Anger After Feelings of Unfairness

 When one is a caregiver ‘making it right’ is different from actually changing the situation that is unfair into one that is fair.

I wondered,

“How does one deal with the anger that can happen in a patient/caregiver relationship when feeling like life isn’t fair?”

For years, I have simply set that question down and believed it was not able to be answered. I thought, “Everybody knows life is unfair and bad things happen to good people etc. etc.”

I have now begun to approach this question differently. I recognize that anger is an emotion that can be important to feel for many reasons and also that minimizing my feelings, even if they are uncomfortable to me is NOT the way to freedom.

Dr. Harriet Lerner says, “What is our anger telling us?

*Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right.

*Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self–our beliefs, values, desires, or ambitions–is being compromised in a relationship.

*Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give.

*Or our anger may tell us that others are doing too much for us, at the expense of our own competence and growth.

Just as physical pain tells us to take our hand off the hot stove, the pain of our anger may preserve the very dignity and integrity of our self.


My Ayurvedic doctor and friend, from Pune, India gave me a check up recently and he recommended that I release anger that he could feel I was holding by writing it into a notebook only for my own eyes, and after expressing those feelings to let them wash out of me.

I have been doing this every morning for several weeks now and it has been amazing to me what I have expressed. I am not overall an angry person but being a caregiver, and especially when this role was nothing that ever interested me and only something that an unexpected disease and my love for my husband would ever in a million years make me do, is a role that is deeply unfair. Especially when this role has now used 20 years of my life.

As a note, after I write in my anger notebook I always do a gratitude writing, not to minimize my anger but as a balance for beginning my day and remembering the very many blessings in my life, including being Andy’s caregiver.

Susan Rosenthal explains, “Anger is an instinctive, automatic, and necessary response to unfairness. Anger alerts us that something is wrong and supplies the energy to make it right.

 When one is a caregiver ‘making it right’ is different from actually changing the situation that is unfair into one that is fair.

My anger notebook is an experiment to see if I am able to wash away my anger and continue living in an unfair situation. I hope it works.

I will keep you all posted!

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