Emotional issues

Cancer can be emotionally draining, but sharing your feelings can help you and others in your situation. Talk about it here.

I'm finding it difficult to sympathise and be understanding

Posted by

This is a very sensitive subject for me and I don't feel I have anyone to talk to about it. 

A very close relative of my partner has recently been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. They're having chemotherapy and aren't doing so well. We have had no prognosis so have no idea how long they're estimated to survive but I know that most of the time these aren't accurate anyway. Just an educated guess.

It's tearing my partners family apart and they are leaning on him very heavily emotionally which is bringing him down, and of course he has his own grief and sadness to deal with. Its' really affecting our relationship. I'm trying my best to be supportive and understanding to him and his family but it's making me angry. His relative has lung cancer because they smoked heavily all of their life. Now they are suffering with some pain but when they die that will be over. It is US - my partner, his family, our relationship that is suffering. All I can think, even though I like his relative, is how selfish they are to have inflicted this pain and suffering on us. It's so difficult for me to understand the pain my partner is going through and I'm frustrated because this is only the beginning. We don't seem to be able to find a a way through for ourselves to keep our relationship strong. We need to because it is only going to get worse. We are just a few months into this and we have no idea how long it will go on for and then when his relative dies there will be a whole new wave of grief and heartache and practical stuff to deal with too.

I feel like a bad person for not being caring and sympathetic but I have always hated smoking and have always thought it was a horrible, selfish disgusting habit and now that this person has lung cancer I feel like saying "Why are you all so surprised?! It's like standing in the middle of the road and being shocked that you got knocked down by a car!" And I've never had anyone close to me die or get ill so I don't know how it feels. I'm trying my best to just focus on taking care of my partner but it's so difficult because there's really nothing I can do to help. 

Has anyone else felt this anger and frustration and found it hard to be understanding? I feel like an alien for not getting it. 

Little My
Posted by

Hello Sazjones,

Sorry to hear you are struggling with your emotions. It is difficult when you are thrown into something and I think it is only natural to feel angry when something affects your life when you have no control over it. It can feel unfair. Especially when as you say you have never experienced anyone dying before. It is all new territory and you will feel all kinds of emotions I suspect.

I think maybe talking over your feelings with someone might help you? Perhaps give the advice line a ring and speak to them. They can help you get to the bottom of these feelings. Staying angry won't help your relationship or the person with the cancer or yourself in the long run so it might be good to talk it through with someone.  

0808 808 0000 open weekdays.

Personally I don't think anyone deserves cancer whatever their lifestyle. (but then I'm a badly behaved cancer patient so I guess I would say that ;)

You could also try the 'being a relative' group? There are other people there going through similar things who can offer support and advice too.

Little My


Posted by

Hi LittleMy, 

Thank you for your response... I was getting worried that I came across as a horrible person!  I'm away in NY for business at the moment but I'll give Macmillan a call when I'm home. It's getting harder as I heard from my partner today that his relative has declined further since I've been away and it's not looking good. 

Thanks for your help,


Posted by
Hello Saz, ....I'm jumping in here with both feet as I saw your post and just wanted to advise you to stay calm, count to whatever, breathe deeply and just go on supporting your partner, whatever happens, your support will mean so much..............relationships ( especially new ones which yours sort of suggests it is at present) don't take much rocking to disturb them! You say you haven't experienced anything like this and my guess is that it freaks you out? When that happens its really tough, so I would like to extend my sympathy! I too would suggest you talk to the care line, 0808 808 0000, the staff are brilliant at listening. And I feel it is a help line which would be best for you right now .......cancer, even given some pre-disposing nudges in some types from life-style, have a habit of creeping up, causing havoc, and not always to those folk you expect! I had a Dad who smoked ( it was before we all knew how dangerous it was ) and lets face it, it is a habit-forming drug which is incredibly tough to give up, yes my Dad died, yes it was lung cancer, but i never ever look back and judge, he was my Dad and i loved him! ........sending you best wishes, strength, peace, harmony and calm thoughts
Posted by

We have been through the same emotions and not just as partners but as a family. You have to sit down and talk this through, cos until you do nobody knows how you feel and at the end of the day you are al having the  same feelings and angushes as everybody else. Talking allows you to open up between yourselves and air the feelings that need to be heard to heal your hurt. This well allow you to concentrate on the real issues. the  sufferer.

Hope this helps.