Originally written January 2019
I’m still under medical restrictions, and still have had multiple caregivers, several in their mid-thirties,
There’s a lot going one with this particular generation. Statistics repeatedly tell us how many of them never leave the nest, or flit from nest to nest, can’t keep “real jobs”, have addiction issues, live under near-constant debilitating anxiety, and have an alarming suicide rate.
Having had multiple caregivers, co-workers, and friends from this generation, I’ve seen what these statistics look like in real life.
The mere expectation of taking responsibility induces so much anxiety, they’d rather do nothing, preferring to go hide and play video games, or take illicit drugs to escape their dread. One overdosed a couple years ago, and I miss her sparkling personality. Quite frankly, the world needed her, but she was never taught how to handle that pressure.
See, the social zeitgeist was that parents thought their job was to ensure that their kids were sheltered because they needed to enjoy being children. The notion that good parenting is to provide a safe environment for children to learn how to become adults got lost.
When working with caregivers in this generation, I try to help them understand that adulting is about taking responsibility. This includes showing them how to perform tasks, the costs of things being done incorrectly (both monetarily and not), the importance of thinking things through, why doing the minimum is insufficient, and that feelings are input to process but don’t impact the fact that shit’s still gotta get done.
There’s just one teensy problem with this. I’m basically parenting people whom the system failed, and I don’t have even a smidgen of maternalism. I know this of myself and worked diligently to ensure I never got pregnant. People have often told me I’m wrong about that because of how I treat my dogs, usually by rehabilitating rescues. My usual response is that actually like and love dogs.
Let’s give an example. One night, I’d asked a mid-thirties caregiver to help with doggy concoctions. Then I explained what was needed and why, and asked him to please be careful to not waste it because of how expensive it is, etc.
And he says … he wants me to do it because I have a history of asking him to help, and then expecting him to pay for damages when things go wrong. In the past, he’s expressed frustration when asked to clean up or take an extra few minutes to finish the job so I don’t have to, and so on. The notion of putting things away is anathema because we’ll just need it later. He’s quite frustrated by the idea that putting things away saves time later because we’ll know where to find it. And stating that this disarray is slobbish, or more importantly, makes it hard for me to be independent when caregivers are not present, completely baffles him.
Remember, it’s not just this one caregiver. It’s every single one that I’ve had from this generation. Including both women and men
Usually the ideas of taking responsibility, seeing things through, and setting specific goals make perfect sense when it’s someone else. Like how the dog rescue “should” pay me for lying about a recent family addition being house trained. She peed on the carpet three times yesterday. He’s totally upset with them, and adamantly expects payment from them to clean the carpets, mostly because he’s the one stuck doing the work. And yes, I happen to agree. Just that he himself is not willing to set such high standards for himself, noting that they’re unrealistic because he doesn’t know how, has attention issues, and easily forgets things.
Again, not just him. He’s simply one example of these beliefs and behaviors.
Similarly, he has no problem getting peeved with me for doing things myself because it’s too heavy, requires twisting or bending, etc, and says I need to ask him for help.
In other words, they’ve been taught that crazy-making and gaslighting are normal double-standards, and usually have no clue how this cycle of “I can’t’ and then blaming is difficult to work with. Which may be related to why so many work in the gig economy, such as being Uber drivers, take on small tasks on Fiverr, and so on.
Which brings us to my reaction to his saying he was unwilling to assist.
Ballistic would be an understatement. I’m like, this needs to be done. And I shouldn’t do it due to medical restrictions. So he says something about how he’s had a lot of negative experiences with money, meaning doing things with potential monetary ramifications for imperfect results is, as he put it, “disincentivizing.”.
It. Was. Epic.