“You are There for Others, But Who is a Support Person for You?”

Ever notice how we caretakers sometimes feel we can be all things to all people all the time?  That belief may work, sometimes even for a long time.  Eventually, though, even the staunchest of us start to feel depleted.

Some say married people seem to handle stress better, but I think they should be more specific.  I find after doing years of both individual and couples counseling that healthy marriages, similar to healthy friendships, are supportive.  Marriages or other significant relationships where the other parties seem to want a give and take relationship they may define as: we give, they take, aren’t very emotionally replenishing. It seems instead these non-supportive relationships just add to a caretaker’s exhaustion.

Some Signs Your Significant Other is not Supportive:

  1. When you share your feelings he fidgets, looks away or just grunts.
  2. When you try to say something you feel is very important, he interrupts you or maybe even puts you down with a sarcastic remark or a “dirty” look.
  3. He says something like “Cowgirl up” (our local western saying) when you tell him you just can’t take the job stress anymore.

If you nodded “yes” to any of the three descriptions above, your significant other is probably not a support person for you.  I learned early in life though you can expand your idea of “family” to include friends—or even pets of your choice!  Personally I call my trio of kitty “daughters” my three therapists.  They look at me like I am made of chocolate and research shows petting a furry animal can actually lower blood pressure and help create a calm feeling.  They never interrupt when I talk to them either!   Supportive friends who are good listeners can also help you deal with rough times at work. (A note of caution:  trust someone who is not involved with your work place—work talk rarely stays confidential) They can encourage you to take time to care for yourself as well, especially if they are good role models of self care in their own lives.

No one has limitless energy!   Support people and self care help good caretakers renew their passion so they can also continue giving warm compassionate care to those in need!

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