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Chronic Pain Stressors on Relationshiops

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:28 AM in Matters of the Heart
I think that anyone that has dealt with chronic pain for any length of time can verify that at some point during that time there was additional amount of stress placed on their relationship, be it: spouse, significant other, family or friends.
Dealing with the pain and suffering that goes with it is one thing, and many times only people who live it understand it.

But just think about the additional stress and strain that does place on your relationships. I am not referring to them understanding your pain and what you are going through, but what they have to deal with. I know personally, that any time I have be laid up or semi-laid up due to spinal problems, life still goes on and it is my wife primarily who has to pick up the slack. So besides what she already does in a 60 hour work week, she then has to come home and do the things I cant do.
That is a physical and emotional strain by anyone's standards.

So many times in these forums we read topics about how my wife doesnt understand me, my kids doe support me, etc.... All negative things about the others and what they are NOT doing for us.
Once in a while its good to look at it from the other way.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • I do wonder most times, the impact MY condition has on my family. I KNOW what I feel like I am missing out on; but, what about them? What do THEY feel they are missing out on (if anything) because of my limitations? Has it become such a part of life for them that this is the norm? Do they feel cheated in some way (I am pretty sure they must feel that way at times). That causes additional stress to me - I don't want my family to feel shorted in any way because of me. That's why I push myself. I don't want to look back and feel as though they or I have missed out on anything; or think "I wish it would have gone THIS way instead of THAT way". Know what I mean? I'll have plenty of time one day to rest up and hopefully accept my limits. One day. Not today, though.

  • i usually feel the opposite---i feel as if i am stealing the childhood from my children by asking them to do so much fo me around the house. for asking my 19 year old to help out with the things that i can no longer afford on my own.( such as rent, lights, phone, ect....) the friends and neighbors who take me to the grocery store or to walmart when we need houshold items or food.... i feel like such a burden to those around me, and am very grateful to all for what effort (no matter how small that day) they manage to spare me!

  • Well,I carried my own weight and never depended on my now x-husband to do things for me or the boys when they were young-just because I had casts on with rods/pins sticking out several times during my marriage was no excuse not to get the housework/laundry/kids baths/dinner/etc. done.When I finally grew a backbone and divorced him I raised the boys myself with little help from him (boys going to dads I mean),for over 7 yrs.During that time I had additional surgeries and my bestfriend & sister helped me out quite a bit.

    So I guess my view is warped on that side..but there are certainly strains on relationships.I try very hard to never depend on a man for the things that I can do for myself.It's taken me years to understand that I don't have to be so hardcore about things-and MUCH patience on Michaels' part (bless him).Even still,he would like us to go hiking and other things that I can't do..and the guilt is bad...I ALWAYS imagine what it must be like to be him-and just have me.

    Maybe what I'm trying to say here is that for me-it would kinda be nice to let go of all of the guilt and NOT look at it from the other side once in a while.
  • I'm always apologizing for not being able to do the things I used to. And I feel like crap when everyone leaves for the day and come home later to find me in the same spot they left me in. My husband is very understanding but I know that my condition stresses him. It's stressful because he feels helpless and can't "fix" me (he's MR HANDYMAN and does it all).

    Dawn, I totally relate to what you wrote- I feel so bad that my teens are having to pick up my slack. My husband works long hours and some weekends and I would like for him to come home and find the house clean and dinner on the table every day. But please understand this isn't your fault- it's the card the life has dealt us.

    Robin, I'm glad you kicked your ex to the curb. I think it's cruel to expect all those things from you when you're incapacitated. I would have told him where to stick those expectations.
  • Thank You.

    I think I made my point whenever I sold my engagement ring to pay for the divorce.I don't believe in divorce though,so the guilt was so bad that I refused any alimony or even half of the 401K...but I made the right choices morally and emotionally.

    Guilt sucs...lol
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    What about families that both spouses are suffering from chronic pain.. They are out there.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Once the wedge is driven, how do you and can you get it out?
    Anyone who has been here has seen how different we all are! Some of us can get up no matter how many times we get knocked down, Some of us keep getting up but we keep our head down. Some of us just don't bother after a while!
    This steals a lot, It has stolen many a sunny afternoon. Part of the reason I so dread things anymore is knowing that once I get past that certain point of overdoing it, there is no reprieve. I do not have anything "extra" in either my emotional or chemical arsenal to fight with anymore! I have to wait it out. That can mean 3-5 days to get back to where I was before I over did it. There is not a "warning shot over the bow" either. Just an "oh, crap, I did too much" and wait.
    I would assume I am singing to the choir on this one! I'm just too tired to apologize for myself anymore. I have received way to few acknowledgments that it has been heard, let alone that anyone cares :(
    I'll quit now, I'm depressing me.
  • If I had the support from my husband as other's do, then I would be able to reflect on all the help I get and yada yada yada. Unfortunately, I have a spouse who doesn't understand or even care to learn what it's like to be in my shoes. I am in the middle of an extremely painful flareup and just wanted him to put some icy/hot on my back and he was being such a jerk about it. I don't ask for much. I have to carry on around the house like I don't live in chronic pain cuz that excuse doesn't fly with him. He's constantly on my case about getting back to work and how I just need to get up and do something and I will feel better. He has not idea how I feel.

    I know he's dealt with and is dealing with pain too. He doesn't ever talk about it though. His dad ran over his foot with a riding lawn mower when he was about 3 and he was in the hospital for months and was able to save his leg and foot. Since he was so young, the injured leg didn't grow as much as the health one so there is about an inch or 2 difference which causes his hips and back to hurt at times and he's a carpenter and does roofing so I'm sure that doesn't help. The point to this long paragraph is that I am pretty sure he knows what it's like to be in chronic pain.

    Why then is it so hard from him to feel any compassion or the need to help me knowing I'm in such pain. I can't even talk to him about it. I don't even say my back hurts anymore. Today I was crying and he never even asked what was wrong. He had to know I was crying cuz I was in so much pain.

    Ok, so I am rambling and feeling sorry for myself so I need to stop now. My break thru med is starting to kick in as well as my nightly dose of ambien so I am not all with it at this moment. I apologize for that.
  • I do understand.I'm not sticking up for him either (lol),but it could be that if he acknowledges you & your pain that he might have to deal with his own?His comes with strong emotional baggage as well and he might be in denial about his feelings.

    Of course none of that excuses his behaviour at all,and may not even be the case-just a thought.

    YOU are who I'm here to support though,and I honestly feel that if you continue letting him disrespect you that you may start to disrespect yourself.It's very common,and it happened to me.A little counseling will help tremendously, and I know from reading your posts that you are a strong and courageous woman with a lot of love to offer in a two sided relationship.

    I can hear the weariness in your post and I recognize it well,as it sounds so much like my own years ago.

    My Michael is a great guy and amazingly supportive in almost every way,but he wears blinders where my pain is concerned-emotionally I mean.He will help me out around the house if I ask him,and he is always there for me at every Dr appt and so forth,but if I talk about my pain he's a blank page.

    He says that he can't stand talking about it because he can't "fix" it or make it better and it hurts him.I can live with that,but only because he's so great in every other way..(usually-no ones perfect-lol).

    I do hope that your flare-up cools down,or that your meds can handle it.Take care Ming ♥
  • Thank you for helping me to see things on the other side, some of which I had already thought of but not as clear as you have stated. I respect and appreciate your honesty as well as your support through my toughest times.

    I now reflect on the night I posted this and at the time thought I was alone in dealing with this flare up and read back as the messages from friends and am grateful to have all of you in my life.

    I only hope to give back as much support as I have received here at SH.

    God Bless all my Spiney Friends >:D<
  • I know this is a tough question but after reading all that you have to put up with, I wonder if you would ever leave him. The fact is that he is making you so unhappy and does not have one ounce of sympathy or humanity towards you. This stress is just turning into more pain for you and I feel so bad that you don't have his support. I apologize if I'm out of place presenting this to you, but I have a feeling that you are strong enough to move on. I see no sense in being miserable together when one can be happy by themselves. I witnessed every horrible day of my parents marriage and wished for the day they would divorce. Unfortunately it didn't occur until 30 years later and all the damage has been done and it is irreversable. I deal with it even to this day even when my marriage is not like theirs. It affected me to the core of my being and I wish I had amnesia so I could erase it from my memory.

    Please understand where I'm coming from, and I only wish to see you get better and have a happier life.
  • I don't think that you need to worry a bit about giving back as much as you get-as you seem to me to be pretty supportive-as well as strong enough to ask for help.

    That is a wise person who can do both.Give & take...at times we give more and at other times we take more.

    My hope is to always give more than I take,but life isn't always even or fair.

    meydey321~~This (your story) is why I decided to finally divorce my husband.I was going to stay with him for the boys sake,but then I thought...I don't want my boys to watch this..to grow up learning to disrespect women and think that it's 'normal'.

    It wasn't the ONLY reason I did it of course,but it was a big one,and I believe to this day that it was the deciding factor.My boys were 6 & 9 when I divorced and it was really hard on them at the time..but now they both tell me that I did the right thing.

    So many times in life we don't always know what's best or what's right at the time.Even still,how do I know,how does anyone know how different things would be had I made a different choice.Certainly I don't know,but I THINK I know.

    I never thought I would be here now though.Not that that's a bad thing..just never entered my mind for a second.I never thought my oldest son would be in rehab for a drug addiction.I asked him if me divorcing his dad had any impact on him in that way-can you believe my selfishness in asking him that.I wanted to rule myself out of his decision to use heroin.

    The truth is-we can never know the absolute right things to do at the right times.I think the best that we can do is to keep trying to keep trying.

    So Ron's initial post was Chronic Pain Stressors on Relationships.The truth is though,that we go through so many different situations,and even when we think that we are giving,we can at times be selfish without meaning to,without even thinking about it.All you have to do is think for a minute that each person is a seperate individual with his & her own fears,pain,and emotions.Put yourself in their place-or try to for a minute.It's impossible.

    *Sorry for rambling ☺
  • I love your reply Robin and the way that you can see things on both sides and always try to find the positive even in a negative situation. Without going into to too much to have out there for all to see. I do have some issues with my marriage as you've all seen and I struggle everyday. Marriage isn't just an easy thing for all and sometimes 2 people have to work a little harder than others. I do not put up with the negativity and emotional abuse from him, as I know sometimes it sounds like I give in and also give up on myself. I am very strong and am aware of my situation and know that it's not good for my kids to see the fighting.

    My husband and I are both Christians and beleive that with Gods love and help we will work through this together for the sake of our children and ourselves. We pray together about this often and sought out counseling with our Pastor who puts things in prespective cuz he is getting all his advice from the Bible so he is speeking on behalf of Jesus as to how we should be treating each other in a Godly manner and the way that Jesus would want us to. It's not always easy, especially recently.

    That being said, do agree with what my husband is doing or turn a blind eye to his unsupportiveness...of course I don't. I still pray and long for his support and understanding as well as helping me with things I can not due because of the pain. I just made a comment today that if he keeps pushing me to do more than my body can take, I will end up in a wheelchair and that will give him more to do around the house. I think he reflected on that but who knows. Time will only tell.

    I thank all of you for your concern as well as respect and appreciate your honesty with me. I am not offended or upset but any of this. I know that it's only been brought up because you care enough about me to mention it and it is a great feeling knowing that people out there whom I've never met in person care enough about me to write their concerns to me.
  • and again I didn't mean to stray into your personal business like that. I don't know if you remember when I first replied to your initial post and told you that I would be your most voracious advocate. Your story struck a nerve with me, and everyone else here of course. I also believe in the sanctity of marriage, but if there is any type of abuse and the spouse is unrepentant and is hurting the children directly or indirectly, I feel that is it grounds for leaving. As long as that isn't going on, I admire your courage to go on and try to make things work in your marriage. The most important thing that matters is that you are happy and that you have the love and support that you deserve in this time of great need.

  • I don't mind what you said at all and like I said I admire your honesty and am honored that you care enough about me to respond. I am 100% in agreement with you on everything you said above. I have my moments too lol. I am a lot like you and just say it how it is. I don't beleive in sugar coating things cuz that's not helping anyone out. Sometimes this isn't always the best asset to have cuz sometimes people just want you to tell them what they want to hear and that goes against my beliefs.
  • I guess I was so caught up my frustrations that day that I didn't even realize the point or topic discussion that Ron was trying to make until now. Sorry for hijacking your post, PapaRon. I must've had a really bad day lol.

    So let me put the shoe on the other foot. I feel that my kids miss out on a lot and face disappointment from their mother far too often. I would make plans with them to go to a movie or out to lunch or a playground, park etc and I would even get to the point where I would get my shoes on and then I can't go because I am too exhausted and in too much pain. I spend a lot of time in my room, especially during my flare ups so I miss a lot of quality time with my kids. I now see that and have been hanging out on the couch more rather than my bed even though my bed is more comfy. My kids had to grow up faster than maybe they should have and had to learn to be more independent than maybe they should.

    My daughter is a godsend and she goes grocery shopping with me and puts the groceries in the truck and helps me bring them in the house. She also helps me with house chores if I'm not able to do it such as the sweeping, mopping and vacuuming. Sometimes she has had to take on the role of mommy though cuz at times my meds make me sleep for 2-3 hours at a time without notice so she ends up taking care of her little brother for me. I don't get up with the kids when they are getting ready for school as much cuz I usually don't sleep well at night and am very sore by morning so they get themselves ready and my daughter helps to get her brother up. I do put his clothes out for him the night before. The kids miss quality dinner time with their mom cuz I usually don't have an appetite or I am sleeping or laying down.

    So I feel my kids have been the ones to suffer from my chronic pain in addition to me suffering from being in pain. I hate to say I am a burden to them but sometimes that's how I feel.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    My wife is a rock!!! The rest try. That's all I can expect.
    Good luck,Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • My wife was the rock of our relationship. Right after my surgery I felt she was really there for me but as time went on, things changed. She always had an excuse not to get close to me. I was not really able to make love to her as the pain was too much but I would want her just to be close to me & lay beside one another talking like we use to. That very seldom happened. For the past several months she has always been 15-25 minutes late coming home from work. She had every excuse in the world as to why. She actually cheated on me several years before. It was on the way home from work being 15-30 minutes late. I can't help but think thats whats going on. She says no , but I don't believe her. Now she went & filed for divorce. Nice huh? I have no way of even being able to find a job at this point.

  • I feel really bad for and it so dreadful you've been put in this position. I don't know what else to say other than sorry this happened to you and I hope you're able to persevere and move on.
  • Said to hear it. Please remember you can move on. Darkest before the light and all that.

    Take each day as a new one and soon you will see a direction that feels right for you.

    Take care of yourself,
  • dilauro said:
    What about families that both spouses are suffering from chronic pain.. They are out there.
    :H :H :H :H You are meeting a wife here that had a husband that was in chronic pain before me. I never understood how he felt before I got hurt. I swear now that it is so hard sometimes that we both are disabled. I am 29, he is 39. It truely stinks!!! The great thing is that we are always here for each other. The bad part is that we are both in pain!!!!!!! :T :T :T :T :T
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