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Compassion fatigue(10 Posts)
Posted in sn but not much traffic-
I have a dd 9 who is very challenging and I am a single parent.
I love her to bits but the utter exhaustion, repetition, no social life, Deja vu, not to mention all the very difficult stuff is aimed at me, hitting, smearing, awful way of talking, controlling, smashing. On waiting list for cahms. Gone on all the courses. Just so soul tired.
Trauma is in our background and I try to therapeutically parent.
But I am finding my empathy reserves depleted. I definitely have compassion fatigue and she senses it, and it makes it worse.
Does anyone have any specific advice/ experience of compassion fatigue? Thanks, am quite desperate
hi OP, I'm sorry I don't have any experience of your situation but I read your post and felt compassion for your and DD's plight. It's immensely challenging (if that's not an understatement) and I wish you respite, somehow, and improved support. You both deserve so much love 💕
Just a thought, but it feels like you might be struggling to own/accept (perfectly natural) feelings of ambivalence towards DD. She in turn probably fears that when you show or imply less than unstinting devotion that that signals potential abandonment. Very very difficult for you because you can't be expected to feel nothing but positive and patient in your situation, but she might interpret that as rejection and intensify her demands. Do you get any input from health services for your own needs in the circumstances? Any reliable social support that gives you a regular opportunity to vent and have a good cry (or even a good laugh)?
Apologies if you've looked into this already but I know in my part of London there's an organisation that offers free counselling to carers. Might there be a similar service where you live? Your local MIND would be able to signpost you.
Are you aware of the carers UK helpline 0808 808 7777 and the NHS carers direct line 0300 1231053? I think both are mainly for carers of adults but they may well be able to offer advice and support or signpost you to somewhere more appropriate.
Thankyou for your replies- no I didn't know about the Carers organisations, I suppose I didn't see myself as a carer- just a fresh perspective can help.
I am very isolated, and as an introvert, any rare break from dd is spent tipping up my batteries. I can see how this can make things intense. I'll definitely look into the Carers support.
peninsular yes I think you've got it- there's definitely some attachment stuff going on, and the struggle I'm having with not feeling 100% all the time positive about dd is affecting her and it makes her worst.
OP, have you come across anything about the concept/practice of self-compassion? You may well discover that some of your difficulties stem from having little compassion for yourself, in your shoes. There's a good article here
And here's one with an emphasis on mindfulness as an approach to developing self-compassion www.mindful.org/the-transformative-effects-of-mindful-self-compassion/
On another tack, I realise from your initial post that your DD struggles with self-expression but is she emotionally literate to any extent? I only ask because if she can understand the words for or verbalise even basic feelings (eg. fear, sadness, love) then you could try reassuring her when you're aware that your energy levels/attention levels are flagging. Maybe you do this already but reinforcing can be very helpful, something like: "I'm/Mummy's sorry, but I'm/she's feeling very tired just now, but I/she love(s) you very much." Or, "I'm/Mummy's feeling angry with/about ____ at the moment, but I/she love(s) you very much and you are safe." Articulating your own feelings in a structure that informs her directly, and reassures her too, can be very helpful in defusing misunderstandings and helps you both to regulate emotions. You can also try helping her to name her own feelings when she's displaying difficulties. Gently ask her to take a pause or a breath and then wonder aloud what she might be feeling. You elicit and/or name the feeling for/with her. Keep going if she lets you know you're not accurately reading her, then check to see you've got it right. Encourage her to verbalise her feelings and let her know that you've heard her and ask if you can try together to find a way of helping the intensity of the feeling, to dial it down somehow. There are resources on amazon like The Mood Cards that are quite visual and can be laminated and kept handy with an elastic band around the pack. You may be able to look at those together a couple of times a week to begin with, get familiar with them and use them as a communication tool when it feels possible and helpful.
Sorry if I'm trying to teach you to suck eggs, I realise you've done lots of training and it can feel overwhelming to put it into practice at critical moments sometimes. Also, I don't know what your DD's level of self-awareness is, and hence how useful such tips might be. But the self-compassion stuff can make a difference to how you feel about/see yourself, which could benefit both of you. Apologies if this isn't helpful
That's great advice and very welcome, some of which I have been doing but I realise my personal resources are so low that I've let them slide. Dd can be emotionally literate and I made her an 'emotions clock' that she can put the hands to where she's feeling.
You're right, I have low compassion for myself, left over from our shared trauma of a very abusive relationship with her dad, and being dragged through family court where it was all minimised. My helplessness is affecting the situation. I feel I've let her down as a mother for failing to protect her from someone I know to be unsafe, and I am probably shutting down to prepare myself for her to be hurt like I was.
No advice, but it sounds as if you are doing a wonderful job OP and I wish you could access respite care for your DD for the occasional weekend, to give yourself time to recharge. But I imagine that resource is scarce?
Yes, all resources appear to be scarce, unfortunately. Sometimes my lovely brother has her for a day but rarely overnight, and with her sleeping problems we are always in survival mode.
I've been so strong up to now, but run out of fuel. I resent other parents who have such an easier time, who can go out with their kids and 'make memories '. Dd is pathologically resistant even to things she would enjoy.
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