27 Feb Relationship Management for Those In Chronic Pain
How do you deal with a friend of yours or a member of the family who is suffering from chronic pain?
First of all, this is an enormous issue with a large number of concerns and debatable solutions to each one of them. There are no perfect solutions for dealing with someone else who is in chronic pain. There are no one-size-fits-all answers and on response could work one day and fall flat the next. Relationships are tricky, and they are made even more confusing when chronic pain comes into the picture. As such, we will be addressing this issue in many forms in this blog.
While there are no easy answers, there are some key starting points that apply across the board. These include items like honesty and open communication. This means that it does no good to keep secrets that only make dealing with an issue all the more confusing.
These two rules of thumb only go double for dealing with children in the house. There is information that is toned down for children, but that doesn’t mean changing the facts. Children know when you are being evasive – or they sense it, which only causes them to worry more.
Children are also very quick to notice behavior changes, so don’t think you can sneak around and not have your children notice something is wrong. Further, if you keep secrets instead of protecting your children from harm, you are simply teaching them to keep secrets. Communication goes both ways. You want your children to be open with you and the only way to teach that is to be open with them.
Here are some tips for dealing with loved ones when it comes to chronic pain. This list will be relevant to both the person in pain and their friends or family members.
Develop ways to improve your communication skills about emotions. Use emotional words (anger, frustration, stress, nervous, scared, happy) and emotional metaphors (“I feel like a broken toy.”) Whatever you can do to convey feelings will be important. Remember, it’s much more constructive to discuss emotions than act on them.
Develop and support the ability for family members and yourself to use “I” statements attached to your emotional state. This simply works by saying, “I feel ______.” To build up confidence in “I” statements, start by demonstrating them yourself. When someone else uses an “I” statement to tell you how they feel, do not react negatively or in a judgmental fashion.
You should feel free to discuss your feelings openly, but it also helps to develop short cuts to defining how you feel. People, in general, repeat themselves often, and it’s very frustrating to try to convince others that you are in pain when you have no visible injury. In short, people in pain develop a habit of complaining, while others around them develop a habit of not listening. Short cuts can help. Instead of going on and on about how much pain you are in, call out the number “Seven,” if your pain is at that level. Or call out “two” if your pain is mild. This way you cut out the endless complaining nobody listens to anyway, which only builds up resentment and frustration.
Look to this blog for more communication hints and articles on relationship management for people in chronic pain.
The experts at Sorrento Valley Pain Relief Center in San Diego can help you devise a long-term strategy for pain mitigation. Call 858-404-5944 for help as soon as possible.