Overcoming resentment, exhaustion and feeling stuck

Living the #expatlife can be exhilarating and fulfilling, but it also comes with its own set of challenges, especially for the parent left behind when a partner frequently travels for work. In episode #40 of “Holding the Fort Abroad,” I delve into three major dangers that often lurk for parents in this situation: exhaustion, feeling stuck, and resentment. Let’s explore these challenges and some strategies to overcome them.


I call it the Silent Struggle, the overwhelming nature of exhaustion that accompanies the responsibility of holding down the fort while a partner is away. The thing is, it can creep up on us. Juggling parenting, household chores, and possibly a career can lead to mental and physical exhaustion. Listen to HTFA Episode 11 where I share what I learned after my burnout. I thought I was doing so well at the time. And I was. A cumulation of stressors and constantly living too close to my energy limit meant that I collapsed. The toll of continuous stress and the absence of a partner can deeply impact one’s energy levels and overall well-being. It’s crucial to acknowledge and address this exhaustion to prevent burnout and other adverse health effects.

Strategies for Combatting Exhaustion: I provide practical strategies for combating exhaustion, such as delegating tasks, identifying time-consuming activities, and seeking external help. ‘Normal’ levels of self-care are not going to cut it in this lifestyle. Tracking your sleep (with a smartwatch), your hormonal balance with the help of an integrative medical doctor for example, and developing a support system reflects an understanding of the complexities of managing an expat lifestyle alone.

Listen to HTFA Episode #28 How to conquer stress with a holistic approach

Feeling Stuck and Rediscovering Purpose and Passion

The feeling of being stuck, whether in one’s career or personal aspirations is a common sentiment among those holding the fort abroad. If you are a spouse who does not work outside the home, you will not have the benefit of an annual appraisal, with opportunities for training offered by a hiring company. Time to be your own manager! Invest in your personal growth and future prospects, explore your passions and purpose beyond the challenges of the present moment. Start small, expand gradually, and eliminate non-fulfilling activities resonates with the idea of taking proactive steps toward personal and professional fulfilment. Plant SEEDS

Overcoming Resentment: A Journey to Self-Rediscovery

Resentment can be a debilitating emotion, especially when it stems from feeling confined in an expat lifestyle while watching a partner thrive in their career. I have struggled with these feelings myself. Dr. Carolyn Leaf is a neuroscientist. Her insights provide a powerful approach to managing resentment through reflection, re-evaluation, and positive reframing. Listen to her Podcast 272: Why we shouldn’t (& can’t) “forgive & forget”

Empowerment Through Communication and Support:  I urge you to acknowledge those feelings of resentment and to seek support and engage in constructive dialogue with your partner, fostering a conducive environment for understanding and collaborative problem-solving.

Building Resilience and Embracing Growth

My aim through this episode is to bring hope, that if you feel stuck, resentful, and/or exhausted, there is a path out that will lead to a fulfilling life. One step at a time. Remember wherever you are, wherever your partner is. You are not alone.

Take the quiz on my website (www.rhodabangerter.com) to find out how your fort is holding up.


Rhoda Bangerter

Rhoda Bangerter is a coach who has lived abroad with a travelling husband for over 16 years. She helps home based mums and dads live an intentional life and build family togetherness even when their partner is away a lot for work.

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