and Care-receiver Anger
At times, anger can be a dominant emotion in the
caregiver/care-receiver relationship for many reasons. Reasons that
would be easier to identify and understand if both people werenít
already so drained, both physically and emotionally.
From your loved oneís point of view, there have been so many
changes and so many losses, his or her life seems out of control.
In the case of an aging parent, for example, Dad can feel angry
because he thinks you owe him something in return for all his years
of parenting and he may not think heís getting a fair shake.
From your point of view, youíre angry at whatís
happening to your loved one whose health continues to deteriorate.
You want to reverse it, or at least stop it, but you canít. You may,
at times, want to ignore the whole situation.
You might be mad at Mom for getting old. Mad at your spouse for
fighting you when you try to help. Mad at health-care professionals
who may be doing their job all right but donít seem to understand
that this is your loved one and that makes it different. Mad
at your other family members who seem to be doing nothing or doing
only the wrong things. And mad at God when you canít see what the
point to all this is and you lay the blame on him.
Perhaps, after helping your aging parent, you come home and
your spouse and children express resentment that youíre spending so
much time with Grandma or Grandpa and you just donít have any energy
left. Youíve used up all your patience. At work, at home, and out in
public, the slightest problem makes you clench your teeth and
Identifying why you and your loved one are having these
feelings can be an important first step. It may also help you as a
caregiver if you:
● Remember your loved one is not necessarily mad at you. You
may simply be the target because youíre there or because you make
her or make him face all those fears head on.
● Try to find some time for yourself. Look for a support group
or good friend where you can ďdumpĒ some of that anger.
● Forgive yourself.
● Keep in mind that, just as in your other important and
central relationships, getting angry with your care-receiver doesnít
mean you donít love him or her.
● Go back and apologize. Donít let guilt over that anger eat
you up. You can start over again.
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