Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Summer 2013, Issue 9 - Page 27

Support by Deborah Barrett, PhD, MSW, LCSW A Column for the Ones Who Care for People with Chronic Pain Conditions for the Supporters The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association is delighted to announce: This is the first in a new series written explicitly for family members, close friends, and other supporters of people with chronic pain conditions. Chronic pain not only impacts those with pain but also the people in their lives. The ripple effects are vast. Pain emits pressures on relationships, amplifying caregiver and caretaker roles, confounding communication, raising uncomfortable comparisons, and straining resources. The challenges include: • The pain of seeing someone you love in pain; • Not knowing how to respond, especially when the other person appears fine, or is able to engage in activity one moment and very little the next. • Exhaustion from hearing about struggles and pain; • Strong negative emotions, including anger, worry, disappointment, grief, helplessness, and guilt; • The belief that you should not complain (because you don’t have pain), and/or share positives in your life (out of worry the hurtfulness of implicit comparisons); • Frustration over relationship imbalances that arise; • Fear to raise topics that may upset to the other person (thus increasing his or her burden); • Confusion over how to help, such as when to push and when to coddle; • Resentment about the situation, and then guilt over this reaction; • Complications to intimacy; • Feeling selfish when you think about your own needs and wants and hopes and dreams; • Difficulty “letting go” of worry and the stress of the situation; Summer 2013 Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life  27