Being Ghosted After an Advanced Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is the time when people most need the support of friends and loved ones. Sadly, sometimes what follows is radio silence – no words, no effort, no kindness from the people in your circle. It can be incredibly difficult and confusing when the people you thought you could count on ghost you.
To hear more about your experiences with ghosting, we reached out to members of our Facebook community. More than 300 of you shared, and here is what you said.
Being ghosted is hurtful
Several of you shared that being ghosted hurt in the beginning, but with time you saw it as a blessing. Although some friends disappeared from your life, you also saw that others stepped up. You met new people or strengthened bonds with previous friends. In the end, you had the support you needed – just not necessarily coming from the friends you had expected it to.
“I was ghosted and then met people who would now only hold me closer.”
“It was hurtful, but also good to know who is going to be there and who true friends are.”
The loss of your closest friends
For many women, the person who ghosted them was their best friend – making the issue so much harder to deal with. It is so painful to have your closest friends desert you when you need them the most.
The hardest part is that you may never understand why they did this. However, it is important to remember that their action is not about you. They may have become scared or did not know how to show up for you. Or, maybe they were too focused on themselves to show support. Some friendships that may have been centered on good, fun times may not survive the rough times.
“Happened to me from my best friend of 10 years. And she found a way to blame it on me. I am only now, after 3 years, beginning to understand and let go.”
“One of my closest friends disappeared as soon as I told her. She reappeared after all my treatments ended and she heard I was cancer-free.”
“This happened to me with some family and friends when diagnosed with breast cancer. It literally ‘hurt’ my heart that they left me in my weakest moment. I cried many tears. I was angry and sad. Doctors should warn you of this because it hurts just as much as the treatments!”
Reappearing back in your life
Many of you shared that you had people ghost you when you were sick, but as soon as you become well, those same people suddenly reappeared in your life. They acted as if nothing happened, which felt like a double slap in the face.
It is up to you whether you want to let these people come back into your life after they have proven to let you down. Keep in mind that it might not be emotionally healthy to welcome some people back into your circle, and you do not owe anyone anything.
“There were also those I worked with and not really friends, but when I went back to work they wanted to be my best friend. All I could think was they wanted to ease their conscience for being difficult in the past. Just my opinion.”
“It happened to me. You truly find out who your real friends are. When the worst is over and you are getting your life back, suddenly the people who were not there for you want back in your life. Uh, no. Stay away.”
Not knowing what to say or do
Many in the community have the maturity to understand that someone ghosting us is not about anything we did. Rather, some people are simply scared of illness or do not know what to say, so they say nothing at all. A few members pointed out that it is helpful to have conversations with friends and family about the illness so they learn to be comfortable approaching the subject.
“I think people need to learn to talk about illness and death. It is something I have talked a lot about with my children and family. It is part of life. It should not be taboo.”
“A lot of people distanced themselves. I guess they did not know what to say or do.”
The support and love you did receive
Gratefully, not everyone in the community has experienced ghosting. Many of you shared that you have been comforted and supported throughout your journey.
“I was amazed at the support and love I received from family, friends, and fellow artists in my community.”
“I am truly blessed! I have not had this issue.”
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences. We hope our community members find the different perspectives helpful as they navigate their journey.
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