what do you say to "There's no such thing as CAN'T"?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Shannonsparkles, May 28, 2006.

  1. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    I was trying (fruitlessly) to explain my limitations to a guy I've had problems with before. He kept saying doggedly to me, "Don't say you can't do something. There's no such thing as can't, only won't."

    To make myself more sure of where this guy was comming from, not to try to make him understand me, I asked him this: "Can a lady in an iron lung go swimming?"

    I expected him to say that would be impossible, and then I would have gained my point, but instead he said: "Yes. And she would drown right off the bat. But she would be brave for trying it."

    Holey moley! Isn't that isane???!!!

    The most awful thing is, he's right. The lady in the iron lung COULD try swimming, although she would die instantly.

    There's a lesson in there for us, I suppose. When we assert that we can't do something, we're being sane and sensible and trying to preserve what we have of ourselves. Sure, we COULD do something stupid, but we choose not to because we're smarter than that and we value our safety and wellbeing.

    Have you run into somebody who was convinced that there are no such things as physical barriers, only mental ones? What has been your experience with them?

    (( )) Shannon
    P.S. Guess I can't win 'em all! ;)
  2. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I don't even try to win any of them anymore.

    But yes, I have a son like that. He's had a lot to overcome in his life and has done an amazing job. He's having some health problems right now and when I told him I was sorry he was having a tough time, his response was, "Paradise has its price". He said he has a wonderful wife, terrific kids, a job he loves... just about all he needs in life and this is a temporary thing. For his sake, I hope he's right.

    I know that I've become less positive about my life as a result of this illness and all I've had to give up as a result. I still try to count my blessings; there are just fewer of them now. lol But I do believe in positive thinking and try not to dwell in negatives. The mind/body connection is a strong one.

    My son is a very positive thinker and that's good but we shouldn't let it get in the way of compassion. By the way, he ignores my illness and it hurts my feelings.

    I originally typed "count my blessing"! I know I have more than one.
    [This Message was Edited on 05/29/2006]
  3. 1sweetie

    1sweetie New Member

    Yes and it was someone that loved me very much, my son. He could not stand to see me so sick and kept on and on about how I needed to get out of the house and do things.

    He said that he didn't know anyone stronger than I and I had always fought for everything. He felt he was the only one that was trying to help me. He felt I was not trying.

    He went back in time to when I did stand by him and encouraged him to leave the house when he was very ill with severe panic/anxiety attacks and was not able to leave our home. I worked with him for months (along with professionals & meds) to help him learn to accept his problem and learn to do the things that would free him.

    He is 24 now and lives in the bonus room above our detached garage. It got to the point that this child that I loved more than life itself made me worse. I dreaded the thought of him coming in the house. He made me feel like a failure. I would sob after he left and it made me worse. I was/am mostly confined to the house and mainly to a reclining position due to the CFS.

    It hurt me so because I felt he should know that if I could be different I would. This is and was not the way I choose to live my life. If he had thought about what he was saying about how I had always overcome all the adversities in my life, he would have figured out I was doing all I could...which at that point was nothing.

    We have finally come to terms with my problems. I have finally made him understand that his problem and mine are not the same and that my past problems and this are not the same. He still struggles because he wants his Mom back but so do I.

    He is more encouraging now than demanding. He still does not understand completely but I don't think I would either if it was not happening to me.

    I do not know what to tell you to do with your friend but I do know to hear that repeatedly does not help you to recover. I would suggest that you have him read all he can about this illness although that did not work with my son. I don't know what he was reading but everyone got better. To him getting better meant being the same person that you were before. We are still working on that.

    I understand your pain and frustration. It can hurt so much.

    With saying all of that, I can agree to a point with your friend. Positive affirmations are important. I struggle with that also. I have been told that how we speak of ourselves affects us. I have found myself calling myself stupid. I know better than that. I am not stupid but I certainly do things now that make me feel that way. I use to correct my family for saying negative things about themselves. It make people see you that way. I can not do what I use to do mentally but I do need to change the words I use. It can make a difference. Words are strong.

    I was told to tell myself that I am well, that I am not in pain, etc. I just read an article about this yesterday and if you are interested I will tell you where to find it. I found it very intereting.

    Best of luck to you.

  4. suzette1954

    suzette1954 New Member

    start bashing him all over his body and when you are finished, run him down with your car and then back over him as well. Then (gently) get down and say, Get up, never say never, get up and walk all the way home and go to work tomorrow.

  5. usanagirl

    usanagirl New Member

    I don't think your son has taken a back seat to compassion nor do I think he ignores your illness.
    I believe it's more of a detachment issue, please understand this is not detaching from the person he care about(you) but from the agony of involvement. Overinvolvement of any sort can keep us in a state of chaos; it can keep the people around us in a state of chaos. If we're focusing all our energies on people and problems, we have little left for the business of living our own lives. We forfeit our power and ability to think, feel, act, and take care of ourselves. We lose control.

    Think about an olympic attitude: Olympic athletes hold on to hopes and dreams when they only have those to hold on to. Make sense?

    Think about your goals, dreams and aspirations. Think about what it means to be healthy, find your positive attitude, and worry less about what other people think, do, feel, act and focus on taking care of yourself...mentally, physically and emotionally.

    Have a great day!

  6. Hope4Sofia

    Hope4Sofia New Member

    I like the "mallot" and the "fly" illustrations. I don't think I could beat that.

    He has no intention of understanding you.. He's more interested in his point.

    Shake it off,

  7. KMD90603

    KMD90603 New Member

    I hate when people say that "there is no such thing as can't." But, I think you make a great point. Of course we could do these things if we really want to, but would it be worth sacrificing our health and sanity to do it? No, definitely not.

    It sounds like this guy is the type that always likes to have the last word. And of course I wouldn't wish this illness upon my own worst enemy. But, I'm sure this guy will think twice if he ends up getting sick and is faced with the decision of "to do or not to do".

    Gentle healing hugs,
  8. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Our family counselor pulled this one on me one time.

    ONE time.

    He's a nice guy, so I only let him have it with a single barrel instead of both. I explained MY *can't* to him (if a tidal wave were coming, I wouldn't -- COULDN'T -- get up to save myself or my family...)

    Then my husband admitted that he had seen me at times when I'd had a severe crash and there just wasn't anything left. It's a very hard concept for people who think they are without limitations to grasp.

    But at some point, most people will have to face it.

    I've just faced it sooner, and, of course, I have a much better concept of what my body can or can't do than someone who doesn't live in it.

    Geez -- would these wanna-be Dr. Phils spare us the pop psychology!
  9. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Pretty nutty. I like your iron lung analogy. I'm all for the power of positive thinking, but I've learned--a thousand times--that pushing too hard physically makes me worse.

    Yoda says, "there is only do or do not; there is no try."
    That's pretty nutty, too, when you think about it.

    It seems to me that the notion that there is no such thing as physical barriers, only mental ones, is a bit like the worldview that sees all existence as "illusion." Try arguing that with a holocaust survivor.

    I had some other things I wanted to tell you, but I'll put them in another post in a day or two.


  10. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    Don't worry, he's one of the people I DON'T have to talk to. He married my friend and moved her up to Alaska, but I know he's pretty cracked and I try to avoid him wherever possible. Unfortunately, that means talking to my friend less, because he's always at home when she is and demands the phone off and on while we're talking.

    I'm glad I asked him about the iron lung. I had to be sure that there would be no getting through to him, and then I could withdraw.

    What makes a person like him, I wonder? He says he's been through "five motorcycle accidents" and jumped out of a plane a lot of times and is in pain every day (and then brags about how he still pushes through and goes to work), but that just makes me think he's reckless.

    Thanks for the support. The stresses have been bunching up on me lately, but I'm holding out okay. Kholmes, look forward to hearing from you. I'd been thinking of asking what's up for you lately. :)

    Thanks for the replies everybody. Love to hear more!
    ((you're doing well!))
  11. julieisfree05

    julieisfree05 New Member

    ..with people who say there are "only" mental barriers is summed up nicely in a corollary to Murphy's Law:


    "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explain by stupidity!"

    There is an idiot in every crowd, and you can't change that. Just assume that they are clueless and walk - and DO NOT pay them! LOL!

    Would this guy expect a blind man to look at him and tell him what color his shirt is.....???

    I guess that would be a "mental barrier" if he couldn't tell him..<sarcasm FULLY intended!>

    I KNOW that it's hard, but try to let it go..

    - julie (is free!)

    Half of my mistakes I made
    'cause I couldn't let go.
    Let it go..
    - Radney Foster
  12. Jen102

    Jen102 New Member

    of saying to Christopher Reeves "there is no such thing as can't--get up and walk, you aren't trying hard enough." So why can't this person respect your just as real disabilities. Shame on him. Jen102
  13. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    Dear Shannon,
    I think that phrase is a puritainistic leftover from the pioneer days, when forging forward through the wilderness meant survival.

    Now, it is usd by people without compassion, who are either not able or not willing, to to empathise with the iimpossibilities in one's life. I would pay no attention to such narrow minded ignorance.

    I know that is hard, but please, try to think of them as underdeveloped people, for that is what they are. Using that phrase on someone is heartless and cruel, too. It implies that they don't believe you. I would define them as toxic, and get them out of my life. They are not worth arguing with, as they have already made up their minds.

    Good luck, and big hugs,
  14. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Ask him to touch his right elbow with his right hand, then he'll understand there IS such a thing as can't.

    Love Anne C
  15. findmind

    findmind New Member

    I say, "Then, I'm not willing"...

    to endanger my healing,
    to expose myself to things that make me sicker,
    to spend time doing something I don't want to do,
    to expend energy on this,
    to let others define my parameters,
    to explain something most drs don't even understand yet,
    to allow you to put me down...

    and then I'd say "good-bye"!

    love yourself, or nobody else will...
  16. fibrohugslife

    fibrohugslife New Member

    people say it daily....so that is in real life terms a stupid statement....my original response was going to be **WHACK** buuuuut I figure it is best to talk it out.

    Findmind I loved what you said and that really answers the question.

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