I'm So Mad I Could...


I'm So Mad I Could...

anger-18658_640Beth considered herself to be a composed person. She manages her position as a sales manager for a Fortune 500 company with confidence and savvy.

Now that she's managing her dad's care, though, she's a mess. An angry ball of mess, at that.

"I'm so mad," she writes in her blog. "Why is this happening to my dad? I get so angry that all I want to do is run away. How in the world does anyone ever manage this anger?"

When you help and care for another with a chronic illness, you see life at its worst. You encounter a health care system which seems to insist on working against you. You see other family members pass and then drop the ball. You watch, helplessly, as a caree seems to disappear before your eyes.

No wonder you're mad.

Rather than suppressing the anger, find a way to vent. A few suggestions on how to get it out:

1. Write. Start a journal or a blog, which becomes your safe place to let the world have it.

2. Exercise. After you work up a sweat, you'll notice that you've also managed to work through some of your anger.

3. Connect with others who understand. Share with other family caregivers in a community or online support group. When others validate your anger, you can feel the air going out of your balloon of anger.

4. Scream in your car or empty house. Scream until you're too exhausted to scream any more.

5. Take action. What makes you mad also can be what inspires you to make it better. Speak up and out about situations and events which you know jeopardize your caree's care. If you stay silent, you'll stay mad. And, you can speak up and speak out in a way that gets results without making a scene.

It's important to mange your anger. Otherwise, the anger will steal your moments with your caree. The anger will make it hard for you to be with your caree, to be emotionally, mentally and physically present. These moments of being together will become wonderful memories for you. Don't let the anger rob you of them.

And, finally, forgive. Forgive the health care system, your God, your family, the disease. Forgive.

How do you manage your anger? Please share how you cope in our comments section, below.

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Yep, I've done items 1 through 5! \r\nSome of my best workouts have occurred when I was thoroughly pissed. :-)\r\nReading is also good catharsis for me, both fiction and nonfiction. I'm now caught up on George R.R. Martin's series <i>A Song of Ice and Fire</i> (Game of Thrones series on HBS) and boy, does he put his characters through all sorts of crap. For nonfiction there's <i>A History of Woman Suffrage</i>, filled with real-life women (and supportive men) who channeled their rage with grace and a take-no-prisoners approach. I learn from them.\r\n\r\nIn <i>The Courage To Heal</i>, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis found this definition of forgiveness: \"(a) to cease to feel resentment against an offender; (b) to give up claim to requital from an offender; to grant relief from payment.\" It's a tricky term for me. On the one hand, I meet those requirements, but I prefer to think of it as balance, and to a degree transcendence. As in: I leave behind what I can't control, but I also do what I can and hold accountable.