Almost a year ago my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Metastatic melanoma. He’s been enrolled in several clinical trials that call for different types of immunotherapy treatments. Nothing has been the golden ticket, and his tumors continue to grow. As does his anger. I moved home in March, once COVID hit to help around the house. I’m 35 and I’m happy to be home near him and my mom, and employed with a company that allows me to work remotely from their house. My dad has always had a short temper, I remember it from childhood. He’s always had difficulty expressing his love for the family, but we all know that he does, deeply. He is not a monster, cancer is. But knowing that isn’t helping me deal with his anger these days. Throughout this last year his anger has worsened; his temper has shortened and I feel like I walk on egg shells daily. I’ve gotten to the end of my rope where I avoid conversations with him, or time alone with him, as to avoid confrontation. Even the anticipation of confrontation causes me to seclude myself -or at least it did at first. Now I’m responding to anger and conflict with more anger and conflict. I feel like each time my dad gets in a mood and criticizes us, I turn around and throw it right back at him and it initiates a very big fight. And I keep holding onto resentment towards him that HE is causing me to act like this. I’ve brought it up many times (as has my mom) that his tone, his words and his attitude are negative and make us feel belittled, unvalued and taken for granted. He will change his behavior slightly for a few days but then go back to the old ways shortly after. I find myself so angry now, just waiting for him to say something mean and I’ll unload a mouthful of hurtful things. Like a retaliatory attack. I know this is unhealthy, and I know I’m going to look back on this and be so upset and sad that I had all these bad feelings toward my dad. But how can I work through this!? It’s controlling me. Each time I yell back I end up crying in my room and wondering who is this person that’s fighting hurt with more hurt? It’s not me! My rational brain and my emotional brain are not talking to each other. I feel like my emotions are calling all the shots these days. Does anybody have advice for how to work through this anger; both from his side as the patient and the anger my mother, sister and I feel as caregivers? I am concerned it’s stripping away my compassion and turning me into a pill-pusher/car-driver/errand-runner and not a loving daughter.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.