Why some friends and family withdraw during your time of crises

The New York times published an interesting article yesterday about the reasons some friends and family members disappear during traumatic situations, a time when you need their support the most.

The author, Harriet Brown, had a number of crises’ occur with her family over a short time period, ranging from health issues with her children to her mother in law battling lung cancer. During this time, she noticed that a couple of her close friends had completely withdrawn from her family’s life, and she wanted to know why.

Barbara M. Sourkes, associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine, shares some reasons that people withdraw including feelings of helplessness, survivor’s guilt, and awkwardness.

“We have more of a societal framework for what to say and do around bereavement than we do when you’re in the midst of it,” Dr. Sourkes said. “Families say over and over, ‘It’s such a lonely time and I don’t have the energy to educate my friends and family, yet they don’t have a clue.’ ”

In the end, the author questions her own reasoning and wonders why she was so bothered by the friends that didn’t help, rather than spending that energy appreciating the ones that did. Click here to read the full article.

What’s been your experience?
Did you have close friends and family that withdrew during your cancer journey?
If so, did you ask them why, or let it go?

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