To become the effective and highly evolved creatures that we are, humans have needed to have a low tolerance for pain. Pain is designed to be uncomfortable and unbearable, and if it weren’t, we wouldn’t have gotten very far.
Without an aversion to pain, maybe early man would have died out from sleeping in the embers of their fires to keep warm, or eating a delicious-tasting poisonous berry, despite the agonizing burning of their insides.
Pain is, for lack of a better word, painful, and not something we can deal with calmly or for very long. Have you ever had a toothache and snapped at someone over something very small because of the discomfort? Or been unable to focus on something, no matter how important, because of a nagging headache? Now imagine having a chronic condition like endometriosis, a potentially constant pain and relentless discomfort, and having to juggle work, family and relationships.
Chronic pain affects how the sufferer interacts with the world, and especially the people they spend the most time with. Communicating is tough. People can end up snapping at their partners over small things, tempers can flare because all their patience is being used to deal with the pain, and when it’s the pain talking, it tends to shout.
Add to this the feelings of guilt endometriosis can cause in the sufferer, as if they’re to blame for this disease and thinking maybe their partners would be happier without them. They can feel like they are constantly letting their partners or friends down, and generally being a bad friend.
On the flip side, the partners or friends in this relationship can feel unimportant, like endo runs the show and they are just an extra in the relationship. Maybe they feel constantly let down, like the relationship is one-sided.
There can be a lot of messy feelings and unpleasant comments thrown around in all this, which is why clear and open communication is so important. It’s something that my partner and I learned early on: Voice your concerns and anxieties with your partner and talk through them. Neither of you are to blame for having these feelings, and neither should you be ashamed of having them. It’s natural to feel strong emotions toward someone you love, and is far more healthy than feeling nothing at all.
It may not be an easy conversation, but a little difficulty communicating now can save a lot of difficulty in the future. Talking it out will show you are willing to understand the challenges your partner has to go through and help you work together to find solutions. The best support you can give your partner is a listening ear and an understanding attitude.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.