On Relationships, Dr. Phil, and Caretaking

I came across this powerful post on Facebook about caregiving in relationships by Rebekah Taussig, who goes by @sitting_pretty on Instagram. I bookmarked the post, it was so impactful to me.

This last bit really gets me:

"I would like the whole world — including Dr Phil — to please stop assuming that being disabled is some kind of alien experience planets away from the rest of humanity. You need some version of care, I need another, and we’re all here just trying our best to sort it out and find connection and love the best we can, forever and amen."

I am totally guilty of this. As soon as the label "disability" is put on something, it is categorized as somehow separate from regular life in my mind. This is absurd, dehumanizing, and kind of laughable. I have been working on being better about this, and will continue to do so thanks in large part to people like @sitting_pretty who generously share their experiences so that I can learn.

Also, I appreciate the reminder of something at the heart of every single relationship: caretaking. People certainly don't get together with others because they have zero needs and are totally fine all on our own. Whether it's providing emotional support while making a big life decision, making sure they actually go to the doctor, or helping them physically when they are unwell, we take care of the people we love.

Maybe what Dr. Phil should have said is, "100% of relationships include caretaking. Some in different ways than others, and some more intensely than others. If you feel like your only role is caretaker, and not friend and lover as well, then perhaps the dynamic is off, but if you are not taking care of each other at all, then do you even care?"

Sometimes this is what caretaking in a relationship looks like.
Photo by Toa Heftiba.

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