Chronic pain can impact the life of not only the people suffering from it but also their loved ones. Here are some ways to identify and deal with the strain a chronic pain condition can place on your relationships with your partner, your children, and your friends.
People with chronic pain generally suffer associated complications in their relationships with their spouses or partners. An interesting statistic by the National Health Interview Survey revealed that the divorce rate among chronically ill patients is more than 75 percent.
The key to all your problems is communication. That doesn’t mean you give updates to your partner about your health all the time. Instead make a conscious effort to “take pain off the agenda”. You and your partner will want to spend quality time with each other, so try talking about things that make you feel good and not grumpy.
At times, the anger and frustration emerge when you are in pain and don’t get the expected attention from your partner or spouse. It may be because your spouse interprets your response to pain as “exaggeration” or even “acting childish”. It is difficult for them to understand the pain and feel what you are going through due to lack of knowledge or awareness of chronic pain. Going for marriage counseling with your spouse will help your spouse to get additional insight into to your condition.
It’s important to remember, chronic pain affects your partner’s personal and sexual life, as well as your own. It can be difficult to maintain intimacy in your relationship when you are in pain, but if you are able to anticipate when you are at your best it can help you to allocate time for love making. It will be useful to pre-plan and set aside this time. Try out new positions if you are uncomfortable with your desired one.
Another social strategy to help alleviate marital strain is to encourage your spouse or loved ones to spend more time socializing with his/her friends. If your energy is bogged down by your chronic pain disorder, leveraging your social network to provide a social outlet for your loved one can be a generous gesture. Another thing to consider – try practicing public appreciation of your loved one in front of you and their friends for all the care and attention they are giving you and how much it means to you. Appreciation goes a long way as it can motivate and continue to encourage your spouse, contributing to a healthy relationship.
With expensive pain medicines and other prescriptions for chronic pain, it becomes tough to manage finances. People with chronic pain can become even more stressed out because of this burden. This is commonly expressed as frustration, anxiety and anger and the common victims to vent their negative emotions are usually their spouse/partner. Financial problems can be calmly solved by consulting a financial advisor who can help you plan out your expenses and provide alternatives for your savings.
If your spouse is the one dealing with the daily household chores while maintaining a job to support finances, then you might want to lessen the burden by being productive and taking on some household tasks that you can handle. Don’t hesitate or feel awkward to run a few errands, as it will only help reduce the stress on your partner. You can start by performing small tasks when you are feeling better as this might prove to be a little workout for you as well.
The Solution: The best way to avoid frustration and anger is to think positive and remain motivated. You can read up on success stories on the internet or by joining groups on social networking sites. That way you are no longer feel like a lone wolf going it alone, and can get in-depth experience from other people battling this problem. Also, you can also express your problems too!
Oftentimes people suffering from a chronic pain disorder become unavailable for their children. This might be a terribly frustrating dilemma for both child and parent. For the children, it likely upsets them to see you sick or in pain, and as a parent, it will undoubtedly trouble you. Feelings of insecurity may arise when they compare you with other parent and the amount of time they are equipped to spend with their own children.
The Solution: Planning an activity or game with your children or taking them out when you feel up for it can make up for these gaps. Don’t promise or plan ahead on any activities because if you fail to keep up to their expectations, it might cause them to not trust you again
The impact on your family and friends is another relationship you need to begin managing differently. They are the ones w ho love you and want to see you happy. But it is disheartening for them to see you remain in a state of resentment due to your illness – this is likely to make them feel helpless and confused about how to help you.
The Solution: Try to call your family members or friends if you can’t pay a visit to them because of your illness. Don’t hesitate to take their help because they will likely be happy to support you. Also, you can make a surprise visit when you feel right, which would increase the excitement of sharing a good laugh and old memories. Studies have also indicated that laughter therapy can be a healthy distraction from the feeling of pain as it provides mental relaxation.
Dealing with chronic pain can be difficult and you may feel the need to be on your own. But you need to realize that there are other people who care about you and by staying close to them, it might actually help you to navigate this difficult journey.
To read more of our lifestyle posts on chronic pain, click here.