Tinnitus and Relationships
Having tinnitus has influenced my whole life. Including my relationships.
I´m not only talking about romantic realtionships, every relationship. With my friends, with co-workers, with my parents and so on.
Not every influence was bad. Reflecting on the changes they actually have been good, maybe not at first sight but in the end they ALL have been good.
Of course I have a lot less patience as during the time before my tinnitus and I don´t do the same things anymore as before. So that influences my intaction with others.
My realtionships with friends got influenced in the way that I don´t really go out much anymore. I avoid loud places and it took me a long time to take every problem they have as an important problem. Not that I wanted to discredit their feelings or challenges – not taking them seriously. I just couldn´t shut up my head and it just kept telling me over and over: ” How hard can that be – they don´t have to live with that unsupportable sound in their head all day long, every day.”
Over time I got off that ego trip and was able to recognize that not only I have problems and that every problems weights it´s own weight. To not take myself more important than others, to see that every situation and every person has it´s own obstacles to conquer and that is something that has to be respected.
Of course that realization took a while and it affected some of my relationships with friends really profoundly. Gladly my best friends understood what I went through and just accepted me the way I am. They helped me through it. So it was maybe just a way to sort out my relationships, to see which ones stick, which ones are the real ones.
I still often feel a little guilty for having past through that time, but my friends showed me that there was no reason for it and that they had my back. I was more than happy and still am. That is also why I miss them dearly.
Making new friends seems a lot harder to me since I have tinnitus. When you say no to things all the time and always want to do something quiet, not in big groups – people seems to loose interessted pretty quickly. So I feel like as much as old friends stand by your side and as much they help you through the hard times – the harder it is with new friends.
To be honest I just stoped trying to make new friends, if it happens that is great – but I no longer try to make new friends.
The same goes for co-workers. I feel like I need to make so much effort to connect with them, that I ask myself if it is worth it. Is it worth to try to find a connection with people I oviously have nothing in common what so ever.
Often co-workers want to go for a drink together, but I don´t feel comfortable at those places. Firstly the music is too loud and secondly in bigger groups I just can´t hear what people are saying. So I usually cancel or suggest something else. Often people want to go out to eat, but as I´m trying to eat according to my tinnitus diet, it is often really difficult. I sometimes go and order something I can eat or I don´t go because I hate being the difficult one when going out to eat.
First it really affected me, but then I decided that it wasn´t worth it. I don´t have the desire to find new friends and I don´t want to hang out and talk about things that I don´t care about. So it is just not really worth it for me. Second, why go to places I don´t want to be at and I don´t feel comfortable at – that also is not worth it.
This actually helped me, as I usually said YES to everything and and I used to do so many things I didn´t really want to. I just never said NO, because I was to affraid people would not like me or I would be left out….So what?! I would not want to be part of a group if this is not where I want to be or where I feel well.
In my romantic relationships the influence has been more emotional. I feel left out if the person wants to do things I feel like I can´t do or I shouldn´t do. So I have asked myself so often if it would be better to have someone who accepts that situation and tries to live the same way or if that would be like draging someone down and limiting someone. To me it feels like I have never been so emotional and posessed by the fear of not being enough as since I have tinnitus. Too often I feel like I am too limited in the sense of not being able to give what I should be giving or in not being able to do what the other person expects from me. It has made so a lot more insecure than I ever was.
Now even as I´m in a commited relationship for almost 4 years, it still affects me. Often I´m not sure if I should do things outside of my comfortzone more often or if I should just follow my inner voice telling me what feels good and what I feel like would be good for me and not do anything of the other stuff.
It still is difficult at time to see me as loveable even though I say NO to many things because I can´t have it. For example when there is a party and I ask constantly to turn down the music, I feel bad. So I often don´t want to go…but it make me feel like I miss out on time with my partner.
I try to find a balance and still feel loveable and desireable.
The best influence my tinnitus way has had on my relationship was with my parents!
Discribing my relationship with them is difficult. I´m the middle child and have always felt a little left out and like I´m not as important as the others. I felt like I was not the focus of their love. Of course I was not the focus as I they had three children and not one. So they had to devide the focus on us three.
For the longest time I felt like I was not so important and not as loved. It then got resolved through talking to my mom, we both said how we felt. I told her how I felt left out and she said that they thought I didn´t want and need their help as I always wanted to do everything on my own and without their help. She has more in common with my sister, but not with me. So they do more things together as they like the same things.
And from that moment on things started to change.
A few years ago I started working on letting go and on forgiveness. This has upgraded my personal and spiritual growth so much, I am still working on it but I am definitely on the right path.
This made me realise that there was no point in holding on to old stories, in holding grudges and re-living the same stories over and over again. It showed me that usually people do the best they can according to their own background and their own story.
Relationships don´t only consist of positive and everlasting great experiences together. Relationships are formed with up and downs – they are never the same, just as we and everything that influences us, relationships are part of a contant change.
That means that people can make mistakes and that we just can´t hold a grudge forever because of that. Forgiveness is a big part of relationships. I´m not saying that we have to forgive everything. There are lines we have to draw between protecting ourselves and maintaining a relationship. Our own well-being is always more important.
But even if it is something, that means we have to let of those people go – we still need to forgive outselves. Moving on also requires forgiveness and acceptance, if we don´t forgive we can never find peace again.
So why I´m saying all of this when talking about my parents?
I had to learn that they are also only human, that they acted always the best way they could and that they always loved me.
I had to learn that they were not only there to serve my wishes and that they were not able to read my mind.
I had to let go of my old fears and stop blaming others for my current situations.
My parents have done nothing but love me, take care of me and supported me. In their way and not always as I wanted them to do it, but always with their best intention!
Now I´m an adult and I can´t keep blaming others for the things happening to me right now.
I am responsible for my own actions, responsible for my future and responsible for my own feelings and emotions. I can influnce everything on my own.
Letting go of my past and of old childhood grudges was an important step, making others responsible for my life also. Once I had let go of that and I could feel my own power and my own responsability it changed everything.
Everything I do and I think can influence my life. That changed everything for me.
Of course that also influnced the relationship with my parents as I didn´t expect them to make me happy anymore. I finally understood I had to make myself happy, it was not their task. Also accepting their love as somthing sacred and with understanding their background helped me to let go.
Without tinnitus I would have never taken that path and it might have taken a lot longer to get to all those realisations and enlightments.
Even though having tinnitus makes everything a lot harder, it also helps me to see what is really important. I helps me to find what is important to me and helps me to get go of things I don´t really need. Maybe I have to let go of people because of that too…but those are then not people I need in my life.
All in all, my ear ringing has helpd me to see what really matters. What is important in relationships and not to just say YES. Looking after myself and taking responsability for myself and my life.