Growing up -- Family's attitude toward sickness??

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Juloo, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    This past week, I was blindsided by a cold passed on by my husband. We work together, and I had bullied him into staying home two days last week so he could rest and get better. This week, he actually sent me home from work two days. I'm very grateful that he did -- I slept almost all of both days and am feeling much better now.

    He asked me why I was so stubborn about going to work when I had told *him* to stay home. I really had to think about it. One reason, I think, is that I'm used to feeling bad, tired, or fatigued. That seems to be my 'normal'. I don't really have any frame of reference any more for knowing what 'great' feels like.

    Another reason is that, growing up, there wasn't much sympathy for sickness. My mom worked in a clinic, so she saw 'really sick' people all the time. Also, *she* worked full time, and there wasn't much choice back then for her to stay home to take care of someone. Add on to that the WASP-y suck-it-up-and-deal-with-it heritage from my mom's New England background, and there just was NO SICKNESS. At least, illness had a very narrow definition...cancer, loss of a limb, surgery, etc.

    That left me, as an adult, with not very much practice in being able to tell when I'd hit my limits and when was the appropriate point to throw in the towel. Also, my 'sicknesses' were never quite serious enough to deserve proper attention and energy. So, here I am as an adult (with adult-onset CFS) having conflicting feelings about asking for help.

    I've gotten help, and fought for it all the way, but whenever I get another short-of-patience physician or deal with a relative (my mother is deceased -- I can't even fathom what she would have thought) or acquaintance with little sympathy, I get flashbacks.

    Did anyone else get this message as a kid?
  2. vickiw

    vickiw Member


    The general message I always got regarding illness was to suck it up and go about your business. That's what my mom did and I guess I internalized that role model (she never told me to, I just imitated her).

    My grandpa, whom I idolized, was the same way. I never, ever heard him complain. Even after he had a stroke, I remember him showing me the exercises he made up for himself to get better.

    The end result is, that like you, I just never knew when to quit or even stop to rest.

    However, since I've been keeping a log of energy level versus activity level, I can see clearly how I've been pushing myself and what the results are. I feel dumb when I see how much sicker I've been making myself. The record keeping helped, because now I have a better handle on knowing where my limits are. Even my husband knows now, which is a HUGE help for those times I backslide and decide to "push through" the fatigue (old habits sure die hard).


    [This Message was Edited on 08/13/2005]
  3. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    in a military family, as I did, means you can unconsciously absorb a lot of the military's contempt for those who "can't take it."

    I've never been a complainer, whiner, or been one to moan with pain -- always been able to press on regardless of illness or fatigue.

    BUT I have to say that since getting FM I'm afraid I really have become one of those who can't take it. I still try not to moan, whine or complain -- but have had to learn to let others press on without me sometimes.

    Best wishes,
  4. 8bears

    8bears New Member

    In my growing up years my parents would not allow us to be sick, they would get mad at us, and they for sure did not want us home when we could be in school.

    Now my mother will not even admit that I have anyting wrong with me and my sister who has scloderma and fibro. The only one around allow to be sick is her, and she is so afraid that some one else will get attention she get mad if we say anything, we are all out of the home and she still acts the same way. Go figure. 8bears
  5. Krista47

    Krista47 New Member

    Oy Vey! All of your comments really hit home. It's sad that we had to go through that.

    I saw a movie once where 2 men were lost in the desert and the vultures were circling. One guy crawled over to the other and said, "this isn't a place where you want to let yourself get run down", (stating the obvious). It was funnier if you saw it. It explains the atmosphere I grew up in.

    I too have a difficult time pacing myself and catching things before they go too far. My husband says I've slowed down to his pace, so he doesn't mind at all. lol

    Take care,
    [This Message was Edited on 08/13/2005]
  6. CFIDSNicole

    CFIDSNicole New Member

    I was raised on a farm in the midwest. Everything you hear about the midwestern work ethic is true---you work hard and long hours to get the job done right. Nothing less than perfection is accepted. Naps are forbidden. Sleeping in is lazy. Be busy.

    That's how I was raised. So, CFIDS has been a real torture for me and completely incomprehensible for my family---they deny I am ill and think I am just looking for an excuse to stay home, not work, and be lazy. My dad has had several farm accidents, some pretty severe and he never let any of them slow him down; he even almost ended up in the hospital for a few days because of an increased infection because he refused to rest and keep his wound clean (instead he did a few hours on an IV). He's also had several knee surgeries and he doesn't let that slow him down, either.

    No matter what your background, having an invisible illness is hard on you and hard on friends and family.

    Wish it wasn't so,
  7. pgfnch2

    pgfnch2 New Member

    maybe that's what's wrong with all of us. We were raised to believe that nothing but the best was acceptable. Push and push and push yourself, no matter what, and never, ever be caught complaining or you would be considered weak, or were wanting sympathy. Always work hard and be successful, whatever the cost. We had to please our parents and our peers and everyone else, and never take thought of what we wanted or what was best for "us." If we failed, or were considered lazy, then might it reflect on our upbringing and "look bad."
  8. fahan

    fahan New Member

    no matter what! My parents was ashamed of any sickness as it was a disgrace and bad weakness in the family that

    would bring it dowm. In the process my whole family minulapated, connived, stole and this is just the tip of the iceburg from and about me.

    My God brought me out of bondage. My family is very jealous and is steady trying to interfere, I know it

    will not happen, for I am a child of God's,

    and I will no way be bothered in any such way, form or fashion.

    The "family" says they love you but only as long as they can control you.

    I think I know where you're comoing from and I hope you the best. fahan
  9. fahan

    fahan New Member

    about my " MoM'. Only she can be sick, she's a very good actress and will even play sixc to go to the hospital for attention.

    My older sister is also allowed to be sick as is the boys of the family.

    How about these toxic people are zippo out of my life as I will not allow them no more.
  10. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Thanks, everyone, for letting me know that I'm not the only one with a warped sense of limits. I think about my mom, and the fact that she probably grew up with the same message. It hurt her as well, and she over-extended herself on way too many occasions.

    Vilke -- I had to laugh re: growing up as the child of a doctor. A couple of months ago, I was in w/my son, who has a sinus infection. I told the PA that my son had caught some virus from his cousin a few weeks previous.

    The PA asked me if the cousin had gotten a diagnosis on what he'd had back then. I sort of laughed and said that no, the cousin's mother was a doctor, and she'd never take her kid in to be looked at.

    At this, the PA started laughing and said he totally got it -- *his* father was a doctor, too, and there had to be blood or a bone protruding to rate any real care.

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