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What NOT to Say to Someone in Pain
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff posted:
We've all been there when a doctor, friend or family member says the wrong thing to us when we're just trying to cope with our pain and still live a life. Sometimes they're just judgmental or poorly informed, sometimes they're even trying to help, but either way....

What kinds of things have people said to YOU about your pain or pain management treatments that have rubbed you the wrong way? How did you handle it?

What would be on your list of what NOT to say to someone in pain?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
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angelswife responded:
Ooooohhh---I love this! It's one of my biggest pet peeves.

I know my husband is trying to be helpful, BUT...he usually responds to my pain in one of two ways. He either says, "Don't think about it---then it won't bother you."; or "Why don't you do the dishes? [or vacuum the living room or some other form of housecleaning> You'll feel better if you get something done." My response to both is usually some variation of "AAARRRGHHH!" The last thing I want to do on a bad pain day is clean the @#$%*&!! house! It's usually all I can do just to move.

I don't usually say when I'm in pain now---not because I don't want to, but because I know what the response will be. I would really like a gentle hug and a little extra love instead of being told I should clean the house. Husband isn't mean---he's just a guy, lol. Like most guys, he doesn't "get" pain if it isn't his own.

Here's a couple of things for the "Don't Say" list:

1) It can't be that bad---you always exaggerate things.

2) You're just looking for an excuse not to (fill in the blank).

3) If you don't think about it, it won't bother you.

4) How could you be hurting when you haven't done anything?
(My DH actually said this to me when he was having a bad day and had injured himself!)

Great topic, Caprice---I bet you get a lot of responses! Maybe we should also include a list of what we CAN say to someone in pain. That list could be printed out and hung for all to see.
 
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GrowNGrace responded:
1) You're always in pain.
2) If you think that's bad, listen to this . . .
3) It's probably from sleeping too much.
 
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mymyrt replied to angelswife's response:
How timely. My FIL always says to me, "Just take some Tylenol." He has never truly believed I'm sick. He has also said just don't think about it, pain means you're still alive, and then he always has some smarta** remark to make with those. He is 78, and he hurt himself in the shower yesterday. He was "not feeling good, hurt my back" and I had to bite my tongue not to say take a tylenol. My ex-SIL has something, never has clearly explained if it's MS, GB syndrome or some related disorder. She also runs her own business, is constantly travelling, and seems to be able to do anything she wants to do. According to FIL, she is in terrible shape and hurts all the time. I suppose she takes tylenol, since she is FIL's BEST FRIEND (???). I'm not sure if my MIL knows about this friendship, but it's pretty nauseating. There is too much history with this woman, but she clearly isn't my favorite person, and I question what she really does have. I know this sounds catty, but she is not a nice person, and I get pretty tired of being compared to her. I've been DIL for 3l years. She was DIL for less than l5, and she did some really horrible things to hurt my inlaws, but they seem to have no memories of the pain she caused. Anyway, I guess I'll take my "tylenol" and go to bed.

I'm still up watching this terrible weather. I hope everyone will be okay. We have tornado watches until 8 AM. It's going to be a long night.

Best wishes all.

Joan
 
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grammie4life responded:
Good morning Caprice & FMily...this a good one!

My DH is always responding to my complaints with:

1. "Oh I know just how you feel. I hurt there, too."
2. "Yeah, my (name the area that hurts) has been bothering me lately, too.
3. "It must be something going around...I feel like that, too."

I have finally learned to not "complain" anymore. I am not wanting sympathy...just a little comfort. Don't get me wrong, my DH is a good man & I feel blessed to have him in my life...I just wished he didn't try to "one-up-me" on pain issues each & every time.

Now...in my DH's defense...he will not let me mow the yard (not very often, anyway) or run the vacuum...& he cleans the master bathroom...because he says he doesn't want me hurting. Bless his heart!!

I hope everyone has a good day.

God bless, Debbie
Debbie
 
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KatmanduLou responded:
G' morning all!

Here are some I hate:
* Maybe you should get a real job (I own a business and drive quite a bit when I'm busy)
* I know someone who had that! She took (blahblah) and was cured!
* You're always complaining about pain, you should see a doctor.

And my fave:
* I don't believe in FM, it's a fake illness.
 
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angelldakota responded:
Drs have told me Fm is a pretty word for something drs give up finding the reasons for...

you can't hurt that bad... you are just a weak person...

the pain is part of anyone's everyday existence... don't complain... {I don't complain... I hardly mention it... Others see the pain and ask about it...}
When you need a friend, reach out to a stranger and you will have one. If you need help, help someone else. if you need to cry, find someone already crying and celebrate life. Love Jan
 
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jrae922 responded:
My department head walked by my cubicle at work the other day and noticed an article "What is Fibromyalgia?" that I had clipped from Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine. She stopped, looked at me and said, "Do you have Fibromyalgia?" And I said, "Yes, I do." She said, "You know, so-and-so has Fibromyalgia, too. She lost a lot of weight and doesn't take any medication. She says she just exercises, and she doesn't have any pain." My response was "Well, that's good for her."

Seriously, WTF???!!! I lost all respect for her after that comment. I didn't really feel motivated to enlighten her about the fact the exercise and weight loss does NOT cure Fibromyalgia.

So, to answer your question, the number one thing on my list is "So-and-so did (insert "miracle" cure here) and s/he doesn't have any symptoms". Grrrrrr!
 
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xperky responded:
I also hate that "so and so has FM and she just stays active and does OK" type of thing. The next time someone says that I'm going to say something like: "that's like going up to Joe and saying Bob had a stroke and he only lost use of one finger, how come you lost the use of a whole arm from a stroke?" Do you think they might get it? Maybe.

Another one that gets me is: "yeah, it sucks getting old." What can I do except laugh and agree?

But generally I see people trying their best to say something encouraging when they feel awkward about it all.
Life is wonderful when lived with love and compassion, Margaret
 
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An_199983 replied to xperky's response:
I agree with all the above comments. But I have to admit that when someone else without FM talks about pain or health problems, I get this weird competitive urge to compare their problems with mine, or to let them know I also suffer.

So on the other hand, when someone says they're in pain I try to let them know that I understand and know how hard it is. I try not to say much, unless they ask.

And for those who say you just need to be more active, many people with FM are very active and still have pain. I workout 4-5 days/week and it hurts and I still have a lot of problems. So the next time someone uses that line you can say, "well I know someone . . ."

It's good to point out to those who make comments that it is different for everyone and often the number of years you've had FM, especially without treating it, can make your pain or lack of relief worse (I'm not saying the newly diagnosed have less pain--they often have had it for years, undiagnosed!!). I have had it most of my life and only began treating it a couple years ago. I am in pain every day and don't expect much different. But I know someone who was quickly diagnosed with it when the symptoms began to appear (what a great doctor!). She was treated and now only has flare ups a few times per year.

I know there are catty, mean spirited people out there. But I think often these comments come from people that just are not educated.
 
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NeNe_11 responded:
Great topic!
I really become aggitated when someone says things like," well at least your not so & so, she has cancer & is in much more pain than you"! Or," oh, you have fibro, do you feel achcy?" Achy??! If I only only felt "achy" Id take two aspriin & call it a day!
How does anyone except that person know how much pain they are in? Why is there a need to compare on person's pain to the next person's?
Sometimes its just better not to say anything!
 
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Caprice_WebMD_Staff responded:
You all have definitely not disappointed with your great, fun and interesting responses!

Thanks to all of you. Some of them made me giggle because I've heard them too and they just make me want to roll my eyes when they don't outright frustrate me.

I hope others will continue to chime in.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. ~Joseph Campbell
 
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MissChristinaB responded:


"Girl ain't nothing wrong with you I show you up yesterday"
"Your crazy. It's all in your head."
"I don't care what your doctor says, ain't nothing wrong with you."

I've stopped trying to explain it to friends. It just makes everything worse. Great Topic.
 
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MissChristinaB responded:
" Girl ain't nothing wrong with you I saw you up yesterday"
" your crazy it's all in your head"
"I don't care what your doctor says ain't nothing wrong with you"
" Have you tried Ibuprofen?"

I've stopped trying to explain it to friends. It makes things worse. Great topic.
 
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ndluv2 replied to MissChristinaB's response:
amen bc if the dont have it they dont understand how u can look fine on the out side and still be sick ppl wanna say ur faking it or drug seeking it drives me crazy almost my entire family is like that so thank god for this community bc finally i can talk/listen/get advice from ppl who either have it or no something about it!!!!


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