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#427 The Obligation Trap For Caregivers

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2020 12:07 pm

#427 The Obligation Trap For Caregivers

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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June 28, 2020 12:07 pm

"Must, Should, Need, Have To ..."

These are all words that reflect that a caregiver's fallen into the obligation trap. Obligation is the gateway to resentment, and all too many caregivers find themselves struggling with deep resentment towards themselves, their loved ones, family members who didn't help, medical personnel, employers, and even God. 

From our radio broadcast on June 27, we discussed this issue and how we as caregivers avoid "The Obligation Trap."  This episode is part of our series on the FOG ( Fear -Obligation-Guilt) of Caregivers. 

Click here to see more about THE FOG of Caregivers. 

Peter Rosenberger 

Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger

Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio. I am Peter Rosenberger and this is the show for you as a family caregiver.

There are more than 65 million of us across this country who are putting themselves knowingly, willingly, voluntarily, without pay between a vulnerable loved one and an even worse disaster. Maybe it's an aging parent. Maybe it's a special needs child. Maybe you've had someone in your life who experienced some type of trauma or illness. Maybe you are in a relationship with somebody who is an alcoholic or an addict.

Those are chronic impairments. This is a show for you today, right now. And it's the only show of its kind across the entire country, across the world. And we're on American Family Radio 888-589-8840. 888-589-8840 if you want to be a part of the show. And also we're streaming live on our Facebook page at Hope for the Caregiver on Facebook. And then we put this out on the podcast as well. And you can go out and see all of that information at and we hope you'll subscribe to it. And this station broadcasts the show live on Saturday mornings and then does a repeat on Sunday nights at 10 o'clock Central, 11 o'clock Eastern on this network as well. And then we also welcome The Truth Network who's also listening to this show as well. So we thank you all for being a part of the show.

This is a movement that we are initiating and facilitating and trying to reach those people who have been largely ignored. And if you have been in a relationship with somebody who has some type of chronic impairment for any length of time, you understand that people don't necessarily ask about you. They ask how your loved one is doing and if they get a decent report, then they will nod with approval and move on and they, or if they get a bad report, then they'll say, well, we're going to pray for you.

Then they'll move on, but they really don't get a good report on you, do they? And that's what this show is all about is how are you feeling? What's going on with you? Where's your head space?

Where's your heart space? What do you think about all that's going on in your life as a caregiver and as an individual who's trying to figure out, okay, where's this going? Does God know what's going on?

Is he forgotten about me? Is this something that I, you know, what? There's a lot of, we have a lot of questions as caregivers about what is all going on with us and then we're struggling while trying to do all these things and we're getting more worn out as the day goes or frustrated or despairing or angry or resentful or all those things.

How do we function in this? And that's what we're dealing with on this show and I bring 34 years as a caregiver through a medical nightmare to this conversation. Things I've learned every bit of it the hard way. I mean, you know, honestly, I wish I could say these are things that I learned the easy way but I haven't. And I don't, you know, but that's okay because people have learned things the hard way and they passed on their wisdom to us throughout all kinds of stuff and I guess that's the way it works. But I had this passion and this mission to offer something that I didn't have for the, I still, you know, this is, I have to listen to my own show sometimes. I have to go back and listen to it and say, okay, did I practice that?

You know, did I miss that one? And I have to read my own book sometimes because there's not a lot of leadership for family caregivers out there and so we want to step into that vacuum and provide strong biblical understanding and truths of what's going on to us as family caregivers through us and in our lives and how do we function in this? And if you pay any attention to the news, you know, the world has gotten crazier and crazier. As caregivers, we're probably a little bit more used to that kind of stuff. We live with crisis after crisis after crisis and you can correct me if I'm wrong but I have a lengthy opinion and my opinion is worth what you're paying for it but this is guided by some strong understanding and experience that as a caregiver, your challenges don't end at the grave. Now, I'm still a caregiver but from everything I've seen, this is one of those circumstances where a funeral is not going to solve your problem. I know too many caregivers who are still dealing with the residual impact of caregiving years after there's grass growing on the grave of their loved one and so obviously, there's a heart issue that's going on that is deeper than just the physical task that we do as caregivers and so that's where we spend our time and if that's where you are, this is the place for you. 888-589-8840.

888-589-8840. We'll start off with Luke 16 and let me back up to about verse 8. I'm going to try to do a couple different translations here but in the message says, I want you to be smart in the same way for what is right using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival to concentrate your attention on the barest essentials, so you'll live, really live and not complacently just get by on good behavior.

God sees behind appearances and then going on to verse 10 to 13, Jesus went on to make these comments, if you're honest in small things, you'll be honest in big things. Now, in the New American Standard Version, it'll say, he who is faithful in the very little thing is faithful also in much and he who is unrighteous in very little thing is also unrighteous in much and I'm thinking about that for us as caregivers. One of the biggest issues for me, now you see if this resonates with you, one of the biggest issues for me is this constant tug of war of feeling like I've got to, I have to, I need to, I should be doing, I should be doing, I should have done and that comes from this deep sense of obligation that we have as caregivers.

Do you feel obligated? I have long maintained that for the vast majority of us as caregivers, we struggle in that obligation world. It's part of what I call the fog of caregivers and for those of you long time listeners, you understand that terminology I use, I've used it often, the fog, fear, obligation and guilt, fog of caregivers and just like when you come, when you're driving along and you hit a fog bank and you'll see and your vision just all of a sudden, all of a sudden just reduces to almost nil and you have to go slower but you can get very disoriented in that fog bank and you can get hurt, you can drive off the road and hit a tree, off a cliff, whatever.

Well we caregivers are no different. We get lost in what is I guess the best way to call it is that fog of caregivers and it's fear. What are we going to do? How are we going to get through this?

What's going to happen? We feel that almost abject panic going on with us as we look down the road and we see where this is potentially going, possibly going and more likely probably going but we're still not there yet but we're still living in that fear. My wife's a double amputee and amputees have what you call phantom limb pain. We've heard that and they can feel a limb that's no longer there.

It's an odd sensation but they can feel a limb that's no longer there. Well caregivers kind of have the reverse of that. We could experience pain of something that hasn't happened yet and we're living in what I call the wreckage of our future and that fear just grips us and that's part of the fog of caregivers. And then we have the guilt of all kinds of things, not just sins that get great press. I'm talking about guilt of the fact that you have a child with special needs that didn't ask to be born into this world with these challenges and you feel guilty for it. You have a loved one who is just constantly wearing you out and you feel guilty if you snap or you say something sharp or you lose your cool or whatever. Or you have a loved one who's in pain and they can't get up and do things like you can. You feel guilty if you can go for a walk or if you want to watch television for an hour uninterrupted.

All kinds of things make us feel guilty but then there's that middle one, obligation. We're going to talk about this in relation to that scripture in Luke when we come back from the break. 888-589-8840. 888-589-8840. This is Hope for the Caregiver. I'm Peter Rosberger. Glad you're with us. Are you enjoying our podcast? I'm John Butler and I've helped produce Peter's show Hope for the Caregiver since it began. I'd like to think that I'm responsible for the explosive growth this show has enjoyed. I'd like to think that but, well, Peter pays me not to so let's move along. All jokes aside though, Peter and I do have a great time with the show.

We absolutely love it. In this podcast, we not only publish things from the show but also include special bonus materials. We really don't want to have a subscription section but would rather make all of this great content available for free to hurting caregivers. You can help us do that by clicking on the become a patron button. For as little as a dollar a month, you can be a part of the world's number one podcast for family caregivers. There's all types of gifts that we'd love to give you depending on what tier you'd like to join.

Maybe it's $5, maybe it's $10, whatever you'd like. Consider sponsoring this podcast today and help strengthen family caregivers and yourself. Thanks so much and remember healthy caregivers make better caregivers. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio. This is the nation's number one show for you as a family caregiver and he does know the plans that he has for you and we're glad that you're with us. 888-589-8840, 888-589-8840 and that is my wife, Gracie, who is an extraordinary singer and she has trusted God through a medical nightmare that has extended to 80 surgeries in both of her legs being amputated and yet she sings that.

And if you want to get a copy of that record, go out to, just click right there on the front page. You'll see the cover of her record and for any donation whatsoever, we'll send you a copy of that for CD. It'll help go to the two program areas and you can designate which one of our parent company that sponsors the show standing with hope and we have the family caregiver outreach is for the wounded and those who care for them but we also have a prosthetic limb outreach that she started once she gave up her legs and we provide prosthetic limbs to her fellow amputees in West Africa. We worked with the Republic of Ghana for 15 years and we've trained and equipped their workers to build limbs for their own people and we recycle prosthetic legs. I don't know if you knew that we could do that but you could recycle prosthetic legs. They go to a prison in Tennessee that inmates volunteer to work in and they will disassemble the limbs for us so we could recycle the foot, the knee, the pylon, the screws, the adapters, the connectors, all of that stuff, prosthetic socks, the belt systems, all of those things can be used to help use those components then to make a new leg and we'll mold a custom-fit leg on site in West Africa but use those parts to complete the prosthesis. So there's some things that you can do right now if you know somebody who has an amputee in their life that maybe has passed away or a child that's outgrown a prosthetic limb, we always need pediatric prosthetic limbs and you can go out to all of that and see it at our website and go out to We've got a young man right now we're sponsoring for a limb and we've been treating him for about 14 years and as he grows, he's gone through limbs and you could be a part of that as well too. So we would love to have you help get this young man walking and then we'll send you a copy of Gracie's CD.

Go out to, click on the donate button today right now and be a part of ministering to the wounded and those who care for them. We're talking about obligation, part of that fear, obligation and guilt and that obligation is where caregivers get so slammed and here's how you know if you're struggling with it when you use terminology like I've got to, I have to, I need to, I should have done, I should be doing, I'm supposed to. Those kinds of words indicate an obligation quagmire for us and that fear, obligation, guilt, that fog of caregivers where we get lost in this and we can get really hurt and hurt our loved ones and we need something to reorient our thinking so that we're not lost in that place and just floundering around and so what I've come to understand on that obligation trap that we could all fall into, I've done it so many times, is that we have to remind ourselves and again those of you who are regular listeners know this, I say this often, we don't need a lot of instructions as caregivers. I can't tell you how to take care of your loved one, you can't tell me how to take care of mine, you will get this, you've been doing this for a while, you're competent, you know what's going on, we don't need a lot of instructions and once we get an instruction it usually sticks.

I mean if I, for example, show you how I learned how to deal with doctors or with insurance companies, once you got that, you got it. You don't need that constant instruction on that but we do need a lot of reminders and that's where we come in today with our scripture where Jesus is saying and it was in the context of money management but the principle is still the same and he said, he who is faithful in the little thing is also faithful in much, he who is unrighteous in the little thing is also unrighteous in much and in the message it says, I want you to be smart in the same way for what is right using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your intentions on the bare essentials so you'll live, really live, not complacently just to get by on good behavior and that's a powerful message for us as caregivers because it helps us address that obligation issue. We're not owners, we're stewards so we're creatively responding with the minds that God gave us to these things that are coming our way, sometimes they're coming in just waves but we don't own it and it's really important for us as caregivers to get this concept in our hearts. My wife had a car wreck a couple of years before I married her.

I did not know her, I did not cause this wreck, I cannot undo the damage that was done to her through this wreck. I don't own this, I am a steward. Stewardship is the key and that's a word we don't hear a lot in our country is stewardship.

I mean we're 20, what 24 trillion dollars in debt? Clearly we're not, stewardship is not on the top of mind of most Americans, certainly in political office but stewardship of the challenges and the talents and the gifts and the unpleasant things that God allows in our lives. Are we being good stewards of those? If you look at it on a national level, are we being a good steward of the freedom that we have to be able to devote?

I mean just that, are we voting? Are we being responsible stewards? And then we have to realize when we're dealing with a suffering loved one, are we being good steward of what God has allowed in our lives? Because see I don't work for my wife, I am a steward of this wonderful soul that God has entrusted to me for however much time with all of her challenges, with all of her broken body issues that she deals with. But I have to answer to Him and so once you start having that conversation in your head that you're a steward, you're not an owner, it's not up to me to fix it, it's up to me to care for her to the best of my abilities and ask for you know the courage and the strength to make amends when I mess it up because I will and I do and I can't be the only one. But that's that's our journey of understanding as a caregiver to a healthier place where we're realizing I didn't cause this, I can't change it, I can't cure it.

So what's my role? But I can care for them in it to the best of my abilities but I can't fix it. And as I often tell people that particularly if you're driving right now and you're listening to the show, look at your hands. Hopefully they're on the wheel at 10 and 2 but look at your hands. Just take a moment, look down at your hands right now.

How many of you all see nail prints? Since there are no nail prints on any of your hands I'm going to go ahead and say, and mine included, then we have to realize this isn't ours to fix. It is ours to be a steward of and we answer to God for how we deal with this. But ultimately it's his responsibility. My wife has a savior. I'm not that savior. I'm a caregiver. I'm her husband.

But I'm not her savior. And so that's the that's the mental shift that occurred in me into this program of of caring and so forth that I've done with her for years. And once that happened it was a game changer because I realized oh my responsibilities are different. If I'm thinking that I own it then it's going to drive me with that whole obligation thing. I got to, I have to, I need to, I should.

But if I don't own it and I'm a steward and I say I have a responsibility to care to do the best I can and to do those kinds of things in a different manner as unto God. And that's the journey for us as caregivers. Fifteen years ago Gracie and I started an organization called Standing with Hope and this was part of a vision that she had after losing both of her legs. She wanted to provide quality prosthetic limbs to her fellow amputees as a means of sharing the gospel. We've been working in the country of West Africa for many many years and part of that involves a prosthetic limb recycling program with an unusual collaboration. Gracie when you envision doing a prosthetic limb outreach did you ever think that inmates would help you do that?

Not in a million years. When you go to the facility run by Core Civic over in Nashville and you see the faces of these inmates that are working on prosthetic limbs that you have helped collect from all over the country that you put out the plea for and they're disassembling you see all these legs like what you have your own prosthetic legs. And arms.

And arms. When you see all this what does that do to you? Makes me cry because I see the smiles on their faces and I know what it is to be locked some place where you can't get out without somebody else allowing you to get out.

Of course being in the hospital so much and so long. And so these men are so glad that they get to be doing as one man said something good finally with my hands. Did you know before you became an amputee that parts of prosthetic limbs could be recycled? No I had no idea.

You know I thought of peg leg I thought of wooden legs I never thought of titanium and carbon legs and flex feet and sea legs and all that I never thought about that. As you watch these inmates participate in something like this knowing that they're helping other people now walk they're providing the means for these supplies to get over there what does that do to you just on a heart level? I wish I could explain to the world what I see in there and I wish that I could be able to go and say this guy right here he needs to go to Africa with us. I never not feel that way.

Every time you know you always make me have to leave I don't want to leave them. I feel like I'm at home with them and I feel like that we have a common bond that I would have never expected that only God could put together. Now that you've had an experience with it what do you think of the faith-based programs that Core Civic offers? I think they're just absolutely awesome and I think every prison out there should have faith-based programs like this because the return rate of the men that are involved in this particular faith-based program and the other ones like it but I know about this one are it's just an amazingly low rate compared to those who don't have them and I think that that says so much that doesn't have anything to do with me it just has something to do with God using somebody broken to help other broken people. If people want to donate a used prosthetic limbs whether from a loved one who passed away or you know somebody who outgrew them you've donated some of your own for them to do how do they do that? Please go to slash recycle slash recycle. Thanks Gracie.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 01:57:06 / 2024-01-24 02:05:58 / 9

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