The holiday season overwhelms many of us as it adds even more tasks, expectations and events to our already busy calendars. The holidays can be challenging for all caregivers, but particularly so for those already in the throes of caregiver martyr syndrome.
Are you a caregiver martyr? Do you…
- Identify or do others identify you as a “control freak”?
- Have no major outside interests/people in your life (spouse, children, or grandchildren, job, hobbies, projects)?
- Find tremendous purpose/gratification in caregiving (e.g., spiritually, personally)?
- Have very rigid ideas of what good caregiving is and what bad caregiving is?
- Have a history of not asking for help when your older loved one could benefit from it?
- Have a history of always being stubborn?
- Have a history of wanting to fix things, be a hero, or save the day?
- Have a history of other adults being overly dependent on you (adult children or grandchildren, staff you supervise)?
- Have an extremely close relationship with your older loved one?
- Have a history of being passive-aggressive or negative?
- Micromanage others at work?
If you have answered yes to any of these caregiver martyr assessment questions, you may feel especially high levels of stress this holiday season. Acknowledge it and let your family and friends know how you are feeling. Consider contacting at least one community resource (support group, psychotherapist, Area Agency on Aging) that might be able to help you. For more ideas on how to reduce the stress of martyr syndrome this holiday season check out www.cruisingthroughcaregiving.com where you can download a free chapter of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One.