't imagine not doing everything they could to help out.

I think for me (and maybe you too), the key feature is things were never balanced and always tipped to other peoples' favor. We have to be the judge of what is "right" for our own actions, because the world as a whole isn't going to understand where we are coming from. Letting yourself be used up or walked over may be what people want, but ultimately is not in their best interest because that isn't how healthy relationships work.

I wish I'd been drawing that line in the sand a lot sooner, but as anyone growing up in a highly dysfunctional family knows, the world isn't there to support you because you have been well trained not to let people know (as a kid) what your life at home is like.

I'm sorry if this takes it off into a tangent that may not apply to your situation. I just picked up on the boundary situation and this is how it plays out with us. Good luck. I'd like to see if any others have ideas about how to deal with this.

I have done other searches on here about "family issues" and there are posts here and there that might help you also.

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54 Posts; 3,314 Profile Views

I wish I had more to give you other than to say I'm right there with you. My family of origin sounds similar- in this case me, mom and brother- I am the only "rational expression" of the family gene pool". I too keep my distance because since I am the one who functions, everyone would all too happily dump the entire mess on me.

Some relatives now are starting to see how that works (they over-rely on them, anyone who doesn't say "No"). I literally only get a call when she needs something. Whatever I do, I do it because it feels "right" by my own personal standards. "Doing the right thing" over the years has been completely twisted to "you do our bidding; you get no gratitude, kindness or decent behavior for doing that; this is your duty for being born into this family (mess)"- I have finally had to really set limits.

The hard part is other people outside the situation (who don't know the dynamic) will judge my actions based on how people behave in more functional families. "But they are family" is often lobbed at me, by people who just don't get why I have to set limits. People who throw that at me are usually people who grew up with supportive (not perfect mind you, but at least supportive) families and can't imagine not doing everything they could to help out.

I think for me (and maybe you too), the key feature is things were never balanced and always tipped to other peoples' favor. We have to be the judge of what is "right" for our own actions, because the world as a whole isn't going to understand where we are coming from. Letting yourself be used up or walked over may be what people want, but ultimately is not in their best interest because that isn't how healthy relationships work.

I wish I'd been drawing that line in the sand a lot sooner, but as anyone growing up in a highly dysfunctional family knows, the world isn't there to support you because you have been well trained not to let people know (as a kid) what your life at home is like.

I'm sorry if this takes it off into a tangent that may not apply to your situation. I just picked up on the boundary situation and this is how it plays out with us. Good luck. I'd like to see if any others have ideas about how to deal with this.

I have done other searches on here about "family issues" and there are posts here and there that might help you also.

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54 Posts; 3,314 Profile Views

Oh, duh. As I re-read, I see that the lines you need to draw are concerning your profession and how you relate to family members (as opposed to a long standing tradition of you bailing everyone else out-which is my problem). People relating to you as a nurse first instead of who you are to them- a family member.

Sorry to have dragged it off topic. It may be hard to find the threads that apply to your situation specifically, but I did find when I looked that there are a lot of topics spread around the site that deal with people handling issues with their families. I hope that helps.

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3 Posts; 525 Profile Views

Thank you, sounds like you know exactly what I have been through with family treating me like a nurse and not a person. Hope you have also found good support.

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1 Post; 262 Profile Views

I completely understand and can see why the distance would happen. I think when we have the knowledge it's expected of us to just automatically help and figure things out. And other come to us for that. Which is great and respected but I think there's a line that is easily crossed. I don't think others realize the stress it can cause in family members who are healthcare professionals. I don't know the answer to this or what to do. I'm dealing with this myself right now. My boyfriends dad, whom has horrible health due to his choices is now very ill and the **** has essentially hit the fan. His mother is now using me as a huge resource in what to do with his care and using me as an educational tool. When, yes I work at the hospital that he's in. But I am not directing or giving the care. I understand the need and right to the education that his family is wanting. But it's causing me more stress when I am also stressed from him being sick. Making it hard for me to "deal" with this acute illness myself. I feel wrong backing off and pushing them to find the education themselves; but I know I need to distance myself for myself as well. For my well being. I tell my patients caregivers a lot that you have to take care of yourselves or no one will be there to take care of the patient if your not well yourself. And I think I need to heed my own advise.

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses

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3,726 Posts; 24,047 Profile Views

My family dynamics are much different then yours plus there's another nurse in the family so I can't relate to your particular situation.

But whenever I've had a loved one in the hospital, I showed up as an advocate. My family cannot possibly advocate as well as I can because they don't understand the system inside and out nor know all of the resources and realistic expectations.

With LTC, I would at least visit periodically to ensure proper care was given and appropriate changes in tx were initiated.

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