If you've ever felt resentful about the hand you've been dealt, you're not alone. Resentment is, unfortunately, a hush-hush emotion among caregivers, but it's all too common.
And why not? Your life has been hijacked by someone else's debilitating condition that consumes your time, your physical energy, and your mental energy while stealing away a beloved relationship -- and you have no training or preparation! Of course you feel some resentment.
1. Give yourself permission to hold conflicting feelings.
"I love, but I resent" or "I give, yet I resent," is the first step toward finding peace with a difficult but natural feeling.
2. Step back to take a big-picture view.
An individual day or week (or even year) may stink, but the entire arc of life isn't all bad. Try to remember the good that came before caregiving and the good that will come during and after.
3. Remember it's what you resent more than who.
Even if your relationship isn't, or hasn't been, great with the person in your care, chances are good that what's really rankling you is the situation, the dementia. Making it less personal makes it easier to cope.
4. Let it out.
Resentment is a tricky emotion to confess to others, because there's a social stigma, for some, about caregivers feeling anything but angelic and generous. This is where a trusted friend comes in, or even an online stranger who's been there. They understand.
5. Control what you can.
You can't control the course of the disease or how your loved one is affected. You can direct, to some extent, what kind of help you have, how often you can get away, and how well you take care of yourself, including getting sufficient sleep.