Excerpt from Survival of the Caregiver (Snyder): Anger


ANGER needs to be verbalized and needs an outlet. Show me a caregiver who says he or she never gets angry, and I’ll show you a liar or a saint. 

Once, a patient who was 75 years old came into my office. She had been caring for her 97-year-old mother for ten years. I told her I was a caregiver, too, and remarked that I thought caring for someone else when you were 75 must be most difficult. With a sheepish look on her face she said, “You know, I’m ashamed to tell you this, but sometimes I get very angry."

I responded, “Of course you do; that’s only natural. I get angry, too.” 

She looked astonished. “You do?” she said, “I thought I was the only one.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I assured her that most caregivers experience this strong emotion more often than they would like to admit. She was very happy and relieved to hear that. 

There is no way you can keep from feeling angry about seeing your loved one suffering and about having acquired such tremendous responsibilities, all while losing your precious freedom. 

It is okay to feel angry, but don’t harbor your anger; it isn’t safe. Don’t let anger turn you into a resentful person for that will hurt you both. Do find a close friend, a buddy you can trust to keep what you say confidential, and unload your tales of woe on this understanding, patient soul, and be thankful for him or her. If no such individual is within easy grasp, consider joining one of the many support groups that are available in most communities. The local newspaper usually runs a long list of these, giving the times and dates of the meetings where everyone is welcome. Hearing other people sharing their feelings of anger and frustration will make you realize you are not alone. That’s a good feeling. You find out you have not become some terrible monster for having these feelings. On the contrary, you are still the same good person. You are simply dealing with great adversity. If your circumstances are such that getting out of the house to attend meetings is a near impossibility, then take another action. Jump into a hot shower and scream and cry until you feel in control again, or do a workout of floor exercises, but get that anger out before it does you in. 

To read more posts about Janice Snyder and her book, click HERE.

To read more posts about caregiving, click HERE.

To read more posts about anger, click HERE.


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