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Old 03-09-2014, 02:04 PM
 
16 posts, read 13,535 times
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Hello guys, seeking a little advice on this subject. It is a very personal one and one which as definitely changed my way of thinking about things so I am going to write about it as in much detail as possible, sorry for the wall of text that is coming! (hope this is in the right section)

Straight to the point - my mother got diagnosed with cancer 6 months ago. Cancer where the diagnostic was not great, "Battle of her life" it was described as. Now, my mother is a very stubborn, strong, and determined person, she was determined not to let this beat her. She didn't want anyone knowing about her illness, her mother, her brother still to this day do not know about her illness. In total, at home.. there are around 5 people who know about this, all family members. So, I could not talk to anyone about the situation that we are in.

Basically, I asked her if I could speak to people at work (I live and work 70 miles away from home) I thought this is not something you could keep bottled up all the time. She agreed because the people I would talk to don't know her and no one else would find out. Up until Christmas I was doing fine, I had a method of coping with it and deep down I believed she would be fine. After Christmas things changed, things got worst at home with her condition, and I got a lot of pressure from my family members placed upon my shoulders. I am a 22 year old guy, who has always been looked upon as a strong minded, determined, confident person. A person where nothing has bothered him, if he had a problem, always sorted it himself without any hassle or help. My father, younger brother and mother were constantly calling me up and using me as a way of feeling better, used me to cheer them up and provide them with confidence. I had no problem with this as they all look to me as that person. But.. it did start to get a little much, I basically had the emotions of 3 other people on my shoulders, whilst still convincing myself all would be alright. They had me to talk to, I unfortunately had no close (childhood I mean) friends I could speak to due to her not wanting people at home to know.

So, here is the situation and where a little guidance would be appreciated. There are 2 people at work who I (lets say was) pretty close to. 1 guy, and 1 girl. (I share a flat with the guy) They picked up on the fact I wasn't quite myself and haven't been myself since early January. I told them about the situation, and of course.. they were understanding and offering support. Which is something I really appreciated. Although me being me, I was like "I don't need help.. I can deal with this alone..!" - I know what you are thinking, but that was my way of dealing with the situation. Anyway, time passed and things kept deteriorating. I could constantly speak to the lad I share a flat with because he is a good friend, someone who I haven't known for long but knew that it was affecting me. Always tried to help, but has admitted himself he doesn't exactly know what to say as he's never been in a situation like this and he is a completely different person to me. So I appreciated him being there for me none the less.
The girl at work I was pretty close to, again, not known her for much longer than a year but she is a nice girl and someone who I got on pretty well with. She would constantly ask me how I was, how my mum was and if everything was alright. Saying to me that I could always speak to her "whenever I needed it". Eventually, I did ask to speak to her about this. I thought speaking to someone else would help. I text her and said something along the lines of "You have said to me that I can speak to you about this, although I have tried to do this mostly on my own, it would be nice to speak to someone different about this for once. If you are free tonight can you give me a call and we can chat". She got back to me that she was at work, looking like a late one but will try to get hold of me when she had finished. Anyway, I left it to her to call me, the next day at work she text me saying she was sorry for not getting back to me and explained why. Turns out she never tried getting hold of me and actually went out after work into town. - That made me think, yes she has her own life and I have no problem with her going out. But I was looking forward to the chat and she didn't even try to call me when she said she would.
We had a chat about things and it turned out she had been through exactly the same situation as me, I explained to her that I had no one other than her and my flatmate to speak to, she was understanding and said she would always be there for me.
Weeks went by and I did start to feel a little down, asked to speak to her a few times over 2/3 weeks, we arranged plans to go for a walk at lunch times, quick drink after work etc. To then for her to bail on me every time. Which I found a little irritating as I was ready to get things off my chest and let some emotions go, and also.. get advice from her as she had been through the situation.
I couldn't / didn't want to call her as I didn't want to interrupt things she was doing. So I sent her text messages / facebook messages explaining what I was going through - purely because I thought it would of helped me get back to being myself. It seemed the only way I could communicate with her, she had said I could always speak to her so I tried this as a last approach. I thought that she could then get back to me in her own time (they were long messages but no way was it like i was constantly pestering the girl - 1 / 2 messages a week maximum.. rarely even that).
Although that still seemed to upset / annoy / irritate her. "I shouldn't be messaging her these types of messages, if I need to speak to her then do so" - I explained if I could I certainly would, but I just don't feel I have had the chance to properly speak to her even in person or on the phone and I saw this as my only method of speaking to her about it.
The day of my mums surgery was a few weeks ago, there was complications with it. At work I wasn't feeling too great anyway, but my boss came and said to me that I should go home and just relax. The night before I text her and apologized for the messages, saying it was wrong for me to try to go to her, and that I had only done it because she said I could. I went into details and it was a pretty long message tbh. Anyway, I felt much better because I thought I wouldn't be relying on others for help, and that I could deal with it myself again - stubborn me coming back!
Anyway, she text me when I had been sent home. "Hope you are ok, I am here for you. Call me later if you need or want to and we can talk. Seriously, I am always here for you" I tried so hard to ignore the message, I eventually thought, this is what I have been wanting for a long time, a chance to talk to her and get things off my chest. If I don't speak to her then it is just me being me and my ego getting in the way.
I have asked for help and she has eventually said she will help me. So I said, alright.. when you have 5 mins give me a call please. She called me, typically I missed the call as I was in the other room. Called her back 5mins later - no answer. Got a text 1 min later from her "I am on the train, going for a drink and then have dancing, then going for a meal with friends - can we talk tomorrow?" I was like wtf.. why have you said I could talk to you if you clearly are busy and don't/can't want to talk..? I responded saying I am away from office tomorrow so unless you can do after work it may be a struggle, can you do after work? Response: No, I am out again tomorrow... really sorry! - wtf again.. I got angry with her for that, I do regret getting angry but she was playing with my emotions, and in my opinion this isn't something that people should be doing that for. I responded, this is why I text you and fb you, you say I can speak to you but I cant.. This has really been effecting me and it is not easy when you say I can speak to you to then not get the chance. I am not asking for much. Forget I asked for it. - not a nice message to send I agree but it really wound me up. She flipped at me, "I have been good to you, I am not your personal councilor who you can have on call. I am not taking your snotty comments, you can not talk to me about this - I am out, I am not cancelling my plans for you - stop messaging me"
I thought to myself, I guess you realize who your real friends are in times like this. I felt bad, because not only did I not get the chance to talk to her, I obviously made her angry. I bought her a bottle of wine and wrote a card apologizing, I wasn't in work much the next day and definitely didn't want to ring her. My flatmate the next day spoke to her about it, saying that what she was saying / doing to me wasn't right and all I have been wanting for the past 2 months is to talk to her. She called me and we talked for over 90mins that night, she apologized for what she said - "but had to put a end to the messages" Said she never meant to upset me and thanked me for the wine and card. Although she never expected to have to call me that night, and didn't expect me to be like this with her.
Things have never been the same since, although she says we have made up.. we are not as close, there is less contact and it is a little tense still. (from both sides). Anyway, found out 2 weeks ago that surgery went well and they removed all the cancer - yay!
Rang her that night saying thank you for what she had done, apologized for being how I have (I have changed in the past few months I must admit) she was obviously happy for me. For the past 2 weeks, I have asked her 3/4x to come for a drink with me, so we can sit down and I can explain why I was the way I was, my feelings, emotions etc. So I could apologize and say thank you in person and so we could put aside any differences and any issues we have created in the past 3months, so we can get back to normal.
Response: "I'm busy" .. aright, sure .. week after "I'm busy". Bloody hell girl, I am trying to clear the air, nothing more. Last week I tried again, this time not even a response.
The other night I went out with a friend, actually saw her in a couple of bars during the night. - which she pretty much completed blanked me and actually tried to avoid me at times (turned and walked the other way etc) - whats this about? Didn't say anything to her. At work she seems normal with me but that is probably because work is work. I text her 1 last time on friday night, saying:
"Right ok, the reason I have been trying to do this was because like I have done with others. I was hoping to sit down with you, have a drink and apologize and say thank you properly (face to face) for the past few months. Explain the reasons why I think I have been the way I have and hopefully clear the air with people. Put to bed any differences and issues I have created because of the way I was and get on as before. I have tried to do this with you for a while, I've done it with others and was just hoping to do the same with you also. But I can see now that there is no chance of that happening as it looks like by me trying to get you to do this has just wound you up even more. I am sorry for that. I thought by asking for this it may of taken the edge off things and made it a little less tense. Guess I was wrong... I am sorry that I have made things the way they are between us, looks like I am just being selfish. I had the right intentions. I don't expect or want a reply.. But at least now u know the real reason behind me asking you for this. Glad to know you are feeling better, have a good weekend."

No reply, but I didn't want one. So to conclude this essay.. It seems that I have lost a friend because of something to due with cancer. - Not your normal way of losing a friend is it? I thought she would understand how something like this effects and changes people, but I guess you know who your real friends are in times like this, but still. I see her most days and would like to make up with her and be like we were before. However difficult that is going to be. I want to have her as a friend again and do want to get back to how we were before christmas, because we were pretty close. - In fact, other colleges thought there was something else there although that was never the case and didn't even cross my mind. I feel bad because I do appreciate what she has done for me, I couldn't of been easy to be around for the past 3 months but I just want to make amends and get back to normal. Any suggestions on how I can do this with her? Very sore subject, and very personal.. but I am struggling for ideas on how to do this. She is not making it easy.
Sorry for the essay, but if I explain things the best I can, you can understand better and maybe give better advice.

Thanks in advance - Jim.

Last edited by jim0010; 03-09-2014 at 02:21 PM..
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:14 PM
 
1,242 posts, read 1,254,885 times
Reputation: 3643
I couldn't even read through your whole post and I have a pretty long attention span. Don't know what you said but good luck!
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Old 03-09-2014, 03:56 PM
 
16 posts, read 13,535 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eazine View Post
I couldn't even read through your whole post and I have a pretty long attention span. Don't know what you said but good luck!
ha thank you!

Long story I know but I have tried to explain the situation. Long story cut short:

Mother diagnosed with cancer, couldn't talk to close friends due to her requests. Tried talking to work colleges who I was pretty close to, they noticed it was effecting me. Tried speaking to her, she ended up not wanting to listen. Said she was there for me when she wasn't. Got quite angry with her for that, fallen out with her because of that. Mother got some good news, said thank you to the girl for the little she did do. She's even tried avoiding when I bumped into her randomly. Have tried getting her to sit down with me so we can clear the air and put differences to bed. - She isn't wanting to do that so things are still awkward and tense. Trying to patch things up because I don't want this situation at work, looking for ideas of how to do that. Thanks
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Old 03-09-2014, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Here.
13,855 posts, read 12,623,540 times
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Let's try to dissect this a bit.

1. Your mother not telling her own mother & brother: Dumb, dumb, dumb. Everyone in the family should know about this and should feel free to discuss it among yourselves as necessary. Try to get it through to your mother that all of you love her and by not telling people she is being very hateful.

2. You being the person that your dad and brother depends on to turn to to cheer them up: wrong again. The three of you need each other's support equally. And you need to be united to comfort your mom. You, yourself, have emotional needs as well and need to cry on their shoulders at times. It's reciprocal.

3. You treating your co-worker the way your family is treating you...even though you don't like being treated that way: really wrong. It's okay to talk to your co-workers about it, but do you realize what a burden you have been to this person? You need to apologize profusely to her.

Bottom line: You need to tell your mom and family that keeping this a secret is causing you emotional turmoil and is affecting your mental and social life. From now on family will be family and discuss their problems in detail...and co-workers will be co-workers and discuss their problems briefly.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:43 AM
 
1,242 posts, read 1,254,885 times
Reputation: 3643
I personally wouldn't want to sit down and clear the air, seems awkward and your text to her comes across as passive aggressive. My best advice would be to give her space and stop talking about the issue and act like nothing happened.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Camberville
12,004 posts, read 16,756,182 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Let's try to dissect this a bit.

1. Your mother not telling her own mother & brother: Dumb, dumb, dumb. Everyone in the family should know about this and should feel free to discuss it among yourselves as necessary. Try to get it through to your mother that all of you love her and by not telling people she is being very hateful.

2. You being the person that your dad and brother depends on to turn to to cheer them up: wrong again. The three of you need each other's support equally. And you need to be united to comfort your mom. You, yourself, have emotional needs as well and need to cry on their shoulders at times. It's reciprocal.

3. You treating your co-worker the way your family is treating you...even though you don't like being treated that way: really wrong. It's okay to talk to your co-workers about it, but do you realize what a burden you have been to this person? You need to apologize profusely to her.

Bottom line: You need to tell your mom and family that keeping this a secret is causing you emotional turmoil and is affecting your mental and social life. From now on family will be family and discuss their problems in detail...and co-workers will be co-workers and discuss their problems briefly.

All of this. Every word. Please read it OP. Most cancer centers have group therapy for caregivers and family members as well as patients themselves. You all need to be in group and your mother needs an onco-psychiatrist.

You clearly need support and the system your mother has enforced is doing none of you any favors. In turn, you have treated this friend like absolute crap the same way your family is treating you like crap. I understand being disappointed that she is busy - but that's life.

Quote:
"I have been good to you, I am not your personal councilor who you can have on call. I am not taking your snotty comments, you can not talk to me about this - I am out, I am not cancelling my plans for you - stop messaging me"
This is a much more polite response than what I would have given you - and I'm a cancer survivor who was your age when I got sick. Because I didn't have a strong support network, I went to a lot of one on one and group therapy as well as got involved in young adult cancer survivor activities with other people who get it. But there were plenty of survivors who did not feel comfortable in group and even if they'd offer to lend an ear, they don't necessarily want to relive the trauma.

You lost this person as a friend because you did try to treat her like your on-call therapist - but with none of the money or professional boundaries. She does not want to clear the air - she wants you to stop bothering her because, frankly, the constant messages and lashing out are really frightening.

Please please please get yourself into therapy. You need someone to talk to and that person should not be a friend.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:26 AM
 
4,728 posts, read 4,471,016 times
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Do not attempt to apologize or explain anything to this girl. You need to just let this one go. I think she felt that you were trying to lean on her too much. She said that she would be there, but those were just words. She obviously did not want to be the one you talked to. Just move on. Also, you do need to find someone to confide in, and a counselor would be great. Good luck.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
5,102 posts, read 5,385,884 times
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OP, I have no advice on what to do about your friend but I suggest that you put a little research into finding a support group in your area. Since you have a small group of friends, you don't want to burn them out with your situation. Talking to people who are in similar situations might be best for you.

Good luck to you and your mom.
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Old 03-10-2014, 10:03 AM
 
571 posts, read 992,128 times
Reputation: 1450
I agree with the other posters that perhaps you leaned on her too much. The other thing to consider is that the whole situation may have stirred up emotions she'd had when her loved one was ill (and her experience made you think she could relate better to you, but perhaps she didn't want to relive it).

I know she shouldn't have offered her support if she couldn't give it. Perhaps she initially meant it and then hearing about the details stirred up negative emotions in her that had lay dormant.

She obviously valued you as a friend at one point and then ended up feeling used.

Not sure if you can fix it. Just be kind and cordial to her at work. You already apologized, so that's good. Give her time - she may have other things going on and this was the last straw with her in dealing with friends. She may come back around on her own. Don't hold it against her. She may have many things going on that don't have much to do with you.
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Old 03-10-2014, 11:14 AM
 
6 posts, read 8,507 times
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Unlike the other posters, I don't feel like you leaned on her too much. She was never there for you to lean on. She obviously never meant it when she said she would be there for you. And even though you had the feeling you were close I don't think she ever felt that way. After she didn't respond maybe the first 2 or 3 times you should have stopped contacting her at all. Don't apologize any more. Don't try to be her friend. She is making it very clear she doesn't want to be. Find a real friend. A real friend will talk to you when you need them. But even with a real friend you shouldn't always make that the topic or use them as your sole support. The whole family certainly need to know about this. I understand if you don't want to go to therapy. I have more issues than I could ever write here in our family. Both with kids and parents. I have no desire to go sit in a group for caregivers. Everyone says you must do that but seriously, when I have the time I don't want to go to a class. It may work for some but it's not right fit me. I have a closer childhood friend and maybe once a week sometimes less, we text each other or frustrations. We probably only talk once a month or less when we really need to vent. Convince your mom that family members and neighbors should know. This will provide her with support also. I kept my patents dementia from people for a long time and you can't imagine the relief when I finally told neighbors. They will be there for you and your mom. Just try to get done other interests for yourself and don't make this your every thought. I understand is so difficult. You wake up and go to bed with this in your mind. It's okay to shove it to the back of your head make yourself not think about it. Good luck to all of you. I hope your mom continues to improve note that she's had the surgery.
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