Jan 15, 2014 - 9:04 pm
I was reading a bit of everyone's stories, and find that lots of people are talking about their spouses... Perhaps I am in a unique situation, but I really could use some advice because I feel like I'm going to just start screaming or crying from frustration and guilt.
A few months ago I found out that a distant relative that was diagnosed with breast cancer. I really didn't know her very well. I'd only met her a couple of years ago and we only saw each other once or twice a year prior to her diagnosis because we live ~3-4 hours away from each other (I live in a different state). But, when i got her message, I rushed up to see her the next day and stayed the weekend.
I really wasn't expecting to do anything else but comfort her that one time - but, she begged me to visit again, so I visited her again and we slowly became friends over the course of a few weekends. I would help her around the house while she was resting. Most of the time, she slept all day or laid on the couch text messaging/facebooking her friends. I really didn't mind it at first, and continued to go to visit her often to make things go a bit more smoothly for her during her chemo treatments - I honestly tried to be a good friend / family to her during her time of need.
After a while, she started expecting that I would come every weekend - no matter what - and would make comments if I wanted to take a weekend to spend time with friends or something because she'd see photos on facebook. After a while, I got paranoid that I couldn't post photos of myself having fun on facebook because she'd be upset that I wasn't with her that weekend. So, I stopped my social media postings and asked all of my friends not to take photos of me when I was out with them.
The thing that makes me mad is that she has MANY people visiting her constantly - she doesn't need me there every weekend! She has 6-8 friends by her side at any time. She has a fridge full of food / drinks and people drop stuff off for her constantly from church. She honestly has a beautiful group of friends by her side - God bless. But, she started to treat me like a maid - asking me to serve her friends' meals during their visits, and called me her chauffer, which I only did because she constantly complained that she couldn't drive because she was dizzy from chemo. She always wants the attention on her and her cancer. She will tell wildly religious stories about angels visiting her while she's sleeping and such to encourage church prayer circles to visit her at her home.
After a while, I started to notice that she would say things to guilt me into visiting her -- she is a negative person and constantly complains that she is going to die and goes to the hospital for things like fevers, etc. The thing is that she is not going to die. She completed her chemo, her double mastectomy and is nearly completed her radation. She's almost in the clear. She was told she had a slow growing tumor and that she had a very positive outlook; she's going to be fine.
I am a single woman who lives hours away from her. I cannot keep coming to visit her; I need to take care of my own life. I feel cut off from my friends, my social life, and my relaxation over the weekends. And even when I take a weekend for myself, I feel guilty that I am not there for her because she will comment about how horrible she feels and that she was so sick she felt like she was going to die. I can't even have a normal conversation with my family without talking about her - because she will call my mother to complain about me; that apparently i haven't done enough for her.
I am exhausted. I am crying and incredibly upset - she begs me to visit her then treats me like I don't exist unless her friends are there; then I am a maid for her. Today, she told me that I don't care about anything by myself. I feel used up emotionally, mentally, and financially. She has no idea what she's doing to me and she doesn't care because her entire life revolves around her cancer. I was the only one in the family to be there for her, and this is how she treats me.
What does she expect of me? It's been almost 4 months - she's almost cured. I want to scream at her - "Stop using your cancer to treat me like your personal servant", but of course, she has cancer and no one wants to scream at someone who has cancer and I don't want to look like a horrible selfish person in front of her gaggle of gossips.
It's a never ending cycle of guilt. What do I do to pull myself away from her? I honestly can't do this anymore due to financial and emotional reasons - I never meant to be her caretaker - I just wanted to be a good friend. I truly feel that all she wants is the attention at this point - she is at risk of losing the attention the closer she is to getting cured and she's manipulating everything into getting it back on her including acting like she is dying and constantly going to the hospital.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this and what can I do to stop feeling guilty that I can no longer visit her? Is there anything that can be done to salvage a friendship or do I just break it off with her completely? Please help.