THE RELATIONSHIP TOOL
STRATEGIES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL WITH AN ILLNESS OR DISABILITY
Become aware of how you are really feeling. Are you aware of your own emotions? It doesn’t mean drowning in your own pity, but bringing your feelings into awareness and sharing them with others… as opposed to reacting to them and letting them become stress-behaviors. Catch them before they become something that harms the relationship.
Communicate your feelings to others. Do you think others are aware of your feelings? Don’t assume that others understand what it feels like to be you! We can’t expect our loved ones to know how to respond to (and therefore support) us if we don’t do a good job telling them what we’re experiencing emotionally. Don’t be surprised if it’s hard for them to “hear you” – they may be protecting themselves.
Develop empathy for the other in the situation. Have you thought much about how your loved one feels? They have their own emotions, too. Remember that it’s stressful, and often scary, for them to know you’re having a hard time. They want to take away your pain, but often can’t. They might be overwhelmed by navigating the medical systems and getting you the help you need. Consider their stress as well as your own.