Tag Archives: arthritis and relationships

telling your loved ones you have arthritis

How to Share Your Feelings About Arthritis with Loved Ones

If you feel that your friends and family don’t understand how arthritis really affects you, you’re not alone. Not only are arthritis symptoms often invisible, but they can come and go. Some days, you may feel great and energetic; other days, you might be too tired or sore to be active. People who don’t have a chronic condition may not get how different your experience can be from one day to the next, says rheumatologist J. Michael Finley, DO, an associate professor of internal medicine at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California.

Use these tips to help friends and family understand what you’re dealing with – and possibly improve your relationships.

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family dynamics and arthritis

When Arthritis is a Family Affair

Alberta Dillihay’s children began urging her to stop working soon after her 2010 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis. Stress from her job as a public works supervisor in a busy office 45 minutes from her home, combined with finding the right arthritis treatments, could affect her health, they argued.

“I was and am glad they were concerned and want to help. But sometimes it’s frustrating because you feel you’re being treated like a kid,” says Dillihay, 63. “You can still do what you need to do.”

When a mom has arthritis, the family dynamic often changes. “That means who’s in charge shifts, as does who’s taking care of whom,” says Eve Wittenberg, PhD, a senior research scientist in the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard University in Boston. “There are downsides, but there can also be huge satisfaction to changing a relationship with a child or partner; the ability to let others help can strengthen bonds,” says Wittenberg, who studies family dynamics in chronic illness. She and Nancy Ruddy, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Montefiore Health System’s College of Medicine in New York City, offer this advice. 

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peacekeeping preserving harmony holidays

Peace Talk: Preserving Family Harmony During the Holidays

Ever left a family holiday gathering churning with tension and swearing that, next year, you’re going somewhere far, far away? These events sometimes ratchet up anxiety and stress, which are not only unpleasant but also can undermine your health and well-being. Take heart. Here, three experts offer different approaches to help you keep the peace and ward off stress.

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