Resisting Resentment: Working Through the Anger on My Own
One of the many things I was not prepared to deal with after being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis was the resentment I would eventually have towards my friends and family members. The sad part was that there was nothing they could have done to prevent it; it was something that I had to work through on my own.
Instead of being happy for my family for being able to attend an event without me, I was angry. I didn’t want to hear about the fun they had while I was being held prisoner at home. My resentment grew and grew until I realized that they weren’t who I was really angry at.
Facing the truth
I had no right to resent my friends and family. It wasn’t their fault, nor should I have ever expected anyone to stop living their lives just because my own was changing. Instead of being angry at my husband for attending bible study without me, I realized that I should be thankful he went. The support he received from the group each week gave him strength to care for me.
While my chronic illnesses are a family affair, as in we had to learn to work together to make up for my limitations, they aren’t a reason for my husband or children to stop doing things without me. I thought back to my pre-chronic life. Was I jealous or bitter about them doing things without me then? NO. Why not? Because I chose not to go, where after becoming ill the choice had been taken from me.
A new attitude
After recognizing where my resentment was stemming from, I began making the conscious decision to support my family by encouraging them to live their lives. It wasn’t fair for me to expect their lives to come to a standstill every time mine does.
Prior to my new attitude, my family hesitated sharing the joy they experienced without me. They didn’t want to hurt my feelings or see me cry. You can imagine their surprise when I began asking about their outings, the first few times they looked at me like a deer in headlights.
Once they saw that I was genuinely happy for them, sharing details of their time away became a highlight for them and me. It truly warms my heart to know that my disease isn’t ruining everyone’s life. Do I still feel resentment? Yes, but not at my family or friends. It is not their fault; it is my body that is to blame.
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