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How to Deal with Disbelieving Family

Last updated: July 2020

Sometimes, our family can be our worst enemies. I've heard so many women on Endometriosis.net complain about the fact that their family members simply don't believe the amount of pain they're in due to endometriosis. I can relate. My own mother and sisters - none of whom suffered from anything more than mild cramping during their periods - told me time and time again that I was exaggerating the amount of pain I was in. Until I finally received my diagnosis.

Some family members, though, still don't believe how much pain endometriosis can cause even after a diagnosis. This can be upsetting and hurtful. So how can you deal with this?

Awareness

Part of the problem is that endometriosis isn't a very well-known disease. A lot of people haven't heard of it until they - or someone they know - are diagnosed with it. Disbelief at how much pain we're in due to the illness is grounded in ignorance. It isn't necessarily that our loved ones don't want to support us. It's usually just because they are facing an unknown. Education is key. You can show them articles on Endometriosis.net which explain what endometriosis does to the body. Also, testimonials from other sufferers can drive home the message as to how bad the disease is.

Fear

Sometimes, people refuse to acknowledge something bad out of fear. Your parents or siblings may not want to acknowledge your pain because they can't deal with the fact that you're suffering. Or they may feel guilty that they didn't give you more support before you received the diagnosis. Or they may convince themselves that whatever treatment you are receiving must be helping because they can't stand being helpless. I'm not saying that this reaction is okay - obviously your loved ones should support you - but it's a natural reaction. We don't like to see our loved ones suffering - and particularly not when we can't do anything to alleviate their suffering.

Support

In the end, you deserve the love and support of your family. Endometriosis is hard enough to live with without having to convince your family that the effects are real. If your family members don't take the pain seriously after you've shown them the articles of other advocates and the medical research, maybe it's time to sit them down and tell them how much they are hurting you by not having your back. Endometriosis is a strange disease, and it's hard for people to understand. People like solutions and cures and endo has none of those. But this is a real disease that you're living with. A disease that's affecting you every day. So, if your family loves you, they should help and support you during this time.

The refusal to acknowledge the real, damaging effects of endometriosis can come down to ignorance and fear. Maybe your loved ones don't know how much they're hurting you by downplaying your pain and suffering. In that case, it's time for you to give them a wake-up call with facts and feelings.

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