May 23, 2016
People usually need time to sort out feelings before they can be expressed and shared in the way they want. During this time, friends and family members may be the targets of their loved one’s strong, overwhelming feelings that need to be vented.
If you are the target of anger and frustration, remember you’re not the cause of this anger – you’re a trusted person on whom the anger can be let out. Your loved one is angry about the cancer and how it has affected her or his life. And even though family members and friends usually try to respond with love and friendship, it’s natural for them to feel their own anger and frustration, and sometimes express it, too.
Friends and families may also have a hard time adjusting to the cancer diagnosis. They may have to cope with increased responsibilities while trying to manage many different emotions. On top of this, they want to try to be sensitive to the needs of the person with cancer.
If you are close to the person with cancer, simply saying something like, “I’m here when you’re ready to talk” will help keep the lines of communication open and offer them the chance to share this experience with you. Your presence is also a way to show your support. Don’t be afraid to share your fears and worries with the person with cancer. Being honest about these feelings can allow everyone to work through difficult times together.