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"friendly Support"

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I posted this on the end of my other one but its just getting to me so much now!! A friend of mine who broke off contact with me after my dad because I wasnt "there for her" but we made up now because she was a good friend. Her mum had cancer a few years ago and has now made a full recovery although I try and never talk about my situation or how I feel when I mention it she dismisses it and equates it to her situation but her mum is alive and well. I dunno what to do!!! It's driving me mad, i've tried saying but how can I say YOU ARE LUCKY BECAUSE YOUR MUM IS ALIVE AND NOT DEAD in a nice way?! She keeps saying "dont u think I know how you feel" and "trust me people dont even ask how my mum is now" comparing it to how people dont ask how we are!! But thats because her mum is alive! Im not even insensitive I always ask but it's getting too much when she always acts like my situation is no worse than mine. what do i do???

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Aw that's so hurtful hello123. I do remember your post with that,I thought I had commented so sorry about that.

Do you think you could gently explain to her how it's not the same,explaining that she still has her mum and that it hurts you very much when she compares it to your situation.I don't know your friend and am not sure by the sounds of it if she is someone who would be compassionate enough to realize her "mistake". I know some of my friends will sometimes compare a certain situation but they do always add the disclaimer that of course it nowhere near the same.

I do believe that everything is relative so someone elses worst stuff is simply the worst for them even if it's not something as bad as losing a parent but it's the insensitive way of talking about it and minimizing how you feel that is just not acceptable.

Maybe just having a civil chat on YOUR GRIEF trying to explain to her how different it is and that you are of course not trying to take from her pain over her mom but as you say at the end of the day it didn't go that one ENORMOUS step further to losing her.

If she is a true friend she should get this and if not and she continues to hurt you maybe for now it's safest to stay away,I know that's hard,she's your friend but you need people who are truly compassionate aronund you now,and definitely not someone who is supposed to be a friend causing you so much more hurt and frustration,you have more than enough to cope with.

Keep us posted and I will hope maybe ye have a chat and she understands a little more.sometimes people need to be told outright if they haven't copped on themselves.

((((hugs))))

Niamh

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Thank you for replying! She's stubborn and truly believes what she says is right, so I've just said that we should agree to disagree and I'm just going to make sure I never bring it up again! It just gets me started because I think I actually envy her I wish my dad had cancer and survived anything but this, but /i cant say that because she thinks im being selfish. ARGH serves me right I've had nothing but bad experiences with people around me trying to understand!!

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Dear Hello123,

I hear and validate your pain and frustration. I am sorry that you are struggling with this issue. It may be that your friend's apparent insensitivity has nothing to do with you at all. It may be because of her fear that her Mother will die. The pain you are in reminds her of what is yet to come for her and to dismiss it feels the safest thing for her to do now.

You could say something like: I feel so sad for you having had to watch your Mother battle lung cancer as that could not have been easy. I am happy for you that your Mother won the fight. I feel sad for me though for my Father died and I have no more opportunities with him.

I hold you in gentle thought and prayer.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Thank you so much Carol Ann, that sounds like exactly what it is! And I know its hard for me to emphasise at the moment so I think it's a good idea for me to stop talking about the issue full stop, better for her and me. Thanks

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Dear Hello123,

You are very welcome. For sure it is so hard...and it may be so that you and her not talk about it for now....later after more healing...for both of you. IN the meantime, I hope there is someone else in your life that you could share and be validated by. In any event you always have the GH family here....we all get it....and there is always someone around.....take good gentle care.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Hello123,

How annoying. I have a friend who compared her husband cheating on her (she has chosen to stay with him )to my mom dying. Umm, that's not quite the same thing! I think most of the time, people don't know how to react or what to say. In this case, I wonder if your friend is trying to relate to you and is actually making you feel worse because her "help" isn't working. I'd suggest really talking to her seriously and pointing out that although she and her mom went through quite an ordeal and that it was very difficult, she is blessed to still have her mom here. Your situation is very different as you are grieving the loss of your dad. Unfortunately, she may not understand as it seems most people don't until they've lost someone as well.

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I know!! People have said stupid stuff to me a friend once said "I know how you feel, trust me I know exactly how you feel" because his parents had split up?! As for this friend I thought it would be different because she wasnt there but when we were friends she knew how close I was to my dad. I tried talking to her but she thinks I'm "trying to make it into a competition" it's so frustrating she actually truly believes I should be feeling pity for her. Oh well as hard as it is I have to try and ignore all that and just be friendly, it's so hard realising how people are, another friend who's dad has cancer doesn't react like her I have tried to be there for her and told her what I would've done if I knew my dad was going to die. But her as well only talks when she wants to, but at least she acknowledges that it is worse being dead!!! I just can't bring up the subject with this friend, I feel like she laughs it off like its nothing it's so annoying!!!

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Hello123,

I can understand her reaction in a way. First, she went through her mom's battle with cancer, I am sure those were stressful times and they affected her deeply. On the other hand, you lost your father, you have experienced the pain of grief. I can say it is one thing to face the struggle with cancer, and a very different one grieving the passing of a loved one. By no means this is a competition. Her situation is unique and so is yours. With that being said, her mom is alive, she can see her, talk to her everyday, call her, hug her, etc. Your father is gone from this world and the pain you experience is on a more profound level.

If I were her, I should view things as yes my mother went through cancer and she is still alive and I am thankful for that, without inspiring self pity. Quite on the opposite, it should be an example of perseverance, courage and faith. I agree with Carol Ann, she does not know what grief is or means because she has not experienced it. She may not want to face the reality of grief because in a way she is afraid of facing her mom's mortality. It is understandable.

After losing my father, it took me a while to understand why others could not quite comprehend what I was feeling or experiencing, and it bothered me at times. Later on I realized that oh well they are not to blame. They don't know the pain of the loss, they can try to sympathize with it all day long, but they don't understand. They will when they lose a loved one. It is just how it works.

In my day to day life I have learned that yes, our time on earth is so short and struggles and problems come our way. But it is the attitude we have towards them that makes a big difference into how we live our lives. There is a time for everything, a time to be born, a time to love, a time for joy, a time to grieve, a time to die, and with that in mind and knowing one day it will be our turn to leave this world, each day brings a new opportunity to learn and understand things and others better. As I was telling mom last night, we learn to live with the pain of losing dad, we never forget, but also we learn to be more compassionate for those in the same boat and our outlook on life changes. There are things we can control and others we can't, so we can only worry about what we can change or do about something or someone.

In short, don't bring up the subject of your father with your friend, at least for now. In the meantime you have us, and at least you will find that someone is nodding in agreement to your post. It is incredibly amazing to know all of what we feel is normal and that we are not alone in what we feel. If we all are in similar situations, why not support each other right?

Big hug for you,

-L

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Well, hello123, I have to be honest. Please take it with a grain of salt. ;)

Firstly, let me say I'm really sorry this is happening to you. I have read all the posts. Although I do agree with what everyone has said I have to add something from the other side of the coin. If she feels it's a competition, it's not worth it as far as I am concerned. I think we are all just surviving day to day with the "grief work" we are doing. This all sounds like too much extra energy that frankly, I, for one, do not have. I'm not sure about you. I feel like it's a no brainer. If she can't realize that it is TOTALLY a different story, and is going to have the audacity to actually get into a "discussion" about it, it's just not worth it. To me, there is a difference between someone who doesn't know what to say, says the wrong thing or might not ask because they are uncomfortable and a person who is actually minimizing your grief to make hers superior. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure she has dealt with saddness and stress over her mom having cancer, treatment, etc. and I'm not trying to take that away from her but, really? My parents, before they died, had various types of cancer through the years and it is stressful and worrysome. Needless to say, it's different. I think when she actually looses her mom (and I am not at all wishing for that to happen), she will have an "ah ha" moment. Until then I'm not sure I would be able to hang with her. That's just me.

Maybe I'm having a "day" but, I think it's really wrong.

I hope you can understand what I have said. I am not really good at putting my feelings into words so I hope this comes across as I meant it. I apologize if it didn't.

Peace to you today, tomorrow and always.

2sweetgirls.

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Hello hello123,

Every relationship has its pros and cons. You mention that she was a good friend, but clearly is not empathetic with your great loss. ..."don't you think I know how you feel," indicates that either she does not know how you feel, is simply not equipped emotionally to help you with your grief, or could have a completely different scale of pain and loss than you do. There are a small percentage of people who just cannot empathize. Your friend might have shown many instances of great, caring response, and this one glaring example of unskilled response is out of character for her. Only you know why you consider her a good friend. We have only this one example that obviously isn't a positive one. If you both are very young, it's possible that she is just inexperienced in dealing with emotional issues, hasn't had good examples to follow and doesn't know how to deal.

Not everybody is a great communicator. Everyone isn't good at expressing sympathy. Comparing pain is a zero sum game, but it does seem your friend is in the clueless column on this one. If you're not comfortable educating her, or if you can't discuss this with your friend, then it seems your choices are limited and clear.

So, in answer to your question… This is obviously distressing to you, so it seems from here that you can either discuss it with her, or even write a careful, caring note if you think it a better approach--one which will avoid a confrontation, or one you're more comfortable with, or let this be something you don't discuss with your friend.

I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this. I hope you're able to work this out with your friend.

~ Steve

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Thank you so much for your replies

Daughter2010: What you said is so right and especially about her mum being around for her to spend time with because thats the main issue I dont understand how its not obvious that having someone around is better than not.

2sweetgirls: Thanks your post cheered me up and actually made me smile because I was scared to say these things and dont like thinking them because I dont want to feel like a horrible person but now I know that im not alone and it is so true about the difference, most people are just uncomfortable and dont know what to say. I really do hope that if she experiences (when but it wont be the same again because it will be expected) but when she does then she'll realise that it was stupid of her

Steven: What you said is so right but usually when people don't know HOW to deal with things they act clueless rather than pretending they know it all. I'm sick of her always saying how difficult it is for if I breach the subject but you're right I just have to be careful, I've realised that nobody is there how you expect them to be so just have to ignore this and be careful around everyone as to not upset myself but try and ignore it!

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It's such a cliche and I should know to expect this because it has been happening for ages, but it hasn't even been a year and people around me not only have they forgotten but they are insensitive! This friend expects me to be there for her and support her and its been years since her mum was diagnosed and recovered and my other friend is having problems with her parents being split up and has just avoided me and been really rude to me because shes so preoccupied in her problems, I dont even expect people to be asking me how I am or anything just to be nice to me and around me so It's not a depressing atmosphere! But nobody even cares they just expect me to deal with it, i'm surrounded by misery so even if I want to escape and try I can't.

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Dear Hello123,

I am proud of you for using your voice and giving words to your feelings. I am sorry that this person has caused you so much distress on top of your pain. It is painful when the people we expect and need to be there for us, can not.

I admire your courage to talk it out here with us. I wish you continued peace and healing and know that we all get it here.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Thank you Carol Ann, it's difficult when you make a great effort to say something and the person responds in a nasty way. But you're right I'm better off just talking on here to people who understand rather than people around me so called "friends"

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Oh for sure I understand totally. Her is a poem that gives me the resolve to carry on at times. Perhaps it will offer you the same inspiration. You have done your best, you have done nothing wrong. I am proud of you ~ Carol Ann

The Oak Tree

by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr

A mighty wind blew night and day

It stole the oak tree's leaves away

Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark

Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground

While other trees fell all around

The weary wind gave up and spoke.

How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you

Can break each branch of mine in two

Carry every leaf away

Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth

Growing stronger since my birth

You'll never touch them, for you see

They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn't sure

Of just how much I could endure

But now I've found, with thanks to you

I'm stronger than I ever knew

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hello123,

I am so glad my crazy honest moment cheered you up AND put a smile one your face beacause I was cringing at my words while I pressed the "Add Reply" button. ;)

Take care and peace to you.

(((((hugs)))))

2sweetgirls

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OK hope I dont sound cold here or offend anyone but... there are people in this world that just need it "spelled out" for them. Discussions, subtletys, and niceties go right over there heads. Simple, Blunt, to the Point, and mabey even a lil aggressiveness(ok just firmness) and if that dosnt work nothing will.

Rachel

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Thanks for your reply Rachel and believe me I have tried!! But some people are just so stubborn that they truly believe what they are going through tops anyone elses problems! I'm in disbelief I tried being nice but firm I said "I do feel sorry for you and I did so much before but now in a way I envy you" and she said "I dont want your sympathy you've been a class A B**** to me, giref has made you into this" Even though I most definitely haven't maybe to other people but def not to her!! (AND what gives her the right to say grief has done this) But I'm trying SO hard to laugh it off because if I cant do that I will go mad!!! No matter how many times people say " oh they will know when it happens to them" they just won't her mums already in her mid-60s shes had a cancer scare so I'm sure know they are appreciating every moment with her where as I never had that! It's just HORRIBLE and people are as well!!!!

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