Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

Why People May Ghost You After a Cancer Diagnosis and What You Can Do About It

Relationships

December 22, 2022

Content created for the Bezzy community and sponsored by our partners. Learn More

Photography by Alison Winterroth/Stocksy United

Photography by Alison Winterroth/Stocksy United

by Maggie Hundshamer-Moshier

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Jenneh Rishe, RN

•••••

•••••

by Maggie Hundshamer-Moshier

•••••

Medically Reviewed by:

Jenneh Rishe, RN

•••••

•••••

People may stop talking with you after your breast cancer diagnosis without any explanation. This can stir up feelings of sadness and anger, but it’s important to look at the situation from their perspective, too.

Ghosting is defined as suddenly ending a relationship with someone without any explanation or communication. When we think of ghosting, we often think of the weird date we went on once and then never called the person back.

But what if you were ghosted by people you love when you needed them most?

Odds are, if you’ve been through cancer treatment, it’s already happened to you. Here’s why people disappear without notice when you least expect them to and why it’s OK.

Join the free BC community!
Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

Why do people ghost others?

Like many others, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was scared out of my mind. My treatment plan was set into motion quickly, and many of the people dear to me rallied around me and attended chemotherapy, and stopped by for home visits. Some even flew across the country to help my family.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many of the people I saw and spoke to on a regular basis before my diagnosis disappeared. It happened slowly at first, but as time went on, I realized how many people I used to see around that were no longer there.

My first instinct was sorrow, which then turned to anger and resentment. It became easy to wonder why everyone else’s lives kept on while mine seemed to be at a standstill. I never stopped to take the time to realize why they may be absent.

It was hard to see outside of my own pain at the time to realize that the people I loved were also just trying to protect themselves.

Once I was considered to have “no evidence of disease,” I began to ask the masses via social media just why many of them had disappeared. I learned a variety of reasons I wish I’d been aware of before my treatment started. The responses I heard were:

  • They were afraid to lose me if I didn’t get better.
  • They had too many questions they were afraid to ask out of fear of insensitivity.
  • It was hard to see someone they loved so sick.
  • It reminded them of someone they lost in the past, and they didn’t want to feel the same pain again.

No matter what the individual reason was, the overall theme was the same: They were terrified. It was hard to see outside of my own pain at the time to realize that the people I loved were also just trying to protect themselves.

It will always be easier to mark them as selfish or insensitive. It will always be easier to write them off, but it won’t feel better in the end for either of you. Human nature is to fight or run when things get hard. Most people will run, but it’s OK to forgive them for it.

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you

Your new normal and ways to stay connected

If you’re a parent, you know that invites to social events after having children can become fewer and farther apart. Our friends may get tired of us telling them that we don’t have a babysitter or that we simply can’t go due to parenting responsibilities, and they might stop sending the invites altogether.

For many, cancer is the same way. Nausea, vomiting, headaches, bone pain, stomach cramps, and other symptoms sometimes prevent us from going out. Our inability to function at a “normal” level may become a cramp in their lifestyle — the same lifestyle you used to lead before treatment.

Once your energy begins to return, it becomes hard to look around and see that everyone else is still on their old schedule. And using social media during treatment can be a catch-22.

On the one hand, you can stay indoors without risking infections while staying connected to others. On the other hand, you see everyone posting their parties and trips, and it can be disheartening to know you aren’t outside able to do the same things.

Human nature is to fight or run when things get hard. Most people will run, but it’s OK to forgive them for it.

I chose to use social media for good. When the friends who disappeared had questions they were too scared to ask, I just told them unprompted. I chose to use my personal Instagram account to share my battle with cancer in all its raw glory — the sickness and the side effects.

I realized that although it seemed like those around me weren’t there anymore, they really were. I got comments and messages of encouragement. People often said the wrong thing and constantly felt the need to share their odd remedies and quick cancer fixes with me, but I took it in stride. Showing them what I was truly going through instead of telling them the bare minimum or answering with “fine” when being asked how I was made it all that much easier to stay connected.

The bottom line

When you start to get mad or resentful that your loved ones are slowly ghosting you, take a moment to see their side, too. If the roles were reversed, it’s easy to say you would be there, but would you really? Would you feel awkward asking what chemotherapy or cancer feels like? Would you fear losing them?

We’re all human. We can all be a little kinder to each other and realize that none of us are going to get through it alone. If you feel up to it, share your journey with pride and tell them like it is. Chances are, they’ll be present and cheer you on from their phones while out at the club. But you will join them again soon. Keep fighting.

Medically reviewed on December 22, 2022


Join the free BC community!
Connect with thousands of members and find support through daily live chats, curated resources, and one-to-one messaging.

Like the story? React below:


Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at article-feedback@bezzy.com.

About the author

Maggie Hundshamer-Moshier

Maggie Hundshamer-Moshier is a freelance writer, breast cancer survivor, veteran, and marketing manager who strives to make a positive impact on the world. She published a book entitled “When Daddy Comes Home” to help the children of veterans cope with PTSD. She gained notoriety on her Instagram @misadventures_of_maggie in 2018 for her raw portrayal of her cancer journey which led to her being the subject of a documentary filmed through National University. She has been featured in Welcome Home Blog and Glamour Online. She’s currently pursuing a degree in nursing with National University in hopes of helping others cope with the stresses associated with their diagnoses.

Related stories

Advertisement
Ad revenue keeps our community free for you