Being a recovering codependent and people-pleaser, I have put my “care” tendencies under a microscope to understand where the line is between healthy, loving caregiving and unhealthy, stressful, caretaking.
Before taking radical responsibility for my own part in the stress in my life, I would’ve used the words caregiving & caretaking interchangeably.I saw myself as a caring, loving, and helpful person.
I am so glad to now have a deeper understanding of what is actually helpful and what is simply maddening for all parties involved in the care exchange.
To make this as simple as possible, think of caregiving (healthy) at one end of the continuum and caretaking (unhealthy) at the other.
We all understand that in most relationships a proper give and take is necessary for that relationship to be healthy and balanced.Sometimes balance can look different when caring for infants, elderly parents, or someone with special needs.
When that is the case, things can get a bit more complicated, however, I still encourage you to find the areas where you can:
- Release the need for control
- Take time for yourself, and
- Ask for your needs to be met
When trying to determine if you are caretaking, ask yourself how badly do you want to scream?
Caretaking is typically rooted in codependency and stems from feelings of insecurity, instability, and the need to control. Generally speaking, when someone is controlling, they feel unstable, unsafe, or insecure inside.Trauma logic says, “if you can control the other person, their opinions, the situation, the outcome, etc. then you will be safer, more secure, and even more worthwhile and lovable.”
If that sounds complicated and layered, welcome to understanding the very complex human mind.
I digress, here is a little chart I created when I was in the throes of “caretaking, caregiving, caretaking, my head is spinning, omg what am I doing here? I need to check myself!” It really helped me evaluate my motives & behaviors and I hope it helps you too.
Wow! This is so very clear and hits between the eyes! Thank you for this insight.
I’m so glad it spoke to you! I needed a little reminder myself, haha.
Definitely something I need to keep top of mind while parenting adult children and learning to let go of my expectations and controls. Thank you
Tami, that is a perfect example of the relationship type that easily becomes caretaking!
I thought I would confess and tell you that I read this every Monday morning…….it reminds me of how to set myself up for success each week because come Friday……I’ve lost most of my patience and sanity. My Mom lives with us and although she is pretty easy, she has my “buttons” on speed dial. LOL Thank you Jeanie ♥
Patti! I’m so glad this is helpful and it’s so easy to imagine that your mom has your buttons on “speed dial”. LOLOL. Hang in there!
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