Do you feel stuck in the carer trap?

Author: Caroline Day

There’s a huge worry about the lack of support for Carers and what’s happening to their mental health; with the emphasis on Social Care and particularly Dementia.

It could equally be caring for a child with autism or learning difficulties or, heaven forbid, a child or adult with one of those terrible neurological or congenital disorders that just gets worse and worse and will end their life early.

You may have had adaptations to your home which is now full of hoists or lifts or oxygen.  You keep tripping over the wheelchair and the dining room has long been lost to the mound of medication.

But at the end of the day, someone needs to be there for them; and that someone could be you.

Difference that makes the difference

Yesterday there was a father on the news talking about his son who was born with Downes.  What he said was that ‘they had won the jackpot.’  That ‘it may take a little longer but we’ll get there’.  And you’ll hear someone talk about caring for an Elderly relative, and they’ll say ‘seeing my father happy makes it all worthwhile’.

But I can’t change anything!

If you take any situation, financial, health, relationship etc you can change your experience of it by changing what that situation means to you.

As an example, take caring for an elderly relative, what does it mean to you?  Maybe means: there’s no time for me, I’m left to do all the work, no one else shares the responsibility, I can’t do it for another year, it’s hard going, I have to care for my mother/father/husband/child, I feel very alone.

Or it could mean: it’s just something I do, I’m happy looking after my mother/father/husband/child, I may not be able to do everything I want to now, but there will be time, Yes, it’s hard work but the family appreciate me and help when they can.

This is Neural Pathway territory and you can build new pathways to have a different experience.

What Pathways are you running?

As we grow up, we adopt imprints – most of them from age 0 to 6.  They come from the five closest people to us at time; parents, mentors, siblings, family friends and teachers.  Many of them are useful; boiling water is hot, cliffs are high, but if you heard your parents having a fierce argument over money, you might conclude all sorts of things; i.e. money spoils things, relationships are bad, money causes problems – remember, you’re only 6 years old.  As an adult now, all you know is that you don’t have an affinity with money.

So, what can you do if you’re a Carer?

First thing is to see what imprints you absorbed when growing up that are anything to do with ‘doing your duty’ or ‘being responsible for others’ and check whether they’re still useful for you.  If they are, and you feel empowered as a Carer. You don’t need to do anything.  But if you feel resentful or put upon as a Carer, you could usefully challenge the imprint and adopt a different one.

Imprints are easy to change, in a 4-step process.  Here’s an example:

  • When you have a problem [i.e. it’s all down to me],
  • Checkout the behaviour that’s causing it [i.e. not seeking help from others]
  • Identify where it came from [i.e. continual praise when young for being the responsible one]
  • Change it – i.e. release it and put a new Neural Pathway that supports your life as it is now.

Time for me

Life can seem very unfair when you feel stuck in this situation.  The one thing you can do immediately is ‘Stop the Bus’ and reclaim your thoughts and experience.  I use NLP and Time Line Therapy or Spontaneous Transformation to help people do this.

Carers need to support themselves as well as others.

Now that’s a useful imprint!



If you feel you might need some help to work through issues that are holding you back or if you need some support, then please do contact me:

Tel: 020 8213 5898


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