Relative CALM
Diabetic Living Australia|January-February 2022
Do the demands of managing diabetes cause you to clash with your loved ones? Here’s how to stay close and connected
STEPHAINE OSFIELD

Wouldn’t it be a relief if you and your loved ones could take a three-month holiday from diabetes? Time out from being watched over – or watching over – to make sure everything is under control. No fussing, nagging or tension about someone overdoing their dessert portion or skipping their bedtime BGL test. You’d all return from your sabbatical feeling refreshed and reconnected.

After all, when a person has diabetes it often feels like the entire family has been diagnosed as well. The demands of managing the condition add extra pressure and tension to the usual day-to-day niggles and commitments we all face.

Carrying this load can lead couples to pull in opposite directions or parents and kids to butt heads. You can help restore balance and harmony by addressing the issues that may tip your relationship into conflict.

TIPPING POINT #1

Feeling under siege

Okay, so maybe you’ve let your exercise routine slip, been slack with your medication and, after dinner, a few squares of chocolate have turned into half a block. But your partner or parent didn’t need to come on so strong about how you are not taking responsibility and don’t care about anyone else.

Now, you’re angry and not listening so you fail to see that their nagging is just a concerned call to action and an attempt to motivate you into taking better care of yourself.

The upshot? Everyone feels angry and alienated. You feel criticised and treated like a child. Your partner or parent feels unappreciated in their efforts to be supportive.

They can’t help but worry about your wellbeing – don’t forget that. If your health goes downhill, it affects their quality of life as well.

“If you constantly engage in these power struggles, you both risk feeling undervalued or unloved,” explains Anne Hollonds, formerly of Relationships Australia. “These feelings are then usually expressed as blame. If they build up over time, they can cause frustration, coldness and distance in the relationship.”

How to restore the balance

If you’re the one WITH diabetes

Don’t spit the dummy

Imagine how much more lonely, burdened and hurt you’d feel if your family didn’t care about your diabetes at all. Remind yourself that they do have your welfare at heart.

Take a reality check

Ask yourself if your partner or parent is right. Are you dropping the ball with your diabetes management? If you are, try to view their words as a wake-up call and see your diabetes team to get you back on track. Remember that it’s your loved ones who often shoulder the burden of care if your health goes off the rails.

If you’re the one WITHOUT diabetes

Hold your tongue

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