Health Mysteries can have more than one victim. Relationships can also suffer.

The Case: 

  • The husband, wife, kids and friends of people dealing with health mysteries can feel invisible or taken advantage of.It may not be happening to them, but they are impacted. 
  • Likewise, those dealing with health issues often feel their partners can’t understand them and therefore may not support them in a way they would like.
  • Stress, frustration, heartbreak and even new illnesses can be side effects of loving someone dealing with a health mystery.

For every person dealing with an unresolved, or undiagnosed illness, there’s a group of family and friends who are also dealing with it. Whether they have to take on the task of caregiver, reframe their relationship and activities to accommodate limitations created by the illness, or struggle as they watch someone they love suffer. 

When I work with clients, we focus on their issues but I am always aware that they are not the only one who is impacted. 

Alicia Munoz is a couples therapist and the author of “No More Fighting”. She’s been helping couples transform their relationships and marriages for over 10 years. Alicia has seen the strain a health issue – especially one that is unexplained and chronic – can have on families and couples. 

Take Care of Yourself

Individuals can sometimes sacrifice their own well being to care for others. Alicia says that taking care of yourself creates and upward spiral in a relationship. If you’re energized and healthy, you have more resources to offer to your partner and family. The converse is also true. 

Relationships Require Energy

When you don’t have enough energy for your relationship, it’s easy to get frustrated and have a reduced tolerance. Fights can happen because without sufficient energy, we tend to blow things out of proportion and be reactive in the moment. 

Deficient Feeling Literacy

When we are tired or worried about our health our ‘feeling literacy’ can be negatively impacted. This is when we become unable to read our own body cues or other’s cues. Our mood is hard to interpret which makes our behaviour unpredictable. All of this opens the door for disagreements, resentment, and emotional pain. This is especially true when conditions and symptoms are unexplained and we start to doubt what our body is telling us.

Focus on the ‘Heart Brain’

We have three brains; the one in our head, the one we feel with (in our heart), and the one in our gut. When we are dealing with chronic illnesses or unexplained illnesses, we are less in tune with our heart brain and this can impact our relationships. 

Feeling Literacy Can be Developed

Whether feeling literacy was lost or was never fully developed, it can be recovered. Alicia says there are many ways to do this but the most successful will be based on the individual but the key is to tune into your body. She suggests looking into different modalities like meditation, yoga, ‘Focusing’ by Eugene Gendlin, ‘Somatic Experiencing’ and other therapies that explore ways to tune into your body. A good place to start is with some tech-free quiet time. 

Vulnerability Can be a Trigger

When people are dealing with health mysteries that they don’t have the answers to, the can feel vulnerable. They might feel helpless or fear becoming dependant and have a general sense of anger, fear or uncertainty about the future. This can leave them feeling emotionally unavailable or irritable. It can also cause them to project those emotions. All of which creates fertile ground for fights – although it might feel like the fight is about something small like dishes in the sink or laundry. 

Recognize the Fight

Alicia says the first step in stopping a fight is to recognize it as it. That awareness is part of developing your ‘feeling literacy’. If you can do that, before it gets out of control, the opportunity to stop it presents itself. Alicia says the key steps to gaining control are recognizing it in the moment, taking some deep breaths, acknowledging your reactiveness, and step away.

Create Love Rituals

So often, when we are so focused on our illness or our partner’s illness we get so caught up in the struggle to feel better or find a solution. We can become hyper-focused on it and as a result, we forget to leave room for love and feelings of love. Alicia provides some great tips on how to create daily love rituals that incorporate gratitude and appreciation into your schedule. 

Mystery Solved

The first step in solving the mystery of a relationship in danger is to acknowledge that it’s in danger. With Alicia’s tips and communication tools, it seems so simple. But, of course, they require work and commitment from all parties in the relationship. Develop your Feeling Literacy, embrace love rituals and create a container for communication. With these tools, you and your family will feel emotionally ready to take on solving the health mystery at hand. 

Eliminating Health Mysteries

Could your relationship be in danger because of a chronic or unresolved health issue? Consider trying some of the tips Alicia shared in this week’s podcast or pick up her book for more ideas.

Links & Resources:

Thanks to my guest Alicia Munoz. You can connect with her via her website https://aliciamunoz.com/ or on Instagram and Facebook. And, you can find all of her books here: https://aliciamunoz.com/books-by-alicia-munoz/

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PLEASE NOTE

All information, content, and material on this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.