Cotton wool care draws you in to protect the person. You will find yourself accommodating the demands of the person and protecting your loved one from any upsets. You will be overprotective and have a desire to protect your cared for from the challenges of life and emotions.

The cotton wool carer tends to display too much emotion and too much control …does everything to protect the cared for from harm or distress, taking over all aspects of the cared for person’s life. Cotton wool care means you can treat loved ones with kid gloves wrapping them in a cotton wool, in an effort to avoid any upset or stress, often rescuing when they don’t need it and accommodating all possible demands. The downside of this type of caring is that it is exhausting for the carer and the person who is being cared for loses their ability to approach and master life’s challenges. It can disable your loved one from developing necessary coping skills.

These unhelpful behaviours become “overly” / unhelpfully supportive and don’t allow any space/ personal responsibility there is too much sympathy and micro-management. It can be suffocating and emotionally draining for both the carer and cared for.


Reflect on your cotton wool responses
• How are they working for you? If not, what difficulties are you encountering? Think about what is not working for you?
• What aspects of your behaviour can you experiment with?
• How important is it to address some of your cotton wool responses?
• Think back to one of your cotton wool behaviours in recent weeks. How can you change that behaviour a little? What would be the first step?

IMPORTANT! Change is tough…remember congratulate yourself after having attempted the change!


Click here to see the other results:

Bull at the Gate Carer

Guiding Carer

Click here for the next course: How does caring affect your life?

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