CSN Login
Members Online: 6

You are here

oh my goodness, the anger :(

Posts: 124
Joined: Mar 2011

I just came to work from my aunt's home, I've been there this time since last Thursday. I just don't ....well, I do and I don't, understand all of the anger. Mostly she is mad at my uncle (he passed in May of this year) but she also always complains about "us" meaning me and two siblings who have been there for and with her trying to help. If we clean, she tells us to sit down, if we're sitting she says we never do anything, when we do anything it's wrong. It's not her complaining that bothers me, it's the severe anger. She bangs her fists on the table and screams and yells about things out of the blue that could have happened weeks, months and yeah, even years ago. She yells, hits the table, throws things. She had me help her clear off a long buffet because she wanted to dust it, then when she turned around and saw all the stuff from the buffet on the table she started yelling and screaming about that (and she put most of it on the table!!).

Now, I'm not a kid, I'm 53 and I know that cancer has to be mentally as well as physically hard to come to terms with but I do not understand the anger that usually seems directed at those who try to help and be there for her the most and I do not understand the "seeming" ungratefulness of all that we do for her (meaning that she constantly complaines to me about things my brother has done yet she won't say anything to him and tells me not to because "he is trying". Now please keep in mine that 9 out of 10 times, she doesn't just complain, she screams and yells and pounds her fists on the table.

I love her dearly, and I want to be there as much as possible to help her with anything that she might need but mentally, it's already becoming very hard to deal with her anger and it's only been since February that we've known she has stage 4 colon cancer. I worry that we'll all get fed up with the abuse by the time things get worse and I worry that then, no one will want to help because I'm sure it's only going to get worse (the temper I mean...because I know her cancer is terminal).

No one really has to respond, I'm really just needing to vent, and I'm just very sad about this entire thing.

Thanks for reading and take care.


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3346
Joined: Jan 2010

You are wonderful to continue your care of your aunt.

It sounds as if you need to have conversation with her doctor. I think your aunt and all around her could be helped if she had some meds and perhaps counseling.

I understand she has had to deal with alot this year, but it is not good for her mental or physical health to be so angry.

Hope a solution can be found to give her, and you, some peace.


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Is she Italian? Her behavior sounds like most of my family;
it's a genetic thing....

You didn't say what meds she's taking, and that can have
a lot to do with it.

A dramatic mixture of emotions can be somewhat normal for
any cancer patient (with or without chemo), but usually not to
the extent you describe. A radical situation like that, can be
often attributed to chemical reactions within the body.

Although this would be a great spot for me to explain the
benefits of TCM to possibly resolve this issue, I won't. It
wouldn't be a bad idea to explore that, if you so desire,
but I'll leave you with that thought....

There are western medications that may be of help to control
"anger" and anxiety. Anxiety progresses to panic attacks fairly
quickly among most sufferers of anxiety. When animal or human
becomes "panicked", they go into a "fight or flee" mode.

If the reason for the "panic" can't be avoided, or escaped by
"fleeing", then the only way out is to fight the way out. That
equates to the expression of anger.

So, western meds to control anxiety can be of help in her case.
You should really discuss that with a physician before it gets too
far out of control.

TCM's herbal or acupuncture route also works without the
side effects of chemicals and drugs, but the western med chemicals
can work faster and might be more palatable to her; herbs don't
always taste too good (yuck), but pills are easy to swallow.

A chemical imbalance caused by a liver malfunction is the way
it's described in TCM. Western medicine treats the imbalance
by adding the chemicals that are said to be deficient, while TCM
energizes the organs in question to produce what is needed.

I can make my own choices, but it doesn't sound like your aunt
is in a good enough mood for any in-depth discussion about
drinking what might taste like vomit; the pills are as tasteless as
my last comment....

Anyway, try to find your way through this. Check with the
physician, and drag auntie into the office for a check-up after
explaining the condition to the physician without auntie present.

This will work out, it just takes some effort, some humor, and
perhaps a fifth of Bourbon.

Take care!


Posts: 124
Joined: Mar 2011

Hi everyone, thanks for the cheer, support, information and wishes. I truly appreciate all of your input since, man oh man do I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes.

Her meds are as follows:

Xeloda tablets, 2 tablets twice a day, days 1-14 (off of those on days 15-21)
Oxaliplatin IV day one
Avastin IV day one

repeat every 3 weeks for 6 cycles.

On 7/7 she had her second cycle started, meaning she went for the IV meds and also started on the Xeloda tablets again that same day.

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

I had some anger issues, while on chemo due to dex.
They halved the dose and I was calmer.
Just a thought, the steroids help with nausea but also have a lot of sideffects.

Regardless of the cause anger in another person is hard to deal with, your kindness iscommendable.


thingy45's picture
Posts: 633
Joined: Apr 2011

Dear Maianne,

So sorry to hear about the anger your aunt has to deal with. It is part of the grieving process when you loose someone to be angry. Youraunt lost her husband. Also she has to deal with her cancer. Because you are there she takes it out on you. She does need help from a professional to deal with all that. I hope you have the strength to see through her anger, although it is not easy.
I wish you strength and understanding.
hugs, Marjan

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009


Alot of times we taked it out on those closest to us, because we can't do it to our friends, co-workers, or

If we did, everybody would walk out of our lives - they simply would not take the abuse.

So we tend to vent our frustrations and anger on those providing care.

Hopefully the fist banging will stop and the yelling, and she'll get it out of her system and begin to come to grips with what she's facing. Otherwise, as you say, over time she will run you guys away except for the barest necessities.


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Hello dear, it may not be just her cancer state of mind, but possible early stage of dementia, or a mini stroke, all of which can change a personality, it could just be coincidence that it happens to be after she's started her treatment (same treatment I had, worked fabulous, but I didn't get angry with it) it is best to have her geriatric doctor take a look at her as well and run some tests, then if he thinks she's fine perhaps counseling.
Winter Marie

Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

Dementia? Alzheimer's?

Posts: 124
Joined: Mar 2011

normally I'd be quick to agree, but, she remembers everything, dates, social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses from her childhood, names, etc.

I tend to think it's maybe the fact that she's really just angry and maybe one of the cancer meds has enhanced that anger or something. I can't blame her for being angry with all that's happened to her since the beginning of the new year (her only son having stage 3 esophageal cancer -- found out early Jan 2011, her being diagnosed in Feb. 2011, her husband dying suddenly, May 2011) and then just having to deal with all that goes with someone close dying, and the cancer treatments and side effects. I know she's going through so much. It's just hard dealing with the anger directed toward those who don't deserve it, that's all.

I will see if she'll talk to her Dr. about the anger since it could very well be enhanced by the drugs she's on now. I just don't know.

Thanks so much for the input, comments and advice.


PamPam2's picture
Posts: 376
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi Marianne
You might also ask her doctor if your aunt is getting any steroids, they are often added to the IV chemo , I know they kept me very antsy, irritable and sleepless. Also anger like this can also be related to depression, and there are very specific antidepressants for this, you can google anger, depression and cancer and will find a lot of helpful information, or at least some ideas. Is there any way your aunt would join this site? Maybe having somewhere to vent and talk with others in her shoes would help her. And maybe some passport services, or getting some home health aids or homemakers to give you guys a break, and they are trained to deal with these problems, might help you guys and you aunt both. Hope a way is found for her to get a handle on this. Best of luck to you,

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Hi, Marianne.

I'm so sorry you are having to deal with all this anger. It sounds intense! If you can talk to her doctor, I think there might be some relief. He/she may be able to suggest counseling, offer some medication, or give you information about something she is taking that may be causing the behavior.

She is so lucky to have you and your siblings taking care of her. Praying she'll be able to express gratitude soon.


tanstaafl's picture
Posts: 1292
Joined: Oct 2010

Despite the various "conventional medicine" controversies, cancer often has a psychiatric - nutritional dimension. One can read numerous attacks on psychiatrists like Eric Braverman or Abram Hoffer about this, but from what I've seen, I can only figure their critics are corrupt, biased, ignorant or stupid.

Dealing with dementia and cancer cases, I've seen supplemented, strong nutrition combined with low dose lithium and low dose olanzapine (zyprexa) smooth things out terrifically after addressing thyroid, carb, endocrine issues and neurotransmitter amino acids, far beyond the pychiatrists' expectations with prescription dosages 3-4x higher. With a low carb diet, including lots of low carb veggies with colors, everyone was able to lose weight while on olanzapine, a drug notorious for large weight gain, and stop or avoid all the classic side effects of drugs such as lithium and olanzapine.

Posts: 457
Joined: Dec 2010

Oh I totally understand how you feel. I saw the other patient yelling at her sister when this lady brought the patient lunch during chemotherapy treatment at the cancer center. I have heard that those chemotherapy drugs will change a person's personality and they cannot control themselves to get angry. I once fight with my mum too...

Just try to understand that they don't do it on purpose helps me to calm down and sometimes ignore my mum's unreasonable behavior, although. I have to say, i am lucky that my mum behaves most of the time.

Please take good care of yourself,
Love Dora

Subscribe to Comments for "oh my goodness, the anger :("