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COLUMNS BY
Dr. Bill Austin



What Is Your Bread?

The Power of Quiet Time

Growing The Bottom Line

When

Whatís It Like to Retire?

Creating a Safe Relationship

Disease and Relationships

Trying to De-Stress

Stress Reduction

Empathy

Your Dog Canít Swim

What kind of listener do you want me to be?

Dealing with Criticism

Run Your Own Race, Part II

Run Your Own Race

The Next Chapter in Our Lives

Creating New Normals

Beating the Holiday Blues

Emotional Triggers

ďYouíre with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the companyĒ óDiane Von Furstenburg

The grace of forgiveness

Trying to blend a blended family

The Umbrella Story

How Disease Impacts A Relationship

Overcoming the Holiday Blues

Talking Dog for Sale

Trying to Blend a Blended Family

The Worst Beating I Ever Took

ďItís my fault!Ē

You had it last!

It's All About Me!

The grace of forgiveness

Cooling the brain

Life's Puzzle-Box Top

Simon Says

Unenforceable Rules

Stone Face

It's All About Me!

You Lost That Loving Feeling

Don't Tell Me What To Do

Do it now

No Opportunity to Repair

The Umbrella Story

How Do We Express Our Love?














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Professional Columns -
Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin





HOW DISEASE IMPACTS A RELATIONSHIP

An illness can negatively impact a relationship, creating a lot of tension and stress. The one who is a patient may experience a lot of anger because he or she feels trapped and controlled by the disease. New limitations and restrictions have taken away the freedom to do the things he or she used to do. The disease has sapped the patientís energy so they donít feel like doing much. They may feel exhausted and weary doing the activities that he used to enjoy.


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Medication and appointments to the doctors now control his time and energy. They have to adjust from being independent to being somewhat dependent on others. Then there is the financial stress and the frustration of the bills mounting up and trying to work with the hospital and insurance company, which may seem only interested in getting their money. They may feel guilty because his illness has changed their lives and strapped them financially.

Anger and weariness are constant companions. Beneath the anger are the feelings of unfairness and powerlessness. Where does that anger go? Either they stuff it and feel depressed or unload on the one who is the caregiver. They become what some call "the prosecutor." They may feel that the caregiver is not doing enough for then. It is a situational anger.

The one who is a patient may experience a lot of anger because he or she feels trapped and controlled by the disease. New limitations and restrictions have taken away the freedom to do the things he or she used to do. The disease has sapped the patientís energy so they donít feel like doing much. They may feel exhausted and weary doing the activities that he used to enjoy.

The caregiver can become the prosecutor as well. They may feel the same things the patient is feeling. Feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated, it seems they never have time for themselves and are tired most of the time. Being tired most of the time leaves them with little patience. They may feel isolated and alone because they believe they're not getting enough support or understanding from family and friends. All this leaves them angry, so they take their anger out on their partner. They do this knowing that their loved one did not sign up for this disease. They find themselves feeling guilty over the anger clashes. It is a stressful and tiring time for both the caregiver and the patient.

When we find ourselves becoming the prosecutor, it would be helpful to disengage and remind ourselves that what we are feeling is situational anger. We can disengage by soothing ourselves with deep breathing, taking a walk, or calling a friend. It is helpful to remind ourselves, all feelings are acceptable but all behavior is not.

We need to find ways to take care of ourselves. One way is reduce our sense of isolation by finding a support group. Within a group, we can find friendship as well as empathy and understanding that is hard to find among people who havenít shared our situation.




Dr. Austin has decades of experience dealing with relationships. He charges clients on a sliding scale according to their ability to pay. His first book, Creating Our Safe Place: Articles on Healthy Relationships, was published in 2004. His second book, Keeping It Safe, was published in 2009 and can be purchased through amazon.com, publishamerica.com, and at the Parrish Book Store in Virginia Beach.  He is also a sought-after speaker at meetings and seminars.

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