6. Projecting your personal “stuff” onto us.
Lordy Day, did I experience this when I made the mistake of telling anyone who was not me or my doctor that I was taking steroids to help control the agonizing, incapacitating arthritis pain that I was experiencing back in the spring.
I thought I was saying, “Yeah, my doctor gave me some Prednisone to help with the pain,” but apparently what everyone heard was, “I’m currently ingesting a special tonic composed of the leftover radioactive material from the Chernobyl disaster, laced with some accompanying drops of the dark black essence at the pit of Satan’s soul.”
Unfortunately, no one would ever just come out and say, “Hey, I’m concerned that you’re on steroids.” Instead I was regaled with many, many stories involving friends, family members, or someone they’d heard about while standing in line to pay for gas who contracted some kind of illness, stupidly took steroids, then found out that “that was the worst thing they possibly could’ve done,” and now they are crippled/maimed/disease-ridden/comatose/an invalid/dead FOREVER.
The implications in all of these stories were, of course, that a)I was an ignorant, reckless, idiot, who just leaped onto the first treatment plan that caught my attention without actually knowing what I was getting into, b)that I was selfish and inconsiderate for doing something that was clearly upsetting the person I was talking to, c)and that if I were a “good” friend/family member/whatever, I would immediately cease said upsetting action, and instead choose a treatment plan that they were comfortable with. You know, because my illness is all about everyone else.
Give me a fucking break.
It’s not like I just woke up one day and said, “Hm, what can I do that will recklessly endanger my health, as well as freak out the maximum number of people possible? I know-I’ll start using steroids!” I took that medication because I needed it. When it’s your turn to experience such excruciating pain that you can neither move your arms, stand, walk, or even get out of bed, then you can treat it however you want to. But I’m the one who had to live through all this stuff, and this was my choice. So BACK OFF!
Nobody but the sick person knows what they are going through, or what they need to survive. Telling horrifying stories to someone who is barely able to function as it is is just mean, especially when you’re doing it to “punish” them for upsetting you with their choices. Either come out and say what is bothering you, OR KEEP YOUR BIG MOUTH SHUT!