How You Can Handle Caregiver Criticism

When it comes to how Mom is taken care of and by whom, there are often disagreements. If you are Mom’s primary caregiver, you may sometimes feel hurt or angry when other members of the family disagree with you about how you are handling a certain situation. Feeling criticized can lead us to question our skills and our self-worth. Try to deal with situations where you feel criticized before the criticism sends you into caregiver burnout.

Evaluate Your Feelings

Before you respond to criticism, take some time to sit and reflect on how you are feeling. You cannot have a rational discussion and try to work together if you enter the conversation during a particularly heated moment. Ask yourself several questions in order to get a better understanding of where the criticism is coming from and of how you are actually feeling about it.

  • Who is doing the criticizing and why?
  • Are they mentally competent enough or qualified to criticize you?
  • Does the criticism reflect more on their insecurities than on how you are handling things?
  • Does the criticism hurt you because of what they said or because of how they said it?
  • Do you agree with their criticism, even slightly?

Sometimes, people say things out of anger or fear that they don’t really mean, and in those cases, it is best to thank them for their opinion and move on from the criticism. Other times, people may genuinely be trying to help you out with a good idea, but instead of being tactful, they approach it in a rude or upsetting manner. If the criticism bothers you partly because you agree with it and can see their side, you should definitely explore the other person’s opinion in a way that benefits both of you.

Speak Up and Be Honest

With some types of criticism, all you need to do is tell the person you appreciate their opinion and you will consider it, and then both of you can move on. Other types of criticism need to be dealt with more thoroughly. Whenever you feel that you need to speak up, do it. Do not hold in your feelings. Tell the other person how you are feeling. Be honest but kind. Remember to focus on your response. Keep the conversation about the issue at hand, not about the critic. Use “I” statements. Instead of saying things like, “You always make me feel this way,” try saying, “I feel this way when this happens.”

Sometimes, the criticism comes from the other person not entirely understanding what you are going through. Perhaps you can invite them over to help you for a day and explain your side a little better through visuals and the actual experience. Sometimes, the criticism is constant and unnecessary. If you know that you cannot have a rational conversation with the other person, it is always ok to ask someone simply to stop. You are the caregiver, and you deserve a working environment that is as free from outside stressors as possible.  -Posted by Regina Lawler on Aug 18, 2016 9:00:00 AM, The Cottages Blog – The Cottages Assisted Living

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