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Problem with a pwc

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Cindi, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. Cindi

    Cindi Senior Member

    I am in contact with a PWC for sometime. Problem is that he is very upset about the illness,complains a lot and needs emotional support. On the other side i am very ill,have very low tolerance for stress and i can not handle negative talk. I can't even watch news because of possibility of sudden exposure to upsetting news. I don't have any energy to give emotional support.Sometimes i really can not handle this. I don't wish to hurt him but i don't know how to solve this problem either.Should i talk to him directly and tell him i can not handle this or if i should place some distance between us or if i am too selfish and need to learn to be patient. What do you think? Thanks.
  2. adreno

    adreno PR activist

    Just tell him how you feel.
    PennyIA, rosie26, Valentijn and 2 others like this.
  3. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

    tell him how you feel (not about him but about the stresslevels in your life) and that you need to cut back on stressfull input drastically.

    This includes contact with him, even though you feel so much for him and so wish you could take away his illness and his frustration. "To be honest, it's because I sympathize with your struggle so much -boy, do I knów your frustration, I have the same!- that I need to be less exposed to it. It drains me and I have no energy left at the moment. None at all... I need to concentrate on building this up first. I hope you understand. In time I will contact you when I feel better. This may take a few months or even a year."

    Chances are your role in his life are: venting place and support-provider.
    If so then this is not a friendship, not if there's nothing good coming from him to you.
    This is not selfish, you retreating a bit from him. It seems you do not get much support or relieve from him.

    Do give him notice, otherwise he will keep contacting you because he doesn't know what's going on. And you will keep stressing in anticipation of these contact attempts.
    Just send one electronic message to him.
    You'll get one message back (yes, bit of stress. Just read it and leave it. Or leave it for another day to read. Go make yourself a cup of tea)
    Then you're done and you have one less stressor in your life. Good on you! And: you left the door open to reconnect with your friend.

    Don't fret about the exact wording. That is a mere detail and really, it doesn't matter.
    Also, if he misinterprets, that is also no biggie. Just leave it like it is. You can come back to him in time and then any misinterpretation will be a peanut in history.
    Or you won't reconnect and then it doesn't matter what you said or how he interpreted it.
    Go enjoy your more relaxed world (it may take a bit of time to erode the feelings of obligation and worry, but you'll get there)
  4. Cindi

    Cindi Senior Member

    Thanks so much for your answers. You were very helpful.I actually did not have much close contact with PWC's but as far as i noticed from internet groups most PWC's are not complainers.or does that depend on the level of illness?I think it could be that i was also complaining more at earlier stgaes but i do not any more as i moved to later stages. What do you think? .
  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

    It's possible that they see you as someone who understands, and thus that they can complain to and let out frustrations, etc, but I don't think that I'd be as critical of this as woolpippi seems to be. It could well be that they would be happy to have you vent too, and just don't see anything wrong with this?

    I reckon that it's almost always best to just be honest about these sorts of things, so explain that sometimes you feel like you're straining to support them in a way that you're not comfortable with, and sometimes leaves you wanting to back off. It could well be that there's just been some miscommunication? Do you get on with them in other ways? Do you want to maintain a relationship?
  6. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

    That would be common for PWC to be more angry and upset in the first year or two of diagnosis. Some PWC would maintain their anger and grief for longer. It is typical for PWC to bounce back and forth between depression and withdrawal, anger, seeking treatments and seeking support.

    So he may be in a phase, or you may have found a PWC who will continue with the negative feelings and venting to anyone who will listen.

    We don't know much about this person or your relationship, so you would be left to decide how much of this you want in your life.

    I feel most people will not change if you tell them you cannot handle negative talk. Also I feel healthy people can be just as bad as PWC, with complaining about their problems.

    Do you have other PWC to socialize with? It is sad but many of us only have 1 or 2 people we talk with, so we have to be more careful about distancing or cutting ties.
    SOC, Cindi, redrachel76 and 2 others like this.
  7. redrachel76

    redrachel76 Senior Member

    I prefer to do what everyone here says...just be honest.
    WoolPipi's answer is my favourite first choice.

    But there is another option if that doesn't work, or if you are worrid about the person being nasty and not understanding:
    You let them talk on the phone and not answer.
    Also whenever they phone tell them that you are too tired to talk until they give up.

    I prefer to be honest but once I was forced to use this method on someone who was not very nice. I have had the same method used on me too. I can't be everyone's cup of tea I suppose. :snigger:

    I MUCH prefer to be honest and have others honest with me really.
    belize44 and Cindi like this.
  8. Cindi

    Cindi Senior Member

    Thanks.Unfortunately no other pwc's that i can socialise with..And i also have a feeling that he might not change.Best wishes.
  9. xchocoholic

    xchocoholic Senior Member

    I'd gently but firmly suggest to him that he may benefit from seeing a therapist. I've seen a couple over the last few years that I found helped me begin to de-stress after the first visit.

    The therapist needs to understand how frustrating dealing with a chronic illness is.
    I wouldn't think this would be hard to find.

    I wouldn't feel bad about recommending this since it may be exactly what he needs.

    tc .. x
    Cindi likes this.
  10. PNR2008

    PNR2008 Senior Member

    OH USA
    My experience with a PWC relates but isn't quite similar. I met a wonderful woman my age, from my hometown with same symptoms as me. Do you get how important this was? I felt I found a friend, a confidant and another survivor in the sea of misinformation and abuse. Even her family hated her, how lucky was I?

    Well at that time she lived 2 hours away from me but my dog had an opthomalogist close to her so whenever she needed an appointment, I arranged to see my friend and we'd go out to eat at a health food place and go furniture shopping (I was an interior designer and missed my job). This went on for a few years , she got divorced and moved closer to her family, (20 minutes away from me). They systematically destroyed any confidence her husband left and I became the movie star friend that she bragged about and used to keep the snakes at bay because if Nancy (me) is so perfect and she considers me a friend how bad could I be?

    Things got worse, she wanted me to spy on her daughter's wedding since she wouldn't go because of the ex-husband. My friend's daughter was hanging around with some shady character's that lived in my town and she wanted to pay me for going past the house a few streets away.

    You see where this is going, cops, incarcerations and more drama then this " actress" had in her entire life. Plus each family member had another tornado of events surrounding them and each person survived by knowing the scoop on the rest. They made my family look like the Waltons.

    I felt horrible for my friend and her symptoms got worse with each passing year. She couldn't drive or barely left the house and she kept pulling me into her negative lifestyle. I stayed away for years at a time because I knew she was using me, her life was better with me around, my life was worse. I tried to get her organized (her house was dangerously cluttered), tried to get her medical and religious help , nothing.

    My real flash of insight came when I realized that she didn't even like me. Her pack mentality family was no match for my dysfunctional family's victimization methods. I was lost before I started. The funny thing is my disease progress is now what hers was and she hasn't done a positive thing for me in over 5yrs.

    My point is not all PWC are just annoying some are downright dangerous.
    belize44, rosie26 and Cindi like this.
  11. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

    I have no idea, I know no other PWC except through this forum and I haven't interacted with anyone on a personal base yet. (there was an invitation to virtual tea the other day and that made my day!)

    I do know some chronically ill people on my homegroup on, the online knitting community. They don't complain. At all. They sometimes mention hard times they have and then we show support. But never complain.

    Some people do complain, all the time. They seem to crave attention. They ask for advice but will not follow up. I stopped replying to them.

    I myself stopped complaining the day my doctor threw his hands in the air and sighed: "I have no idea what's wrong with you! You're supposed to have one thing wrong, not five!"
    That's the day I realized I have to figure this out for myself. And that I had been an entitled princess, expecting health and knightly doctors. :whistle:

    Nowadays I seldom complain. I did some on my blog but that became a drag. Also, what do you say to a complainer? I, as the complainer, couldn't think of any usefull response.

    I do get desperate sometimes. Then I cry. I may tell my online knitter friends how I feel. They say "there, there" and send me a picture of a funny squirrel. This helps. It is enough.

    Other times I ask for advice. To which I always listen. There's so much to learn.

    The other thing I do is reality checks. Because as a PWC (or any person really) who spends long times in their minds, I often forget what people think is normal.
    for example, non-PWC find it no problem to swing by the bakery and get their own food before visiting me. A knitter offered this as a solution when someone came to lunch and I had no "normal food" and was worried because if I went out I wouldn't have energy to meet her. This was quite an eyeopener to me.
    So I sometimes do reality checks with my online friends. But without complaining.

    Also, I write too long. sorry.

    SKIP THIS, just some funny stories:
    now let me tell you a brilliant idea I ran by my knitter friends back in 2010:
    "hello, I'm on a bit of a sugar rush and am painting the window on the upper floor! Now I need to get on the roof to complete it. The roof slaints and has ceramic tiles. I'll probably be able to stick to it easily but I need some securing for when I do slip.
    So I'll just tie a rope around my waist and attach it to the radiator. Just popping online to check that this is sufficient, yes?"
    Yeah.... I got shouted at. :rolleyes: now I recognize that state of mind, when I'm a bit hyper my brilliant ideas aren't.

    another reality check, from last Spring:
    "Hi, it's my mother's birthday and she just emailed me to invite us to dinner tonight. But it's an hour travel away, at night!
    I could make it though... but it will send me to bed for the next 7 days."
    yeah... no. :meh: It was made clear to me that 7 days of bedridden is not proportionate to a last minute BD dinner.

    which didn't prevent me from this, last Fall:
    "Hey, my parents celebrate their 45 year anniversary and they asked me about my capacities for travel. I explained I can travel for one hour and then I have to sit for an hour and have tea. If need I can then travel another hour and then I have to roll into a bed.
    So now they're planning a trip to Marocco, by train. Because my father loves trains. It will be 12 hours of trains the first days through Europe, then 5 hours every other day in Marocco. Also Marocco has lots of sounds, impulses and unfamiliar foods.
    I feel quilty because I don't want to go but it's their anniversary and I should and if I bring my own food perhaps I can make it and at worst it will take me 3-6 months to recover..."
    Yeah.... again with the shouting :rolleyes: But I learned my lesson this time. We didn't go. Neither did my parents because they forgot to bring their passports and were denied access to Marocco. They were put back on the ferry to Spain. Where they were denied access because they didn't bring their passports. :rofl:
    belize44, MeSci, L'engle and 3 others like this.
  12. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    @Cindi - He might be unaware of how negative his chatter is. It can be easy to talk to another patient only about illness-related stuff, which is bound to be overwhelmingly negative. And all of the negative chatter might just be him talking about the biggest things he's experiencing. Healthy people can talk about what they did on the weekend, or work, or families, but for a patient the world is a lot smaller and generally grimmer.

    One thing I do when talking to anyone about my health (usually if they ask how I'm doing) is give a short but truthful answer, then find something more interesting to talk about. Then they can bring the subject back to my health if they really want to, but they aren't going to get overwhelmed with more detail and unpleasantness than they can handle.

    He might not know that fixating on the topic of illness is unpleasant for you, even though you are an ME patient as well. So if you can't redirect the conversation more subtly to a positive topic (hobbies, TV shows, books, birds, video games, whatever), then it might be necessary to simply tell him that you don't want to talk about illness-related things for more than a minute or two. And emphasize that you'd love to chat about the Olympics, or your latest knitting project, etc, so that he can really see that you're not rejecting him.
    alex3619, Snowdrop, MeSci and 4 others like this.
  13. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member


    Are they still floating around in the sea, denied access to all nearby lands? Or did they manage to paddle up the coast back to the Netherlands? :D
    belize44, L'engle and GracieJ like this.
  14. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member


    Very glad to hear the knitting forums are with you! I'm hardly on there anymore, glad that is a good experience for you.

    I would like to post more in response to this thread, but I am having great difficulty with brain function lately. Maybe later...

    Hugs to you all!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
    rosie26 likes this.
  15. Cindi

    Cindi Senior Member

    Thanks to all! You have given great insights. I think i will be able to manage this problem easier now. Best wishes :)
    MeSci and Esther12 like this.
  16. L'engle

    L'engle moogle

    You probably do need to set a boundary while you still have the energy to do so in a kind and civil way. Your friend wants to know that there is someone who believes how ill he is and how much he has suffered.
    You can do this without leaving the door open for conversations that spill on for hours and are nothing but misery.

    If you let it keep happening and your patience frays you could say something unkind to him in your exhaustion and then there will be damage between you. So really you are protecting both of you by setting some kind of boundary.

    Good luck. It is hard for us to support each other at just the right level but since we ill people rely on each other a lot it's important.

    Take care :)
    Indigophoton and Cindi like this.
  17. Cindi

    Cindi Senior Member

    nice insight. thanks. and thanks to all again!
    L'engle likes this.
  18. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Rebel without a biscuit

    I love ravelry too. At the risk of sounding whiny I miss knitting. I'm only able to browse and wish.

    I agree with Valentijn. Being sick like this is overwhelming. It's like being a newly minted parent and only talking about your kids.
    It gets annoying and draining for the other person. Sometimes people need a little help refocussing.

    There is so much variation depending on the circumstances, the level of disability and the length of time ill.
    I think people who are more people oriented by nature will want to vent more where as task oriented types tend to find it easier to keep things in finding comfort not in others but in completing a task. Some are a little of both. We're all different.

    With regard to your friend Cindi, if it were me I would tell him then give him some room to adapt. It takes time to assimilate new thinking and applying it to behaviour even for the healthy.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  19. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

    I agree with what others have said on here. I have mentioned elsewhere that I had to let go a friendship with another pwc, but she made it impossible to keep even a little bit of the relationship going. For a period of two years I tried to hang onto the friendship, only to realize that I was feeling either drained or resentful whenever I interacted with her.

    She would dominate the conversation, interrupt then blame it on her particular challenges. She would call me up any old time and expect me to hang on the phone with her. I started distancing first, at the suggestion of my counselor. I would ignore the phone when I saw it was her calling, or if I did answer I would set a timer than say I had to go. I had tried telling her how exhausted it made me to have phone marathons, but she couldn't or wouldn't take it into consideration. I really felt regret having to let her go, but if a relationship is costing me more than it is giving me, then i have no use for it.

    Setting healthy boundaries is important for both of you!
    L'engle likes this.

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