If you care for a partner or a relative, you are likely to feel a wide range of emotional responses as you deal with your individual situation. Caring for someone can be very rewarding, but it is also hard work, stressful and sometimes isolating.
Some of the emotions that arise such as grief may be healthy responses and can be useful for example to move forward. But other emotions such as guilt can be destructive leaving us feeling powerless or trapped. Guilt can be a tiring emotion, consuming energy that you require for other tasks.
Are you coping?
You might think that other carers are coping better than you are.
You may feel guilty because you haven’t matched up to your own expectations and the expectations you believe other people have of you.
Thoughts you may be having about the person you are caring for.
At times you may have negative feelings toward the person you are caring for. You may feel embarrassed or disgusted by their behaviour and sometimes you may want to walk away from your responsibilities. If you feel angry and frustrated, you may occasionally have angry outbursts against the person you are caring for and many carers find it difficult to forgive themselves in this situation. If you are experiencing feelings similar to these, it is important that you seek help and support to be able to cope.
The site below offers a confidential helpline and access to peer support groups:
The site also provides concise information on the following subjects:
Time for yourself
You may feel guilty about wanting time for yourself. Perhaps you still enjoy things you used to share with the person you are caring for and that could make you feel disloyal. For many carers looking after someone else is just one responsibility alongside many others, such as looking after their own family or having a job. It is easy to feel guilty if you don’t feel you are giving enough time and attention to either the person you are caring for or your own family, job or personal life. This can lead to feelings of being trapped. It is important to have time for your own health and wellbeing , and you may find the following information on our website helpful.
As a carer you are entitled to support through either replacement care, respite care or a care break. This varies according to your local authority and is subject to a community care assessment for the person you care for. It is also important that you have a carer’s assessment to ensure you get the level of support you need as well as for the person you are caring for.
Moving into residential care
Carers can feel that moving the person they care for into a home is the ultimate betrayal. You might feel you have let the person down or that you should have coped for longer. It may be that you have previously promised the person that you would always look after them at home, and now you feel you are breaking this promise. Whatever the circumstances leading up to this difficult decision, you may find it helpful to speak to the professionals who support the care package and discuss any concerns on the confidential helpline or support network on the above NHS link.
After a person’s death
Some carers say that when the person they cared for dies, they initially feel a sense of relief and they feel ashamed or shocked that they have these feelings. These are normal feelings and common reactions but these issues are not easy to overcome.
If you feel you or someone else you know is struggling with guilt, it is important that you/they talk to someone to help address the issues and find ways to develop a more positive attitude as well as hopefully forgive themselves for these feelings.