Toxic Relationships and Chronic Illness

Living with chronic illness means minimizing the things in your life that make your symptoms worse.  Sometimes, it might mean eliminating people, especially if they stand in the way your happiness.  Other times, it means recognizing the ways in which you can minimize the effect of toxic people on your health and your life.

Generally speaking, a person’s actions are toxic to your health if their behavior makes you feel bad and/or sick on a regular basis.  Patterns of toxic behavior that are bad for your health include:

  • Intimidating you by yelling or being violent in any manner;
  • Consistently putting you down and sending a message that he or she is better than you.
  • Regularly telling you what he or she feels is wrong about you.
  • Gossiping about you behind your back.
  • Spending too much time complaining about others, his or her life, or you.
  • Attempting to take advantage of your kindness.
  • Making you feel guilty if you don’t do what he or she wants or expects.
  • Making you prove yourself often. Healthy relationships are give and take. But if you are doing all the giving, you jeopardize your health and happiness. Learn to put your foot down and don’t excuse toxic behavior.   You deserve to surround yourself with people who love and accept you and who make your life easier by simply being in it.
  • How do you preserve your health after you have identified people who are toxic to your health? The answer depends on the relationship that person plays in your life. In some cases, it is not possible to remove these people from your life but you can find ways to deal with these people without hurting your health.

Read more about managing toxic relationships at: 

Maintaining Relationships with Chronic Illness

Friendships and other relationships drastically change once you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness.  You probably are no longer physically able to spend as much time with friends as you used to, especially when most of the activities you participated in before were tiring. As a results, friends that never made a huge effort in your life before quickly stopping keeping in touch. This is because those friendships suddenly required more effort and for those people to actually be proactive, by picking up the phone or coming over, for example.

It is a painful process of losing people but the more your health worsens, the more people you lose.   But you also get to choose which relationships to end as well.  Some people weren’t the greatest friends to start with and being sick has allowed you to see your life through a new and different perspective.

You now choose a calm, positive and healthy environment where stress is at a minimum rather than dealing with trivial events, petty concerns and fake people. You are trying to create a healthy lifestyle despite the suffering that chronic illness and pain has brought to your life.  And that means being proactive about who you surround yourself with.

Remember this is your life.  You are the one is who is sick and it is up to you to shape relationships in the way that works for your health and to control the factors that you can control.  Cherish the people that stick around and stop by to help out and who keep inviting you even though you decline their invites.

For the people who stick around, it definitely isn’t easy and there are expectations of all parties involved.  And chronic illness means continuous change so loved ones need our help in how to best help and what expectations we have.

Read more about taking the responsibility to stay connected with chronic illness at:

Overcoming Arthritis in the Bedroom

Communication and changing habits are keys to bolstering intimacy.

Overcoming Arthritis in the Bedroom

Sex is a hot topic and it is also a taboo topic. Whether you are talking freely among friends or for educational purpose, there will be controversy. As it pertains to arthritis, many of you have found yourselves wondering whether arthritis and sex can even go together, but it is not a topic you want to be open about. In general, people do not want to discuss what goes on behind closed doors. Even couples in meaningful relationships can relate to this as they hide their feelings from one another.

What is Intimacy?

What does intimacy requires and include? Ideally, it includes love. It can also include romance. Two additional critical components are mood and setting. Last, intimacy includes the act, with positions and physical attributes. In addition to the requirements of intimacy, we can also look to why intimacy fails and why breakups and failed relationships occur. In looking at the reasons for failure, we find challenges to successful relationships and that once successful relationships can fail. Moreover, when we consider the reasons for failure, we often forget that in addition to emotional factors, physical factors can play a part in the success or failure of a relationship. Emotional factors are a given, as are intimacy issues. Physical factors can include arthritis and chronic pain conditions.

Intimacy and Arthritis

The problems faced by arthritis sufferers are both emotional and physical. Emotional factors include self-doubt and poor body image. Physical factors include joint pain and other symptoms that are characteristic of a person’s specific arthritis condition. These concerns not only affect the patient, but they also affect that person’s partner as well. Barriers include physical pain, the inability to perform because of joint pain or other symptoms, expectations and personal needs — both sexual and emotional. This complete consensus can have strong complications in a relationship.