I haven't posted here before but I feel like I need to get a few things out. I'm a caregiver four days per week (for 8 hours a day) for a woman with a spinal fracture. She has no movement in her lower body and minimal movement in her upper body, including her arms. I get her up in the morning, do dressing, bathing, bowel movements, and basically are her fingers and toes throughout the day. She's a nice, decent person, but there is one thing--for whatever reason--I'm having problems dealing with.
It is that she seems to want to control my life outside of the time I am with her. She pushes for me to watch the same tv shows that she does so that we can talk about them when I'm with her the next day, and seems genuinely annoyed when I don't watch them--or when I watch something else. She nags at me to make such-and-such a recipe for my dinner--"because I'll just love it," she says, and then makes snippy comments when I do something else for dinner (e.g., "Come on, I know you had time to make it.")
I think she sees herself more as giving me advise on things I might like to do with my spare time, but it comes off as much more overbearing than that, almost like she's micromanaging my life outside of work.
She's also just critical in general. For example, If I tell her I had spaghetti with a butter and garlic sauce for dinner (just for conversation), a usual response will be: "That's it? No vegetables in the sauce or anything? You need to put vegetables in your pasta for a better dinner." It's gotten to the point where I'll lie about what I had for dinner or what I did so I won't have to hear how I could have done it better or what would have been a better use of my time.
I'm very happy to do anything she wants for me when I'm working for her--that's part of the caregiving job, and, in fact, I like helping people. It's the criticism of every little thing I do during my own time that is driving me nuts. I never show that it gets to me, and I always just say something like, "well, that's a good idea," or "maybe i'll try it that way next time."
Any responses would be great. This has been a bit rambling, but sometimes you need to get those thoughts out there.
SeeSaw99, that's a tough situation. I suspect that since your patient has lost much of the control of her own life, she gains some satisfaction by attempting to exert some control over your life. Maybe by telling her the next time she tries to force you into something that you appreciate her concern and input, but you like doing things your way and have your own routine and favorite pastimes. Or you might tell her that during your off time, you just want to relax and stick to your own routines. Then after that when she suggests something you can just thank her for her suggestions and then let it slide. Surely after your doing that several times she will stop trying to control you.
If after doing the above she continues to pressure you, you may have to sit down and have a direct talk with her and let her know that you like her very much and you enjoy working with her, but her insistence regarding your off time activities is making you uncomfortable. If she really is a nice person and she values the help you give her, she will let you keep your personal life private or at least separate from your work life.
Not sure if this has been of any help or not. I'm sure others on the message board will have better answers for you. But sometimes when you are going through such difficult moments it helps to have someone answer you right away. At least, that way you'll know your post has been read and acknowledged.
I am caring for my terminally ill husband 24/7, so I know how demanding your job is. Maybe if you can divert her attention when she gets insistent, such as asking about her childhood, or her family, etc. it will get her interested in a different train of thought.
Thanks for the reply, Misty. I know my situation is not on par with those people here that care for family members as part of their lives 24/7, but I needed to just ramble a little bit I think. Thanks for the suggestions
This woman has adopted you, and is trying to bond with you. To have something in common. To make conversation. I imagine she is lonely. Does she have many visitors?
I think you should just continue saying, "well, that's a good idea," or "maybe i'll try it that way next time." In my experience as a care giver and hiring care givers, this is really sweating the small stuff.