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"Suffering" friends

rwkeach
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2004

Hello everybody,
I've been a member of this board for a few years, but mainly I lurk in the background.
Today I have a question that I hope many of you may have successfully dealt with.
I am presently dealing with my second reoccurence. It stinks, but it is what it is and the prognosis looks favorable.
I have this friend who suffers more with this than I do. I think we all have people like that in our lives, they hijack our disease and run with it. I have tried gently to let her know that I do not want to discuss every little detail of my treatment, my husband has sent emails to everybody to let them know to not pity me, but to no avail. She has crowned herself the head-sufferer and there is no dislodging her from this position. When she calls and I try to change the subject she tells me that I don't need to change the subject to spare her feelings, she knows how I really feel and she worries about me all the time etc. etc.
I am ready to quit this friendship, she is driving me nuts! I have cancer, I am not cancer! I enjoy baking, woodworking, crafts and lots of other things when I feel good. I have no intention of dying every day that I have!
How can I deal with this woman? Have any of you successfully dealt with this? I would welcome any ideas.
Thanks, Regine

kristasplace's picture
kristasplace
Posts: 876
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi Regine! I have a few friends who seem to offer much in the way of a pity party. One of my closest friends freaks me out when i see him because his worry is written all over his face. Sometimes he will make comments like, "I hate this so much", or, "I'm so worried about you, is there anything i can do, i feel so worthless". But luckily none of my friends have pushed me into the corner that you're in. If any of them did, i would tell them point blank how badly it makes me feel that they are carrying on so, and i don't want to feel badly. You don't need constant reminding that you're sick. Especially if you're not feeling sick! If telling her fails, i would definitely stop talking to her. You need positive energy around you. I hope she can learn to understand that.

Keep us updated on how it goes!
Many hugs,
Krista

hoagiemom's picture
hoagiemom
Posts: 87
Joined: Feb 2007

I understand were you are coming from. My problem is a family member. There is no way of getting away from her. She compares my with other family members that had cancer is now no longer with us. When I was first dx I had to keep away from her because she gave me a death sentence. I stay away as much a I can but it hard when it is a family member. I'm alway a little more up beat around her to show that yes I have cancer but cancer doesn't have me. I guess what I'm say is that they are fearful and just don't know how to handle cancer. Cancer has alway had this death sentence with it but now we have come so far and some day they will find a cure. Take care and enjoy each day

Michelle

chynabear's picture
chynabear
Posts: 483
Joined: Jul 2005

Hopefully your friend is trying to just assure you that you don't have to downplay your cancer. I know that many people will often respond to questions of their illness with an, "I'm doing fine" as that is the response expected and most people really can't handle hearing how bad it can really be. In giving her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she is just making sure you know that she is tough enough for you to lean on.

If it were me, I would firmly assure her that you are doing fine, but you appreciate her concern and the second you are having trouble she will be the one you go to. I think you should tell her exactly what you said here. Cancer does not make up your whole person... not even a fraction of it. Remind her that you are still here to enjoy the many things life has to offer and would rather be doing the things you love instead of harping on the one thing you hate.

Let her know how important having positive people in your life is. If she continues to harp on it, let her know exactly where you stand and that you can't have her in your life at this point if she continues this way.

kmygil's picture
kmygil
Posts: 829
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi. When I was first diagnosed a very good friend decided that it was her martyrdom. The fact is that she has always been a drama queen, and everything is about her. It was something that I just put up with because I love her. But when she immediately became the martyr of my diagnosis I told her straight out that I couldn't deal with her drama because I had something more important to deal with; and if she insisted on it being about her, I would not be able to be in contact with her. She was VERY offended and "hurt", but when she saw I wasn't going to cater to that drama either she settled down and behaved like a sensible person. Perhaps you need to have a few VERY straightforward words with your friend.

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Regine,

Part of getting rid of my cancer was detoxing all aspects of my life--including toxic people. As hard as that was, it was worth it in the long run. I loved your word picture of your friend hijacking your disease. I never thought of it that way, and it makes sense for some people's behavior.

For me, I got a lot of grief for not doing the chemo (they all acted like they knew what was best for me--unbelievable) and a friend actually dropped me because of it. I say good riddance when that happens. Culling the dead weight from my life freed me up for healing.

I had to walk away from more than one friendship over this cancer gig. Good luck with yours. For me it was a good thing. Sad and hard, but for the best. And at the time, I didn't have the energy to put much effort in sustaining a draining relationship....not with 5 kids and a Stage 3 colon cancer dx. No way.

This is your life, your disease, you get to call the shots.

peace, emily

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