In the purest of sense, though others do not really understand or judge the physical pain of others, those who live with pain are conscientious of the profound impact it has on themselves and their loved ones. Chronic pain is called a ‘quintessential solitary experience.’ This applies naturally to any severe disease. In her memoir on the journey to cancer of her mother, Betty Rollin writes, “Disease can have a direct impact only on one family member but shrapnel tears others’ flesh.”
Pain and Couples
For two reasons, the effect of chronic pain (or other longer-term relationships) on marital relations is likely to be the deepest:
1. Spouses often spend more time with each other than with anybody else, so only daily contact has a significant effect;
2. The deep feelings of partners (both good and bad) each other contribute to the important effect disease has on marriage.
Spouses are many ways affected, and many ways they react if they are painful or someone they love. Although it is not possible to comment specifically on any relationship between a couple in an article like this, it is important to consider three important factors in chronic pain in a partner.
1. The frequency and intensity of the pain and the degree of disability have a significant impact on the relationship. Someone with sometimes severe headaches can normally function most of the time and can have minimal impact on the spousal relation. If you have serious fibromyalgia symptoms and can not work, you will notice that your pain will have a more important influence on your marriage.
2. There are, of course, a range of ways in which both the painful person and the wife deal with the situation. Research showed that behavior patterns frequently affect marriage and family dynamics for both partners positively or negatively.
3. It should also be considered what each wife has and has expectations of the relationship and any previous experience in dealing with chronic disease.
All this will probably influence how couples react as part of their relationship to living with chronic pain.
The more disabled the person becomes, the greater the impact the spousal relationship will have on the family in general. That is why chronic pain and fibromyalgia therapy is so functional. (The physiatrists, physicians who specialize in physics and rehabilitation, routinely remind us to ‘focus on work’ during my medical training)
The reasoning is that, despite suffering, if someone works well, his or her life will be much more satisfying.
Pain and Intimacy
Chronic pain has a significant impact on the ability of people to remain intimate and sexually active. For the painful person and the partner of the well, this is a problem. While intimacy means something different for everyone, it goes far beyond sex. Intimacy is the relationship between couples – physically and emotionally. Sexuality can include particular looks that pairs give each other, verbal communication, caresses and ultimately sex itself.
Mary Romano described female sexuality in the late respected social worker as follows:
“Sexuality is more than an act of sex. (Note: This definition is equally applicable to male sexuality) It included
The business of dealing [people] in a whole with a different person; the tenderness, the desire for giving as well as for taking, the compliments, casual caresses, reciprocal concerns, tolerance, forms of communication, which include and go beyond the meaning of words.
Several studies have shown that most persons with chronic pain report have decreased their sexual interest and pleasure. Some studies report significant decrease or elimination of sexual activity in more than 80 percent of patients and spouses. The reasons are different and may be due to lack of information on the relationship between chronic pain and intimacy. Many people , for example, may not engage in relationships because they fear their pain will get worse. Studies , however , show the contrary. Research shows that relationships are often followed by a pain relief for several hours.
Intimacy is a valuable and valued part of its relationship with its partner for most individuals. This sharing and proximity often goes along the path in chronic painful couples. It is important to explore the reasons behind this loss of intimacy in order to help recover this special part of a relationship. You can sometimes do so by openly chatting with your loved one. Other times, couples find that the guidance of mental health professionals who are experienced in couples and sex-related problems solve intimacy problems (for example, psychologists).
Parents who want to protect their children may fall into dishonesty inadvertently.
Effect on Children
A parent’s disease can bring difficulties and crises to the family; but it is good ways of helping children cope. Although most parents understand that they should be open and honest with their children, they may be not sure what to tell them or how much to do – how to explain confusing diagnoses like fibromyalgia, technical medical terms such as trigger point and the abstract concept of chronic pain for young children.
Parents who want to protect their children may fall into dishonesty inadvertently. Note that they will figure it out, whether or not you’re true to your kids. The problem is that what they find themselves will probably not reflect the real situation accurately. We sometimes allow all of us to run away from our imaginations, but children with a limited world understanding really can’t put things in the right perspective without parental guidance.
You may imagine that you are dying if you have fibromyalgia and have not spoken with the children. You could wonder if your children carry this thought a little further, if they are being abandoned for adoption. You may think your pain is their fault and it could be theirs too. Your kids may feel tension between you and your wife and expect you to receive a divorce. Or, they just feel a sense of dread and can’t make any firm findings. In any case, it is certainly better to have a true debate with them than to allow them to reach their own conclusions.
What Your Children Need to Know
The following should at least be said to every child:
1. Your condition ‘s name. The name of the condition you best describe should be told to all children.
2. Why you’ve got the issue. You should explain why you have pain to your kids. Tell you that fibromyalgia is not contagious, and you have this condition not because of your fault, your fault or the fault of anybody else. If you don’t understand or have no clear answers to things, tell them this as well.
3. Details about what is now and, in the future, expected to happen. Explain that you get your doctor’s help, but maybe you will have to live long, or even forever with it, but try new treatments that you hope will help. Explain the side effects if there are noticeable.
4. How it affects your moods and participation skills. Children must know what parents can expect. Tell your kids what they can and can’t do – especially when it comes to family routines and special occasions. Let your children know that, despite spending time at your doctor or dealing with pain in another manner, your love and devotion to them is unchangeable. Explain that your mood is not their fault and you work for emotional stability. Stress that, despite your condition, you are still their parent.
Depending on their age, maturity and the ability to see the explanation they need to know about the details. Thus, even if you are always honest and open with them, your specific information will depend on what you think you are prepared to hear.
Although the symptoms of your illness are experienced alone, your loved ones will be on this journey with you. You need as much as ever your love, devotion and honesty. The quality of their lives is no longer characterized by the intensity of pain for the vast majority of those who live with chronic pain, but rather by how they can act despite their pain.
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