For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.~ Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Physics
Being who I am is complicated. If you nudge on part of me, something else shifts. Medically, this drives my doctors nuts because things happen that shouldn’t happen. Mentally, this is incredibly taxing. Trying to keep my ship on an even keel is a whole lot of work.
It’s not all done by me though. My family, especially my spouse, are fabulous. During my recent illness, I was in the land of “not fun” for about a week. It was really not fun for my spouse.
I’m starting to somewhat understand the talking heads that want to empathize with caregivers when they snap. In the last few days, I’ve found out that caring for me when I’m not well is hard. One friend said it was weird seeing me act mentally ill. Yes, that was an educational opportunity right there. The point is, I’m starting to “get it.”
That does not mean I condone the actions of those who snap and take it out on their charges. As I don’t remember about a week of my illness, I think I can safely speak for the people who rely on others to care for them, even when it’s really hard. There is pain and regret that I am so “hard” to care for sometimes. I feel remorse for putting my spouse through “hell.” I don’t remember the specific incidents, but I can hear the pain in people’s voices as they gently try to fill in the blanks for me.
Now imagine a person who can’t communicate as I am able. I feel all those things and can’t express them. Those are very powerful feelings to keep bottled up. So when I act up, I’m not trying to be difficult. I just don’t have any other way of letting you know what’s going on with me.
Empathizing with people and feeling compassion towards others are good things. They keep us human. Those qualities and the actions spurred within you balance out the people who don’t share those qualities and make life that much more difficult for others. Just don’t move into apologizing for others. It’s not your job.
The recent murders/attempted murders of disabled children were choices made by their caregivers. They were choices. The caregivers must now face the equal and opposite reaction of their behavior. We cannot define what those caregivers should feel. We cannot judge those caregivers. We can hold them accountable for their actions. And that is what keeps us as a society in balance.