How to Get Family to Understand Chronic Pain

If you are someone who has to deal with constant pain, it can take everything out of you to manage day-to-day life and force yourself to work with your pain levels so you can appear ‘normal’.

What can make it even harder is if you have family members that don’t understand chronic pain or chronic illness and you feel guilty for showing that you are in pain or even talking about being in pain.

If this has happened to you and you feel like they would understand what you are going through if you could just connect with them and explain the emotional distress and pain flares you deal with, then today, we can hopefully help you explain what chronic pain means and what it is like living with chronic pain daily to your family.

Why is Support Important?

When you are dealing with something that takes over your life, it can be hard to face the day knowing that you have to consistently deal with pain management and a chronic condition that was sprung on you.

Dealing with acute pain can be exhausting, but when that turns into chronic pain, all that you are focused on is what you will be navigating each and every day.

Having a support system in place can help you face those days physically and mentally.

Your family and friends may not be able to give you complete pain relief, but they can make it easier for you to face the day.

Combing that with essential medication, and you will have a way to manage what you are going through as best you can.

Tough Times Require Tough People

When you are going through a tough time and your regular coping strategies aren’t providing you with the relief you want, you can reach out to those closest to you so they can support you when you are suffering.

Stress Can Make Things Worse

As someone with a chronic pain condition, you probably have noticed that during times of heightened stress your physical health may take a dive or the pain intensity is a lot stronger than normal.

It becomes a vicious cycle of feeling unwell that leads to stress which then gives you more pain that you don’t need.

Relationships Can Help You Mentally

Relying on strong relationships that have an open communication pathway with you can help with reducing the stress in your life as well as bettering your mental health so you don’t feel overwhelmed or that daily tasks have gotten on top of you.

Someone who deals with a condition like chronic fatigue syndrome will not only feel pain but they will also deal with exhaustion and struggle with their mental health as they can’t seem to find any relaxation as they experience pain and fatigue every single day.

Hopefully, you are able to find the support you need within your family and friends, but, if they are not understanding then that can make dealing with your chronic pain tougher.

Getting Family to Understand Chronic Pain

Chronic pain patients have had to deal with pain ranging from months to many years.

This takes a toll on the system, and if you are in the ‘years’ bracket, then you would hope that your family would be understanding of what you go through, but for some people, it can be hard to face the fact that their loved one is not who they used to be.

If you believe that they are the way they are because they don’t know how to talk to you about it, then here are some ways that you can get your family to comprehend and accept what is going on.

Get Them to Research Your Condition

One of the reasons why they might not fully get what you are going through is that they do not know much about what you are dealing with daily.

If this is the case, it would be a good idea to have an open conversation with them about what you have and where they can look to gather information.

The information out there is general, but it does label what you have and will get them to understand what you are basically going through.

Talk With Them Afterward

You can then say to them that if they need to speak to you about anything they have read then you are open to talking to them.

What you suffer from shouldn’t be a taboo subject.

You may have initially been afraid to talk about it because you felt like it wasn’t happening or that you didn’t want to show people that you were vulnerable, but as time has gone on, you know that it is essential that you talk about it to stop misinformation from spreading.

Get Them to Speak to Medical Professionals

If you have regular doctor’s appointments or you go to physical therapy to help manage your condition, then it might be a good idea to ask them to come with you and speak to the professionals that treat you.

Seeing you in that situation and speaking to them about what needs to be done and how they can help you with your chronic pain, can show them that you really need them to support you through this and that it is something that has to be addressed.

It Can be a Shock at First

It may not be easy for them to see you in that position for the first time, but if you gently encourage them and tell them that this is for their benefit as well as yours, then that can get them to be more forward with how they feel.

Ask Them to Help You With Your Medication

Some chronic pain conditions will mean taking medication daily. If you find it a struggle to remember to take your meds each day, ask them to help you with remembering when to take them.

This includes them and can make them feel like they are helping you out when you really need it.

Many people may stay away from their loved ones when they are dealing with something chronic because they are worried about making it worse for them or saying/doing the wrong thing.

Including them in small ways with things like your medication can make them feel needed.

It is Hard on Them Too

What is important to remember, is that despite the fact this chronic pain is happening to you and it is yours to deal with, it still has an effect on those around you.

If you went through a period where you were having a rough time and you came across as angry or fed up with others, this might make them feel too nervous about stepping up because they don’t want to make you feel worse.

Speak to Them About The Guilt You Face Daily

With chronic pain comes guilt.

Guilt about how your life has changed, what it has done to you and those around you, and guilt at what ‘should’ have been.

Your family may not realize this straight away, especially if you have been keeping it inside.

Explain to them how you are feeling and the guilt that crashes over you every day and more so on those days when the pain level is really high.

They Might Not Fully Understand Your Guilt

You may come across some that don’t understand your guilt, that they don’t get why you feel guilty for something that you can’t control, but that is because they can’t read your mind and they aren’t experiencing what you are.

You will have to accept that on some level as they are not you, but that shouldn’t mean that you shouldn’t say anything. Still talk about it but don’t expect miracles.

Tell Them How Every Day is a ‘Maybe’

Each day, you have no idea if you are going to be okay that day or if you will be able to manage.

People who don’t deal with chronic pain do not understand why you can’t stick to plans or be where they need you to be at specific times.

It is tough telling people that everything that happens is a ‘maybe’ as you genuinely have no idea if you will be okay when the day happens.

Explain to them how you can find it difficult to make plans and you have to work around your pain that day.

If they truly were trying to understand chronic pain, then they will accept the fact that you will have to say no at short notice or change your plans to fit in with how you are feeling.

It’s not fun or enjoyable to be unpredictable, but tell them that you don’t want it to be this way, it just has to be this way.

Tell Them That Sometimes You Hide How Bad The Pain is

You have probably hidden how bad the pain is inside by isolating yourself on some days or you have only made a few appearances to your family.

Just because it looks like you are coping does not mean that you are, you have just become brilliant at hiding the pain and managing it so you don’t upset others.

You Are Making it Bad For Yourself

Whilst you may think that this is a good idea, it isn’t helping anyone, and if you fake that you are fine, they are not going to take notice, so when you do eventually crash from holding it together, they are going to be wondering why you have suddenly broken down.

Talk to them about how you feel, when things get bad again, and what they can do to help you through this.

It is tough to fully open up, but it is important that you are being supported in the right way and you are not putting yourself behind everybody else.

You didn’t ask for this, don’t act like you did.

Conclusion

After reading through this post, you hopefully know how to get family to understand chronic pain better, and you don’t feel like you have to keep yourself or your condition hidden from people.

It is never going to be easy to open up, especially if you are worried that your family won’t understand, but they certainly won’t understand if you don’t at least try to speak to them about it.

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