A Disturbing Pattern
In the wake of the newest mass shooting evidence reveals that police were called to the home of the Florida shooter more than 3 dozen times.
“Cruz was adopted. His adoptive mother, Lynda Cruz, died in November of pneumonia. Kathie Blaine, a cousin of Cruz’s adoptive mother, said his adoptive father passed away years ago.Broward Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Cruz family home 39 times since 2010, according to documents obtained by CNN.
Who made those calls?
One can reasonably deduced that many of those calls originated from an individual functioning as a family caregiver; most likely the adoptive mother.
“…on the day before Mr. Cruz turned 18, Ms. Cruz had summoned a different Henderson clinician to her home because Mr. Cruz was verbally aggressive and “punching holes in the wall.”
The clinician who wrote the Sept. 28 report concluded that Mr. Cruz “did not meet criteria for further assessment.” The sheriff’s deputy at the school, Scot Peterson, told a clinician that he wanted to initiate a Baker Act request against Mr. Cruz anyway, the records show, and two school counselors agreed. Under the law, he could have been held for at least three days of evaluation.”
For every mentally disturbed teenager, a caregiver orbits this individual. Furthermore, caregivers often inadvertently adopt destructive behaviors as coping and survival mechanisms. These behaviors not only impede help for the impaired loved one, but harm the caregiver, as well. So, calls to the authorities tend to be cries for help to control dysfunctional behavior of a loved one, while the dysfunctional (and often enabling) behavior of the caregiver goes unaddressed.
The Caregiver FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt)
Caring for someone suffering from a mental impairment presents significant need for caregivers to seek help for themselves. That help consist of such things as counselling and support groups to help deal with the reality of their loved one’s impairment. All too many caregivers mistakenly focus on the objective of “getting the impaired individual to stop acting out.” In reality, the caregiver is still basing their own sense of well-being on the actions of another who may very well have severe mental illness. Furthermore, the impaired loved one will never stop “acting out” without treatment and/or a recovery program. Consequently, the caregiver tethers their sense of well-being to an impaired individual.
This co-dependent lifestyle compounds the unhealthiness— resulting in the severe dysfunction not only going untreated, but allowed to exponentially worsen. The destructive and unhealthy coping skills developed in dealing with an impaired loved ones often lead caregivers to become victims …or enablers. This transformation usually occurs due to the “Caregiver FOG” (Fear, Obligation, and Guilt.)—which disorients caregivers and affects their judgment. In the caregiver FOG, caregivers mistakenly feel guilty for even thinking of their own needs. In addition, they lose they can easily lose themselves and their identity in the drama and chaos of their loved ones.
A Well-Lit Path To Safety
It is imperative to offer caregivers a well-lit path to a place of emotional and physical safety. That path involves helping caregivers understand their role and responsibilities with their loved ones. Most caregivers feel guilty and/or some level of misplaced ownership over the actions of their loved ones. In the “Obligation” part of the Caregiver FOG, caregivers reel from beliefs such as, ” I have to…, this is my fault …, I should be …” Understanding they cannot claim ownership for the actions and sickness of others helps caregivers detach and think more objectively.
With a clearer head, caregivers can develop ongoing strategies to live a healthier life regardless if their loved one improves. That caregiver will be in a much better place to offer and seek help for their loved one if the caregiver is healthier.
A Fighting Chance
The caregiver may not follow offered counsel. Yet, at least offering that counsel provides caregivers with a fighting chance to address their own desperate needs. In turn, the impaired loved one benefits from a healthier caregiver who can offer guidance while also accepting assistance.
Healthy Caregiver Make Better Caregivers.
About Peter Rosenberger
A thirty-year caregiver for his wife, Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities, Peter Rosenberger understands the journey of a caregiver as few do. His experience led to him to author four books including Hope for the Caregiver, and 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them.
Peter Rosenberger’s radio show for family caregivers airs each Sunday at 3PM CDT on Newsradio 1510 WLAC. In addition, the show is also carried on the Salem Radio Network and syndicated through the Truth Network.
A 2nd Dan (degree) black-belt in Hapkido, Peter is also an accomplished pianist. He recently released his new CD, Songs for the Caregiver.
Peter and Gracie live in Nashville, TN, where he also serves and the president and co-founder of Standing With Hope.
Discussing the vast problem for caregivers
Caregiver “Identity Theft”
Peter and Gracie Rosenberger’s song, “I CAN ONLY HOLD YOU NOW!”
Jeff Foxworthy Calls The Show