North Carolina Social Security Disability Caregiver Challenge #3: Anger

August 5, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

It’s the dark side of being a caregiver for someone who needs North Carolina Social Security Disability. You feel angry about your obligations.

You wouldn’t necessarily admit this anger to anyone. Maybe you even have a tough time admitting the anger to yourself. But it’s there, lurking, and you can pick up on it from time to time as you go about your duties. Where does this anger come from? What does it mean? What can you do about it? And how might the answers to those questions impact your ability to provide good, compassionate, voluntary care for someone who needs North Carolina Social Security Disability?

Everyone’s answers to those questions will be different. Anger is often a mechanism by which the subconscious mind alerts you to the fact that certain fundamental needs are not being met.

For instance, let’s say that you are the caretaker for an 83-year-old man who has chronic kidney disease. One day, after his dialysis, he snaps at you for taking off a bandage too rapidly. He is not overly aggressive about it. But for whatever reason, this makes you literally seethe and boil with anger. What’s going on under the surface? Well, look deeper. Look inside you. Are you really angry about the request – or about the fact that he chastised you? What is the “thought behind the thought”?

Pay attention to your thought process, and draw it out. Maybe you had a reaction to the effect of, “I do so much for this guy already, and now he is yelling at me because I pulled his bandage! What is wrong with him? Can’t he see how hard I am working and how much I am trying to help him?” So that might be the thought behind the thought. Then ask yourself: What fundamental human need is going unmet?

In this case, maybe you need to relax or need to be appreciated or understood. All three of those needs are fundamental. So the anger really isn’t about a comment he made – it’s about the fact that you have these key needs that are not being met, because you are too busy performing your role as a caregiver.

Once you begin to think in terms of your underlying feelings and needs, you can begin to handle the anger that arises in your day to day care. First of all, this allows you to communicate your anger without putting blame, guilt, or shame someone else. For instance, you could say, “When you chastised me about the bandage, I felt angry, because my need for respect and appreciation was not met.” Instead of, “Can’t you see how hard I am working for you? What’s wrong with you???”

In other words, you take responsibility for your own feelings and needs. This way of approaching anger is empowering and resourceful, as opposed to disempowering and depressing.

If this philosophical approach to anger management resonates with you, consider exploring the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of a school of thought called Nonviolent Communication. You also might want to tap into the resources of a North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to help you deal with legal crises in your life or the life of the beneficiary for whom you are providing care.

More Web Resources:

Caretaker Anger

Marshall Rosenberg