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This is a total coping topic...and not really medical at all. But I wanted to hear from anyone who might have the same experience as me... My husband is very supportive, ect and has been through out my illness. We don't always have the same feeling about the disease though. I'm traveling w/out him these days, and it's made me realize that he really overprotects me, to a point that makes me feel more like and invalid than I am. I feel so much more empowered by myself...I'm just wondering if we (my husband and I) fell into some kind of relationship trap because of my illness...like the balance in our home started to bend around my inabilities instead of both our strengths.

Does anyone else experience this in their relationships (husbands, parents, whoever)?

What role does illness play in your relationships with family members? Is it clear or easy to analyze?


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I think you may find the majority of people feel exactly the opposite, so I am not sure people will have a lot of advice for you.

The best I can recommend, which is what it always is, is maybe some short term therapy for both of you. To change these behaviors you guys have developed to cope with your illness. Good luck sweetie...morgan

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That sure is different------being raised Catholic, I can relate---- :)

Masumeh, I think you both have been affected by your illness, and your husband has grown to this protective state with you, and has forgotton you have another side to you that you want him to relate to also.

Maybe you can sit him down and have a nice talk with him about focusing on some of your strengths also. Maybe find some kind of balance.

MY husband is very supportive, and also supports many of the friends I have made who also struggle with the same disorders. He has helped me a lot with everything to offering support at the doctor's office, to coming home after working 10 hours to do some of the house work I can no longer do.

He remembers to thank me for what I still try to do, as he knows I do my best to keep up with as much as I can. He encourages me to look at my strengths when I feel like giving up. However, we have not always had it picture perfect. We had to work through a lot, and still have out ups and downs. I could tell in the beginning of my illness that he wasn't sure I was really physically ill, but he never said he didn't believe me. We just worked thorugh things until I got more answers.

At times he gets resentful, and he's shown it by acting out his anger. We have been in counseling for over three years to help us through all this. It helps to have someone on the ouside who can look in and validate our struggles, and help us work through them.

Maxine :0)

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My parents are overprotective and incredibly supportive. My mom stayed with me for several months when I first got sick. I found that when she left I was able to do a lot of things that we/she thought I couldn't. I think we sometimes don't realize how much we can do until we try. And, of course, it was a struggle to get her to leave (and she keeps offering to return at the littlest flare up!). :)

It's easier for me to assert myself because my family lives far away and I only see them a couple of times a year (during which I don't really mind being taken care of and spoiled). Reading what many of the members here go through with family, I would take an over-protective family member any day! Maybe it'd help if you or your doctor told your husband that it would in fact HELP you to improve if you were more active.

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This a strange, I was just speaking to my GP about this problem today. My partner is driving me mad. My children show concern, but are not overly protective. I dont' know if it is a control thing, because I have always been the one who more of less did everything, which was my choice. I just try and be firm and say " I fine today" and do what I can for that day. He does accept this but it is always with these parting words " o well just end up in hospital" and walks away. As soon as my Cardiologist has completed her investigations I am going to ask her to speak to my partner. I should say I'm grateful he does care for me but , he is killing me with kindness.

Liz B

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I try to mask much of the challenges so I get treated like I am nearly "normal" to the point I have to remind my dear family I have a physical disability.

Just today I had to laugh...my dear husband, wanting to spend quality time together, asked me if I was interested in taking dance lessons with him. :(:):o

I said for how long?

about an hour a week for ten weeks and it is discounted through the adult ed program..he added, it sounds like fun and is affordable, What do you have to loose?

I responded..."consciousness".

He laughed and then, I guess he finally remembered I am the same woman he helps to the kitchen in the morning...

and I still am in shock and awe.

What was he thinking?

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Yeah, tearose, that was a funny anecdote :)

Thank you all for your responses. It helps put things in perspective.

I know most people need more support than they receive from family and friends, and I am thankful that my husband takes a helpful attitude. But in any given matter, there are two extremes, and the middle is the best way...at least that's my philosophy.

My husband is the extreme of helpfulness, and the unintended effect is destruction of my self-efficacy. I legitimately struggle with feeling half-alive due to the limitations of chrnoic illness....I don't need anyone around me whose behavior further reduces my ability to keep fighting.

This forum helped me get my feelings pinned down....articulate the problem to myself. I know he cares, but he's a worrier and his anxiety over my health is NOT helpful to me. It makes ME feel anxious too....bound up with "if"s and "in case"s. Besides making me feel my tiredness more, it's parental, and I don't want to be treated like a child just because I'm sick. I'm still an adult and I need my autonomy.

For example, if I feel up to going out, or I don't but I'm just so sick of the house I've got to get some air even if it chokes me, he steps in to "remind" me that I'm too sick to do so....or he'll get around it by various means, just like I might put off my 4 year old about a toy she wants but can't have. Like if I want to invite some friends over, he'll say, "Maybe next weekend, I'm pressed in work this week." Next weekend there will be another excuse...eventually he'll admit that he doesn't want me to cook all day and faint all night. Can't I decide that for myself? I'm 26 years old!

He's particularly restrictive about letting me do things alone, or even in a group without him present. I feel that his reactions limit my life more than the illness itself warrants. On the other hand, he's not trying to do so intentionally...it's just his nature to worry, and it affects his own life even more than mine. He even started working from home so that he could be there for our daughter "in case" I faint.

But it's demeaning in a way. He's so vigilant and constant in this behavior, it makes me feel like just giving up and resigning myself to his babying for lack of energy to fight over it. But that's not who I want to be....I was never the depedant type, and I need a lot of space in a relationship.

I once brought it up with him, when he wanted to carry me and I wanted to walk myself home. I told him to let me walk, and he insisted on at least hovering around me, holding my arms. I shook him off and told him, "I'm not an invalid." He replied, "Yes you are." Even if I am, I can walk....um....sometimes :) That time, I could. I don't want his help when I don't need it.

Am I being a grouch? Maybe I'm making a big deal over nothing...maybe I am an invalid and I just need to face the facts. But I want to feel like an equal in the relationship...and I don't want to be treated as a child. There is already a big age difference between us, also before engagement and marriage, he was my teacher and that's how we met. I sometimes attribute his behavior and parentalism to that...although he says it's not that. He says he's just being a normal husband...but I don't like these chivalrous ideas...I want to be treated as an adult, an equal...

Does this make any sense at all?

I feel so much better away from him (I'm on vacation in another country, visiting my parents)...I feel less anxious, more free in my thoughts. I feel so much more able to function...even though I'm not really doing more than I usually do at home, I feel like I could if I wanted, like the decision is my own. Also, my family acts normal, accepts my help in little things, and they go out if they like, without worrying about whether I can go or not. It's like a normal life around me, and it makes me feel more normal. I'm not constantly feeling guilty for being ill, because it's really not affecting them....they're not quitting their jobs to stay home because of me....they're not cutting off friends to prevent me from becoming tired at parties.... They're just going on with a normal life, and inviting me to be a part of the fun whenever I feel like it.

Sorry for making this incredibly long...but it's heavy on my mind these days. I know the person I really need to tell these things to is my husband himself....but I want to get my thoughts straight first...I know he'll say I'm sick, and his reactions are normal...which may be true...but they are not helpful in reality, because they make me feel insignificant and powerless....or maybe I'm just blaming him for the way the disease itself makes me feel....I don't know.

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I have no overprotecting problem.

I lack of words to express my husband?s support. He helps whenever he can and leaves me doing what I can. He uses to be the first to know when I am starting to feel bad (sometimes even before I am aware of!). He is always close, but not overprotecting.

On the contrary, my parents think that I am healthy and do not want to accept this "illness". :)

Well, what can I do? They use to deny having a cold...

My husband is the only person of my family who helps at home and cares about me. He is the only one at my side, supportive, patient,...

I am very lucky.


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I do know that over protection can be just as stressful as under protection just because mine waxes and wanes like that. I get frustrated because I have no mid-ground, it's either OVER-kill or UNDER-kill. When I DO get help it is from the entire family at once and it stresses me out making me feel irritated and like an invalid and then I can go weeks maybe months where it is as if I don't exist and no one is available to help. I never know what to expect!

I have also (like someone else mentioned) become used to not talking about my illness or acting "sick" around people because I cannot stand being the center of attention. Of course then there are times I kick myself in the butt because I NEED the help, so it is a tough balance. One thing you could do is to tell your husband that you NEED to feel somewhat independant still because it is important to you. You could promise to him that anytime you need help or assistance that you would make sure to let him know! (you would have to keep that promise to gain his trust and after a few times of you asking I am sure he will become less protective, hopefully).

I have always felt that as little parts of our lives and independances are taken away that we (or at least I do) start to feel less self worth. I have always resisted giving up some of the little things I can still occasionally do and even though my family gives me "lip" about it, once I explain to them that each time I am able to "push" myself to do something..it makes me feel better inside, like a mini-victory for me. I remind them that much of what was my "normal" life was taken away from me (and all at one time nearly) that I NEED to feel like I still have control over PART of my life sometimes! So when I am able to walk a decent distance without a wheelchair, take a short trip, have a fun evening out, etc. that it is like a "victory" to me and makes me feel good inside and helps me mentally. It helps me to know that I CAN still occasionally "push" myself beyond what my body wants to do. This is important to feel this way and your family or husband should know that.

Also, keep reminding him that this illness is NOT going to kill you and that even though you might "pay a price" for your activities that it is WELL worth it to YOU and you NEED that feeling of freedom sometimes. Tell him that you know what your body can and cannot do and that you only do things when you feel you can do it! When you don't feel like you can do something then you won't and then you will ask for help. Make sure you tell him how much you appreciate what he does for you and that it shows just how much he loves and cares for you! It seems he IS a very caring person that loves you and wants to help in everything you do, but I am sure he will understand that taking what little freedom or feeling of self worth away from you ALL the time makes you feel worse mentally. I am sure he would understand and trust you to tell him when you need the help. You are very lucky to have a husband willing to be there "through sickness and in health".

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