Jump to content

Hang onto your hat: Sclero Forums Upgrade May 14-21, 2017!! The Forums will be offline for up to 4 days, and then will return with an entirely new look and feel.


Does Anyone Else Lack Sympathy?

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic



    Bronze Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 28 posts

Posted 07 November 2007 - 07:17 PM

Hello everyone!! Hope everybody is doing as well as can be expected. So, I am having some major feeling of guilt about something, and I thought it might make me feel better to just let it out. I hope at least one person out there has some of the same feelings, or at least understands a little of where I'm coming from. This may sound horrible, so I would like to defend myself by saying that I am, and have always been, a very caring individual. I am very sensitive and very sensitive towards peoples feelings. So... I guess I don't totally understand where these feeling are coming from. "These feelings" meaning - lately, I have noticed that when somebody complains of being "sick", or of having a headache, or that they are sooo tired, or have a backache, or WHATEVER other ailment it is that is bothering them... I don't feel sorry for them. Like, at all. Of course, with my children it is different, but they are the only ones. My mom gets a cold and calls into work for two days and acts like she's dying! My close friend gets frequent headaches and acts like she's on her death bed as well. I could go on & on of the people who surround me with complaints of such minor things. I have just recently noticed though, that when they say these things, I think to myself, I WISH I just had a cold!! I WISH my biggest complaint was a headache!! Does anyone else have these thoughts or feelings? I feel as if I am all of a sudden lacking sympathy, and to make matters worse, it is typically toward the people closest to me. :( I am just feeling REALLY REALLY bad and guilty that I have these thoughts. I wish I wouldn't. I never did before. I guess I just don't really understand.

Anyway, thanks for listening, hopefully getting this off my chest will relieve some of what I've been feeling.

Take care & try to stay warm, as the temperatures here in Michigan are starting to drop quickly!!

Kelly B.

#2 summer


    Gold Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 522 posts

Posted 07 November 2007 - 10:56 PM

Hi Kelly,
I really wouldn't be too hard on yourself, sometimes It is hard to feel sympathy for people when they are not well if you are feeling really sick yourself.
If you let Scleroderma rule you it will, it can consume all your thoughts and your life if you let it.

About 5 years ago I worked with a colleague and she had recently at the time been diagnosed with Muscular Sclerosis, before her diagnosis though she was the type of person who appeared self centred. A few weeks after her diagnosis she would come into work and never once ask how anyone was, but complained continually about this symptom and that, how she was sooooo tired all of the time.
This would go on every day, she never cared about anyone or anything else.
Of course I felt for her at the time and always tried to help her with her work load, but after 6 months of constant complaining and moaning about her illness you sort of become hardened about the whole thing.
I spoke to my manager at the time about how she never asked about how anyone else and she said "it's the illness I'm afraid it will only get worse".
My manager was a Nurse at the time.

Four years later I was diagnosed with Scleroderma and I constantly look back on that particular situation and vowed that I would never get to be like she was.
I always ask my friends how they are and try to be sypathetic, I try not to let Scleroderma rule me. Of course at times I get on the bandwagon about my illness but I always stop myself from going on too much.

I probably haven't helped you very much and it is hard to be positive when you are down, but try and make the most out of every day and look after yourself

Take care

#3 PrincessB


    Senior Bronze Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 78 posts
  • Location:Strasbourg, France

Posted 07 November 2007 - 11:16 PM

Ha ha, I love this post! Surely everyone feels this way sometimes, it's human. I find that my illness absorbs me more or less depending on the day, so sometimes I don't want to talk about it at all and I am sympathetic to other people's 'trivial' concerms and other days it's all I can think about and I am completely enraged when people come to me and complain they're tired or have the flu -aaarrrggghhh! One of things about having a chronic illness is that it's always there and people can't always treat you with kid gloves - or they go completely the other way, for example, when I was in hospital people would come in and start telling me about themselves and then say "Sorry, you're not interested in my problems" and I was like, of course I am, what else are we going to talk about, I'm sick of talking about me and mine!

So, it's a phase and will pass, and you're not a monster :P
Diagnosed diffuse systemic scleroderma December 2005 (on my 30th birthday, as if turning 30 wasn't enough?!)

#4 KarenL


    Silver Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 213 posts

Posted 08 November 2007 - 01:33 AM

Hi Kelly,

I'm so glad you brought this up! I feel like a monster towards people, but hopefully they don't notice. Whenever hubby complains, I listen with half an ear, mumbling half sympathies. He is the one who says "I don't feel like I can complain with all you go through". Which is nice. BUT, I'm so sick of always being the sick one! When someone says how are you, well, what's the answer to that!? I could go on for 15 minutes with just the bare essentials of what's bothering me at any given time, but usually I don't complain.

What I've adopted is this...whatever hurts someone, HURTS and that deserves attention. You could say something like this, "wow, that's terrible. how do you deal with it"? Or just remembering a time when you only had one thing that hurt, like maybe a cold an trying to remember how miserable you were. It's hard, I know, but sometimes, just for a moment, it takes my mind off myself.

I have the advantage of working in a Middle school/high school, where everything is always high drama, and of course the kids are totally egotistical. I LOVE them and their teen angst! I forget myself for 7 hours a day! Then collapse at home :unsure:

Good luck with this one...it's a toughie. keep being the sweetheart you are. we here, love you just the way you are.
Karen :rolleyes:

#5 Sue


    Bronze Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 24 posts
  • Location:Mt Sterling, OH

Posted 08 November 2007 - 01:33 AM


I think we all have had thoughts like those. I know I have. I think that it would be nice to just have a diagnoses. So many of us do not have a definate diagnoses or one that someone would recognize. Please don't feel that you are alone. We are all here and understand. What others don't understand is our day to day frustration and ill feeling. I know I have problems at work when someoone complalins about a cold and how hard it is to work with a cold. I would love to stand on my desk and scream that they are a bunch of babies and that no one realizes what my struggle is ever day to come to work. But then I think why would I do that. I am the stronger person and I know they don't realize what I am going through so you just suck it up and keep going with you life making it hte best you can. Just try and put a positive spin on the situation after you go through you emotions. You may never stop these feelings but make the most of them!!!

May I suggest that you get your B12 level checked. I was getting very cranky along with everything else and a friend suggested I have it checked. Mine was very, very low and it does do strange things to you. Seems a lot of people with auto immune problems have low B12. I get a shot every four weeks now and boy I do feel I need another after 3 weeks! It makes a big difference!

Keep that head up and concentrate on your life and not everyone elses. I know it is not easy but will help you get through all this!! My best to you!

#6 barefut


    Platinum Member

  • Bloggers
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,158 posts
  • Location:NW Washington

Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:51 AM


How brave of you to share a not so flattering feeling. I too have felt that way. I think its just one of those natural responses to having a scary, chronic disease.

Don't worry. This feeling will pass. It is BECAUSE you are a kind, caring sympathetic soul that you are feeling this way as well.

It sounds like you are not getting the sympathy you need right now from the ones close to you. I learned a long time ago that the qualities that we like in others are the ones we ourselves already posess. Therefore, the qualities that we posess and need from others, but aren't getting, are bound to upset us.

Try to remember that everything is relative. These people you talk about don't have to deal with scleroderma and therefore a cold or a headache IS a big annoyance to them. Plus some people are just inclined to complain about minor things, or everything. :rolleyes:

Stop feeling guilty for your feelings. They are a natural reaction to your circumstances.

I hope you are feeling well otherwise. Take care.


#7 debonair susie

debonair susie

    Platinum Member

  • ISN Support Specialists
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,624 posts
  • Location:(United States)

Posted 08 November 2007 - 08:47 AM

Hi Kelly and all who have posted on this thread :)

I hear you loud and clear! I know exactly the feeling.

I too, HAD a friend who was very sympathetic, yet she was also one who has a very low tolerance for pain... She really carried on, as though she was the only one who had ever been sick.

Maybe it will help, realizing how STRONG we actually are. After all, look at how we handle our illnesses. We understand that these folks likely believe that our illnesses ebb and flow, rather than our daily coping with what we do.

When ya'll talk about your different responses... when I AM asked, I usually just tell 'em, "I'm not doin' bad for the shape I"m in"! :P

As many have said before... So many aren't even aware of our illnesses... and thank goodness they don't have to experience what we do>

Big Hugs to ALL of you!
Special Hugs,

Susie Kraft
ISN Support Specialist
ISN Chat Host
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#8 MicheleM


    Silver Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 119 posts
  • Location:Atlanta, GA

Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:12 PM

Never feel alone, we all encounter issues that seem trite, and in the scheme of things they really are, but a problem is a problem no matter how small. Others will never "get it" because they can't understand "it" if they haven't lived "it". That's what keeps me sane some days. Maybe it will help!
Soft hugs your way,




    Bronze Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 28 posts

Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:27 PM

Thanks to all who responded :) At least now I know I am not alone. If anything, that made me feel a little better. That, and the fact that now I don't feel like I have this deep, dark, evil secret lurking inside of me :lol:

Thank you to ALL of my fellow sclerodermers for not letting me be alone!!!!!

Kelly B.

#10 Sweet


    Platinum Member

  • ISN Support Specialists
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,895 posts

Posted 08 November 2007 - 05:25 PM


I was a little taken aback when I read your post, because I deal with that often, but didn't really want to admit it, and wham there you said it! I bet many of us feel this way at times, but just don't want to say it out loud.

I FEEL THIS WAY VERY OFTEN. Especially towards those that don't seem to "get" how sick I am. I have found myself at times, saying just what you felt like saying "Wish I only had a cold - but I'm stuck with this horrible disease" Those types of things come out or at least I think them when I'm doing really bad. I've been very negative at times when I'm feeling really lousy.

When I'm not feeling as sick - those times, I try to say in a loving tone something like "Oh, I'm sorry you feel achy - I can totally relate, but unfortunately for me, it's a daily thing - I never get a break from it - it's tough isn't it?" At those times, sometimes it can be a realization to the person that has never truly understand how I feel each day. It always feels like a bit of a victory for me, when I think someone might "get" it! FINALLY.

Anyway, please don't beat yourself up over this. Chronic illness is a horrific thing, and at times we just don't deal with it very well. It's OK - you are entitled to that sometimes.

Hang in there.
Warm and gentle hugs,

ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#11 truman


    Gold Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 624 posts
  • Location:NJ

Posted 08 November 2007 - 07:51 PM

I think part of it is if only I had just a headache, oh what fun that would be. Maybe a couple of hours and some aspirin, and I'm "normal" again.

What I think bothers me is that with our illness, those around us and particularly work place personnel do not realize it's more complicated than a headache. It may be an ulcer on a digit, the office is too cold from A/C and the Raynauds is kicking in, IBS and we're in the bathroom trying not to make an embarrassment of ourselves. Our disease is a complicated mass of many symptoms and components. I think we're generally afraid of divulging too much information in that they may feel we are too complicated to deal with and let's just get a "normal" person in here.

I, myself, don't mind the moaning of general complaints.......in fact I find it refreshing that they are in general good health and their miladies are such. I am almost envious. By the same token, I work with a wonderful roommate who sees when I'm at my worst and automatically takes over for things that cause me pain and extreme effort. While I find it extremely hard to accept that I just cannot handle certain things anymore, I applaud her caring and effort in providing help to me without bringing to my attention my illness.

I also think that due to the support and assistance I've gotten from my friends through all of this, their minor ailments and complaints should be treated the same in return. After all, it's harder on them to deal with mine, then for me to deal with theirs.

It is what it is...........

#12 epasen


    Silver Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 09 November 2007 - 06:38 AM

Kelly, I feel totally same sometimes. Today a friend of mine was telling how her back hurts, because she fell of from a back of a horse, and she's taking some painkillers for a while etc etc. It was so closed that I didn't say something not-so-sensitive, because I'm living with backpain everyday, and well, her pain will after few days go away, which my pain won't actually do.

I really hope I'm not sounding like a really bad people. With some other things I really feel sympathy towards other people.


#13 CraigR


    Senior Silver Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 394 posts
  • Location:Escondido (near San Diego), Ca

Posted 09 November 2007 - 07:52 AM

The whole sympathy thing is hard for me to understand. I prefer to keep my illnesses unknown to people who aren't very close (though difficult to do when out from work for year in treatment for cancer..). Why complicate things if you don't need to?

I share the thought when I hear people complain - that I wish I only had their problems!

I find that the best thing to do with a person who childishly solicites sympathy is to take an approach of helping them fix the problem. Pretty soon you won't hear from people who only want sympathy. Since this is my nature, I rarely hear from people who don't honestly want help.


#14 TJ903


    Silver Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 109 posts
  • Location:Merritt Island, Florida

Posted 09 November 2007 - 08:21 AM

Thank you! I can' begin to tell you how much I can relate. It is so refreshing to hear your comments on things we have to deal with every day. You sound like such a wonderful, caring person and I hope that you can keep your great outlook. Patience is a wonderful trait to have, I'm having to be reminded constantly of my lack of patience.

You must be one of those people that others find appealing and easily approached. That is rare and your compassion is greatly appreciated I am sure. It might be difficult for others that have complained to you without your complaining back to realize that you are human, imperfect and have struggles of your own. They just may have put you on a pedestal and finding people like you to un-burden on is something that they will take advantage of time and time again.

It's great that you do this, and I hope that there is someone who can listen to you. Of course we are always hear and always will let you be you.

Warm hugs and big virtual shoulders coming your way! TJ