Posts Tagged ‘negativity’

Today, the Today Show had a six-year old little girl on their show who is a singing sensation. She can belt out the national anthem with a voice to rival Ethyl Merman. Natalie Morales introduced her and said that the little girl also lives with autism.

Words are important. Autism cannot be viewed as a death sentence–especially not for a child who has their whole life ahead.

Living with or suffering with makes a big difference.

If you have Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, MS, or cancer, you have to eventually come to choice–do you choose to live or suffer?

Personally, I hope to never say the word, “suffer” again. I don’t want to suffer with anything!

Suffering implies pain, sorrow, heavy burden…agony. And yes, there are moments, days, even months where pain and sorrow overwhelms life–but as my very religious, very southern mother used to say when asked how she was, she’d reply…

“Well…I don’t want the devil to hear me!”

She didn’t want to entomb herself in negativity.

Caregivers, how do you talk about your role? Begin to observe your words.

How do you introduce yourself?

“I’m just a caregiver?”

“I’m just caring for my mom?”

Really? Just a caregiver? That’s like saying you’re just the president of the United Stats, just a mom, just a CIA assasin!

Even if you are at home with your loved one, or even living with them. You can introduce yourself any way you like–“I’m an artist, I’m a teacher (even if you’re not in a classroom now, do you ever stop teaching? I’m in school (are you taking an online class? That counts.”

If you introduce yourself as a caregiver, then do it with pride.

But also introduce the fact that you’re a daughter, a wife, a friend. Your role as a caregiver is admirable, but your loved one needs to hear you say that you’ll always be their daughter/sister/spouse first.

How will anyone respect you and perceive what you do as important if you don’t?

Choose. Choose your words. Choose to care for your loved one.

No one is making you be a caregiver. You may think they are. You may believe that you have to, that your loved one has no one else, that it’s your responsibility…but realize that it is a choice. Other people in your same situation have said no. The world will not end. Is it the right thing to do? To say no? Every family is differentt, and my point is that you choose.

If you choose caregiving–part-time, full-time, in your home, their home, as a working caregiver, or an advocate for your loved one who is in a care facility–whatever the living/working arrangment is–choose. Caregiving is a part of who you are, it’s a role, what you do with your time and energy.

Take the helplessness, choice-lesness out of your vocalbulary.

~I’m Carol D. O’Dell, and I hope you’ll check out my book, Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

It’s available on Amazon, other online stores and in bookstores. Kunati Publishing

I’m a family advisor on Caring.com, and my syndicated blog appears on www.opentohope.com.


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“I could go at any time.”

My mother said that line for a good 15 years.

It got old.

I knew she said it for attention, but did she really want negative attention?

Was she afraid of dying or just wanted us to reassure her she wasn’t?

Is your parent or spouse negative all or most of the time and is it driving you crazy?

It’s bad enough on the occasional visit, but if your caregiving responsibilities have increased, and you may be even living with them, then the negativity might be getting to you.

I know it got to me. And this isn’t the only kind mother engaged in.

“Why don’t your children like me?”

“Are you really going to wear that? Women your age shouldn’t wear mini-skirts” (It was barely above the knee)

“This chicken is rubbery.”

“You’re not as spiritual as you used to be.”

And my favorite…

“I don’t know why the good Lord just doesn’t come on and take me.”


I won’t tell you all the snide and irreverent comments I had for each of those, but I bet you can guess.

Basically, being grumpy and talking negative is a bad habit.

It’s meant to draw attention, to gain back power, or to make a jab at all the resentments that are building.

Basically, it’s saying something mean instead of having an honest discussion–and/or it’s a bad habit and thought pattern that’s been there for years.


  • Call their bluff–‘I know you’re trying to get my attention, but there are better ways to do it. How about…” Or, “You want to run by the funeral home?  You said you wanted to go…” (sounds mean, but it just might get your point across)
  • Shift their attention–offer something better in its place. Turn on some music, change the conversation, make an excuse and leave the room. Get the point across that this is no longer working.
  • Say, “STOP!” Say it firm and with eye contact. If it continues, say it louder and firmer.
  • Be a good example. Stop yourself when you hear it. Stop mid-sentence. Say, “STOP!” to yourself. Correct what you just said with a positive spin.
  • Be consistent. Just like with a child, if they sense a your defenses might crumble, they’ll hit harder and more manipulative the next time.

Negativity leads to depression and depression leads to all sorts of ailments.

Besides, who wants to live with, drive with, or work with someone who always negative and complaining?

Will someone who is in their 80s or 90s and has been this way for years really change?

They can. Especially if there’s simply no tolerating. They may still think it, whine it under their breath, but you as a daughter, son, spouse, caregiver set the mood and tone of your household and all those who are around you. You have the right and the obligation to keep things on an even, pleasant keel. It’s best for everyone, so suck up the fact that it may take a confrontation and do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Negativity rubs off and can damper an entire household or place of work.

But being positive is contagious too. You don’t have to be annoyingly, overly giddy, but being pleasant, helpful, and easy to get along with is something all of us aspire to.

“Folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

–Abraham Lincoln

~Carol D. O’Dell, Family Advisor at www.Caring.com

Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

available on Amazon


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