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Male Caregivers and Myths about Masculinity

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2020 12:23 pm

Male Caregivers and Myths about Masculinity

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 25, 2020 12:23 pm

The role of caregiver is too difficult and critical to assume with poor belief systems, and masculinity myths hamstringing men in this role must be addressed and erased.

Running to Win
Erwin Lutzer
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Our Daily Bread Ministries
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Call 866-WINASIA or to see chickens and other animals to donate, go to Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberger. This is the show for you as a family caregiver. How are you holding up? 877-655-6755.

877-655-6755. And I want to also just give a thanks again to Rabbi Eric Walker for being with us that first half to explain what this means to have these seasons for times of reflection, for our own journey, for our own emotional and spiritual and physical health. And that's what Rosh Hashanah right now is, is that we're looking at, okay, what's going on with our life? And do we have a chance to kind of do some inventory? And speaking of inventory, I wanted to get into a couple things with John here. Of course, you all know John Butler, the Count of San Francisco. Well, I know him.

Yes, you do. And you're a beautiful person, John. Well, you know. I want to review a few things because I'm getting a lot of calls. You know, we do the broadcast show. This is the podcast where we can open up some ideas and expand some things. But on the broadcast show that we do on Saturdays, we're on, believe it or not, John, over 200 stations, which is quite cool. But I get a lot of calls of people who are fractured in their relationships, and it's more distressing, I think, than the caregiving task.

Yeah, okay. And so I've got a couple things I want to hit on, and then I want to pivot a little bit because I like to throw things at John. And then I like to talk about different topics with John.

And I like to catch them or dodge them or whatever. Usually a pie. No, I get this a lot with these fractured relationships, and so I didn't want to get too far away from this to say, okay, look. And I'll give you an example, and I'll just put this out on the podcast.

The podcast,, it was a call that we had from about a week or so ago. And the lady basically bailed on taking care of her father and let her sister have it all by herself. Okay. And they had never really gotten along very well. The sisters, you mean? The sisters had not, but when the mother was alive, she kind of kept the peace.

They loved each other but didn't really like each other. Gotcha. We've all been there.

Yeah. And so the stress of caregiving for her dad with Alzheimer's came so much that she was suffering physically and emotionally and everything else. Her marriage, she said, was fine. She said, I just had to bail.

My sister and I were just at each other's throats, and I just kind of left her hanging with it. And she said, I was putting on a lot of weight, which is one of the landmines in my book. Oh, yeah. Seven caregiver landmines.

And all of the above. And she said, I'd like to make this, I'd like to somehow see if we can't get back together. Make a right thing. And I told her, yeah, and I told her, I said, okay, here's the deal. You're not absolved from doing the right thing. But please understand that it may not have the ending you want. And she's she's not going to just because you're working at this doesn't mean that she's going to just say, sure, no problem. It's okay.

This is going to take a lot of work. That's yeah, that's that's that's a long shot. You know, it is.

Yeah. And you can't be doing it with that in mind anyway. We talk about the we talked about apologies a month ago or so. And yeah, just like what you said, you're not absolved from doing the right thing regardless of how the other person feels, because you still got to do the right thing and you got to do it for the right reasons. You know, you're doing it because of something inside of you, not because something you're trying to get from her. Well put. Exactly. You're doing it because you feel compelled to, not because you're worried about how your sister feels about you.

Correct. And before I pivot to this next subject, I just wanted to add that it's been heavy on my mind because I know so many caregivers deal with this issue. The relationships are just simply frazzled or fractured or in some cases just blown up. And there's a lot of unresolved issues that may not have the happy ending you want. And we talked about that a couple of weeks ago with resolving a chord. Just because you think it should resolve this way doesn't mean it will. And it's still beautiful music, even if it doesn't resolve the way you think it should. Right. Get into the weeds on it a little bit.

For those who review, that's a standard 2-5-1. That's going to resolve the way your ear thinks it will. Okay? But some things don't. And it doesn't mean it's not beautiful music. It just means it's going in a different direction. Right. You can resolve the thing, but that resolution might be a rather long and dissonant journey.

Yes. And it's going to take you through some things. So just be forewarned if you just hang on to that thought. If you're in the process right now of trying to somehow make some resolutions, do the right thing regardless of what comes back at you. You do the next right thing because that's reflective of what's going on in you as you're growing as a person through this thing. That's a spiritual, emotional, and growth opportunity for you. Don't expect, don't go to these things with expectations because it's not going to happen, most likely won't happen the way you expect it to. Right. Well, you shouldn't just plan on that.

Even saying, well, if it does work out, that'd be great, is kind of useless. Feel concern about doing the right thing the priority. That's a hard thing for a lot of people. It's a hard thing for me because I want to make it right. I want to make it fixed.

I want to fix it. And we all want to do that. And it's sometimes we have the wrong goals in mind and hang with me on this one for a little bit. I see this a lot in young men where they are lonely and trying to find somebody and they may not have had the best luck in the dating pool or whatever. They're like, well, why don't women, why are they always going for somebody else or something like that?

And they think, OK, well, if I do X, then girls will like me or if I do and I'm speaking from this because I was a young man at one point. So this is the perspective that I have. I come from a long line of young men. I do.

I do. But they say, you know, I learned to play the guitar or I'm trying to be a nice guy or I did X, Y and Z. Why am I still having problems? And because they weren't doing it because they wanted to learn to play the guitar or they weren't doing it because they wanted to be a nice guy. They weren't doing it because they were doing it because they were trying to date this person or anybody.

And the way you end up actually becoming the person that somebody wants to date is by really doing the thing by instead of doing it, you know, doing it because you want to become better for you as opposed to for somebody else. You remember Dr. Diane Langberg, who was on the show a while back, suffering in the heart of God. And we talked about all those things that were that presence of just listening. Wait a minute. No, you weren't on there with that. I'm sorry.

You weren't on there with me. But she said in her book, being nice is not a character trait. That's a learned behavior. Yeah. Yeah.

And what we're talking about is developing character. All right. I want to I want to pivot really quick here. No, nice sum up, by the way.

It's not I've got it. Well, thank you. I got a an article I'm going to be putting out there soon and I wanted to talk about this real men don't cry and other myths about masculinity in caregivers. Because there are a lot more men now serving as caregivers.

And that number is growing significantly, particularly in the in the coronavirus age. And those demographics are the demographics of caregivers change. But what's happened is the stereotype masculinity attributes have created these myths that blur the value of what masculinity, healthy masculinity brings. And so I thought I wanted to just in the little bit of time we have to talk about those three of those myths. And one of them is real men don't cry. And that is that is a that is a horrible myth.

And it creates great confusion and loss for so many. And I think if you if you're going to be a caregiver for any length of time, crying is going to be part of the journey. I mean, you're going to sob.

It's going to be necessary. The challenge is for men is where do we sob? And who do we sob with? And I think this is what's a little bit different for us as men.

And so what I've what I'm trying to encourage myself and my fellow caregivers, I've done this myself, is to find those other men in your life that are trusted men who recognize that two things. One of them is any military person will tell you grief is best shared off of the battlefield. You know, when the bullets are flying, that is not the time to just cry it out, you know? Yeah, you end up well, I mean, it'll stop you crying.

Yeah, but it will stop the crying. But and so processing that grief needs to be done from a place of safety. And in this particular case, I have recommended for so many men that you do this in a place of safety where you are with other men who understand that concept. And then recognize that they're watching your six, if you will. They're watching your back.

They're making sure you're safe so that you could do it. Because I think you have to have that vigilance, that that safety component in order to feel safe to to to weep that out. You need to process this grief out. But then you also need to get back up on the horse and get back into it. But you don't need to have the burdens of unshed tears while you do it. Yeah, it's you know what I mean by the burden of unshed tears? Well, it makes it if you're if you're too heavy to get on the horse because all those tears, you know.

I'm too heavy to get on the horse sometimes for other reasons, but no. But I think we bottle this stuff up and then that that ends up compromising our ability to function as a healthy caregiver because we're saying, well, real men don't cry. We've got to just you know, we've got to stick a knife in our in our in our leg to let the pain keep us from crying kind of thing. We've got to just toughen it up. We just hit ourselves at the shoulder, you know, that kind of stuff. And that's not healthy.

Yeah. And there is that is the myth of I really enjoy stoicism as a philosophy. But, you know, the stoicism as a as an ironclad sort of personality trait is not really the best way of doing things. Sometimes we're going to be able to just, wow, that was bad and get over it right then, you know, and that's but those are going to be rare times when it's when it's very bad. And there are times when when the unshed tears maybe don't get bottled up, but lots of times they do. And we really need to be vigilant about that. Well, you know, we don't need it.

I'm going to throw a line out to you and see what you think. I think that releasing anguish results in clarity of thought and purpose. There's a little I know you like to visualize the words in your mind.

Yeah. But when you release that anguish, it helps clarify your thoughts and your purpose. You get that in the same way that some people might deal with problems by like going for a run or taking a taking a couple of rounds with a heavy bag, put on some boxing gloves or something like that, where you can have that sort of cathartic, you know, release of these of these of these these really very real and and and and, you know, anguishing emotions.

It can give you clarity at the tail end there. Well, and that's what we need as caregivers. And as long as we're bottling up this anguish that we have in us, which is real. Oh, yeah.

No kidding real. But we don't we don't release that in a healthy manner. We're going to end up compromising our clarity and getting off purpose of what we're supposed to be there for. And I think this is what I want men to help cultivate in their own lives. And releasing is one reason I do the show.

You know, you don't want to punch in the drywall. It's not a healthy release of of the anger. No, it's not. Yeah. Been there, done that.

So, all right. Here's another myth. Real men conquer. You know, we've worshiped that whole conquering guy to come in there and just take charge on this stuff. And I say, no, they don't. Real men lead.

And there is a difference. And and when you when you go on about conquering, it takes me down this destructive path of of abuse. I will conquer this, of imposing your will on the universe.

Yes. And and and I say, no, leadership doesn't come through brute force. But it's it's it's I say and I'm just you.

John and I do no rehearsing on this sort of thing. I like to just throw it out there. And I say that it is it is confidence wrapped in love. That I'm confident of something, but I'm I'm also wrapping this in love.

I'm not coming at you to beat you over the head and convince you of how right I am. And let me give you an example. You've heard me say this in the army. Sometimes they say that the leader is the guy that remembers where the jeep is parked. And and OK, he may be the lowest private in that unit, but he sees that his unit is in distress and he loves his unit. He's there to serve his unit, but he knows where the jeep is parked. So his his confidence and his duty to his unit overrides even the rank of his superior officer.

Hey, this is the way to go. Exactly. Does that make sense?

It does. And I want to bring up another concept that we talk about on the show an awful lot. And that it is that leadership has a very high stewardship component that you are taking care of something. Exactly.

Yeah. That's going in and conquering, like you said earlier, is, you know, hey, conquerors do conquer. They they impose their will on the universe. We've seen with Alexander the Great.

He imposed his will on a vast swath of the known world. And then, you know, a generation later it was all gone. And, you know, it wasn't held together by any principle other than dominance. And that is not that is not a robust way of of maintaining a long term solution. Well, and we're going to come back and finish up the last one, but I want to give you one last little line about that. I am convinced that that confidence, that leadership confidence wrapped in love inspires confidence in other people. That's one of the fruits of it. Other people around you will then become more confident.

That's what I'm thinking. We're talking about myth about male caregivers. We trust God when lousy things happen to you. I'm Gracie Rosenberger. And in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs, led me to establish standing with hope. For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis, we purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

And with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit to learn more and participate in lifting others up. That's I'm Gracie and I am standing with hope. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberger. This is the show for you as a family caregiver. And I'm glad that you're with us. By the way, if you want to get a copy of that song right there, you can go out and download it as an individual single wherever downloads are, iTunes, Amazon, all that kind of stuff.

That is Gracie and Russ Taff. Or you can get the whole CD. Go out to and you'll see the CD cover and you just click on that and whatever's on your heart to give to this organization.

It's a nonprofit ministry we're doing. We'll send you a copy of that CD. Whatever's on your heart, doesn't matter.

Just whatever you got in your mind. We want to make sure you have this. Gracie is an amazing singer. And, you know, and I'm just really proud of this record that she's done. And so I think you're going to like it. We're talking about myth about male caregivers because the rise of the male caregiver is encroaching upon the demographic. It's changing the demographic, particularly the COVID-19.

We talked about the first two. One myth is that real men don't cry. That's a myth. They do. They sob. Can they cry in a healthy manner?

And with other individuals who can help them get back into the game, never compromising their masculinity, making sure they're safe while they do it and help them get clarity and focus to do it. The second one is a myth is real men conquer. No, they don't. They lead. And leadership is confidence wrapped in love, is what I what I've termed it, because we have that confidence. This is the path we got to go. It may be a very uncomfortable path.

This is the path we have to go. And also I have whatever whatever group I'm leading's best interest at heart because I love them. And I'm not I'm not here to tell you how to live your life. I'm telling you, this is where safety is. And I love you. And I want to get you to that safety to the best of my abilities. And I know that's not to feed my own ego either.

Yeah. And that is that's a hard thing in today's world because we don't have a lot of people like that in public life. And the last myth is that real men aren't afraid.

And I categorically reject that. We live in a in a world filled with a fraught with, if you like that word, fraught with fearful things. There are truly fearful things that we have to face. The the the bills that add up the the the the constant threat of death or more injury as as you're taking care of somebody with with impairments.

The relationship factors. Where's this? What's going to happen? How are we going to do this? I have more caregivers called the show and say, what are we going to do about this? How about what am I going to do?

What am I going to do? What am I going to do that fear? And and I say that courage is not the absence of fear, but it's the presence of devotion. And and that with caregivers, fear is is a part of virtually every day.

I got to tell you that I'm in my 35th year. I there's not many days that I don't experience some level of fear about this. And it's constantly lurking at the corners of my mind.

Now, some days it grips me more than others. But. You know, we are incapable. Apostle John says perfect love casts out fear. Well, we're fear has torment. We're incapable of perfect love, but we can we can strive towards more love and devotion as the antidote to that relentless fear. And and, you know, winning winning an appeal with an insurance company, for example, that's a frightful thing.

I mean, I've gone up against insurance companies, I've gone up against surgeons, I've gone up against hospitals and so forth. But I found that if I do that with heavy handedness and just being a jackass about it or because I am so devoted to Gracie to make sure she is well cared for, there's a difference in my in my outcome every time. And this kind of comes back to a lot of the things we were talking about. It's your goal is is is pure and your goal is like it's your goal is not to win. Your goal is to take care of your wife. Correct. And this is not a game here.

This is not some kind of contest. And and she and one of the things that I say to my fellow caregivers is the devotion. That's why I love that word devotion. Devotion will fight relentlessly in the presence of fear. Devotion even allows one to face the fear of death.

And that's this is something it's just it's just a different way of looking at things as a caregiver. And it's not I'm not trying to be metaphysical here and you think about it, but I'm trying to hopefully help us reshift our thinking so that we're not paralyzed by these these crazy myths that say this is the way you're supposed to act. And beating yourself up for being afraid and what you were talking about earlier that really I have thought this for many years that bravery or courage or whatever is impossible without fear. Otherwise, if you're going into something and it looks like it's being brave and you're not afraid, it's really just you're being foolhardy. You know, it doesn't have to be a life or death situation. It could be very fearful to confront a family member who's being very critical or or condescending or there's a lot of that that goes on. I get those kind of calls all the time of this, you know, my sister said such and such to me and I'm tired of it and she just beats me down. And it's time to have that confrontation and it's scary confrontation scares people.

Yeah, I get it. But why are you confronting them? And then if you start stacking the dominoes of why you're doing this, I'm confronting them because this is making me unhealthy. And if I'm unhealthy, the person behind me that I'm caring for and protecting, they're going to be the recipient of my unhealthiness.

So ultimately, because I'm so devoted to them, I want them to have a healthy caregiver. I'm willing to face this fear of confronting this person. Yeah, I'm willing to pick up the phone. I'm willing to do whatever. And all of a sudden, that's a game changer for you. That's a mind shift of, oh, I'm not doing this just because I'm mad at them.

I'm doing this because the stakes are just that high. You know, does that? Yeah, well put.

I like that. Yeah, I'm not. Yeah, I'm not doing this. Yeah, I don't I don't want I don't want to beat up this person that's that's been beating me up.

I don't want to I don't want to win against them like we talked about earlier. I want to take care of my loved one. And that core idea, it informs all of your other actions. And then, you know, you can find the strength.

Again, I'm throwing this out to you, John. But I think that confrontation, it doesn't have to be combative, number one. But I think it's also a muscle that you have to work.

Oh, well put. It takes some you have to you it takes some some practice at this. And it takes some experience at it because it's it is a little bit nerve wracking.

And some people say, well, gosh, he's so confrontive or, you know, and there's some people that are just combative. And I don't I don't want to deal with that. But come confronting something is different. And that's you coming from that place of strong confidence that I am doing this.

I've searched my heart. I know why I'm doing this. I know what the goal is. And in the military, there's an unspoken creed that it's not that I hate what's in front of me, it's that I love what's behind me. You know, yeah.

And because of my love for Gracie, I'm willing to confront surgeons and hospitals and insurance companies and all this that I feel totally ill-prepared to do. So. Yeah. And you're doing it as a response and not a reaction.

You know, that's out of devotion. And yeah. Well, we're out of time, but that was just some meanderings I wanted to have on myth about male caregivers. And I hope that was helpful to you. We're going to put this out on the podcast as well and the blog posts and everything else.

And there'll be more out there at Hope for the caregiver dot com. John, as always, thank you for your insights. Appreciate it. Absolutely. All right.

Hope for the caregiver dot com. We'll see you next week.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 15:25:21 / 2024-01-24 15:36:21 / 11

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