Giving Up Resentments as a Caregiver
Posted: 12/18/2017 12:54 PM by
As caregiver to a family member, you may find that others have expectations of you that feel unrealistic or overwhelming. You may find yourself harboring resentments. The holidays are a particularly challenging time for overburdened caregivers.
So many of us struggle to give up our resentments, and yet we often find it to be a task that quickly becomes unmanageable. The following is a list of tools, which, in our experience, has helped people to give up or, at least temporarily, erase their resentments.
Follow these strategies, and you may actually find yourself unburdened, more satisfied in your close relationships, and able to devote your mind to more life affirming mental activities.
1. Identify HALT Signals
The HALT signals are when you feel:
When any of us are experiencing the discomfort or deprivation of a HALT signal, we are more vulnerable to obsessive ruminations about the resentments we carry around with us. If you find yourself unable to let go of obsessive thoughts of resentment, you need to evaluate if you are in a psychologically vulnerable state due to the above factors. Meet your needs for food, rest, companionship, etc. before even attempting to get some perspective about the activity in your brain.
2. Remember: Resentments are a Dead End.
There's no place to go with resentments, they can only affect us in a negative, time-wasting, anti-productive and painful manner.
Try writing down the ways in which resentments are a dead end for YOU. Keep these handy so that whenever you find yourself lost in resentments, you can refer to your list as a motivational tool to stop the negativity in your head.
3. Understand Forgiveness
Often, people believe that forgiving those whom we resent would be an act of generosity to those who have injured and hurt us. This is simply NOT TRUE. While we may not choose to forgive all resentments, those that we can should be forgiven as a gift to ourselves. We are the ones that will rest easier when we no longer have to harbor resentment against those who may have wronged us.
Evaluate how you benefited from the last time you experienced resentment. You will probably find that the resentment had absolutely zero benefit to you. Even if you are not prepared to forgive, you can act as if you have forgiven, making sure at the same time that you don't put yourself in a vulnerable position with this person again in the future.
Throughout the process keep reminding yourself: Forgiveness is a gift to ME, not to THEM.
Though you may have shouldered the responsibilities of being a caregiver gladly, it’s a tough job. Holding on to resentments can sap your energy and may even affect your health. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness this holiday season.