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Coping with guilt and resentment

Caring for someone can be very rewarding and can bring you closer together, but it can also be challenging and sometimes upsetting.

Many carers can all too easily get caught in a cycle of resentment and guilt – resentful that their life is no longer their own, and guilty for feeling like this.

It is important to acknowledge these feelings and not bottle them up. It’s also important to make sure that you look after yourself. This page contains information to help you think about your feelings and suggests ways to get the support you need.


Your feelings

Resentment

It is normal to feel resentful that your life is not perhaps the one you imagined. Perhaps your relationship with the person you care for has changed and you miss how it used to be. The person you are caring for may not always seem to appreciate what you are doing for them. You are bound to be affected by this.

Guilt

You may feel that you should be doing more, or doing something better, in terms of your actual caring role. Then you feel guilty because you "aren't doing a good job". Remember too that in some situations the person you are caring for may also feel guilty. It is possible they feel guilty about being a "burden" or they see the affect caring has on your life.

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Supporting yourself

There are a few ways you can support yourself. It's important to find time to rest and energise, even if it’s going for a walk, listening to music or watching a favourite film. Visit our looking after your health and getting care and support sections may help you consider ways to make time for yourself.

The important thing is not to push those feelings away – it is important to allow yourself to feel these perfectly normal feelings and not get overwhelmed with guilt.  

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Help from others

Talk about it to the person you are caring for or to someone else that you trust. If you can, talk to your friends and family. Let them know how you are managing and ask them for their support and help.

If you don't feel able to share these feelings with friends and family, talking to other carers can help. They will be familiar with what you are going through and may be able to suggest solutions that have worked for them. Do you know someone who has been a carer? Is there a carers' group nearby?

Can you join an online carers' discussion forum? Talking to others about it will help give some context to how you feel so the feelings don’t get built up out of proportion. The Carers UK forum is a place where you can share what's on your mind, day and night. YOu can talk about real issues with people who understand and who can support you through everything caring has to throw at you.

You could also talk to your GP. They may be able to refer you to a counselling service, or give you information about local support groups, as could your local social services who may also be able to provide a sitting or break service so you can have some time to yourself.

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