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How to tell your ‘very complicated’ family of diagnosis

AmazonianAmazonian Member Posts: 15
Hi everyone, 
Im in a sticky situation, not fully diagnosed, will find out Friday exactly what type I have. My biggest anxiety (apart from the diagnosis) is telling my very very complicated family.

Firstly my sister, she suffers from a crappy mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, for those who know, this can cause many attempts of suicide, severe depression and severe irrational feelings, it’s a handful, for her and myself.  She relies on me...but as BDP can do, she can be really manipulative and nasty. I’m not angry at her, but it can hurt and have learnt to make boundaries.  But am worried that when she finds out, she will become suicidal. To top it off, my mum organised for my sister and I to go on a cruise end of October, and it looks like that will have to be postponed or canceled. This in itself may bring her undone.

Secondly my Father, he also potentially suffers from and undiagnosed mental illness, he is in his 60’s and has a morbid fear of dying from.....cancer, specifically stomach cancer. His father died from it, in his 60’s. Sadly I avoid my father if possible, he is just to depressing to be around or to talk to. But I know I will have to tell him eventually.
Thirdly my mum, who has separated from my father many years ago. I think she will be ok, but again her mum died of cancer too. I think that she may be ok, her partner survived cancer, and I’m hopping it will help her deal with mine. But again, my mum and I do not have a wonderful realtionship. She dislikes my partner a lot, and I fear she will butt heads with him as she can be over the top opinionated and dramatic.  

As as you can probably see, I have a run of the mill dysfunctional family 😆  It’s not a big family, no cousins one Aunty 83 (mums sister) and another Aunty and Uncle (dads side) whome I don’t have much contact with.  

Im definitely the black sheep 😆 very independent from them and have never burdened them. I really wish I didn’t have to tell them, but I know I will have to...eventually. 

I’m asking please for advise, tips, anything on how to deal with telling them, and then dealing with the aftermath of it. Just to know that anyone of you has had to deal with this type of situation would make me feel less alone with it. 

Big thanks in advance! Sorry for loooong post. 
Much love and Amazonian power to you all!  ⭐️💫



  • Spiv1803Spiv1803 Member Posts: 126
    Great advice Kath. 
  • AmazonianAmazonian Member Posts: 15
    Thankyou everyone! It means the world reading such kind words... the advice is spot on.  
    Much appreciated xx
     <3  :*
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,120
    Sometimes it is the one you least expect becomes the most helpful and the one you thought would be of help seems to abandon you!  No right or wrong way to go about it all but agree with others YOU are the most important in this instance and hopefully they will react in a way that they become serial helpers rather than caught up in themselves.

    Get all your ducks lined up first so you are ready with full on information

    Take care and best wishes 
  • MarakeshMarakesh Member Posts: 78
    I agree that a good counsellor can be worthwhile for you right now . I also think that you’ve been the rescuer and the lynchpin in your family to this point so it’s natural for you to want to protect everyone . But you can’t protect them all from this.
    Once  they have the information about your bc your family may well surprise you and be there for you the way you need them to be. I have heard of situations where family have been protected and not advised what is going on and they have been hurt by that . So  link in with a professional counsellor, tell family the bc care plan and advise them what you will need from them . They need the opportunity to process the information themselves . Hopefully they will surprise you ( in a good way) . Good luck 😊
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,898
    Can't say anything because @primek and @Marakesh have said it so well. Let us know how you get on. I hope it goes OK. K xox 
  • KarenhappyquilterKarenhappyquilter Member Posts: 236
    I agree it sounds like you look after and worry about everyone else.  I suspect you won’t be up to doing so much of that during your treatment, but am also guessing you will do some care if your family no matter how tired you get.

      I agree with everyone else here that now it is your time to focus on you and your treatment and to some extent you are going to have to let them get on with their lives and worries by themselves.  I know this sounds harsh but what else can you do? You didn’t ask to get cancer.  

    My observations of some people with with mental illness is that they can have a strong will to survive and hopefully your family will survive despite their worries about you.  I wish you the very best. 
  • AmazonianAmazonian Member Posts: 15
    Thankyou again everyone! I told all my family yesterday. They seemed ok. Time will tell with my sister, the next few days are when I’ll expect her to go downhill.
     But I am, and will try to think of myself a bit more. 
    Big love to you all 💚💚💚

  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,120
    That's a giant step for you! 
    Best wishes
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,898
    I'm glad it went OK.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,347
    Well done. A bit of me time is needed.
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