Ditching the Emotional Baggage: Resentment

Being a caregiver interferes with every aspect of your so-called normal life. And just like toddlers and teenagers who rail against their freedoms being curtailed, we resent this intrusion. Oh, maybe not at first, especially in a crisis-caregiving situation. But soon enough, when the adrenaline has worn off and all we can see is an endless hijacking of our lives.

Who do we resent? Other family members who aren’t pulling their fair share. Friends whose biggest worry is whether to get the red dress or the green one. And, worst of all, the person we love fiercely who is causing so much turmoil.

But that’s kind of tough to admit. So we bottle it up and go back to screaming at the siblings. The trouble is, resentment won’t stay bottled up very long. It festers. And then one day it is full-blown anger. Our advice: Tackle it before you get to that stage.

Three ways to cope with resentment

  • Let it out. To your trusted best friend. In the pages of a private journal. In an anonymous post in a caregiving blog (other readers will understand). In a caregiving support group. 
  • Take a step back. When you start feeling resentment, ask yourself if it is warranted. Could your sibling do more? If so, ask for something specific. Have they stranded you for the fourth time running? Maybe they have never been reliable. And before you blow up, think hard about whether the situation is worth wrecking your relationship over.
  • Forgive yourself. Know that feeling resentment—like all these emotions—does not make you a bad person.

This is part five in our series: Ditching the Emotional Baggage. Please also visit: Anger, Guilt, Loneliness, Fear, Defensiveness, and Grief.