Topics: Couples, Family, Mental Health
We can understand resentment as a mixture of feelings of frustration, anger, envy, and sadness. This emotion can surface when we feel things are unfair or unjust, or if we fail to set boundaries, or we feel let down. It is usually not a single event but multiple events that build up over time. Resentment can make us feel ill about something that we think is wrong. Resentment can be an individual or shared experience. It is a complex emotion that can be shaped by and shape other negative feelings like loneliness, fear, grief, etc.
PSP family members might feel resentment toward the PSP’s job requirements such as shiftwork or unscheduled overtime. PSP’s work is usually less flexible than typical jobs. Rotating and unpredictable shifts have to be accommodated. There could be resentment over the camaraderie/companionship the PSP has with coworkers. PSP family members have reported feeling resentment when the PSP job is prioritized and seems to be more important than family.
Resentment could result in:
- a lack of physical and emotional support
- emotional unavailability
- reduced communication
- lack of understanding
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- SSOs may give up their careers or reduce hours to manage the home because the PSP’s work schedule and time at home is so unpredictable. The PSP career may be given priority over the SSO career.
- Household tasks including childcare and eldercare may primarily be the responsibility of SSOs.
- SSOs may be left to shift plans and schedules and pick up the slack when there is a unexpected schedule change (e.g., overtime or call-ins).
- Explaining a sudden absence of the PSP family member to friends and family and dealing with disappointment can be difficult.
- Work and home transitions can be challenging. SSOs may try to keep children quiet and allow PSP time to recover from a shift when they are experiencing stress and fatigue themselves.
- SSOs may feel that the sacrifices they make and the responsibilities they take on are expected and taken for granted. It can be frustrating if their contributions are not valued or recognized.
PSP families have identified the many ways that the unpredictability of PSP work interferes with family life.
Over the years these experiences become ‘normal’ parts of daily life for PSP families. SSOs and other family members are expected to adapt. But, over time, with many changes and disruptions, SSOs can feel that they are taken for granted and ‘the job’ is more important.
Many PSP families understand, and many accept the risks and requirements of the job. However, the constant nature of the disruptions can pile up and become more than families can manage. The seemingly endless demands and the lack of recognition for the role of family members can be frustrating. Families feel resentment toward ‘the job’ which is central to tensions and conflicts that arise.
References for this page (click to expand)
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