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One patient, Dana (name has been changed to protect the privacy of the patient), helping her mother care for her brother who has leukemia, told me, “my life right now doesn’t matter.”

This is an extremely self-destructive attitude. With 2015 figures citing approximately 43.5 million caregivers providing unpaid care to an adult or child in the year, this is an attitude that for the good of all must be disabused immediately.

Joyce sighed, “I expected giving back to my mother, who did so much for me for my entire life, to be 100 percent fulfilling. But it’s not.” That realization led to such guilt and shame that Joyce found herself occasionally snapping at her husband—which of course led to more guilt.

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