How Do You Manage Your Caree’s Anger?

punching-ball-172x300Last night, one of our visitors (Kari) shared a comment on Friday’s How Was Your Day? post:

I’ve been caring for my fiancé for about 8 years since he had a failed back surgery. He now had intractable pain, which is constant severe pain. The hardest part for me is dealing with his anger toward me and the world for not helping him get better, and causing him to get worse. I clean up lots of messes and still can’t keep the place liking amd feeling nice. I get overwhelmed with all the work, just cleaning up after him. I often think that I would trade places with just about anyone. I hope this site can help , I just needed to vent. Is it the average that the sick person gets so angry at the caregiver?

What’s your experience in managing your caree’s handle? Do you feel like you become the target for the anger?

Please share your experiences in our comments section, below.

3 thoughts on “How Do You Manage Your Caree’s Anger?

  1. Avatar of ejourneysejourneys

    First off, to Kari et al.: Your emotions are valid. Being a target sucks, and we are targets because we are there. That’s all it takes.
    I keep reminding myself that it’s the disease talking. I also remind myself — and my caree — that all I can control are my own responses.

    In my case, I found that the more I tried to please my caree, the greater her criticism and anger became. I had to detach (easier said than done, but the skill improves with practice) and turn that around. I asked myself: is this something I can really do anything about? Will it really make a difference? If yes, then I acted accordingly. If no, then I treated her anger as noise. Without having her anger fueled, she became calmer and her mood eventually improved — until the next outburst.

    At first I felt as though I were being heartless, but I realized how important it is to defuse a situation, often by not responding to it. Anger can also exacerbate pain, so a time-out can also have physical benefits. Sometimes, also, my caree just needed to vent, which meant that all I needed to do was be her sounding board.

  2. joann

    I am so happy to have found this site. My husband has ‘episodes’ where he gets in a terrible mood for several days during which he becomes verbally abusive and hyper critical of anything and everything. The last time this happened I ended up in tears. I try not to take it personally but sometimes it’s hard. When he gets in a better mood I try to talk to him about it. He usually blames chronic back pain but sometimes he completely denies the things he has said/done. He refuses to go get help. This past time I was even planning an exit strategy for me and my four children because we just shouldn’t have to put up with this. When he is in a good mood, everything is fine and we can function together as a family. Until the next time and I never know what is going to set him off…. Not sure how to handle situation. The older children retreat to their rooms and computers to avoid him, I hate that. :(

    Reply
    • Avatar of DeniseDenise Post author

      Hi Joann–It’s just tough and I wish the answers and solutions were easy. I like the idea of a strategy–a plan you can put into place when the episode happens. If you work, does your employer have an Employee Assistance Program? The EAP can refer you to a counselor who can help create a strategy to manage when the awful days happen.

      I also wonder if you could ask for help from any of his family? Perhaps he has a brother or parent (or good friend) who could come to your house during one of these difficult days. Perhaps another set of eyes that vouches for the behavior and then speaks to your husband about getting help would help.

      I also think it’s awesome that you discussed what happened when he’s feeling better. It’s tricky, though, when the denial becomes a road block to an effective conversation. We all have bad moments and it’s helpful to create a way to manage those bad moments.

      A former member of the site joined me for two podcasts last year. She offered some perspectives that you may find helpful. You’ll find them here: http://www.caregiving.com/?s=cheryl-arnette+table+talk

      Please feel free to keep us posted. It’s a difficult situation and it gets more difficult when you feel like you’re all alone in it.

      Reply

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