How Can You Respond to Criticism as a Family Caregiver without Snapping?
Criticism is not easy to take, especially when you’re a family caregiver. Responding to that criticism can be even more difficult.
Take a Moment and Absorb What Was Said
Sometimes another person can say something to you and it might hit you wrong right away. It’s helpful to take a moment and make sure that you understood the person correctly. If so, take another moment to absorb the statement. There may be a grain of truth to what is said, which can be useful to you later.
Let the Person Know They’ve Hurt Your Feelings
Once you’ve had a couple of moments to absorb what was said, explain calmly why the person’s statement hurt your feelings. You might mention that you realize that they meant well, but that the statement was actually painful. Quite often people say things without realizing that they’re phrased in a hurtful manner.
Give Examples of How the Statement Was Hurtful to You
The person who hurt you likely doesn’t understand why the statement was painful. From that standpoint, being as specific as you can about why the statement was hurtful is important. Once the individual realizes how their words came across, they may want to take the opportunity to apologize or to rephrase what they’ve said. This is the most positive potential outcome, of course.
Use the Statement to Improve the Situation
If it’s possible at all, use what’s been said and the ensuing conversation to improve the situation. For example, if the person is sharing with you that you’re not taking care of yourself ask them for their advice as to how to take better care of yourself in the situation that you’re currently in.
Take Some Time Away
One consideration to keep in mind is that it’s possible that you’re even more sensitive to criticism than you usually would be. This can happen when you’re not taking time for yourself or you’re letting yourself get run down. Work out a schedule so that home care providers can take over for you so that you can take the time that you need.
Hopefully using this approach can help your criticizers understand how better to help you and your elderly loved one.