Chapter 2: As care needs increase

Understanding anger

Where is the line for me? How much do I have left? How much longer can I do this? My main goal is to not “hit the wall” before he does.

When someone is not well, they sometimes take out their frustrations and anger on the person who is closest to them. Perhaps they feel it is a safe place to “just be themselves.” This is a difficult yet very common experience for caregivers.

It is important to recognize that anger is a natural and powerful emotion that impacts everyone in the situation. Part of responding is trying to understand the source of the anger and frustration. Some common reasons are listed below.

Lack of control

Hostility may feel hurtful and personal, but it may be more an expression of the fact that their world is upside down. They have experienced a number of losses and likely feel frustrated by a lack of control.


Another source of anger is underlying fear. It is often hard to talk about fear, so it may come out as verbal or physical outbursts.

Your responses

You may be experiencing a wide range of emotions yourself, which can affect how you respond.

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