Family communications seems to come up a lot in the discussions on Diabetic Connect. I would really like to share a few thoughts about family relationships and see if you want to share any wisdom that you have gained along the way.
When one family member has been diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes, every member of the family shares that diagnosis in that their lives are impacted by it in some way. Adjustments may have to be made in family routines, dessert may be off the menu, compliance with the treatment regimen may be on everyone's minds. This can lead to feelings like fear, anger, sadness, disappointment, resentment. We're all human.
Unfortunately, family members don't always know how to communicate with each other, often because they aren't comfortable with their own feelings. They may deny how they are feeling or judge themselves and think they shouldn't be feeling this way at all.
Feelings don't go away by themselves. All of these feelings that family members may be holding back can be like an elephant in the room. Everybody knows it's there but no one wants to talk about it. If there is one word for this elephant, it is HELPLESSNESS. Family members want to fix the problem, make their loved one feel better and make the diabetes go away, and not have to feel this way. They are sitting with all of their own feelings, afraid to do or say the wrong thing, and hoping that by not doing anything, their feelings will go away on their own. But elephants don't go away that easily.
I encourage my clients to talk about their feelings with their family members and to encourage their family members to do the same. Sometimes, all it takes is one person to open the door to get the communication going. And who is in a better position to get the ball rolling than the one person that everybody else may be afraid to talk to about their feelings?
It can start with a simple question: How are you feeling today? What's going on with you? Tell me what's on your mind. Well, here's how I am feeling.
Get a dialogue going and watch the elephant slink out of the room.
Please let me know what's on your mind! Any experiences to share?
Next Discussion: out of control »