how to handle family

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by fmman, Apr 5, 2003.

  1. fmman

    fmman New Member

    hi all, this is probably more of a vent than a question. My wife understands and is very supportive of my fm pain and limits but my parents are another situation. I'm off on disability and raising our 15 mos old son, my parents live nearby and are constantly telling me to get over it and put a smile on my face and telling me that I'm setting a bad example for my son. The insults go on and on. I need my mom's help sometimes with the baby and I don't want to alienate her but every visit basically leaves me in tears. Any suggestions? Thanks eh
  2. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    We live right in back of my husband's parents, and my father-in-law does not believe there is anything wrong with me.
    One day I was fed up and took him a foot high stack of medical articles I had saved on Fibro and handed them to him saying: "here are a whole lot of articles written by doctors about that illness you say doesn't exist. Do me a favor and read a couple of them before you spout off again." Then I walked out. A few days later he brought back the stack of articles and sheepishly, without looking me in the eye said: "gee, I guess there really is something wrong with you".
    He still does not really believe it, since once in a doctors office the nurse noticed his last name and asked if he was related to me. He said yes,and she asked him how my Fibro was doing, and he made the crazy sign with his fingers circling around the side of his head (I don't know how to describe it better). What he didn't know is that she is a friend of mine,and she called me and told me about it.
    However, giving him all that reading matter did have one effect. He never has confronted me about my illness or said anything to my face again, and it's been years now.
    Some people are so self-centered they just can't believe something is real unless they have experienced it personally,and he is one of those.
    Others are afraid, what I call the "there but for the grace of God go I" syndrome. They know it could be them who was ill, and can't face thinking about it. Your illness makes them confront their mortality, which is terrifying.
    Or, it could be that they are afraid for you, and worried about how you will support a child when your wife has to be the only bread winner. Rather than deal with it,they pretend it's not really happening. I have seen this again and again when I was working as a Psychiatric Social Worker, esp. with parents and kids. Parents are often blind when it comes to their kids, and will simply refuse to see anything they don't like.
    Whatever their reasons, it is their problem, not yours, and your primary goal should be to keep it from making you even sicker.
    I would suggest printing out all the answers you get to this post and giving it to them to read.
    I really empathize with you and feel for what you are going through.
    May God bless you with a solution.
  3. Hippo

    Hippo New Member

    I think Klutzo has some great ideas. I have had lots of problems with my in-laws, one time my FIL told my husband that I was a hypochondriac, and my husband told me. So I went over and had a long talk with FIL and he may still think I am a hypochondriac, but I have never heard about it again. My MIL is a real piece of work, in denial I think. After calling her to tell her that her son was divorcing me, she said, "Well at least you have your health." Go figure. People can be so hurtful. I wonder if they would do what they are doing if they knew how it broke our hearts.

  4. fmman

    fmman New Member

  5. marta

    marta New Member

    I guess you can tell from the icon I selected what I think of people who give us grief over our illness. And by grief I mean those who verbally deny that we're sick as well as those like my family who act as if not talking about it, ever, it will make it go away. Both attitudes suck.

    Now that I have THAT off my chest, I want to say that I've decided that reassurance and belief are wants but not needs for us. It's understandable that because we're ill and not feeling strong we badly want people to believe in us and give us emotional support. We very often need their physical help, too, as in EH's situation.

    But I think we should consider this: knowing the struggle we have finding medical support, could it be that our own doubt and/or guilt creeps in, regardless of how sick we feel? And could those negative feelings of our own (and maybe I'm just speaking here for my own occasional middle of the night thoughts) transmit themselves to others? (Oh no, you say. Bad enough I feel guilty about being sick; now I'm supposed to feel guilty about feeling guilty?!?)

    Not a bit of it! Head up, sick person! A POX on the disbelievers! We are worthy of whatever kind of help we need whenever we need it! And the sooner we know that deep inside where the guilt lies, the better. I suspect they'd respect us more for it, too.

    (This is funny. The icon didn't show up! I selected the little fanny wagging one. Maybe somebody's trying to tell me something. ;>)


    [This Message was Edited on 04/06/2003]
  6. layinglow

    layinglow New Member

    Thankgoodness your wife supports you, I too, have a wonderfully supportive mate, 4 children and 4 grandchildren, a sibling who supports me, and some die-hard friends who are always in my corner. Lastly a Doctor who is the creme of the crop, and my number one advocate.

    That being said, I feel so blessed, as I know so many on here are without any of those support systems in place.
    Now that I have painted such a rosey picture, I also have those in my life who are sure, that suddenly after 45 years, I have become a raving hypochondriac, or emotionally unstable. How they rationalize a very fit individual who seldom took an aspirin in almost a half century, and avoided doctors like the plague, suddenly doing a complete turn around, is beyond me. Nonetheless, they do.

    I find that all I can do is present them with the information, verbally, or as Klutzo suggested with written material. What they do with this information is entirely out of my hands. First and foremost with FM and CFS, I am not going to try to continue to persuade them of my illnesses. I have discovered that the stress of this ALWAYS increases my symptoms, and is just not worth it.
    Secondly, I have discovered it is usually an effort in futility.

    I have had those, that after spending some hours with me, suddenly "get it", when I cannot stand longer that 5 minutes with the Chronic Fatigue, and must sit and rest after brushing my hair, or have seen the pain, that must be endured. So sometimes spending more time with these "unbelievers", convincing them with out words, of the disabling life you are leading, can make them come around.

    But the bottom line can't push a rope.
    If a conversion takes place, and they become caring, and convinced, that is well and good. If not, bypass the stress---after all, your response to their opinion is the only thing you really have any control of in these types of relationships.

    Best wishes, LL