Talking to your parents or partner

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How can I tell my parent(s) or partner about my pain and still keep my independence?

​​Just as you want to share your experience of pain with your family and/or partner, you might also want to talk to them if you feel like you need more independence or you just need to be left alone sometimes. This can be tricky since you don’t want to upset them when they are trying to help and are very worried and concerned about your health. If you feel that you’re being over-protected, it is best to talk about your desire for independence before it starts to upset you. It may be more difficult to have this discussion when you really want to be left alone.

You could start by letting them know that you appreciate their care and their help, and you understand that they are worried about you. Then explain how you’re feeling. If your parents are hesitant about you doing more on your own, try making a plan ahead of time and tell them about it to show them how you’ll be responsible.

Having a plan can help you gain their trust. When you do this, it might help to use the following pattern of communication as well: “When you do (explain what they are doing), I feel (explain how it makes you feel)”. This can be a helpful starting point for a more detailed conversation of what is happening, how it affects you and what can be changed for the benefit of everyone involved. You can also look over the communication tips from earlier in this session​.

If you find it hard to talk with your parent(s) or partner about your feelings, you may be able to get some help from the members of your healthcare team, including your nurse or psychologist, to say what you need to.

Last updated: May 2nd 2016