THE RELATIONSHIP TOOL
STRATEGIES FOR THE LOVED ONE OF SOMEONE WITH AN ILLNESS OR DISABILITY
Become aware of how you are really feeling. Have you allowed yourself to explore your emotions around your loved one’s disease/disability? While you’re not the one with the condition, the situation has impacted your life, as well. Gaining awareness of your feelings may help you prevent negative reactions.
Communicate your feelings to others. Do you ever remind your loved one that this is difficult for you, too? This is a challenging balancing act because you don’t want to add to their stress, but it’s important that they know how you’re feeling so they understand your intentions. Healthy relationships require mutual understanding. After becoming aware of your emotions, think through what you want to share with your loved one, and what you need to share with others in order to get the support you need.
Develop empathy for the other in the situation. How hard are you pushing away your awareness of your loved one’s challenges? In order to really understand their behaviors, you must try to understand what it feels like to be them. Recognizing the other’s emotional state is hard, but necessary if you really want to be helpful and supportive.