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I don't understand what she expects of me

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2014

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.


Posts: 306
Joined: Jan 2010

Cut her off. That sounds simple, and it may be inconsiderate of your emotional delimma, but you have to treat it as a love affair gone wrong. You have to cut all ties. UnFriend her on Facebook, take her number out of your phone.

My wife died from cancer, and didn't want anyone to worry or fuss over her. So I have no sympathy for drama queens and divas.




Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2014

Thank you for your advice, hereforlife. I am sorry for the loss of your wife.

You are right - I need to cut her off and continue with my own life without this emotional battle. I just need to realize that there's nothing I can do to make her happy and that I've done the best that I can. The rest is completely up to her. Thank you for helping me realize that. God bless you. 

I just had wanted to bring her some happiness during dark times and give her good memories of our time together. She, unfortunately, doesn't see it the same way that I do. She says she's depressed and is 'going to die' all of the time, yes exactly like a drama queen. I got tired of hearing that non-stop for months, so I gave her the "get out of bed and live" speech. I got nowhere, but thrown under a bus in front of her friends, and told that I do not understand anything and apparently don't care about anything but myself. [I wish that was the case - it would make cutting her off so much easier.]

Perhaps I don't know what it's like to have cancer, but I do know that you treat people as you want to be treated. Maybe one day, she'll realize it.

Thank you again.

Posts: 484
Joined: Apr 2013

You should write her a letter almost exactly like you did above. Give her all the details in case she conveniently forgets ut all. Tell her you are unfriending her and why you have to remove yourself from the situation. Then you will have some closure to this and proof to others if she starts spreading lies and stories. You cannot waste anymore time, effort or money on this woman, she should see how some people really do suffer and are really alone. Ggod luck, you have to be tough, you can do it!

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2014

Thanks for the advice LindaK. I did text her a letter, explaining why I was upset. Unfortunately, I was told that I just didn't understand anything. Every comment had a rebuttal - no matter how positive I tried to be with her. According to her, my life is all peaches and honey. I tried to tell her that her life could be that way as well, but she doesn't want to try. The next day, she told me that she was going to the hospital again. She called my mother to tell her she found another friend to be with her at the hospital and wouldn't leave her side.

I haven't heard from her since... so, I think I am now removed from the situation.

Hopefully, the closure part will come soon... I don't know why I feel so guilty about her all of the time. I know that I shouldn't, and am working to feel better about myself and this entire situation.

Knowing that other people on this site are encouraging is helping. Thank you.

Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2014

You are doing the right thing by cutting her off! With all her friends and people from church, they can take turns dealing with her! You have NOTHING to feel guilty about. You went over & above what was expected.

geotina's picture
Posts: 2116
Joined: Oct 2009

I must agree, cut the cord.  If she was incapacitated that would be one thing but it appears she is doing quite well but has just gotten used to using you.  If you are being treated like "dirt on her shoe" then do what others have said, say no, or that you can only come once a month due to work and finances, tell her your car broke down, tell her you have a "hot" date that you are so looking forward to, tell her you have a work project, work party, anything.   If things don't turn around, change your phone number.   If you use a cell phone block her number so her calls do not go through.  (Not sure how that is done though) and if she complains just say your phone was out of service. 

I am sorry for what you are experiencing.  Having been a caregiver I can tell you that my husband was forever grateful for all I did for him.  I remember him telling me that he was sorry for being such a burden.  That sweet man was never a burden, I was grateful to be there for him throughout his 3 1/2 year journey with cancer.  He is gone now and I would do anything to have him still here to care for.    He never forgot to say thank you, even for the little things.

Take care - Tina

Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2014

Thanks geotina. It wasn't really a matter of saying 'thank you'. It was the negativity that was eating away at me. She'd get angry when you wouldn't do what she wanted you to do and basically say "You're killing me. Don't you know that I have cancer and that I might die?" It was that attitude that I couldn't handle anymore; the anger and depression. I went out of my way to try and make her laugh - bring funny movies over, get her out of the house to get fresh air, etc. Nothing helped. I'd put up with it during chemo, but as time went on and her treatments were coming to an end - nothing made her happy. She just didn't stop using her cancer as a 'word weapon'.

I thought after her last treatment, she'd be happy. Most people throw a party - they call it their 2nd birthday and a start to a new life. She just wants a pity party. :(

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