Can Fibromyalgia Make You Selfish?

NewLifeOutlookNewLifeOutlook New Life Outlook
edited January 2015 in Risks

Fibromyalgia article: Can Fibromyalgia Make You Selfish?Can Fibromyalgia Make You Selfish?

"Are people with chronic pain more self-centred than others? Some suggest we are." Sarah shares her thoughts on the idea of 'situational narcissism'.

Read the full story here


  • I found this article very interesting and helpful. I have another with chronic pain who focuses on herself all the time. Will start conversation asking how you are and then goes right to her. I suffer from fibromyalgia and my memory is not the greatest at times.recently I almost burnt my house down by being forgetful and needed to talk about and she didn't have the time or day to listen to me. I just hope to God I stay compassionate towards others like I am now and do not let fibromyalgia get the better of me. This article was excellent!!!:)
  • I like Teddy75's comment. It made me laugh. Teddy75 was so focused about wanting to talk about her/his pain that they were upset their friend wouldn't listen to them! I think the irony is absolutely adorable. :-)
  • Today I have so much pain! Cannot stop have 30 people coming to a Birthday party and watching my grandson.(4yrs old).All I can think of is I need to also clean and do the laundry..Anyone else have a hard time stopping yourself????
  • I like this article but ive been acting THIS way and didnt realize it until my friend told me yesterday now it has cost me a good friend ship
  • I certainly hope and pray that I am not self obsorbed or narcissistic! I have Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, Osteo-Arthritis. I do agree that it certainly does tend to cause us to think more about our selves because we are in constant pain of one kind or another. I try to reach out to those around me and try to encourage them either through gifts, or flowers, or notes/ cards. I also have two special needs kids, one that will always need me and my husband for the rest of her life. How one person can write a article like this they must not have chronic pain, or have someone in their lives that will require their help for the rest of their lives. Since the day my children have been born I have been the chosen parent by the one so disabled, so
    I haven't ever just thought about ME, It has always been what do my children need, and being their surrogate frontal lobe 24/7. I have lived in this area for 26 years and have reached out to others a lot! Please forgive me for being so Narcissitic in this post! Please know that I will take a better look at myself to see how God wants me to change in my outlook on life. If you really want to help someone with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, take several clothes pins, and attaché them to several parts of your body and leave them there for a day. If you can think of others first while you are hurting and can reach out to others. But keep in mind you can remove those clothes pins at any time and your pain will go away in time, where as others with CF/Fibro/arthrits cannot take off our pain!
  • You have to be kidding me! As someone with fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome and chronic pain from a 5 level cervical fusion, I am ticked off about this article too! Honestly, I just spoke to my psychologist about all I do for people, sometimes when I am hurting badly, and he said "STOP"! I intend to have healthy boundaries and a me first attitude from now on. I can't afford to deplete all my energy on others when I need to store it up for myself....Lord knows no one else is helping me out.
  • PetePete Member
    edited February 2015
    I find this to be true. I'm just as guilty as anyone. I once (and only one time) went to an FMS support group and that was the case. The "my pain is worse than yours" and amount of sheer complaining was alarming. This was a long time ago, back before ANYONE other than us sufferers knew what FMS was, including doctors. I've had this DD for 22 years. I always complain about how many meds I take for all my ailments, not just the FMS, but something is working. It doesn't have control over my life (although I still don't work FT) and am in economic shambles and at the end of my rope. I'll survive. I'm going to go back and count how many times I used the word "I" in this now. Sorry. It is hard to get away from something we think about every second of every day.
  • I agree with Cassandra J Dunbar
  • I can certainly see after personally suffering from fibro and a multitude of other health problems for close to 30
    years, how people can become self-absorbed in all their problems. However, in order to maintain any chance of even having a minimal quality of a positive life, I believe it is very important to focus on the positive things we have and not just the bad. Even on many of the difficult days when someone may ask how the day is going, in most cases, I need to prepare myself for a long conversation even before answering their question, about all the difficulties they face, in many cases legit. In the big scheme of things most people have their own set of issues which to them, understandably so, outweighs the problems of others.
  • Due to a work injury I had when I was a nurse in 1986, the severe back problems, including fibromyalgia, stopped me from being able to work in 2010 and I was accepted on SS Disability in 2011 at the age of 57. This disease changed my life and I had to learn to "Re-live" again. I went from self pity and not wanting to leave the house and socialize with anyone, to finding a spiritual church, unlike most dogma religions, that accepts everyone's spiritual beliefs and emphasizes on doing social justice work to help in our surrounding communities. For example, we take turns volunteering at a local soup kitchen,the local animal shelter, food drives, hold special programs and lectures at the church where the public is invited and also offer yoga and meditation classes. Even though my pain is always there, being involved, helping others and doing the yoga and meditation classes has helped me physically and mentally too and my pain does not seem to run my life. Yes, I still get days that are very bad, and I realize I must take a day or two down time to recuperate, but all in all, I have now found a balance in my life. I would advise anyone with fibromyalgia or anyone who suffers with chronic pain or a chronic disease to get out and stay as active as possible. Being around other people, helping others and taking up any type of class that would interest you, will stimulate you mentally and physically and we help diminish the pain.

  • You just read my story before in the comment below, which was actually 2 years ago. The winter months were bad in PA for my partner and I, and he also suffers from very severe back problems and fibromyalgia from a accident he had while in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He was accepted for SS Disability in 2007 and moved back to PA after living in FL for over 30 years to help his siblings take care of his father who was dying from cancer. After his father's passing, we stayed in PA for 2 years, but my partner was not doing as well emotionally as I was, and he wanted to return back to FL, so we moved south 1 1/2 years ago. However, I am POA to my 87 year old godmother and basically her only family, so when we moved, she came along with us. She had been living in a very expensive retirement assisted living facility there, but they were not taking very good care of her for what she was paying, so when we moved down here, we became her caregivers and we have home health nurses come in a few hours a day to help us do the things we cannot do for her.
    But since moving here, the weather down here has not helped our condition. My doctor here told me it is the high humidity and because we live in Central FL (Tampa area), in the winters it can still get in the mid 30's at night then jump up to the 60's-70's during the day, which makes the barometric pressure go crazy and our bodies feel that. Not only that, the church I went to in PA, that I really enjoyed, down here is over an hour away, and with the heavy traffic would actually take 1 1/2 hours one way to get there. In the mean time, since moving here, my godmother has now been diagnosed with early dementia and cannot be left alone at all anymore, even with her having a call help button she wears. So now we have basically become prisoners in our home and since this has happened, I am once again feeling the same way I did back in 2011, always in pain, depressed and never wanting to leave the house unless it is necessary!!!
    I have come to the conclusion, that I am going to need to re-evaluate my life again very soon!!! My body is rejecting itself again due to the emotional state I am in, feeling totally out of control!!! I can no longer allow myself to feel I am being selfish because I am thinking about my own health and what is good and right for me!! I will try to continue to help my godmother, by bringing in the home health nurses for more hours, so I can get back out there doing what makes me happy and feel the healthiest!!! She after all will be 88, and has lived a full life, and up until 8 years ago lived a very healthy and productive life!! Even though, at this time I do not want to put her into a nursing facility again, the degree of the dementia might give me no choice. And I have come to realize, after gone through this drastic change again in my life, that I must stay in the now and in the present and do what is the best for my health, and get back out there amongst the living!!
  • Who wrote this article?
    Very strange opinion of FMers.

    Im rewriting it.
    People who suffer FM are NOT Narcissistic/Selfish.

    To claim that Fibromyalgia sufferers are Narcissistic or Selfish is a negative description.

    First off, people who have FM suffer flare ups with stress. So, to pull back from activities, is actually recommended.
    Doctors orders.

    That's not selfish, that's healthy. It is survival. Fmers don't have too many options.

    I speak for myself, and I speak for others who relate.

    I happen to have a very busy schedule, with doctor appts., Baby and Me classes and with a 1 1/2 year old toddler, you bet that most of my loving friends, and other endeavors, have had to be placed on the back burner. Fibromyalgia forces that on a person.
    Once again...That's not selfish, this is survival.

    There's more....I also have to watch my parent who is an elder and my boyfriend who has a seizure disorder.
    How could that possibly be selfish?

    I'm sure the majority of FMers have had tons of responsibilities and WERE fully integrated in outside activities, and had ambitions, only to find out that their lives have been completely changed by this mysterious disabling condition, that no true medical authority can explain.
    Just today, I spoke on the phone with the Founder of a National Film Festival. Guess what? She's a closet FMer just like many. She told me today, it's because of the judgement that she has chosen not to come forward with her private life issue. There are consequences. She is not selfish or Narcissistic. And as a mother of 3 young children, she can't afford to stop working. How many other closeted FMers are out there, not accounted for?

    Why didn't the author of this article mention the harsh emotional suffering and inner desire of FMers to be part of a normal life experience, especially when they are knocked down with excruciating pain? It sounds like this person is putting blame on FMers for choosing to pull back, which is the healthy thing to do to get back to recovery.

    From my experience, I haven't been able to talk about FM to anyone who hasn't felt either chronic pain or FM, the invisible condition that leaves you sounding like you're whiny.
    Its too abstract to describe and too abstract to comprehend. Perhaps putting a person's hand in a vice grip, and telling them that they cannot cry for mercy, might give them a clue.

    I know other FMers can relate. Many FMers have gotten judged, so they've learned to keep it to themselves.
    Who likes either being pitied, thought of as a liar and a drama queen, have to defend themselves, or be rejected altogether?
    No one.

    Oh, and I paused to think about the comment about fibro sufferers writing on blogs sharing their stories, and then another FM sufferer sharing how their situation is worse.
    Well, many FMers don't have anywhere else to share bottled up secrets of a condition that IS still very much considered crazy. For Petes sake, the 2 top drugs given to FMers are psych meds. It seems like pharmaceutical companies have pretty much just discovered how to market their psych meds to people who complain about FM, which is compared to phantom pain. They've basically lumped everyone with inexplicable pain together and labeled it Fibromyalgia. And, these companies haven't helped to cure anything. They instead keep the brain content on happy pills, so a patient will be quiet. That's basically the same thing they do with mental illness, and FM is not mental illness, nor is it a personality disorder.
    I invite FM sufferers to continue sharing their honest stories on blogs, no matter how annoying they can seem. The problem is not what FMers have to say.
    The problem is that FMers have something to say that others can't tolerate to hear about. Pain. Daily unbelievable pain. And lack of successful treatment.

    FM is an insidious condition that doesn't incite the attention that cancer gets because it doesn't kill a person.

    FM just leaves sufferers with desperate voices.

    FMers aren't Narcissistic.
    FMers are abused by their own bodies, then by others opinions, and most days, also silenced by shame.

    Even I forget what the pain feels like when I'm feeling well.

    I think when people don't know what FM is like, they still look at Fmers as nutty. I've heard the comments. Heck! I'm reading the articles.
    And calling FMers selfish and Narcissistic, is just wrong.

    The last time I looked up Narcissistic, it came with the definition of a personality disorder. And if anyone looks that up, it means that a person is self centered; and so self absorbed that its disordered. And people with personality disorders are thought by many to be untreatable. Not cool.

    FM has a cure, we just haven't arrived at it yet. In the meantime FM sufferers just have to shove stupid articles aside.

  • I am very annoyed with this article. This is a distortion of how most fibro sufferers act. Most of us are employed, raise kids and engage in outdoor activities -- in Pain. We also have to apply for disability, ask for help with activity of daily living and cancel our plans. All of this leaves us frustrated, feeling guilty and depressed. We do not want to be ill, but for right now we have no choice. We are not whiners. We are not selfish. And, as far as narcissism goes, that is a personality disorder. I do not have a personality disorder. I have a chronic pain disorder. A pain disorder that immobilizes me at times. Are there people who feel sorry for themselves? Sure, there are. And, I guarantee you they stick out. They are in the minority. Most of us want to get better, we want a forum to go where others understand, we want to network about treatment and doctors. For the love of God, is this article supposed to help any of us? Selfish? Are you kidding me? The fibro groups I am in are composed of wonderful, caring and strong women and some men. We do not let those few people who want to wallow and feel sorry for themselves become victims. We help them to become strong. This article only fuels the fire of those who believe FB is not a painful disease and we are confabulating our symptoms. I would give this "syndrome" away in a heartbeat if I could, but I have it and I have to deal with it.
  • This article is SO far off I am deeply saddened... The need for admiration, a sense of self entitlement? Lack of empathy? Since being diagnosed, I have become more empathic towards others, and do I want empathy of course, I believe you are confusing empathy with sympathy . . . I do not want people to look at me and go "oh poor you, blah, blah" I don't need peoples sympathy, but from my support network, yes empathy is key to being supportive. And we should try to be more supportive of others? As so many have commented, just because our condition has a name, that does NOT mean we are now helped in the Medical community, many times we are our own advocates, we fight everyday for help, to get out of bed, to decide what we can and can't do that day and MOST of the time we do more than we should because so many people look at anyone with an "invisible illness" and think well you don't look sick... Or in my case because I am so young "I will bounce back". I live with this EVERYDAY as do so many people with any chronic conditions, and I have learned that everyday is a blessing, I do not take anything for granted, because you learn to appreciate what you have and what you lost. Do we grieve? Of course, but that does not make any of us narcissistic in fact it is normal to go through this process, many of us lose so much at once, our freedoms both financially and independently, our friends, sometimes family, our old self, because we have limits now. My diagnosis came after I was in an auto accident, that 30 seconds it took for someone to run a stoplight and hit me changed my life forever, am I angry, yes I am but I am not a narcissistic. I have learned that many people with Chronic conditions will be angry, and thats ok, how would you feel if your life changed in an instant? You lost your job, the ability to do things on your own, the looks people give you or some of the things people say (because many of us suffer from fibro fog, our memory and/or cognitive abilities are not what they used to be). I don't want anyones sympathy, I want to be the person I was, and I do everything I can to treat my pain, and that means dr app's, physical therapy, therapy, group therapy, and many times putting a smile on my face because I am so sick of dealing with this myself, I don't want others to know the pain I am in. I cry in private, I do not let others see my emotional pain, or physical pain. And as many have said we don't want to be ill, but we are stuck with this for the rest of our lives or until someone finds a cure. I honestly question the person who wrote this, because I do not believe that this person suffers from chronic pain, or if they do maybe they are the ones that are narcissistic and selfish to even write an article like this. I have learned not to judge because everyone has something going on in their lives, but I know more people who are wealthy, married, have kids, and DO NOT suffer from any chronic condition that are narcissists than those who do. 98% of the people I have met who have fibro, or other chronic pain conditions are the most caring, wonderful people and they are the people who have helped me come to terms with my conditions. I in turn advocate for Invisible Illnesses, so that articles like this do not add to the stigmas. SHAME ON YOU for insinuating we are selfish for wanting to be understood, heard, and treated the same as anyone else...
  • @rosed1x I wish I would have read what you wrote before I commented. You said everything I have in my head after reading this article, you just said it much better. THANK YOU! I am not one to articulate well any more, and you said it beautifully!
  • Objectively I found this a thought provoking article because I had to take and honest look about how I come across to other by asking a relative e and 2 close friends if was talking to much about myself ( my pain that day, my fatigue, my anger at having fybro , my grief over losing my job, my limitations). What they honestly told me was it s was off putting because I talked about was me me me, and I used to ask about how they were doing, their interests. They were patient have to understand it was grief
  • Debbie 72 has the right attitude! I relate to everyone else with this condition with trying multiple medications, living with barometric pressure changes and judgement from others. Even after providing education and sensitive to family and friends they still don't " get it" because they dont physically see it . After a year and a half of severe depression and grieving multiple losses ( career, friends, physical limitations) I hit my emotional bottom. My faith and a close call with death made me appreciate what I do have and the role my anger played in my self absorbed behavior. On a positive note I know who my true friends are vs. my fair weather friends and found a positive online support group and therapist to help me manage my emotional pain and physical pain when the bad days come.
  • Cheree50Cheree50 Member
    edited April 2016
    Was so glad to see that other FMers was as shocked and surprised by this article as I was. SELFISH??? NARCISSITIC??? Are you kidding me? I've suffered from Fibro for over 20 years. I am currently in a flare that won't let up. I've never been in THIS much pain for this long since I was diagnosed those 20+ years ago. Currently, it may appear that I am "selfish", but I am barely functional at best, and so, to have any kind of life right now, I have to be "selfish". Selfish with my time, selfish with my energy, selfish with my feelings. Poor me!!! However, I don't see it being "selfish", I see it as self-preservation---something I believe is mentioned in theory at least, in almost every other article I've ever read---listen to your body, take breaks, do what you can, ask for help, etc., etc. Reading other FMers responses, only reaffirm my belief that we ALL suffer quietly, any terribly every single day---unending---but like one said, it gives us more empathy, more understanding of others, more acceptance of how they feel. Sharing our experiences and our pain, helps all of us deal with this horribly debilitating condition. I take offense to being considered narcissistic. I'm just trying to cope!

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