Relationships: their impact on chronic fatigue and what to do about it

Relationships and chronic fatigue

Rationships are tough!

Relationships are tough – I know this isn’t new news so bear with me.  Have you ever stopped to really think about how your tough relationship may be impacting your health?

It’s an easy link to miss if you are not on the lookout for it.  In the Western world we tend to think of our health in purely physical terms.  If you bump your leg on a worktop corner, you expect to have a tender spot and maybe a bruise as a result.  We aren’t so good at linking our emotional state to our physical health in the same way.  For example, what if you had a challenging encounter with a work colleague and came away feeling emotionally bruised?

When I talk about this to clients, I very often use the example of embarrassment leading to blushing.  Here we have

  • an emotional state = being embarrassed
  • triggering a physical response = blood rushing to our cheeks, redness and heat.

To me, it makes sense that emotionally difficult relationships can trigger physical responses.  Over time, these physical responses can tip over into a wide range of physical symptoms.

Life’s tough, get over it!

Ok, so you might be thinking that there is a certain inevitability that we will come up against people that are difficult for us to get along with.  It’s part of life, and we should just be able to get on with it.  For very many of us, this is the case.  We may feel some form of emotion for a period of time, but then settle back into routine i.e. our emotional and physical responses are short lived.

Hand to face, strugglingFor a smaller percentage of people however, challenging relationships can have a very different impact on them.  Emotions can remain heightened, leading to anxiety and worry for long periods of time.  The physical impact can be enormous.

Highly Sensitive People

Very often, we find that people who are living with chronic fatigue conditions such as M.E, Fibromyalgia and CFS tend to be more severely impacted by relationships.  We believe that this is because of some of the personality traits that tend to be common across chronic fatigue clients, including a high sensitivity to the needs of others.

It’s common to hear clients talk about holding back from saying what they truly want to say.  It’s usually because they don’t want to upset others, or because they really dislike confrontation.  These clients will very often bite their tongue or walk away.

As a result, their emotions are held in and suppressed.  Over time, the pressure of these emotions builds up, and eventually the lid has to come off!  The emotions are let out through other routes.  Sorting out a relationship issue is can help clients and reduce physical symptoms.

This is why relationships are one of the 8 key areas we address within the Chrysalis Effect Supported Recovery Programme to bring about change.  Not all clients will have a relationship issue, but it is quite common to find that this area is pivotal in the recovery journey.

Awareness of relationships is key

The first step is all about awareness, making the link between emotional and physical states.  Most times, a client will instinctively know that being around a particular person makes them feel a particular way, usually not good.  Awareness of the situation is a great starting point and sometimes it’s enough.  Changing or leaving a relationship is easier if it isn’t a significant one.  This isn’t always the case.

The most challenging relationships to address are those with close family members.  This is especially true if the client feels that they have little choice or control over the relationship.  There may also be an element of dependency due to the severity of the chronic fatigue condition that makes it even more difficult.

So how can I help?

By working together with my clients, I support them with tools and techniques to help find a route that is comfortable for them use. This enables my clients to make changes that honour their wellbeing, not matter how challenging the relationship is.

Wooded pathway to the futureIf you feel that you have relationships which are part of your chronic fatigue illness, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  I am happy to offer a complementary 30 minute Health Profile Review to start you recovery journey.  Get started by following this link : Health Profile Online version

If you want to know more, or set up a call, contact me via my website www.reconnecting or follow this link  Reconnecting You

For more information about The Chrysalis Effect Supported Recovery Programme – go to or follow this link