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Am I Just Being a Brat?

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

I hesitate to say this here, but I really need your honest opinions. I am having trouble with a friend and I really need to know if I'm just being a brat about the whole thing. I really do think it's ok to feel whatever it is you feel, and I am very HURT. But it may ruin a wonderful friendship.

A dear friend of mine has pretty much ignored my new NEAD status. We are very close; in fact I called her from Chicago with the news. I finally spoke with her today, one week after diagnosis. She asked how the Liver Symposium went and congratulated me on my status. When I asked why I hadn't heard from her she had a mile of excuses -busy planting flowers, went to visit cousin one day, etc. I asked why she didn't call me either to or from her trip (a 2 hour drive and I'm the one she usually calls), or text me, or email me....She had an excuse. I told her I was hurt, that I didn't feel important. The call didn't end well and I may not hear from her for awhile.

While I've been sick, she was one of my biggest supporters. She has organized meals coming in for my family, sent cards to me, spent time with me when I'm sick and driven me to appointments. I feel like the 'sick' friend. If I'm getting better she doesn't have to worry about me. The hardest part is that she is an 11 year survivor of NHL and her prognosis was not much better than mine. I thought she would understand. She doesn't. Her life is busy and she has her own problems. I just needed to hear her cheer for me. I miss her and I'm still sick. We don't even know what this means for my long-term prognosis, but I need friends to celebrate with me whenever we can.

What now? Do I wait to hear from her or do I swallow my own feelings and apologize? I guess the worst for me now is when I told her I was hurt, her response was, "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, BUT..." It really never matters what comes after the "but", does it? It negates the apology entirely.

It really is ok to tell be to buck up. I may be completely irrational. Feelings are harder than logic. I'm not really used to feelings...you'd think I have a penis but I swear I'm a woman. Do woman often have all these irrational feelings? LOL

Kimby

Shannonlw7's picture
Shannonlw7
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2009

i have the same feelings about my sister and my best friend. my sister i had to locate her after i was diagnosed because i was afraid of dying and her not knowing..she is only 21 and had ran off to texas, she called me one time and wanted to know "how" someone gets rectal cancer, like she was disgusted by it, and i never talked to her again, until a few months ago when i found out she was back in wv and hadnt called me, so i wrote her a letter telling her i was pretty upset about her not calling or writing me, and she said, i'm sorry your sick but..it wasnt like i could just leave and come home. well, i never would have asked her to do that, and now, my cancer is back..i dont even plan to get in touch with her. and my bf..although i talk to her almost everyday, its always all about her..her new job, new boyfriend, or whatever..just nothing about how i am doing or feeling..and having these feelings toward her hurt me more than the ones from my own sister, maybe she doesnt want to think about me being sick so she talks about everything else to keep my mind off of it or something. i dont really know, but it does hurt.

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Shannon,

I've heard so many with a similar story to yours. It has got to be incredibly painful. My sister and my best friend have been wonderful through all of this. In fact, most everyone in my life has been. Maybe that's why I feel like such a heel.

This friend has been through all of this with me. Every ugly thing. And has gone above and beyond to be sure my family had everything they needed. But now, after 22 months of only bad news and bad scans, I have good news. Why is she skipping out now? You'd think she'd want to take part in the good stuff. Does she only like me if I'm dying? What's up with that?

I can't imagine if I couldn't have counted on my best friend through this. Or the friend of which I speak. My sister has been great, but we were never close - she's 8 years younger than me. I can't even imagine your pain; and I'm so sorry for that. With all you're going through it isn't fair that you have that,too.

Hugs,

Kimby

Shannonlw7's picture
Shannonlw7
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2009

kimby, i only hope they come around for both of us..and i have to say, though i dont want to admit it, i went to a very bad place the other night and told everyone that i thought they were around because they liked the attention of having a sick girlfriend or a sick friend, because they get sympothy from it and alot of attention. i do know this is not true with the ones who love and care enough to be around me and spend time with me..but they were the ones around to catch it from me because the ones i am really mad at, are nowhere around for me to tell them off..maybe im a 35 year old brat too..but theres only soo much hurt i can take..
and i really hope your friend comes around and was just having a bad day herself or something..because for her to do all that for you in the past, really does show she cares :)

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Kimby this is a tough one and I have been up and down on it for all 5 years. I find that when there is a crisis...especially surgery friends appear in droves to help with cards, flowers and food. Then after my third surgery there was less and less reponse. After 5 years I find even my best friends are more distant, moving on with their own lives.

At times this really gets me down and I feel abandoned and sorry for myself. Then when i get some strength I go out into the world and it is all there ready to receive me.

I honestly don't know what to say about your best friend....my gut reaction is there is no need for you to apologize....she really hurt your feelings. I think I might just let it float for a few days and see what happens. Forcing her to give you an excuse is obviously not going to make you feel better.
What am doing yapping on...I just told you you were the wise one

it's tough
mags

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

You always make me smile. Thank you for taking my 'side'. It helps knowing you have my back.

Kimby

JR's picture
JR
Posts: 140
Joined: May 2009

It sounds to me like maybe there is something else going on with your friend that you may not be aware of. Give her some time and she will come around and realize the mistake she has made. In the mean time you stay strong. Your last sentence is very interesting. I think I know the answer to it but I will keep it to myself for now.

John

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

LOL. Good idea on keeping that thought to yourself! :) You crack me up!

Kimby

CanadaSue's picture
CanadaSue
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2006

Kimby,

Perhaps your friend is feeling that you may no longer need her, so she is just backing away.

I would get together with her and have a heart to heart, it sure wouldn't hurt to try. If she is still distant then you know to back off.

I have had the same thing happen with a friend, and because of Bill's surgery and recovery I have not had the time to approach her, but I will.

Here's to hoping the fence can be mended!

((((HUGS))))

Sue

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

It is quite possible that your friend has either family problems herself that she doesn't want to share with you or something else IE financial, marital, personal issues that she may seem will upset you and she doesn't know how to tell you or what she would say without upsetting you and shes trying to skate around it the best way possible....She has skirted you a few times and has told you (in so many words) she needs a break, be it because of something happening in her life or maybe she is just overwhelmed by it all and needs to regroup herself....I would back off and let her make the first move. That will allow her to come to terms with whatever she needs to figure out then when she returns only then will it be reconcilable...Don't push, thats the worst thing either of you could do...Caregiving has to be rough and best friends share so much that sometimes a best friend will sacrifice a relationship to save the feelings...Please, just be careful what is said....Good Luck Girl

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

Kimby: Sorry you feel so low and no you aren't a heel for feeling like you do. I think sometimes people just don't always think and they really don't mean to hurt you, especially if she has been there through thick and thin.

Don't ever feel bad or wrong for how you feel about a situation. You have been through a lot and even though you say you aren't used to emotions, there are times when you just feel the way you do. And no, you aren't a brat.

I'm very pleased with your new NEAD news. Sorry for my ignorance, but what does that stand for.

I hope that you can talk to her exactly how this made you feel. It seems like such a long, caring relationship to have either of you walk away, especially if it is something that could be discussed.

Hugs!

Kim

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

NEAD = No Evidence of Active Disease or NED's brother...LOL Not quite there yet, but on my way! And not to worry, this won't end the friendship; we've been through too much together and she knows too much! Just bruises along the way.

Kimby

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hi Kimby,

Ahhh...relationships with friends and family...they're like putting on your favorite sweater when you're chilled - they can make you feel warm and cozy. Although other times they can leave you cold and needing a heavy coat. People, and even more so relationships, are so complex - I think sometimes we forget that. All those little complexities and intricacies are as vast and numerous as the drops in the sea, ebbing and flowing...sometimes we ebb and other times we flow with the people in our lives.

Anyway, I absolutely do not think you are being a brat. Like you said, you feel what you feel, and if you feel hurt, hurt is what it is...only for now I hope. You know you'll recover, and hopefully when you do, you and your friend will start anew.

Perhaps some of what may have caused your conversation to unravel is you asking why she didn't respond/call you back/e-mail you, etc. Some people can handle a direct question or inquiry such as that and give you a straight forward response, but others will feel totally backed into a corner, especially if she didn't have a good excuse, like you mentioned. My guess is her defensiveness and bad apology is because either she didn't feel like she had a good excuse, or more likely, she couldn't come up with the words to tell you exactly how she was feeling.

I'm guessing your good friend, who has been so helpful to you throughout your battle, and who has had her own experience with cancer, looked up all the statistics, survival rates and all the scary stuff about your cancer. She has probably lived with the idea that she might lose you too soon, and then BAM, out of the blue comes this great news. She may not know exactly what that good news really means. No evidence of active disease??? I'm sure she needs to sort through it, and perhaps even see you enjoy good health for awhile - sort of a seeing is believing kind of thing. Think of it as her defense mechanism - she doesn't want to get her hopes up to have them dashed later. We all know what that is like - we LIVE it!

As for her apology. It wasn't one. The ever so wise and dearly departed Randy Pausch, said, "A bad apology is worse than no apology." He says the person receiving a bad apology is left insulted - I suppose it comes down to feeling like you have not been heard and the reason for the hurt has not been acknowledged. Some people however, don't know how to apologize. They don't and they may never know how, even if you try to explain exactly what you need to hear. You may never hear a decent apology from a person who does not know how to apologize. I have a person in my life who doesn't know how to apologize and I struggle to just accept that fact and move on when conflicts come up. I've learned it's easier that way and life is too short to hold grudges.

As for what to do now? I say give it some time to let the chill fade and let the warmth of your friendship rise to the surface again. Perhaps when it does you two can come together without you feeling the current sting of the hurt and her feeling defensive. If you don't hear from her first, maybe in a week or two, I say go ahead and either call her, or drop her a note or a "thinking of you" card/e-card. Once the raw emotion simmers down you two might naturally flow into a heart-to-heart talk and finally understand where each of you are coming from. I think you'll intuitively know when the time is right if you have to make the first move.

And Kimby, it may not be the same, but you have a huge group of friends here who are cheering with you and your NEAD status - we actually know how special that moment is. There is that old saying that a joy shared is a joy doubled. We're sharing in your joy!

Big hugs to you, Kimby!

Katie

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Thank you so much for your kind words. I think I made her feel defensive because she didn't really do anything wrong. She just missed the opportunity to share in my JOY. Her loss I guess, but it cost me, too. She normally is good at apologizing, but she has to mean it. This was a bad one because it was insincere.

I so appreciate my friends here and all the joy you bring me. My husband commented today how much this group has brought to my life and how horrible it would have been to not have the internet to turn to. You guys help me feel happy, accepted and fulfilled.

Thanks, dear friend.

Kimby

NWGirl
Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

I can so relate to how you feel. You've already been given a lot of good suggestions, so for what it's worth, here's my random thoughts. First off - give it a cooling off period. Emotions can cloud your mind and make you not see things clearly. Once you've calmed down a bit - try to look back on the conversation and sort things out more logically. Is your friend just overwhelmed by all she has done and is just pulling back a bit to regroup herself? Has she put other things on hold while helping you that she needs to catch up on? Or as others have said, perhaps she just has some personal issues she is dealing with that she isn't comfortable discussing with you right now.

I know throughout my treatment my friends have felt guilty sharing their problems with me, as my problems are so much bigger than theirs (their words - not mine). I assure them I LIKE hearing about others problems - it keeps me balanced and in touch! I don't like feeling that it's always all about me and my cancer.

As for approaching her again - several things you could do. Send her a "happy" card - just telling her how much you value her friendship and how much she means to you. Call her up and invite her to coffee, lunch, etc. Take advantage of your NEAD status and do something fun with her that you couldn't do while you were sick (or at least extend the invitation).

I think friendships are like marriages - it takes 150% from both people involved to maintain it. And a lot of times you do have to suck it up and apologize and/or overlook a wrong - even if it doesn't seem like it's your fault. Not that I would do this all the time of course, but if this is an isolated incident and if this person is important to you - give her a break, and when you're ready, give her a call.

How she ultimately responds in the short and long term to your reaching out will give you an idea as to whether you want to continue the friendship and on what level.

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Yep, she has a full plate right now. We are very close and she's shared it all with me so that's not new. I have many friends though that do the 'but compared to what you're going through' shtick. I HATE that. Friends share the good and the bad. I might have canzer but that doesn't mean that a wrinkled fender, a vomiting dog, drama at work or financial issues aren't just as miserable sometimes. Like you, I want to hear those stories or we are not real friends, just superficial ones.

I know I want to continue the friendship. I love her dearly and this is just a bump. Thanks for the sound advice, it helps.

Kimby

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I read this in the morning and your "you'd think I have a penis but I swear I'm a woman" just floored me. Sit down, some men do have feelings. The only thing that men often have to be facing DEATH before we get in touch with them. That aside, I don't think you're being a brat at all but very often people do not know how to handle when someone they know or worse yet, care for, has something bad happen to them (like cancer - not great). I lost a few "friends" but gained many more after I got cancer. It does sound like she has been a very good friend for you up until now. Who knows how she's feeling? No one but her. She could feel like she has no purpose now or like others mentioned, maybe she has her own personal issues to deal with. I would not say anything, she may come around. I can understand how you must feel, some people do not handle good or bad news very well it seems.

That's my opinion but I have a penis :-)

I was confused by your comment "The hardest part is that she is an 11 year survivor of NHL".
I would think that maybe she was hit too hard with a hockey puck or high sticked but maybe I'm not understanding something.

Think it through before you do anything.
{{{hugs}}}
-p

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

I was wondering if you would respond. Your silence was deafening. LOL Thought the whole 'feelings' issue might have scared you off.

NHL = Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. She was stage IV and odds are similar to ours. She is a walking miracle and has been NED without treatment for 11 years. I really thought she would at least call me to have a WOOP! on the phone.

Sorry for the confusion. Remember, I don't have a penis. :)

Kimby

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Thank you all for your replies. It helped me sort things out in my own head and put my emotions aside. I composed a very long email to her which I will never, ever send. Seeing my feelings in writing also helped. Yep, I was expecting for it to be all about me. Well, only for 5 minutes but still...

So since my pride wasn't going to allow me to call or go over, I texted her an apology. I didn't end the conversation well and I knew it. So, I swallowed a small bit of pride. :P I know texting is chicken, but it works for me.

It took her about an hour to call me back. As it turns out, she was afraid that with all the negative in her life right now that she'd rain on my parade. So, she was avoiding me. I already knew in intimate detail about all of those issues because she has spent hours pouring over it all. Her life really is a mess right now and since she is the party girl she needed somethiing positive, right? She, as usual, was pure hearted but it still hurt. She is the friend that is ALWAYS looking for a party and something to celebrate. This is the news of my life! and I needed her. We had a heart-to-heart and we'll be ok. It might be awhile before it feels the same but we love each other. And, like I said before...she knows too much! Can't let all my secrets out...LOL

Thanks again. You all are true friends.

Kimby

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

I just wanted to say that. [You brought it up. ;-)]

Kimby, I am so glad you came here and vented, processed it and then came to a conclusion. The friendship area gets pretty tricky when cancer is introduced into the mix.

One of my friends couldn't for the life of her wrap her head around the fact that i had colon cancer. She said she only could think of me having a wart removed. HA! Thankfully I have a sense of humor about that. But for other friends, well....some just had to go and some left quietly and some with a lot of tears (on my part). So good for you ensuring that this one stays healthy. You need each other.

One of my dearest friends came to me because of my cancer in the form of a prayer partner. What a gift. I hardly knew her and I approached her asking if she would be that for me and she accepted and a beautiful friendship has blossomed from that first seed. Don't know why I am sharing that. Just am.

Friends are such a gift. This site is such a gift for the very reason you came her with your question: We all "get it" and sometimes others don't and we need a reality check.

FYI - in Wisconsin, where I'm originally from, we eat brats with mustard. And the BEST ones are at Brewers games in Milwaukee! WOOHOO!

I'm glad you're here b/c you add so much to the boards. Thanks for sharing.

peace, emily

kimby's picture
kimby
Posts: 804
Joined: Oct 2007

Brats with mustard and beer bathed grilled onions. LOVE them! And as for the penis, well, I'm just naughty like that! :P

Kimby

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Hi Kimby,

Glad to read you and your friend worked it out...thanks for letting us know :)

Friends are among the greatest gifts we have - they truly make this A Wonderful World:

NWGirl
Posts: 124
Joined: Jan 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_4qwVLqt9Q

Kimby - have you ever heard of Kelly Corrigan? She is a young writer (woman) who had breast cancer. The above link is to a reading she did called "Transcending: Words on Women and Strength"

If you haven't seen this before, grab a cup of coffee and a box of Kleenex (you WILL need it - penis or not) and take a listen. There's a part in there that says something to the effect of "we will say things that hurt each other" - it reminds me of what you are going through right now.

I'm so proud of you for taking the initiative to contact your friend. You are so awesome.

usakat's picture
usakat
Posts: 625
Joined: Jul 2006

Kelly Corrigan is a fantastic writer. She wrote an excellent book called the, Middle Place. I highly recommend it - it's a book that will make you laugh, cry, reminiscence and look at your own life a little differently, with a little more appreciation. It was a book I related to so much - she and her dad having fought cancer - me and my mom having fought cancer - and special family connections.

It's a special read...

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Kimby,

This is a tough one, especially since your friend didn't ignore you at the beginning, but now has seemed "to change". Although I had many people who were wonderful to me the first year I was going through cancer treatment, I have felt kind of "neglected" by some of the people I thought were so wonderful to me. I haven't heard from some of them in quite a while. I recently felt hurt when I sent emails to three of my former coworkers (fellow teachers) who I know well and not one of them has returned my email and it's been two weeks now. I know this is a busy time of year for teachers, but I still felt sad and like "they couldn't even take five minutes to send back a quick note?! I felt the same hurt from two different longtime friends, one of whom was my best friend all through elementary school, jr. high, and high school. She lives across the country so we really only communicated through email in the past few years, but now the emails stopped coming once she heard about me & the few I did get lately, she didn't even ask me how I was doing or how I'm feeling. I was very hurt. Also, another friend kind of did the same thing and I was also feeling hurt by her and I was feeling quite judgemental towards her because she is a pastor's wife (PLEASE- no one start the comments on religion, hypocrisy, etc!) I later found out that she was going through a very hard time herself and had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed as bipolar). So, of course, I felt awful for her too and instantly forgave her. It doesn't sound like your friend has anything quite that serious happening, but perhaps she is just caught up in her own life (which still hurts you, I know). Perhaps she is at the point in her life after dealing with her own illness that she just doesn't want to even talk about or think about cancer at all. Kind of selfish, but that may be where she's at.

So, Kimby, I understand your hurt and I do not think you're being a brat! Just a sensitive soul who feels ignored or rebuffed by someone who has been close to you.
If you don't hear from her soon, I'd send her a note. Perhaps even a regular handwritten letter would be better than an email too. Just a thought.

You take care,
Lisa

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi again Kimby,

I posted my long reply after reading just your original post without scrolling down and reading the rest of them. So, when I wrote it I didn't realize that you posted again about having communicated w/ her again. Anyhow, those were my thoughts and I'm now still laughing about your "penis" (not YOURS- but you know what I mean!!!)

Lisa

serrana
Posts: 163
Joined: Apr 2009

Hello all
I don't think this is about being "a brat". Things like this hurt.
I have been blind- sided by the response of friends during my cancer journey. Some who pledged they would "always be there" disappeared over time and some whom I had known and talked to daily for 30 years before cancer never called back after hearing the initial diagnosis, and many whom I had not known well at all became the closestdearest supporters!! Family members did the same. It really surprised me.
This has led me to think that it is not related to the existing or former relationship that was in effect at the time of diagnosis but rather what goes on in the heart and mind of a person at the time they hear the news and during the journey. This we have no control over. It has been hurtful for sure but many others have taken the place of those I thought would always be there. For these dear folks I am forever grateful, they have been true angels.
Serrana

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I speak for all who have had the pleasure of your 'post-dx' self to say that you are amazing!!!

Hugs, Kathi

FAPMom47
Posts: 68
Joined: Feb 2009

I HAVE BEEN BATTLING FOR ALMOST 5 YEARS, MY BFF WAS THERE FOR ME ALWAYS. BUT LATELY IF I DON'T CALL HER SHE HAS NO TIME FOR ME. MAKES ME WONDER IF SHE WAS EVER A FRIEND. I HAVE MADE IT THRU 2 SURGERIES WITHOUT HER. MY LATEST SURGERY WAS MAY 11TH AND HAVE NOT HEARD FROM HER. SO MAYBE I WILL BE BETTER WITHOUT HER.

MANY HUGS AND PRAYERS
JACKIE

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

It IS a difficult thing to manage for someone who has never heard those 3 words. And, for those who have...sigh...can bring up some pretty narly memories!

I think that the big elephant in the room is the fear of dying. On the friend's side he/she is worried about losing us, but also about the possiblity of we warriors bringing it up...lol... On the warrior's side, we face it, and deal with it much better than those on our support team...I found myself consoling people, saying my death is ok, if it happens, but that I wasn't planning on going quite yet...tooo much left to do!!!

I'm sorry for those that no longer have you in their lives to enrich their existence. But I'm glad You are in My life!!!

Hugs, Kathi

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