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Needing To Be Sick

Last week one of my clients called me on the phone to inform me that she was going to miss a few workouts because she was sick. I thanked her for the call and asked when was the last time she can remember being sick. She exclaimed, “it’s been so long that I can’t remember.” I then asked her why she needed to be sick at this time. There was a long silence and finally she said, “what do you mean, why did I NEED to be sick? I didn’t choose to be sick.” I responded, “…are you sure? It appears to me that since you can’t even remember when you were last sick, you’re obviously pretty healthy, so why did you need to get sick now?” More silence….and finally, she says, “you know it’s funny that you would ask me that because I have been feeling overworked and overwhelmed lately.

I believe that a large percentage of all illness occurs because people need to be sick due to feeling unappreciated, unloved, overworked, overwhelmed and just stressed-out. As babies, we learned early on that we could get lots of attention by crying or by being sick. And, as adults, we employ the same behavior in order to get attention or affection. So, in situations like this, the illness is needed. But, does it always work? Not always. And, when it doesn’t work, sometimes the person has to get even sicker the next time. Sometimes people can make themselves sick all the way up to heart attacks and strokes, in fact, people can make themselves sick to death.

Have you ever noticed that new mothers never get sick? Well, they don’t. Why? Because they are fulfilled and extremely busy taking care of a new baby, and they don’t want anyone else to do the job, but themselves. Even if these new moms had routinely gotten sick before the baby was born, after the birth, sickness is put on hold until the child is older and then mom can go back to her previous schedule of getting sick. People embrace their expectations for getting sick. For example, I’ve heard many people say, “I get a cold every spring and then another in the fall.” In the event they come in contact with a bacterial infection in, say, the late summer, they’ll fight it off because it’s not in harmony with their expectation of when they get sick. Of course, they can always give themselves permission to be sick if they feel unloved, unwanted, unappreciated, etc., as I mentioned earlier. And then there are some people who say, “I don’t ever get sick” and, they don’t.

One of the most effective methods for eliminating stress and minimizing the feeling of being overworked and overwhelmed is to become a conflict confronter as opposed to being a conflict avoider. Conflict confronters deal with crisis and conflict immediately thereby creating a feeling of accomplishment and, of course, completing the important tasks when they need to be done. Conflict avoiders, on the other hand, put off dealing with crisis or conflict situations, sometimes hoping they just disappear. They never do. They always intensify, creating more stress along with the feeling that they’re not getting the job done…which they’re not. By the way, crisis is nothing more than change trying to happen. Well… before long, the conflict avoider has to get away from all the stress and the best way they know how is to get sick. How sick they choose to get will depend on the severity of the situation and how long they’ve been a conflict avoider.

Of all the things I have in my life to be grateful for, I’m most grateful for my health. I choose to be healthy. I choose to be happy. I choose not to give away any of the days I have left …I want to live them to the fullest. I never get sick.

Mack Newton

Copyright Mack Newton. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the author.