You promised to love and care for each other, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. But it’s hard to imagine when you speak those words how they may play out in the future. It may come as a shock to you if you start to experience frustration, anger, and resentment while caring for your spouse.
Is It Normal to Experience Resentment While Caring for Your Spouse?
It is, and you may wonder why. In short, dementia caregiving can be daunting, both physically and emotionally. You may feel:
- Spread too thin
- Frustrated from insufficient time for self-care
- Frightened regarding your spouse’s prognosis
- Unappreciated and taken for granted
- Angry or irritated for inexplicable reasons
Even if it’s unexpected, it’s completely valid to have these feelings – and there are things you can do to overcome them while strengthening your relationship with your spouse.
How to Quell Resentment While Caring for Your Spouse
Get help with couple’s therapy. A professional couple’s therapist can be helpful to both of you individually and as a couple. You’ll gain the tools you need to resolve disputes in a healthy way, to better understand each other’s perspective, to better manage feelings of resentment, and to improve communication. The therapist can also provide you with referrals to other helpful resources as appropriate.
Be present with your emotions. You may be trying to cover up how you feel to keep the peace, but it’s important to find a safe space to vent. Caregiving is challenging on many levels, and identifying a strong network of support is crucial. Speak regularly with a trusted family member or friend, counselor, or spiritual guide.
Set and maintain boundaries. You are human. And we can’t do everything on our own. Setting an unattainable bar for yourself as a caregiver will quickly lead to depression, burnout, and a diminished quality of care for your spouse. Identify reasonable expectations that are in line with your abilities and strengths, and bring in help for the others.
Take care of YOU. Self-care is just as important in caregiving as caring for your spouse. Caring for yourself empowers you to take better care of your spouse. Prioritize and carve out time for pastimes you enjoy, socializing with friends and other family members, and stress-relieving activities: exercise, reading, journaling, listening to music, being in nature.
Golden Harmony is here to serve as your partner in care to help you restore a healthier life balance and to rediscover the joy of spending quality time with your spouse. Contact us online or at 919-426-7522 to ask about our respite care services and to request a free in-home consultation to learn more about the many ways we can help. Our services are available in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, as well as the nearby communities.