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What to do about person who cries to me about my illness?

(26 Posts)
Esmeeel Thu 28-Aug-14 12:18:58

What do I do? I have just been diagnosed and mil is the one crying on the phone saying she is so worried about me etc etc I don't know how to deal with her. I find her so irritating, I iust passed the phone to dh and make an excuse but she phones up again.

Am I being a bitch? No one else who knows about it has been like this and it is incredibly annoying and I worry others may do the same when more find out in the future.

What should I do? I just want to be rude to her, or laugh about it and myself, or ignore her but I know that would be inappropriate.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Thu 28-Aug-14 12:21:18

Could you be rude to her and then blame your illness for your rudeness? grin

Sorry your ill though

DartmoorDoughnut Thu 28-Aug-14 12:22:01

Sorry you're ill thanks

I'd say something along the lines of "I appreciate your concern but you're making this harder for me, please try to pull yourself together" but that might be too straight? I don't know, my MIL is a over sharer type too and only responds to straight talking, if you try to be polite she doesn't take it in!

BuzzardBird Thu 28-Aug-14 12:22:40

I am sorry for your news. She is making it all about her do you think?

AbbieHoffmansAfro Thu 28-Aug-14 12:26:05

Be frank. Tell her it is very hard, you can't support her through it as well as dealing with your own feelings, and she will have to lean on someone else (my mother is a bit like this, I sympathise with you wholeheartedly. I know my mother loves me, but still).

Be firm but kind, and once you have told her do your best to disengage and not talk to her about how she is feeling. Get your DH to ask her to stop calling you in tears. It absolutely is not your responsibility to help her feel better about your diagnosis.

Matildathecat Thu 28-Aug-14 12:39:04

Def get your DH to speak to her and tell her how upsetting this is. She may well be very upset but she can cry to someone else and stay brave for you.

Sorry you are unwell. Hope you make a speedy and full recovery.

Lweji Thu 28-Aug-14 12:41:37

I'd kindly ask her not to make you more upset.
That you need people to be supportive and not to worry about you. That if she can't do it, then the kindest thing is not to talk to you about your disease.

Or simply say that you don't want to talk about it because otherwise you'll just crumble.

Could your OH speak to her about it?

Quitelikely Thu 28-Aug-14 13:02:24

I'm obviously on my own here but isn't it nice that she cares about you so much? She is worried and having a cry. Some folk are worriers and demonstrative with it

Lweji Thu 28-Aug-14 13:03:39

Yes, but she could cry away from the OP.
There is no point in upsetting the person who is ill even more, is there?

elportodelgato Thu 28-Aug-14 13:09:05

Hi esmeel, sorry you are ill. I have also had a recent devastating diagnosis and recommend you google 'circle of care' - the person going through the illness is allowed to be as cross, angry, sad etc as she wants. The people closest to her are also allowed to be all those things, just NOT IN HER DIRECTION - they can only complain to other people.

You do the right thing to pass the phone to your DH, this is not your problem. Look after yourself thanks

CuttedUpPear Thu 28-Aug-14 13:09:46

I feel for you OP.
It's rotten when people try to hijack your situation.
When my DP was diagnosed with cancer a friend who hardly knew him at all and had very little time for me, came up to me in floods because of her distress. She wasn't offering any emotional or practical support.

I pretty much cold shouldered her and haven't really had much to do with her since.

Obviously it's harder for you since it's your MIL but I would keep out of her range for a while if you can.
Bloodsuckers.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 28-Aug-14 13:10:52

I'm also sorry to hear that you're unwell but rather agree with Quitelikely. Unfortunately, you can't dictate how others are going to react to bad news. When it's your illness & you're dealing with it, it's natural to want to exert some control. Some are going to get it seriously wrong from your perspective (others might like their reaction, of course) and I think you have try to be kind in the first instance and steer them in the right direction. If they persist in being annoying despite being asked to behave in a different way, then you have to be more assertive and tell them they're not helping

Best of luck and hope you get better soon

Esmeeel Thu 28-Aug-14 13:12:32

Thanks for the vent. I don't think I should see her in person for awhile. I would lose my temper too quickly if I did. She told me in tears that she had been discussing treatments with her pharmacist angry how inappropriate is that!

Dh isn't very helpful, ironically I have been the reason why they see each other at all! I am the one who organises get togethers, Xmas, birthdays etc.

quitelikely i don't even have time to have a cry about it, am too busy worrying about my dc and trying to work out what to do with them! Practical help is what I need. Last thing I need is over emotional, time wasting people around [anger]

Lweji Thu 28-Aug-14 13:14:47

Do you think you could actually talk to her about it, or wouldn't she be able to help with practical stuff?

It may have been a shock to her and she may be trying to deal with it and helping (conversation with pharmacist). I wouldn't be angry about that, TBH.

BigfootFiles Thu 28-Aug-14 13:16:16

Sorry to hear you are ill. thanks Could you or DH send her a copy of this article How not to say the wrong thing and gently explain that the most useful thing she could do is offer support right now, and if she's not emotionally able to handle that, then you'd appreciate a bit of space for the time being.

Esmeeel Thu 28-Aug-14 13:19:19

elporto thank you that sounds helpful but I couldn't find any information when I googled. Do you have a link to more information?

Esmeeel Thu 28-Aug-14 13:23:40

bigfoot thank you! I want to laminate that and stick in on mil's head. That makes it all seem so clear!

LondonRocks Thu 28-Aug-14 13:29:49

Sorry to hear you're ill.

Perhaps she simply doesn't know how to handle this. Surely it's better than "pull yourself together"? I mean that gently btw.

If she's that annoying, just refuse to engage and just tell her you're finding it hard enough without worrying about her response.

ChampagneTastes Thu 28-Aug-14 13:36:03

God she sounds like my DM who I now don't tell about anything because I don't have the energy to deal with her being "so worried". It is totally self-involved and I think can only be handled with brutal honesty. You are ill and you don't need extra stress - make your DH tell her she is being actively unhelpful and disengage until she can do something useful.

I'm sorry you're ill; hope you're getting useful support from the rest of your family.

Hi Esmeeel,

I was sorry to read about your ill health and I feel that your MIL is trying to highjack your illness for her own ends (to get attention).

re your comment:-
"Dh isn't very helpful, ironically I have been the reason why they see each other at all! I am the one who organises get togethers, Xmas, birthdays etc"

I was wondering why you've actually bothered to do this given your DH's indifference, she is not your mother after all. I would knock all this on the head.

Has she done this type of behaviour with regards to any other family occasions, has she tried making everything all about her or leading back to her before now?.

Lilymaid Thu 28-Aug-14 13:46:18

Esmeel have a look at the current Tamoxigang thread in General Health for the Circles of Care diagram (posted by Amberlight earlier this month). Then print out one copy and make into a badge for your MIL to wear! Basic premise is that worries go outwards to other people whilst care and help go inwards to the inner circles of person with diagnosis and immediate family.

VelvetEmbers Thu 28-Aug-14 16:28:38

So sorry you are going through this. My DM did exactly the same to me. She made it all about her and how awful it was that HER DD had cancer. It was very draining.

Worse was the fact she told every single person she had ever known. I ended up announcing it on FB as she'd told so many people. TBH I think she enjoyed the drama and attention sad.

Spaghettio Thu 28-Aug-14 16:58:20

I feel for you OP. at my husbands funeral I had a man come and hug me and cry on me. He told me ( through the sobs) that i was so brave and that they loved me very much. He then was led away by a woman (his wife?).

I then asked my MIL who the hell he was. Apparently he was her cousins husband. He spent the entire day wailing in the corner, telling everyone how upset he was and how much they all loved me.

I'd never met him before so he can't have been very close to my husband! I've never seen him since - that was six years ago. Apparently he still gets upset about it. I felt like he was trying to cash in on our grief, and make it all about him.

Esmeeel Thu 28-Aug-14 19:13:06

attilla the reason I've been organising occasions including her is so the dc can have a relationship with their grandmother.

She does not tend to make situations all about her, it is more that she does lean towards overly emotional in terms of telling us she loves us etc more than most people do. I know she is like this as she cannot offer any practical support at all as she is completely unreliable (something we accept and understand as she has an incredibly controlling marriage) so it's the only way she can demonstrate she cares. For example we never count on her being on time or even attending something and often she can only visit for a very very short time.

Writing that I do feel like a bitch as I know she does probably genuinely care and feels helpless, but I do find the crying incredibly irritating. It is provoking a very strong emotion in me.

What does your DH make of his mother generally speaking?. He needs to speak up for you and tell her that her behaviour is unacceptably cloying and not at all helpful. She needs to back off completely.

Her behaviour towards you says an awful lot about her and she has not been above discussing treatments with the pharmacist to boot. This is showing a complete lack of respect as well as boundaries on her part and is attention seeking behaviour; she wants to make your ill health all about her.

What do your children think of their nan?.

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