You both promised to look after each other through better or worse, in sickness and in health. When these cherished sentiments are first spoken on your wedding day, it is difficult to imagine how it will feel to actually live them out when providing care for your spouse. It may come as a shock to you that anger, frustration, and resentment can go hand-in-hand with fulfilling your vows when caregiving for your spouse.
How Can I Resent Caring for the Person I Love the Most?
In a nutshell, providing care for your spouse is overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. You may feel:
- Unappreciated and taken for granted
- Concerned about your spouse’s prognosis
- Frustrated from insufficient time for self-care
- Stretched too thin
- Angry or irritated for inexplicable reasons
All of these feelings are valid and completely normal, even if unexpected – and there are things you can do to overcome them while strengthening your relationship with your spouse.
How to Conquer Spousal Caregiving Resentment
Set and maintain boundaries. Remind yourself that you are human, and you cannot (and shouldn’t attempt to) do it all. Setting an unattainable bar for yourself as a caregiver will quickly result in depression, burnout, and a reduced quality of care for your spouse. Identify realistic expectations that are in line with your strengths and abilities, and bring in help for the rest.
Face your emotions. You might 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 stressful on many levels, and identifying a strong network of support is a must. Speak regularly with a trusted friend or family member, counselor, or spiritual guide.
Explore couples therapy. A professional marriage counselor can be helpful to both of you individually and as a couple. You will 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.
Take care of YOU. If you think of self-care as selfish, think again. Taking care of yourself empowers you to take better care of your spouse. Carve out and prioritize time for pastimes you enjoy, socializing with friends and other family members, and stress-relieving activities: exercise, reading, journaling, listening to music, being outdoors.
Responsive Home Care 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 at (954) 486-6440 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 Fort Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, Hollywood, and the surrounding areas.