When Friends Become Resentful of Helping You and Your Illness


Accepting help is a hard skill to master. In my life, that skill has been made less attainable by a certain type of person. They always volunteer to help me – I do not ask. But then they get in over their heads, and instead of talking to me about it, they start to resent me. That resentment grows and grows to the point where they become abusive, suddenly kick me out of their lives or turn me into a villain in their heads.

Recently, I was offered a place to live rent-free by two friends until I could receive disability or be able to work again. They offered. I did not ask in any way, shape or form. I asked over and over again if it was still OK and over and over again I was told it was. I worried about being a burden and communicated this. I worried they wouldn’t talk to me if there was a problem.

However, over time they became less kind. Eventually, when I asked to be treated with kindness, everything blew up. I was called names, told I was using them, told they were actually trying to make me cry and promised I would be kicked out if I kept acting how I was acting (asking to be treated with kindness). I was thoroughly confused until I heard, months after I moved out and from other people, that they were upset about money.

All they needed to do was say something. But when things go unsaid? Resentment poisons relationships. It grows and grows until everyone has been hurt. Communication and honesty are the antidotes, but it is so hard to find people who realize this. All I had ever done was try to communicate when things were bothering me; if they had done the same it wouldn’t have ended in such an ugly way.

Instead of treating me like a human being and talking to me, they got in over their heads then hurt me. In the end, their “help” hurt me more. I would have rather struggled to pay rent than to be treated that way. I don’t share this story because it is a fun thing to reminisce on. I share it because there is a clear lesson here I hope others can learn from.

Caretakers and Helpers

For those who volunteer to help someone: if you get in over your head, say so. Know your limits of what you can give. You aren’t being brave or saintly for pushing past these. All that exceeding those limits does is lead to resentment, and like I’ve said, resentment hurts everyone involved. If you take care of yourself you can better help others as well.

People With Chronic Illness

For those being helped, hesitate taking help from people you don’t trust to communicate with you, even if it is a difficult conversation. Even if you are receiving help, you deserve to be treated kindly. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you owe it to people who are helping you to be purposefully hurt, abused, degraded, humiliated or mistreated in any form.

You are not a burden or responsibility to be put up with, but a human who should be treated as such. Anyone who loses sight of this doesn’t deserve to be in your life.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images


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