How you can maintain good communication and relieve tension in your relationship.
When people we love are sick and in pain, we want to wish them love and encouragement, offer support and motivate them to be hopeful. Unfortunately, our words aren’t always interpreted in the manner we intend. This is because people with chronic illness do not feel like everyone else and rather than feeling supported, they often feel misunderstood. Often times, the lack of communication can permanently affect relationships. And chronic pain, fatigue and other disease symptoms are stressful enough without the added stress created from tense relationships.
Here are five things to keep in mind when talking to loved ones living with chronic illness:
1. They need us to believe them.
Believe it or not, it is not uncommon for chronic illness sufferers to say that they were accused of faking or exaggerating symptoms. When they react to these accusations, they are seen as overly sensitive or believed to have misunderstood a situation. Even statements like “but you don’t look sick,” can strike a nerve because they imply that we do not believe the person. When a chronically ill person says she is hurting or feeling extremely tired, she needs us to believe she is telling the truth.