OT: Eliminating stressors from your life;

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Bambi, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    Some of you have said you have eliminated people, places and things that made your FM worse or at least aggravated it. I'd love to know how you decided that it was "time" to let go of these things and what methods you used to decide.

    I have had a person who has been a reeal stress on my whole system for a very long time. It's not like letting go of a
    neighbor you've dealt with for a long time or even harder, a sister or someone related that is very difficult to avoid. It's much much harder than that.

    I lost all my friend support in 1997, the year my mother died. They were all women that I had known for a long long time and I'd eliminated all but the most tried and true as had they. One by one that year they all died of different but unexpected and awful reasons. I have a daughter who also has FM and lives nearby but between her job and husband and her health..I don't see her often. We email.

    I can't be totally alone because I have several health problems as many of us do. Some days I just can't do all I need to for myself. My FM pain was severe until I got proper pain control treatment but added to the Arthritis and several other painful things, pain control is good but not always adequate in case of flares etc..

    I only know that this person keeps me in
    a state of chaos mentally, it is ALWAYS something. There are many years under the bridge and many shared experiences. It would be a major upheaval emotionally and probably physically at least at first and the way I am, probably for a long time. I have NO one to bounce the whole story off of and I've been to therapy more than a few times, only to
    be told that with my health and age (58)
    I need to learn coping methods because
    realistically 'you're stuck'.

    I know this doesn't give examples of what I'm dealing with but it would take a book to do that. I'm not physically abused but I do feel emotionally abused by this person and also emotionally isolated. So just wanted to find out what steps you took to make such a serious and difficult decision as to cut off someone that has been a major life
    influence. Any ideas will be appreciated! Bambi
  2. getfitat40

    getfitat40 New Member

    My equation for eliminating toxic freindships is quite simple. I use a balance scale in my mind - when the 'work' or the 'dread' of a friend supercedes the 'benefits' or 'goodness' I sever ties or even more simply I listen to my gut!

    It is really hard but in the long run the health benefits outwiegh the sadness. We have little control over our DD but we do have some control our stressors. It sounds like this person is poisen to you and in my opinion (it is so hard to give any one this sort of issue because we are all so different.)

    I know that this is incredibly difficult but I can say that once I've severed the 2 most difficult relationships I really do feel better. I know how it feels to be emotionally isolated but keeping relationships that are not good for us aren't the answer.

    Good Luck....Nancy
  3. monkeykat

    monkeykat Member

    Hi bambi,
    I can relate. I had to let go of a number of long-term toxic relationships b/c they were making me sicker.

    You know what I did. I was housebound for a number of years and most of my family, friends and even my church abandoned me when i was at my worst. I felt scared to let go of the few relationships I did have. So I called around to churches in the area to see if anyone had someone who would counsel with me over the phone. I found a church who had a woman who was finishing up her counseling program and she said that she's be willing to counsel with me. It took a lot of courage to do this but it was worth it.

    Anyway, her counsel really helped me know what to do and what friendships were healthy and which ones weren't. She gave me lots of recommendations.

    So, this is something you can think of doing. Be bold and courageous and seek for someone you can talk to on a regular basis:) It may help a lot. It did for me.

    Take care, Monkeykat
  4. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    your suggestion is a good one. I did go for therapy for awhile a couple of years ago about this very problem. I saw a man who is a licensed "therapist" but not a "psychiatrist" or anyone who is allowed to prescribe medication..which I wasn't looking for anyway.

    He was a charming fellow, near my age and I even asked if he was a minister as he had that sort of personality and way of talking, as well as he did mention the scriptures often. He wasn't a minister however, just a nice man.

    Unfortunately his advice was that due to my health etc he felt I was "trapped" and the only thing I could do was "to come up with some ways to
    cope with the problems". He was certain that if I would stop any pain medications that would be the instant cure ("it must be your fault" is what I think he was thinking).

    I tried to explain to him that the problems existed long before any medication and that the severe retractable pain I'd had before was only making the problems worse. If I was back in that degree of pain I couldn't relate to any one at ALL any way. I wasn't sleeping for nights on end, was curled up in a ball of misery 98% of the time, had a very inflated constant pulse and my always low blood pressure had spiked from the pain. Getting rid of my medication was NOT the answer for sure. But he meant well and I knew it.

    But I will see if I can find someone that is a little more understanding of FM/Arthritis /Osteoporosis/RA /Raynauds/IBS/Asthma etc AND problems in relationships totally unrelated to those things. It's hard for some to
    realize that long before you were sick you had issues with someone else.

    After SO many years with someone, so
    many experiences good and bad and so
    many ups and downs in general ..nothing is more difficult than deciding if you REALLY would be
    better off without them or not. Even friends will have different opinions
    as they only see a relationship from
    the view they get and with some people the person might be a lot more
    loving, agreeable and easy to take than in front of other friends.

    All I know for SURE is that at 58 there isn't enough time ahead to live
    in stress and worry or disagreement.
    It makes our illnesses worse and life
    just plain hard to deal with. Thanks
  5. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    The biggest stressors in my life tend to be my relatives. Sometimes I get along with them fine. Other times (probably when they are more stressed) it's more difficult.

    I try to spend time with them when I am feeling up to it, they are in a good mood, and/or there seems to be an emergency situation that only I appear to be able to solve. The rest of the time I try to retreat. After my being sick for so long, they've started to understand my illness and by and large accept my limitations.

    That does not mean that it is never stressful, however.
  6. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    I can totally relate to your problem, I am LIVING with it right now.

    I personally can't decide what I want to do, but I know I have to do something to save myself.

    I have been married to my husband for 34 years, and he is having a horrible midlife crisis, its beyond belief. Before this we did pretty good, although we did have our disagreements, but for the last year and four months things have gotten to the point of something has got to give.

    Strangly, since all this started the FM pain has been way down, but I developed what the doctor called; 'Situational Depression', well I do not take any meds as most I am allergic too, and refused to take SSRI's, as I do not have a mental problem, my husband does. I only take Xanax, helps some but the depression I do think is worst than the FM pain!

    I can't help you, other than to tell you do not let your age stop you from removing yourself from whatever person you are talking about.

    As for friends and relatives, I have dumped quite a few of them through the years because they did stress me out, that was not hard, but this situation I am in is much more serious than just other people.

    The few friends I do have now have been great toward me, and my problems, but no one can tell us what we have to do, that decision has to come from yourself only.

    I am not much help, but can relate to what you are saying.

    I am also very isolated myself, so that I know also.

    Take care, and I do hope things get better for you.

    Shalom, Shirl

  7. makezmuzic

    makezmuzic New Member

    Since my decline in health I have had to let go of two major people in my life and do a major "chill" with another. I had to finally ask a dear friend of 20 yeaqrs to let our friendship die a natural death and to not call or email me again. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done and the best for my health.

    I told her that I love her, and will always do so. Will always be thatnkful for the things she brought into my life, but that we have grown in two very different directions and I need for her to let me go. It has been such a relief, the only way my life is different is that I no longer have to listen to her endless, monolog of calls of unhappyness, critisizums of loved ones and who she is "shtumping" now.

    The second one is my older sister. I took her bait one more time thinking she might really be telling the truth about wanting a relationship with me. Of course she stung me. I cried like I always do after any kind of contact with her. But this time I was able to not take it personally. I realized that all her venom spraying has nothing to do with me. Never has, never will.

    I'm 55 and I know its difficult to make friends at my age. But I'm worth having people in my life who have my interests in mind. As I have for them in mine. The same goes for you. Just like with a man. You don't have to "sttle" for friends out of fear of being alone. Now that I've let go of these toxic relationships it frees me up for positive relationships and meeting new people.

    One door closes and another opens.

  8. supergirl99

    supergirl99 New Member

    You deserve to be happy even if you are not well, just remember that. I don't know who your person is, but it sounds like you have already decided that the relationship is not good for you, unfortuantely only you can decide what to do about it. Be confident in yourself and have faith in the decisions you make.

    Keep your chin up
  9. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    This is called being between a rock (not our Rocky) and a hard spot.

    I sense that you feel as if this person is the last person in your corner annd even if it is a troubled relationship that's a tough thing to ponder. We need people to help us on occasion and I sense you're afraid of being totally alone. With some good reason, I might add.

    You're already feeling emotionally isolated so you have nothing to lose there - although it will feel like it for awhile. Also, I've learned from two former people in my life that it's not necessary to have a major confrontation. I don't know your situation but you could just stop returning phone calls. As I type that I feel like I'm recommending cowardly behavior; in fact that's how I felt about the people who disappeared on me, but it is an option. Even talking to them less and less until it fades. Or, if you're the type who likes definite closure as my former friends obviously did not, you could just confront this person and tell that the situation isn't working well for you "right now".

    As for being stuck, I don't care how likable the guy was, he's wrong. We're only ever as stuck as we choose to be. That said, remember the saying "When one door closes another will open." It's just hell for awhile in the hallway.

    Shirl, my heart goes out to you too. Any chance of counseling? I know many people in long-term marriages (not me!) and they didn't get there easily. Even a well-planned, calm separation can often be helpful in some cases. Regardless, hugs to you, too.

  10. monkeykat

    monkeykat Member

    Hi Bambi & Shirl,
    I'm sorry that you both have a really difficult close relationship that is emotionally abusive. My closest relationship isn't abusive so I'm so fortunate. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be to have the people who are closest to you as being so difficult to deal with emotionally. These illnesses are hard enough.

    Bambi - It sounds like he was a nice counselor but not everything he said was right. I find that in the counsel of many people there is wisdom.

    No ONE person has all the right counsel for me or you or anyone. So I was able to talk to this woman from the church for about 1-1/2 years as I needed to.

    Then this past spring I was able to start getting out to see a counselor with my husband. I found a christian psychologist who also has a counseling degree. He isn't perfect but I let him know when he's not understanding me or when I don't trust what he's saying to me. i find that I have to communicate and let him know that he isn't getting "me".

    I don't know your situation but I don't feel that we are ever a "victim" or that we are ever "trapped". It's just not a mentality that I'm comfortable with b/c if I'm trapped then I will pray that God will make a way out b/c I don't think we should ever have to put up with abusive behavior. I don't know that's just how I feel. I just won't tolerate abuse from anyone. I know that I can't change anyone else but I can change myself. I let people in my life know my limits and that I won't tolerate them "questioning me, discounting the things I say, minimizing the things I say, falsely accusing me, twisting things I say, etc.".

    I really don't like what he said about stopping the pain meds. He doesn't seem to have a clue as to what we deal with having these illnesses. My female counselor and current male counselor don't always seem to understand my illness but I copy articles for them and send them articles on these illnesses. They have always been kind enough to read them. I've been pretty straight with my current counselor as far as asking him "do you believe that I have a physical illness or do you think this is mental". He thinks it's some of both. I agree. But I know that the physical came first then emotionally it was hard to deal with being ill and losing your life to an illness so then you get depressed and anxious, etc.

    Yes, try other counselors. If you are not connecting well with the next one you find then find a different one. I called a woman that I was going to counsel with but I didn't like the way she spoke to me on the phone so I never went into the appt. I asked her directly, "do you believe that CFS, Fibromyalgia & multiple chemical sensitivity are physical illnesses or do you think that they are somatization disorders"? She wouldn't answer the question on the phone but wanted me to come in and talk to her so I knew what her opinion was. So there's no way I'd counsel with someone who's going to have so much false judgment toward me.

    There are 2 great tape cassette series by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. One is called "Boundaries" and you can get it at the library. The other is called, "Who's Pushing your Buttons" and I had to buy this one. The second one is actually more about how to deal with difficult relationships. This may be all you need in order to deal with this person. The info on this CD is really great!!!

    Your welcome. I hope you find the help you need in order to create peace and health in your life.

    Have a wonderful day,