Anyone else's parent's extremely negative about their lives since cancer diagnosis?

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My mother is driving me absolutely insane with her pessimism. I'm trying to be as supportive as possible, but she can turn a conversation about the sky being blue or my brother's wedding into "what did I do wrong to deserve this? why does everything bad happen to me?" and it is incredibly emotionally draining and manipulative. My brother and I are not allowed to have emotions or life experience of our own, because my mom twists them around on us and says "it can't be that bad because it's not like what I'm going through." I understand she has stage IV colon cancer, I understand she's in pain, but she is just absolutely awful about everything and refuses to see a therapist. How can I get her to see reason and make her realize a therapist would be beneficial?

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Absolutely, freqflyer. I get it but I don't think it's a good idea to enable our elders by perpetuating the stigma that psychiatrists are for crazy people. Back in their day women didn't wear slacks or denim. Back in their day Blacks and Whites didn't mingle! Sometimes things need to change and we can guide our elders away from ignorance.
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One has to realize that our elders won't dream of ever going to a psychiatrist... it was a huge stigma back in their day... heavens no... what would the neighbors think :P
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Frankly I think it should be standard operating procedure when a person gets a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness to be referred to both a nutritionist and a psychiatrist. Life changes when you get a bad diagnosis especially if the prognosis isn't good. I don't blame Boxes for not wanting to listen to the same complaints over and over again or have everything diminished because her mother turns every conversation into a pity party. Colon cancer is usually preventable if polyps are caught early by a colonoscopy. Maybe her mother didn't take very good care of herself or perhaps she did but we don't know. What we do know is that she refuses to talk to a professional about her very normal feelings. So, Boxes, if your mother is a religious woman setup an appointment and take her to her place of worship to get her some pastoral care, which is accepted by many faiths now and many places offer a pastoral care ministry. I wish you luck!
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boxesofrocks, until you walk in the shoes of someone who has cancer you won't understand the fear that is happening.... I was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago and have been cancer free the past few years BUT I am still looking over my shoulder thinking it is chasing after me... that feeling might never go away.

With cancer and with any other very serious medical condition one has to find a "new normal"... that's a joke, there is no new normal as we want our old life back that we were use to for the past 60 some years.

I also went through what did I do wrong? I was doing everything right, what in the heck happened? Cancer changed the way I look, and I hate it every time I look in the mirror. I've put on weight which doesn't look good on me. I had to give up my long hiking trips because my energy disappeared.

boxesofrocks, for me the best think ever said to me by a friend when she heard I had cancer was "that must suck", right there I knew I could talk to her on my bad days. So, let Mom grumble to you, she needs to know that someone is listening.
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Jackie, no apology necessary. I think this post has prompted responses in many of us that we might not have expected. I learned from reading other posters' responses that I might have seemed insensitive, so it was a lesson for me as well.
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I wonder if she is coming back to see the posts. Garden ... sorry for snapping at you. The most important thing is that this woman get support ... nice if from family, but, failing that, I hope she finds resources that are available to her or has a really good friend or family member. Many very empathic and compassionate responses I see here.
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You haven't told us anything about you or your mom beyond saying she has cancer. I assume she isn't terribly old since you speak of your brother's wedding, but of course people marry when they are older as well so I'm just guessing. You also haven't said how long ago she got the diagnosis, and what you are all doing about it.
Probably your mother is still working through the grief at her diagnosis. It is hard to see the sky as blue when your own world is black, to be excited over a wedding when you fear you may be too ill to attend, or maybe you won't be here at all. This doesn't make her the cheeriest person to be around right now, but telling her to "buck up" or "see a therapist" isn't really being helpful. Be patient. Be kind. Be willing to listen to her hopes and fears. Above all be there, both for her and for yourself.
I'm so sorry your family is struggling with this.
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LadeeC, well written insightful, analytical and positive. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Here's a slightly different perspective .. not just on cancer, but on any daunting/painful/frightening diagnosis and how people deal. I have breast cancer, and while I choose to treat it without the benefit of western medicine, I *am* pursuing treatment (and it's mostly going well .. up and downs, and all). Meanwhile, my sister has a number of issues: heart, diabetes, painful spine and joint deterioration .. and is on so many medications, I stopped counting at 20 something.

To be fair, I'd say that between the two of us, we have nearly equal chances of survival .. without taking some kind of intervention method(s). Care to guess whose life, pain, depression, issues, etc dominates any conversation when we're together? No one can imagine her pain; if there's any kind of pain, she's experienced it, and is the expert on it. In her mind, the world should make way, room, avenue, passage for her .. and only her. And if I should bring up or mention my cancer, she becomes distant or enraged, as though I'm taking away the attention she needs and deserves.

So, yeah ... people get negative. And it's ok to feel that way. Until it becomes obvious that being able to complain is more important than taking steps to change something (either the condition or the attitude ... BOTH have options and choices).

Personally? I'm done with the attitude and being a doormat. Right now, my focus is on me. My health, my cancer, my future, my LIFE. I'm not complaining, here. I'm making an announcement to the Universe. I'm moving forward with my life.

LadeeC
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Perhaps we should all be more supportive, instead of critical, of the daughter. I won't deny that I found her post unsettling, but maybe we don't know enough about her to judge her. That includes me. We don't know how she's managing to cope with her mother's diagnosis, whether she's fearful, whether she doesn't understand the seriousness, what any back story might be.

I won't deny that I sometimes make snap judgments and need to reassess my situation. Maybe I'm guilty of that this time as well.
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