If you are caring for someone who is aging, disabled, or living with a cognitive disorder, you already know that caregiver anger is part of the journey. You are well aware that the physical aspect of caregiving is demanding, dreary, and sometimes downright disgusting. As difficult as that is, though, it doesn’t even begin to compare to the emotional stress of caring for someone who can no longer take care of him/herself.
It may help to know that anger is a normal and predictable response to situations over which we have little or no control. As a caregiver, the number of situations over which you have no control are practically limitless—starting with the progression of the disease and your inability to control the behavior of other people,
This video is based on a letter in my book, “Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver.” My mother prayed every day that she would be a willing channel for God’s love and caring. Some days she succeeded, but most days she did not. (She was human, after all.)
So the question is not whether you will get angry—you will. The question really is, how will you choose to manage it? There are new demolition/destruction businesses popping up around the country where people can pay a fee to release their anger and stress by throwing dishes against a concrete wall, bashing computers and TVs with baseball bats, and destroying furniture by jumping on it. I think it sounds like it might be fun, and it’s definitely better to pay a fee to do that type of activity in a safe environment rather than destroying your own home, but that really isn’t a practical solution for most caregivers.
For today, maybe you could take a few deep breaths, and then decide to cut yourself a little slack. Getting angry doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it means you’re dealing with a difficult situation. There is very little you can do to fix or change it, so allowing yourself the space to get angry is a form of self-care. Continuously stuffing your feelings can lead to feelings of resentment and depression.
Do the best you can today, and take comfort in knowing that if you don’t do it exactly right, you’ll have an opportunity to do it over and do it better tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that.
For more information on coping with caregiver anger and developing an “Attitude of Creative Indifference” toward the people, situations, and events that are making you mad, please click on this link to my website: 3 F’s of Flipping Out: Fear, Frustration & Fatigue
If you have questions or stories you’d like to share, please fill out the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.