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As a carer, you are likely to experience a wide range of emotions when caring. Many carers who speak to us say that caring can be extremely rewarding – but it can also be challenging. You may experience many different emotions, and one of the toughest ones to deal with is guilt.

In this video, Dr Joanna Griffin a Parent Carer and Counselling Psychologist, and author of Day by Day: Emotional Wellbeing in Parents of Disabled Children, speaks in detail about what guilt is, why carers might feel guilt from time to time, and how you can manage it.

During the video, Joanna draws on her experience as a parent carer however the information is relevant for carers who do not care for disabled children.

Many thanks to Dr. Joanna Griffin for sharing her time and expertise.


Managing guilt as a carer

Exploring feelings of guilt 

We are often our own worst critics. You may feel that you should be doing more, or doing something better, in terms of your actual caring role. Then you might feel guilty because in your eyes perhaps you "aren't doing a good enough job".  

Take a step back and remind yourself that you are only human and nobody is perfect – it is likely that you are underestimating the good qualities you possess.  

If you struggle to see your own qualities, you could ask a good friend or relative to list what they value in you. Developing good self-esteem can be a strong foundation for building the emotional resilience necessary to cope with the challenges of caring. 

In some situations, the person you are caring for may also feel guilty. This can sometimes lead to people expressing themselves in exasperated or hurtful ways. It could be helpful to consider the root cause of why someone might be coming across as unreasonable. Perhaps they are frustrated that they no longer feel as independent as they were. It is possible they feel guilty if they see themselves as a ‘burden’ or they see the affect caring for them has on your life. It is possible to see how this might trigger feelings of resentment on both sides. 

Exploring feelings of resentment 

Feelings of resentment do not define you or make you a bad person or carer. These feelings are natural and are commonly expressed among carers. You may miss your own sense of independence or wish you had more time for you and feel resentful that often time is taken up with caring matters. The person you are caring for may not always seem to appreciate or recognise what you are doing for them. 

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