A common theme running through these stories is that we feel pulled in so many directions by so many people that we can't even think straight.
I don't know if it's human nature, or just the nature of some humans, that the more they get, the more they expect, and it's never enough. Sometimes people give so much that they feel that their very souls are being sucked out of them. We get so caught up in someone's needs that our lives just start to bleed into each others and we don't even know who we are anymore.
It's up to us, the caregiver, to draw boundaries and stick to them. Amazingly, when I draw these boundaries, my mom usually respects them. Sometimes she gives me an attitude, but I have to let that roll off my back.
I work long hours at my job each day. The first thing in the morning, my mom starts in with her time-demands. Everything is a Must. I must get to the drugstore today. I must get to the bank today. I must get to the post office TO-DAY.
It use to overwhelm me. Now I'm learning to fit "me" into the big picture. I use to put all her "musts" first. Now, I think, how do I do this so that my needs are met as well. This is not selfishness. This is survival.
It's the irony of caretaking that we have to take care of ourselves first, without guilt, before we're able to take care of others. It's not about fitting my needs into her life. It's about fitting her needs into my life.
If we don't let them know we have a life, we won't have one.