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Dealing with resentment

GazGaz Posts: 1

Hi Folks I’m new here so I’m not sure if the proper protocol. I’m experiencing resentment towards me from my wife. She has advanced endometrial cancer and is having chemotherapy and doesn’t have a great prognosis. She had a late diagnosis and delays to treatment. I understand how she feels but am finding it difficult to take her resentment towards me. Has anyone any advice please to help cope?

Comments

  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,173 Community Admin

    @Gaz

    Hi Gaz

    Thank you for getting in touch. I am so sorry to hear about your wife's cancer and prognosis. It must have been a terrible shock to receive her diagnosis and hear of the the delays to her treatment which may have affected her prognosis.

    We are very fortunate to have @KarinSieger who is a highly experienced cancer therapist in our group. I feel sure that she will be happy to chat to you about your situation.

    Personally, I am not qualified in any way, but I am happy to let you know about my own experience. I was diagnosed with inoperable cancer more than six months later than I should have been. I was filled with resentment, knowing that I might have been completely cured had the doctor (not my own) completed a routine check at my earlier visit. I coped with it pretty well at first, but I later became very depressed and my behaviour clearly affected my wife, perhaps more than she admitted at the time. Eventually, I sought help through MacMillan Cancer Support and they provided both of us with support and counselling which has been invaluable to us. I think that the rôle of carer to a loved one is very tough and they often do not get the credit and support they need and deserve. I wonder if your wife would be amenable to popping into the local MacMillan, just for a chat and see how it goes. My wife is now a volunteer with Jersey Hospice and they have a day centre where patients can visit to do crafts, painting, singing or just to chat and have a cuppa and biscuit. Another option perhaps.

    I am pleased you have found us. We are a friendly bunch and like to support and encourage each other in any way we can.

    Kind regards

    Rob

  • KarinSiegerKarinSieger Posts: 98 Emotional Wellbeing Advisor

    @Gaz @RobertA

    Hi Gaz, and thanks for the intro Rob.

    I am sorry to hear about what is happening - your wife's cancer diagnosis, how it is affecting her, the relationship and you.

    I am the resident cancer counsellor here. I work in the field, have been treated for cancer myself and have had family and friends affected by the illness.

    One thing that happens again and again and that is not talked about much is resentment and what I call "cancer anger". The person with cancer can feel it, as well as those around them. The nearest and dearest are often at the receiving end, because they are front line so to speak.

    Indeed, you too may feel angry and resentful - now or in the future - of the cancer, of your wife, about the unfairness of life ...

    While I cannot speak for your wife or you, let me put it in general terms.

    Cancer and other life-changing illnesses can make us angry and we then behave angrily towards others, even though they have done nothing wrong.

    The experience can also make us take a magnifying glass to areas we have been unhappy about before, and we get even more frustrated.

    Often at the bottom of it is fear and a sense of loss, esp loss of control and the life we had and hoped to have.

    Indeed, relatives and carers can also get angry - because their lives are also impacted and changed by the experience. "I have not signed up for this ..." It may sound harsh, but these may be thoughts that many have secretively.

    Relationships and friendships can experience a whole range of pressures and some break and end.

    It's really hard for both sides, because while we want to be there for each other, there are also things we have to work out for ourselves. It can make those without the cancer feel helpless. Indeed, some feel guilty for not being the one with the illness.

    I have written more about cancer anger, how cancer can affect family and friends and also recorded a 20 min podcasts about it.

    🎧Podcast What is cancer anger and how to cope

    🗓Article Cancer anger explained

    🎧Podcast The impact of cancer on relationships

    🗓Article The impact of cancer on family and friends

    Your wife may also find some of my cancer self help articles and episodes of my podcast series Cancer and You of use.

    You are doing the right thing by reaching out and your wife may want to do the same in her own time.

    Feel free to keep us posted.

    With best wishes.

    Karin

    Karin Sieger
    Psychotherapist | Cancer Counsellor  | Reg. MBACP (Accred)

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