Caregiver Confessions: When You Resent Being a Caregiver

Firsthand advice from a caregiver who's been there

Why wouldn't a caregiver feel resentful sometimes? After all, it's not a role most of us choose gladly. And it turns most lives upside down. Even for good-humored, willing caregivers, some days are so hard that it's not unusual for resentment to creep in: toward the situation, the disease at hand, or even your loved one.

"This isn't anyone's happily ever after," says TV-radio personality Leeza Gibbons, who founded Leeza's Place communities for caregivers after her mother developed Alzheimer's disease.

Watch Leeza's advice on coping with caregiver resentment.

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More tips on coping with this tough emotion:

Don't feel guilty for having this feeling. Almost all caregivers experience resentment, because it's a very human emotion. Cut yourself some slack.

Let go a little of the past and the future. Of course you're mourning the person as he or she once was, and the life you had together. But dwelling on that fact tends to feed resentment. Instead, try to borrow from mindfulness practice: Focus on the here and now, and on what's good and worth cherishing about the person in front of you.

Remind yourself that, above all, it's the situation you're resentful of. It's rarely the person in your care who's causing your feelings; what you're upset about is almost always the disease, the burden of caregiving, and the changes to all your lives.

Have safe places to vent. It really helps to be able to identify the feelings underlying the resentment. Write in a journal (even if you just burn the pages afterward, this helps). Call a friend. Talk to your dog. Simply addressing the frustrations helps to release them.

See also:

When You're Feeling Guilt

When You Don't Feel Appreciated

When You're Sleeping Poorly

When You're in Over Your Head

When You Lose Your Temper

Family Is Being Torn Apart

When You're Just Not Eating Right

When You Rarely See Friends

When You Resent Being a Caregiver

When No One Will Help

Feeling Anticipatory Grief

After Caregiving Ends

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio

about 1 year ago, said...

Hi, I am so resentful. It's a holiday and I am alone my husband is having fun and I get no help. I caretake both of my folks who I love immensely. It just hurts. I have so much anger and I know I need to let it go but some days I just can't. Lost

over 1 year ago, said...

After the way I felt last night, I desperately needed this article. Some days recently I've had this resentment, but last night was one of the worst. Thanks for the articles. I need them.

almost 3 years ago, said...

Being taken for granted by person you care for is very very hard. Makes you feel angry and resentful. No one ever talks about that. Deep seated bad feelings after they pass away.

over 3 years ago, said...

How timely - just looking around in and came upon this article. My husband has Lewy Body Dementia....was diagnosed about 4 years ago. This is definitely an unpredictable disease - fluctuating cognition and funcionality -occasional moments of appearing 'fairly' lucid. Now, I am tired,frustrated, patience wears thin. He need help with most of the activities of daily living. Do have a caregiver 6 hrs one day a week - he does not like the arrangement at all. Yes, I am feeling resentment. The constant shadowing, wandering in the middle of the night usually between 1am and 4am wanting me to get up and make coffee, get those people out of the house (hallucinations, confusion). I watched all of Leeza's videos - good input . Just had to wonder if she was caregiving 24/7.

over 3 years ago, said...

I don 'to feel guilty about being resentful. With the burden that I am stuck with, the last thing I will do to myself is to feel guilty. My deadbeat sibling us the one who should feel guilty.

over 5 years ago, said...

I'm early on in this roll called" A CAREGIVER". Found out you don't tell everyone how it feels. Got RIPPED by a brother-inlaw when i shared a situation.Of-course my husband's brother does not care about what i'm experiencing. My husband has a large family and at times i wonder about how they always are checking on him, but not the one holding things together. I'm an only child with no family, but our three children. Two are far away and one close, is very busy. I'm not in a place of needing any help, but just understanding and a shoulder. I feel like i have to be a saint, my daughter here always says "mom he can't help. when i try and tell her what's going on. She admitted the other day that it was worse then having a child.