Dealing with Anger and Resentment


I'm feeling more and more resentful these days and I'm coming across as bitter. There are days when the anger just seeps from inside, until it reveals it's ugly green head to the world. I don't mean to be like this and I'm ashamed of my own self at times. I think there are two factors that are my driving force: fear and stress.
I'm fearful of the future. I've taken care of my parents forever and a day. I've always been told that the house would be mine someday, but if I was to marry, then I had to divide it with my brothers (so long as I was married). When I was younger, I never thought much about it. I took care of them and they were well enough to do somethings on their own. I married when I was 38, it didn't work out. I divorced by age 42. Moving back to the family home, I took over where I left off. Come to think of it, my job taking care of my parents never really ended. Even when I was married and living in a different town, I stopped in everyday. Now back at it full time, the health has declined greatly. I work very little outside of the home, as she has cancer. I try to take care of the inside, outside, medication, doctor appointments, ER trips and hospital stays for both. I have no help from my two surviving brothers. I've also been told that I can no longer live in the house after they are gone. In their words, "you have two brothers that deserve their share." Enter fear. What will I do, where will I go and how will I survive. I have a small savings, but nothing to brag about. One trip to the hospital for me and it's over. This new fear adds stress and it manifest itself into anger.
I'm angry that the boys do nothing, while I do it all. I'm angry that my parents told me something and went back on their word. I'm angry that in the end (my words), "the little cockroaches" will show up and get their third of the pie for basically nothing. They live their life, enjoy themselves and are care free. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy I can help them stay in their home. I'm grateful that they gave me a place to live all this time. However, did I forget to tell you...I'm angry!
This anger comes out at inappropriate times and it also comes out at innocent parties. Anger has away of doing that you know? It's out of control. I lash out at my parents, when I should be providing them comfort. I have a boyfriend and I lash out at him. He tells me I have a job to do and that I can't get married right now, b/c I have to take care of them. This makes me angry. It's true, but it makes me angry. So angry, that it puts stress on the relationship and if there was any hope of marriage in the future, I'm doing a damn good job at destroying that chance. Thus, the mailman is going to walk past my little apt. (if I'm lucky), or corner of the sidewalk someday and ask himself..."what's that smell'? You know what it will be? Me, myself and I. Alone, dead; discovered by the mailman. Yep, that's right, I'm being negative. Negativity is a stepchild of fear and stress.
How do I overcome this? I'm relatively nice. I take care of my aging parents, bake cookies for the older folks and kids in the neighborhood. I'm not the best Christian, but I believe in God. I was a mild mannered, happy youth. However, nowadays, I'm turning into a bitter old hag myself. Don't like it and need to change. How? How do I find one little piece of the person I use to be, when all I want to do is rip my brothers heads off and run far away. No one ever solved any problems with anger. Anger begets anger. Anger, leaves you with no friends in time. I don't want my last memory of my parents to be a harsh word spoken.

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Seems like a common theme: one person, usually daughter, doing all the caregiving
while others sit back and criticize and ask for money. My opinion is that the criticism and/or indifference is strategic, as by downplaying the caregivers contributions they
are free to do nothing except for take money/assets. And this behavior can extend to family "friends" who stand on the sidelines criticizing and stirring up trouble, apparently in the hopes that they might get a share of the money pie.

The thing that blows me away is that health care and caregiving expenses are so
steep, there is often nothing left in the "pie" to share. So the years of ugliness
and jockeying for position just add more burden to the actual caregivers
who end up exhausted and looking back on an endless blur of drudgery filled days. Very frustrating and demoralizing to witness. Hard not to be cynical.

Dear Lisa,

I really hear you. I'm so sorry for everything you have been through with your family. It's so tough. I too always felt overly responsible and that I couldn't abandon my parents even though my siblings were off living their own lives! I tried to be inclusive but they just didn't care.

Becky, I ask myself that question all the time. It feels like us women always get the short end of the stick.

Freqflyer, thank you for your perspective. We women sure don't have it easy. We have to work 1000 times harder than any man to get the same respect it seems. I guess we all just do the best we can.

Like Lisa I feel like we are warring with ourselves. Anger at others but anger at ourselves probably for caring so much.

Becky, it's the old stereotype, the sons are busy providing for their families.

One thing I noticed when doing the family tree generations back, it is the daughter who never got married but had a career such a school teacher [school teachers were mainly women and weren't allow to remain in their career if they got married] that took the roll of being the caregiver to her parent(s). Or it was the daughter who was married but never had children.

Why some elders assume a woman can handle all the household chores is so out-of-date. For me, cooking is like a science project that goes terribly wrong. Housework was like a bad work project, you finish it... but then you have start all over again next week. Rinse, repeat for the next 4,000 weeks.

I remember one time on the forums here, parents made their son their financial Power of Attorney even though the son was terrible with handling money. The parents overlooked the daughter who was a CPA. Go figure.

Why is it always the women? Or if not always, just the vast majority of the time? We are stuck with the caregiving so much more than our brothers.

Just found this site. I see I'm not the only one filled with anger and resentment. My caregiver journey began 25 years ago when my Mother had a massive heart attack. I had quit my County job to put myself through Nursing school and had 5 months left when she had the attack. The next 3 months were spent in the Hospital's. I had 3 brothers at that time. One was willing to help but not the twin brothers. They were off riding their four wheeler's and drinking and going on with their lives. I asked one of them why they were not going up to the Hospital and he said, "if it's too much for you, then you need to quit Nursing school." That was the beginning of my life of hell. Their selfishness has no limits. I've spend 25 years in hospitals, Doctors appointments etc. while they go on with their lives. I work full time just like they do but they see it as my job to do everything. My Father died 3 years ago with no will. I was designated to be the Administrator so I had to do all the running around, phone calls, etc. while taking my Mom back and forth to Doctors and working full time. 1 year after his death I called my brother about buying a headstone for him and he became belligerent saying "he doesn't need a headstone right now". I got extremely angry and yelled at him saying "it's his money and his headstone, what the ****** is wrong with you?" We have never spoken again. That was 2 years ago and they left me to pay all the bills for a small home "we" inherited in the Mountains. I just sold the property and turning in all my receipts in to the Attorney. My twin brothers who never paid 1 dime on the bills for "their" property, didn't think I should get all my money back that I had pain in the expenses and upkeep of this property. It got very ugly and my Mother had to be the messenger in between us. And while they were leaving me to pay for everything, they were asking my Mother for more free land and to go ahead and get her will straight so they would not ever had to deal with me again. The hatred I feel for my brothers boils inside of me and I have taken it out sometimes on my Mom by accusing her of taking their side while I've been the one who has had to do all of this. I feel I have thrown my entire life away to be here for her because I know they will not be here for her except when they want something. I don't resent what I've done for her, I resent them not helping and leaving me saddled with it all on my shoulders. My oldest brother died in 2001. He would have helped me but not these identical twins. They only care about each other and what they can get out of my Mom. My Mom says she cannot understand why I am so angry and bitter. She makes excuses for them. Now they are just trying to grab up as much of her land as they possibly can. They don't want to be bothered with angry sister who has done all the work and paid bills on their property. And there is nothing I can do about any of it. So this anger has nowhere to go. I feel I've always had to be the responsible one while they go on with life drinking their beer acting like angel twins. They have no conscience and no remorse. So my only defense has been to curse them out then I'm just blamed for having a temper. How much can someone take before they blow up at everybody?

Insidegirl, I feel so angry when I read posts like yours. What happened that your mother has to live with YOU? Are there any siblings in (or out of) the picture? If so, then why do YOU have to do it all? Just how much is that nest egg, and if your mother never ends up hiring help or going to a facility, I surely hope that YOU get it!

Dear Insidegirl and twentyfo7,

I'm so sorry to hear how you both feel. I know its not easy. Please keep talking it out with us on the forum. And know that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings.

I too grew up being the caregiver to my parents. My father passed over a year ago. I felt so angry with my responsibilities in the last year of his life. In hindsight, I so badly wished I had done things differently. Recognized my own limitations and feelings, sought out more resources in the community instead of thinking I could do it all.

Thinking of you both. Sending love and hugs.

Insidegirl, I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

I'm new, just became a member of the this site. I'm caring for my mother who had a stroke which is complicated by diabetes that requires insulin. It's really difficult because the injections are needed prior to every single meal which means she needs care 24/7. Well, in actuality, night time is okay as she sleeps alright, but every 4.5 hours I must prep carefully laid out meals, check her sugar and inject her. She also has brain damage from the stroke and was a scientist prior to the stroke. It's hard to see her diminished, although she can still carry on a reasonable conversation. As for myself, I can't work and am forced to live off both our savings. It's enough to keep us afloat for a handful of years but I fear about my future when all is said and done. Moreover, I'm afraid of a dreaded fall which would shatter he delicate bones and already make a very hard job next to impossible since I'm the only person capable of caring for her. I feel so very alone.

Today is a bad day. I seem to have more bad than good ones. I was shampooing the carpet that my elderly mother has ruined in my 2 year old “new” house, looked into the mirror and saw an old lady with a beet red face....and it was me. I sobbed. Where did I go? I used to be nice and strangers told me I was pretty. I am no longer either of those adjectives. I am bitter and exhausted and feel alone and stressed. My husband is retiring soon and we wanted to spend time traveling and reconnecting from the daily grind and raising kids. Travel plans are dashed because I am required to babysit my mother 24/7–to protect her from falls and choking; to feed her hot meals so she can produce a BM; to fetch and serve and ferry to a myriad of doctors and the ER (when she panics about her lack of BM’s). Her rectum is the center of my universe.

A lovely woman comes in to bathe her weekly, but Mom refuses to pay for more than 2 hrs of care. She has a healthy next egg, but placing her in Assisted Living would eat that in no time. Besides, she refuses to go. Through clenched teeth, I tolerate “Did you finish my laundry? or “Gimme (fill in the blank)” or “Oh, shut up, you go on and on!” I wish I could finish a sentence or a thought before being cut off or admonished because something isn’t quite right or good enough. I feel 14.

Thank you for the link Dana. I couldn't agree with you more. Its not easy. Sorry to hear it was a bad day with your mom. I think its only natural to become impatient. As daughters there is always so much on our shoulders. Its hard seeing our parents age and deal with serious health issues.

As the oldest daughter my parents always put the responsibility on me. Even before my dad's stroke, I managed the household, paid the bills, cleaned the house, bought groceries, did the yard work. After my dad's stroke, I took on providing food, medications, showers, handling doctor appointments, and the list felt it never ended. I felt so stuck. But yet duty bound to take care of my dad as well. I had terrible anger towards my siblings and own father about everything I had to do. There are so many things I wished I had done differently.

Thank you again for your link. I hope your week is better. Take care.