Often other family members or friends may not help out with your elderly loved one, but they can have an awful lot of advice for you as her primary caregiver. Some if it might be helpful, but most of it may come across as criticism. Try these suggestions to help you to decipher which is which.
Smiling can do a few things for you, especially when you make that your first reaction. First, it might throw your criticizer off balance for a minute, which is helpful if the person is someone who is trying to rile you up. The second thing that it does is it buys you a moment to think and it can help you to let go of some tension while you do so. Even if you’re not feeling the smile, it’s a cue to your brain to relax.
Take a Mental Step Back
This can take practice, but it’s important to remove yourself from the equation for a second. Avoid taking the criticism personally. Make it about the situation, not your relationship with anyone involved. When you do this, you can help yourself to see the situation much more objectively.
Unpack What’s Really Being Said
Depending on what is being said, you might have to dig through the language a bit in order to determine what is really being said. It’s possible that, even though the statements sound a bit angry or nasty, there’s a helpful message in there somewhere. If a loved one tells you that you should be doing more, for example, that might translate to an unspoken acknowledgement that you need help. So your response might be that you do indeed need extra help, so you’ll be hiring elder care providers.
Dismiss What Doesn’t Make Sense
Ultimately, it’s important that you don’t give every criticism and comment equal weight. Some statements are just a dig and those should definitely be ignored. Dismiss what doesn’t make sense or what doesn’t work for you or for your elderly loved one. Only put stock in statements that are truly helpful.
Remember that everyone has an opinion and some people are better at sharing those opinions than other people are.