Feeling let down by friends

christine_m Member Posts: 2
edited November 2023 in Health and wellbeing

Did/is anyone else struggling to deal with friends and/or your partner who weren't there for you in the way you expected them to be when you were going through treatment? Im having trouble not feeling hurt and so alone in the hardest phase of my life. 

Im also internalising (not sure if thats the right way to put it) a lot of anger towards these “friends” that it is having a very negative effect on me, but i just cant move past it. Particularly because i know i was there for many of them during their hard times.


  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,901
    edited November 2023
    Hello @christine_m, you are not alone in your thoughts as this happens sometimes, we find out who our friends are.  Sometimes it is as simple as them not knowing what to say or do and often we need to guide them by asking for the support we need.
    Partners are often in the same boat as that or they drop their bundle as they cannot fix things for you.
    Try not to think about it too much as that just makes you feel worse.  It is very disappointing to say the least but you have to accept that and move past it the best way you can.
    Have you actually said anything to any of them ?  Maybe as you have helped them before they think you are vey strong and don't need help.
    Perhaps ask your GP for a referral to a counsellor so you can talk about it ?
    Above all, remember this is on them, it is not you.
    All the best.  Sending a cyber hug.  💖
  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,433
    @christine_m You are certainly not alone. I lost a few 'friends' who were only interested in me getting better so that I could help them again. But they were not willing to do anything for me. I moved on and have a much better circle of friends who care for me as much as I care for them. My hubby was a rock but many partners just go into their own spaces as they cannot cope. 
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 966
    edited November 2023
    @christine_m you may also find our podcast on this very topic of interest:

    What You Don't Know Until You Do, with Dr Charlotte Tottman
    – Episode #3
    The showing up and the letting down: surprises and disappointments in relationships
  • Locksley
    Locksley Member Posts: 956
    Sorry to see you here.   Unfortunately it does happen.  I lost a few friends along the way, but I also found some new friends that I treasure.   

    Ask your gp for a referral for a counsellor.   Then if you feel you need it you won't have to wait for a referral.   Wishing you all the best.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
    I imagine it can be very hard if you feel
    isolated and without support but it’s true that many people have no idea what to say or do, so don’t. They don’t say anything, do anything, steer clear. And in that situation it can be very hard also to ask. But before you give your friends up as a bad job, it’s worth a try. Ask for something clear and direct that doesn’t need interpretation, pick up shopping, mow a lawn, offer a lift. 

    And time with a really good counsellor is time well spent. Almost everyone diagnosed with cancer will experience some anxiety, sense of loss, fears about mortality. Even if friends or loved ones are willing to talk, they are often too close or too uncomfortable about those topics themselves to help much. As @June1952 mentioned, your GP can help with a referral. Best wishes.
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,181
    hi @christine_m
     One of the toughest parts of this whole shitfest is seeing “ friends” fail to step up .
    That phrase “ fair weather friends” is grounded in truth.
    Having said that , a couple of friends have well and truly stepped up and been amazingly supportive - for me the best friend has been a retired nurse who said to me “ once a nurse, always a nurse - caring is just what I do”
    She rings me every day and takes great interest in all my medical appointments in a way my hubby ( who has otherwise been fabulous) doesn’t.
    Also I have met some great ladies in this forum which has been wonderful.
    Take care🌺

  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 149
    You’ll find who your true friends are during this journey. Interestingly, some of my close friends have disappeared but acquaintances have become my good friends, bringing me food and asking what else they can do for me. So you are not alone in discovering this.
    My hubby is an excellent support but he doesn’t get what I am going through, he has been cooking, housework etc. He wants me to see the light but not the tunnel which is challenging for me as I am going through chemo currently ( with side effects). I have been trying to get him to understand (I have a fabulous GP who has been guiding me on how to communicate with him so the idea of a counsellor like what the ladies have suggested may be a good idea)

    I highly recommend listening to Dr Liz O’Riordan on Spotify - how to cope psychologically with a breast cancer diagnosis with Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield. I happened to just finished listening her podcast this afternoon.

    sending Virtual hugs to you🤗.
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,611

  • christine_m
    christine_m Member Posts: 2
    Thanks guys ❤️ it has just been a hard year. Husband left because he couldn't handle the whole “no breast thing”. And not 1 of my friends came to help with my 3 year old or came past with a meal, some didnt even go past texting. I know no one is obligated to do anything but i cant help but be angry about it.
    Now that the roughest times are past they call and want to “catch up”. I guess im still bitter and i was feeling alone. But thank you to each one of you that replied with advice & support, means more than you know. 
  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 123
    Sounds awful, but don’t discard the ones who want to catch up.  They were embarrassed, and didn’t know how to approach you.   Now they feel able to support you.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,371
    @christine_m, lots of comments above that all ring true. This issue came up early for me after my diagnosis. I did loose some 'friends'. Some said really stupid things to me and some are great. My true friends found it hard to watch me go through hard times. They didn't know what to say or do and many had so much of their own things happening in their life.

    Covid hit as I was diagnosed and the isolation we all experienced compounded the whole situation for me. I let go of those people who were not good for me and accepted that even some good friends while they didn't cook meals etc, they were still my friends and great for a chat especially about non cancer stuff. We do need that break too. I used a counsellor for my thoughts and my medical team to help me emotionally process all the cancer stuff.

      I am sorry about your partner, this is very hard and disappointing for you. You definitely would be hurt for sure about this. You are worth everything and don't need people in your life who can't be there for the hard times. Maybe a bit of counselling to help process that hurt would help. 

    Big hugs. You aren't alone here. Look at all the comments on this topic. 
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,821
    SO sorry you've been let down by some friends & your husband @christine_mxx   Sadly, it happens to a lot of us and can be very upsetting - as they often 'say' they will be there for you ..... but disappear  :(   

    Sometimes they feel a tad 'threatened' as they may think it may also happen to them - and don't know what to say, so they say nothing, which hurts.  

    You'll get lots of support here xx. 

    Definitely book in to see a counsellor to give you coping mechanisms - if you are older, you can get a subsidised or bulk billed 'care plan' to include the sessions - and keeping busy, doing what you LOVE doing, should help keep the demons away (as the brain goes off on a tangent!)

    Feel free to fill us in on your story so far ... 

    take care