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When a partner becomes seriously ill

When a partner becomes seriously ill

A diagnosis like cancer always comes as a shock – not only to the patient, but also to the partner. Expectations from him are suddenly huge. How do you not forget yourself.

Suddenly a diagnosis of cancer, another life-threatening illness, or chronic illness enters the couple’s life. If your partner becomes seriously ill, it will be a shock and usually a huge physical and emotional burden, not only for the sick person. In order to stay strong in the long run and really help another, a healthy person also needs reinforcement.

The relationship of the spouses faces major changes due to a serious illness, because the patterns of the previous relationship are outdated. Perhaps the sick person now was the one managing everything and was more likely to take care of the other person. Now the roles are suddenly reversed. Or closeness and trust arose through joint activities that are no longer possible. Also, existential anxieties now often dominate the life of a partnership, no longer a calm, well-established life with habits that have become so dear to life. It’s about mastering the changing situation with new strategies.

Your strengths are limited

Most of the time, you think of the sick person first. It is her sympathy, her active and passionate support. Immediately after a serious and potentially life-threatening diagnosis, a healthy person often believes that everything will be fine again. She is engaged, caring, and self-taught. The feed Changed, one conveys confidence, optimism and strength.

But the demand to keep it going for a long time is usually very high. Then you can give more than you can actually give. This works for some time, but in the long run there is not enough power for it. Nobody can do that in the long run without spending a lot on themselves. This is exactly where the danger is, because at some point they will both be exhausted and support becomes a duty, one or both reacting annoyingly or guilty, withdrawing internally, with a mixture of different emotions. This creates more and more distance Link burdened.

The emotional aspect is also important

In addition to everything that changes in daily practice, there is also the emotional aspect of dealing with such a situation. The fear of losing your partner plays a role here, they may die or be left alone.

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There is also a fear that the partnership and life will fundamentally change for the worse. There are some things you might never be able to do together again: travel, sportsCultural projects. The financial situation can be very intimidating. Or questions like: How am I supposed to manage all this without him or her we’ve barely managed daily life together so far? Who is now taking over the paperwork the other has done so far?

The situation also shows a healthy person their vulnerability and possibility of disease. Before that, they were probably both fit and active. Now you are facing a new reality that is communicating: with each of us, including myself, everything could be different tomorrow. I too could get sick every day.

In addition to or instead of fear, frustration or anger can also occur, for example in the following typical case: a healthy person realizes that despite all efforts, the partner’s health continues to deteriorate. If you are betting that you can achieve improvement on your own with your own behavior and help, then this means a great deal of frustration, which further leads to fatigue and exhaustion Lead. This often provokes anger – against fate, illness, or even from your partner.

A healthy partner is often left alone

The partner, a partner experiencing these difficult feelings, often remains alone and does not receive any emotional support. You and others expect this to be successful in helping and supporting the sick person fully. It can even come to the point of giving up.

A person falls into a state of tension between wanting and needing help, and often falls to the side of the road because of his problems and needs. This also creates an inner distance for the other person in the long run. So it’s very important that you don’t just think about the other person.

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Both need self-care – what you can do now

What can healthy partners do to maintain their strength, not emotionally distance themselves from their partner and thus also be able to better help the other person?

Pay attention to the limits of your strength

During this time, pay special attention to the limits of your emotional and physical strength. When you see signals from your body telling you that the limit has been reached, be sure to take them seriously.

  • Sleep disordersAnd
  • Possible physical symptoms such as digestive problems,
  • head or Back acheAnd
  • emotional reactions such as irritability,
  • unusual anger
  • a lot of crying and
  • High levels of stress and anxiety in general

It turns out that the limits have already been crossed. Then it’s time to stop and:

take care of yourself

Take special care of yourself now. Self-care is not selfish, but the foundation of being able to truly help others. Even short moments of self-reflection are very effective: Pay attention to your breath for three breaths, several times a day. Call at least one other person every day, even if it’s only for a five-minute phone call. Abends eine Viertelstunde Self-Care-Zeit einbauen, in der Sie mit sich sind, den Tag Revue passieren lassen und abschließen, zum Beispiel, indem Sie sie sich die schönen Momente vor Augen führen (die z dem) immer g Come.

Get help

Let others help you: To avoid all the difficult feelings that end up in your partner, directly or indirectly, you must remain in good contact with others. Inform and activate your entire network: family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. People love to help, they just need to know that – and how – they can help.

You talk to someone about your fears, frustrations, and other difficult feelings; You talk to another person about practical things because he knows his way well, because he also supports a sick partner; Talk to a third person about financial issues and the emerging possibility that he may eventually live alone. With someone else, you can arrange to go for a walk without talking too much, just get out and get moving, see what’s beyond your four walls, take a break from the worries.

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Professional help is also evident in such a case. Psychosocial counseling centers, crisis counseling, or Over the phone adviceShort-term treatment in case of severe stress provides daily psychological, practical and emotional support. Likewise, self-help groups in which relatives of seriously ill people meet and exchange ideas. You will receive valuable information, you will learn that others have the same problems as you, and you can relieve yourself from the constant pressure of others through cohesion and mutual compassion and also find a place to rest and get care outside the home.

Talk to your partner

Talk to your partner about his feelings. This is the basis for continuing to have good communication with each other – or even more often than usual – together as a team. If you talk about your other fears and emotions, you’ll understand more and show the sick partner that it’s not just about him.

This can comfort the other as well, a sick person can put his or her suffering into perspective and perhaps feel stronger on the inside, because they are not only in the role of the sick victim, but also offer solace, motivation and optimism when a healthy person just can’t. Here, too, it doesn’t always have to be hours of conversation.

So always remember that the other person’s plight is automatically your plight if you are closely related in a partnership. Helping others and helping yourself should be balanced. Make sure you stay strong both physically and emotionally. Good self-care is the foundation of taking good care of others.

Ulrich Scheuermann He is a qualified psychologist and a best-known author. I’ve helped people take care of themselves for 25 years. Her self-care programs take place at her academy in Berlin.