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I’ve found recently that caregiver burnout can be caused by these factors:

  • Lack of acknowledgment of acts of love through caregiving
  • Lack of appreciation and gratitude of caregiving provided to a Little
  • Lack of reciprocation of love
Consider that regression is centering focus on the fantasy realm and gratification of the regressor. For the most part, the Caregiver is often just the supportive role, facilitator, provider, and means to the fulfillment for the other person. The Caregiver may cherish the happiness their partner is experiencing through this fantasy fulfillment but it isn’t the direct fulfillment of the Caregiver.

The Caregiver showers their regressive partner with their love by acts of caregiving. The Caregiving loves their partner so much they give their time, attention, and efforts to building up and carrying out the fantasy of their partner.

In return, there is the underlying desire to have this act of love validated. It must be acknowledged as a gift to the regressor. The regressor must understand that it is primarily selfless and should make acknowledgment to the Caregiver that the love was understood.

Understanding definitely validated the emotions of caregiving but making the experience positive must also include the gratitude of the Little. The regressor must show appreciation for the love they’ve received. The time, thought, fine detail, and general energies the Caregiver put into making a situation or scene fulfilling for the regressor must be expressed as appreciated.

Appreciation such as saying “thank you” takes mindfulness, as a “thank you” definitely loses its meaning of gratitude if it’s done out of routine. Littles really do need to be mindful of their Caregiver and have compassion for their humanity. It almost seems inevitable that most Littles will settle into a routine of just saying thank you instead of putting thought and effort into making their gratitude true. Perhaps that lack of care stems from the community’s social pressures that encourage Littles to be only selfish. Though, being in any functional, fulfilling relationship takes ongoing effort and will not passively just exist long-term.

Lastly, the regressor absolutely must reciprocate the love they have received in a fair way. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Little must provide everything the Caregiver provided to them in the exact same way with the exact same investment. It does mean that the Little must use their love language to fairly shower the Caregiver in love just as the Caregiver shower love upon the Little during regressive times, scenes, or expressions. Fairness may not appear to be equal but as long as strong effort is made and understood to be acts of love from the Little in effort to give the Caregiver a pleasant experience it can be fulfilling to the Caregiver.

Unfortunately, what I feel may be different in Caregiver Burnout versus the burnout associated with medical providers is that a Caregiver may feel they have been neglected in their romance with their regressive partner. Since Caregiving is generally unpaid and not socially recognized there is less support when the feelings of being burnt out begin, leading to the feelings to intensify very quickly but at the same time feel unacceptable.

The fact is that the Caregiver may justly feel used or even abused by a careless Little who has not acknowledged, appreciated, or reciprocated love. From the Caregiver’s perspective they feel they’ve been degraded because the regressor willingly, and often through expectations, accepted their showers of live but chose to neglect the Caregiver’s emotional fulfillment. The feeling that the Little greedily accepted deeply emotional gifts without consideration of the Caregiver can break down the partnership.

Fairness in relationships may feel complicated but I don’t think it is as difficult as it sounds. It means knowing your partner and what speaks to them best. It means evaluating what your partner has put into pleasing you and the value that has for you, and then working to do things that equal those values for your partner.

Anyway, these are my current thoughts about conditions like Caregiver Burnout in our community and how to make these situations less frequent or better. I feel like if we correct incorrect and/or unhealthy community ideals that things like ghosting and abuse will greatly reduce in our community since many people will not feel as used, under-appreciated, or confused by reasonable and realistic expectations of them when partnered.

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