Features September 2012 Issue

Partners in Pain

Partners in Pain

Chronic pain can ruin relationships, but with communication and education you can maintain your loved ones’ support and understand their needs.

Judith Scheman, PhD, conceptualizes chronic pain as dropping a stone into still water and causing a ripple effect. The person in pain feels the major impact. The people closest to them—their spouses, children and anyone living with them—feel the next ripple, and so on. Chronic pain can become the focus of your life, and if it does, it also can become the focus of everyone around you. Feelings of resentment may arise. Unhealthy dependencies may develop. And your relationships may suffer as a result. “When chronic pain starts to affect your life, the effect spills over,” says Judith Scheman, PhD, Director of Psychology at Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Center for Pain. “Many times, relationships don’t survive if someone is disabled by their chronic pain.”

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