Who Am I, If Not Responsible?

This pedestal of responsibility
has elevated me, out of reach,
out of touch – lumps together
children, mate, mother, sister…

Caregiver extraordinaire
present overcrowded by
obligations…am unwell,
off topic, fed up, surely…

I am other abled, have room
for more – not martyr related –
hesitant to plan, my purpose
for being so intricately tuned

to the needs of others, should
quit while I’m ahead – silence
the inner nag – free us all
from this unhealthy game.

(This poem first appeared on One Woman’s Quest II
in September, 2016. Edited here. Image my own.)


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

35 thoughts on “Who Am I, If Not Responsible?”

  1. wow so very relieved this is an ‘old’ one VJ, feel your sense of overwhelmed!

    Nice to revisit these to see how far you’ve come … responsibility is tough but we are each responsible only for ourselves, we can support others but ultimately they still need to take responsibility for themselves ..

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  2. Oh how I get this! Am slowly learning to extricate myself after decades of caregiving. Defined by caregiving? Yes, for over time it becomes ingrained within one’s reason for being, which is not healthy for sure. Some things I would do differently now, but that’s the wisdom of hindsight. You have written with an understanding that others like myself appreciate very much.

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  3. Ah, yes. I get this too. Pulling back from that caregiver role can be like drug withdrawal. It can be so hard to keep from going back. But when you’re “intricately tuned to the needs of others,” it can border on excruciating. Leaving us twisting in the wind. Excellent post.

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  4. It’s interesting how care-giving seems to come in waves, consuming all thought, time … till a “dry spell” interrupts and we “givers” feel lost, unneeded. Not sure about freeing us all from the “game” … “givers” are essential … but definitely a balance/constraint issue!
    Good post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jazz. I had to learn, over time, that as long as I was willing to take responsibility for everyone, I was robbing them of their own autonomy. In a co-dependent sense, anyway. Caring for others in a non-toxic way is another thing.

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