Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lupus and Childhood Abuse?

I've been reading messages on an online lupus support group where the question was raised that possibly some of us suffered some kind of abuse, thus leading to such stress that it led to developing lupus.

Although I didn't experience any kind of abuse in my childhood, it dawned on me that since so many of us with lupus live with or were raised by dysfunctional family members, we should all probably join one of the 12 Step Programs.... Like AlAnon (which I "are" one, having been married to two alcoholics) or Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) which teaches you how to deal with people who manipulate, deny and mentally or physically abuse you through alcohol or drug abuse, and I think we could include family members who are in denial about our pain and our disease.

See, family members who deny our disease are probably (1) too scared to deal with it, thinking we're going to die at any minute, and then what would they do? or (2) too damn enmeshed in their own perceived "right" worlds where disease doesn't exist and God heals everything "if only we got right with God."

Like blaming a cancer patient for getting cancer -- "Well, he shouldn't have smoked....she shouldn't have eaten all that fatty food.....he shouldn't have ingested any aspertame... ...only angry people get cancer because they repress it......he got cancer because he abandoned God and now he's being punished.... " I've heard all that. I've had people tell me that if only I "got right with God" I'd be healed.

I'm not negating the healing effects of prayer, and in fact, I've been to a couple of "healing services" one of which,about a week afterwards, I threw away my cane since I wasn't dealing with falling down from vasculitis in my ankles. One was a fundamentalist church service and one was a Catholic healer, and I got relief from both, even though I went with skepticism and came out kind of wondering what the heck just happened? I developed an answer for those who insist that only God can help me -- their God, btw -- and I smile and say Thank you, I appreciate your help. Oh, and this Episcopalian attended a healing service at her own church and can't help but think it led to my feeling better, if only a little bit.

But a 12 Step Program such as above couldn't hurt, either. We learn to deal with people who attempt to manipulate us, in one way or another, or who cause us even more pain than the physical pain we are in. Look 'em up in the local phone book. They're there for you, just like we're here for each other. Heck, they might even be online; I haven't checked! Meanwhile, "Don't let the bastards wear you down."


  1. I have a theory along the same lines...the reason that black/hispanic/asian women in America are more inclined to get Lupus than caucasian women is because it's a "poor woman's" disease. That is, it's more likely to strike women who struggle socio-economically. I'm willing to bet that single mothers make up a disproportionate percentage of lupus patients. And not so coincidentally, many of those poor/overworked/overstressed women come from dysfunctional homes. I think genetics plays a role, as well as environmental factors, such as viruses; but stress, overwork, overworry, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and lack of emotional support are the true culprits for many women with Lupus. Basically, folks--both men and women and even kids--with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

  2. Well said. Much needs to be done to verify what we instinctually know to be true: Stress has as much a part of developing lupus as any other known factor, and we know it certainly makes our lupus symptoms much worse.
    See today's blog. I'm asking for participants in a new lupus book I'm writing. Details will follow, but the gist of the invitation is on today's blog.
    Many thanks.