How do you handle the negativity from other people?

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Rockabilly Chicadee
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 7/22/2008 1:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I just found out the other night that someone I've known since I was a child thinks my IBS symptoms are all in my head and that I do it to myself (along with some other, really unpleasant assumptions about my lifestyle).  They actually attacked my Mom for taking care of me and my brother and helping us get by in life.  They said that she was babying us and that we were never going to be able to function as REAL adults because of her taking care of us. I felt like I'd been stabbed through the HEART!!  This person is NO stranger to chronic illness and, judging from their blog, they call out of work more than *I* do and they live on all kinds of different medication.  Plus, I know THEIR Mom has helped them out in the past, too.  So, naturally, I thought we had some common ground.  Like, they of ALL people would understand what it's like to live in constant pain and for people to not believe that their condition is "real".
I wrote a REALLY lengthy post in my personal blog, which I won't repost here, but I would like to share just this piece of it with you guys.  I feel so alone right now.  I family and my fiancee are there for me...and even my best friend sent me an IM today that said "I read your post about being sick, and for whatever it's worth, I always believed you."  It just about made me cry!  But to find out this person that I've known for almost 20 years thinks I'm a whiny hypocondriac who's mooching off their Mom...???  It's enough to make my stomach churn even without IBS.
Anyway... if anyone has some helpful suggestions on how to handle the nay-sayers and the non-believers, I'd love to hear it.  I'm so hurt right now.  It hurts more than the worst IBS attack...more than anything!!
I saw a commecial for fibromyalgia where the woman is aching and hurting and she can't keep up with her kids and she's crying... and then they use CGI to make all the places on her that hurt look bruised and her voice comes in saying "I wonder if I looked on the outside how I feel on the inside if people would believe me?" I'm starting to have a new appreciation and understanding for what people with diseases like fibromyalgia must go through... the constant eye-rolling and tongue-clucking and hushed whispers of "what is her PROBLEM??? Why doesn't she just get over it and knock it off?? Who does she think she's kidding? There's nothing really wrong with her - it's all in her head!" I'm not saying my IBS is as bad as that, but my goodness do I understand that feeling of If Only You Could SEE How Much I Hurt, Maybe You'd Believe Me.

The most stressful part of IBS is trying to pretend like everything is ok when it's not. It's trying to make-believe that I'm feeling fine when I'm not. It's learning to keep my voice steady when I can barely get a full breath because it hurts to breathe. It's learning to smile when I want to cry. It's learning to "tough it out" all the time...every day...

But the most painful part isn't what I go through's what I go through emotionally. It's the knowledge that the doctors couldn't help me, and probably still can't help me. That there is no "cure". It's knowing that this is probably going to happen to me for the rest of my life whenever I get overly stressed out, or I get really sick and my immune system craps out on me, or I accidentally get served meat instead of my requested veggie substitute... It's knowing that for the rest of my life I will have to call people up and cancel plans at the last minute ALL THE TIME and they might not always understand or be compassionate. It's knowing I'm going to lose friends because I get sick so often. It's knowing I'm going to hear through the grapevine what they
really think. It's knowing that I get a LOT of lipservice and NOT a lot of real support. It's knowing that my family loses sleep because they're worried and/or waking up to check on me in my sleep. It's knowing how many people I will disappoint over time not because I meant to or I didn't want to do something, but because my stomach had other ideas about what I was going to do.
And just for some point of reference, my family has been through a LOT together.  We have a very unorthodox relationship between the three of us.  Aside from all three of us having IBS (which is one of the main reasons why we've decided to continue living together - because we know what each other is living with and how to take care of one another), we were essentially homeless for four years and lived in a van (not by choice - it's a LONG story) and it left all three of us with really bad PTSD.  We've been through a LOT together and part of the reason any of us have made it this far is because we've always had the other two to help us get through the hard times.  I even sport a Mom tattoo that takes up almost my entire upper arm, and my brother and I have matching tattoos, too.  We're as tight as families get.  For this person to attack me and say my symptoms aren't real...AND attack my Mom for the way she's stood up for us and taken care of us when we needed it???  I  I'm just SO freakin' hurt... :(

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 7/22/2008 3:08 PM (GMT -7)   


You know what I say to people like that?  Take a hike!

You don't need people like that in your life.  Those types of people will only make you sicker.  Yes, it's extremely sad and disappointing, and so ignorant.  But think about it, now you know this person for who they really are.  Time to move on.  Easier said than done, I know.  Time heals all wounds.  *So I hear.*

Here's a great brochure to give anyone without IBS, so they have a better clue of what we go through:

IBS for people who do not have IBS

Hang in there!
Co-Moderator IBS Forum
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 7/22/2008 4:09 PM (GMT -7)   

How does "friend" not know that you live with mom as much to take care of her as she take care of you?  If she had something terrible, like cancer (God forbid), everyone would support you living with her and taking care of her. 

But I guess since "friend" doesn't believe in IBS, she doesn't believe your mother is ill either, so you're not taking care of her, you're mooching just to mooch. 

Unfortunately bad gall bladders and Crohn's runs in my family, so I have had no lack of sympathy on that account.  My mother now has fibromyalgia too. 

You know what, just ignore this person until she sees the light or doesn't.  She can believe whatever she wants to believe, but that doesn't mean she's right.  With friends like her, who needs enemies???

Or you can try my other recommendation (which works better for disbelieving family) which is have a good, explosive bowel movement, then don't flush the toilet.  When someone complains, say, "Oh, that's my imaginary poop.  It doesn't exist because I'm perfectly healthy and have healthy poops.  The diarrhea you see all exploded in the toliet bowl isn't real.  I'm just imaginging it."  Or something equally sarcastic!  But, hey, you can't argue with evidence.  Anyone knows diarrhea--especially with some chucky bits of last night's dinner floating in the water, or with blood in it--isn't normal.  You can't fake diarrhea in the toilet (or the smell from it!). 

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 7/22/2008 10:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Sometimes even knowing someone for a long time means spit if they can turn around and be horrible like that...I say, enough time wasted, life it too short to waste it on someone like that no matter how long you've known them, clearly they have some "issues" of their own that they need to work out.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 7/23/2008 5:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Here's something I learned along the way in my old(er) age, 53 now.......

You cannot change other people's opinions/beliefs/actions/thoughts, etc.

We can only change HOW we relate to others. For example, this friend doesn't understand what you go through. Some friends may try but some might quickly chalk up what you go through as "all in your head". To this type, you just have to say as little as you can (because the more you explain it, in dialogue or blogs, letters, emails, etc.) the more you will lose them and they'll never understand.

I have found that the ones that seem to want to understand or have an inkling of what many of us go through, are the ones that are great listeners. The quiet ones, that observe others, paying close attention to the other person they are conversing with.

The people that are waiting for the very second, they can jump into the conversation, to tell you their most horrible bathroom experience or whatever it is you're discussing (could be illness, car accident, vacation from he**), they have a story to top yours.

These are the people I shun and avoid.

Because they will never change!

I have a young daughter who's 21 and has a hard time when her friends do not behave as courteously as she wants them to (whatever it is, plans they've made, chipping in on meals, tickets for concerts, etc.). When they behave badly, she blogs about it). If there is one thing I would gently suggest as possible, is to blog carefully. Blogs to me remind me of when I was a teenager, and we would write our most inner thoughts in our diaries, leaving them open to that page when a "friend" came over to hang out. We wanted that friend to read that page, so they'd be forced to see they had been wrong. (Which truth be told, usually backfired!)....

Anyway, my daughter still blogs and I still have to be careful when you open up your life to others. People who you want to understand but will probably never understand.


Post Edited (Marsky) : 7/23/2008 6:55:06 AM (GMT-6)

Rockabilly Chicadee
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 7/23/2008 6:41 AM (GMT -7)   
To everyone:
Thank you all so much for the support and commiseration.  I'm so glad I found this forum and SO glad I found it WHEN I found it.  Clearly I have a gaurdian angel and they're looking out for me. :)
To Marksy:
What's so terrible is that I AM careful about what I blog and whom I share it with.  I recently trimmed my blog down from almost 200 people to 36 people, comprised of my family and closest and oldest friends, and all the posts are locked so that only those 36 people can read them (and I have more filters beyond that).  It's mostly for my friends who live far away and I don't get to see often, so we can keep up on what everyone is doing.  This person has always given me very pretty lipservice and SAID they were very supportive, understanding, sympathetic, etc.  I found out what they said because they ripped my mom apart and said all this to my mom and then she told me.  Technically, I was never supposed to know it was said - which kinda makes it all the more hurtful.  I mean, if that's really what they think of me, they should at least have the brass to say it to ME.  *sigh* Oh well....  I guess you win some and you lose some.
Thank you again to everyone.  Your encouragement adn kind words means SO much to me!  I can't say enough how grateful I am to have found this place...then again I probably don't have to!  You guys probably know exactly how I feel. :)
Thank you thank you thank you thank you.  I needed the pick-me-up today.
27yo Female, diagnosed with IBS in 2002.  Taken lots of meds, but never got relief from any of them.  Been subjected to too many tests to list, but never had a colonoscopy.  I think that's the only one I'm missing. :p
GOOD NEWS!!!  I found a new GI doctor and I'm seeing them for the first consultation on August 6, 2008!  WISH ME LUCK!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 7/23/2008 7:19 AM (GMT -7)   
While it's her decision, of course, I think your mother should shun this "friend" too. I mean, one, she doesn't need financial advice or advice on how to raise her children and two, since you mother also has IBS, this "friend" has, in accusing you of lying about yours, accused her of lying about hers as well. If yours is made up, so is hers. I'd find that insulting personally.
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