Some individuals who live with and care for family members who have mental illness experience significant loneliness. The causes of loneliness may include deficits in positive emotional connection or communication with the family members, the individuals’ physical isolation from professional peers and friends, and feelings of stigmatization and shame. For the purpose of this discussion, I will refer to the individuals who live with those who have mental illness as ‘caregivers’ and the ‘children, adolescents, adult children, husbands, wives or parents who have mental illness’ as ‘family members’.
Lonely in the Presence of Family Members
Some caregivers report that they feel lonely while in the presence of their family members who have mental illness because it can be difficult to feel positive emotional connection and communication. There can be a disparity between a caregiver’s needs for conversation and relatedness and his family member’s capacity to engage with him. Some family members reject their family caregivers by refusing to interact with them or by interacting on an intermittent basis and the interactions can be hostile.
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