RA and the end of a 36 yr friendship

I'm a 49 yr old female who has found her soulmate 29 years ago. I was diagnosed with Ra Nov 4 2014 and I have the full love and support of my 23yr old son, 19 yr old daughter and my husband. NO DRAMA in my family life....My problem is my 36 yr old friendship with Kim, a childhood friend. We have been best buddies since 1979 (grade 8). Our friendship has survived the death of my 2 baby boys, a ms diagnoses and the tragic death of my sister. I supported her through her divorce (this divorce involved her husband commiting incest) , the death of her father, etc. The problem is that for the last 10 years, she has been complaining about one of her friends. She had me believe that her friend, Connie, was a "lazy self absorded, pathetic loser who took advantage of sick leave at their job"....Guess what? I have learned that Connie suffers from RA...When I informed Kim that Connie has RA, she said "ya ya...I know..what a faker...fake illness" . I then told her that I have RA...she went silent . I can not bare Kim to "bad mouth" me...My husband says to end this friendship..I just want to cry...

22 Replies

  • Close call. If she is such a good friend, how come she did not know that you had RD.

    You have choices:

    1. Try to salvage your 36 year friendship if you think she is worth it and would be open to be educated about RD. My best friend has been wonderful and tells me when I am overdoing things and when she notices changes in my wellbeing. This is vital because I live by myself and I tend to push myself to the limit. She has supported you in the past, so she may be redeemed but You will have to be honest with your friend and be able to tell her how you feel when she bad mouths someone with a long term condition. If she can be humble and admit she was wrong, then I think you can salvage the relationship.

    2. Sometimes even when friends know about your condition, they can still exhibit a degree of ignorance or lack of understanding. I have a friend who just does not get the concept of fatigue and expects me to be as active as I was before diagnosis, she said 'you are being passive aggressive towards me' because I don't always respond to her texts or messages straight away. When I saw her the other day she acknowledged that I looked very tired and I explained that I was only sleeping 3 hours a night and that I was exhausted. Still not convinced I have got the message fully across, but at least she noticed I looked tired. I choose to stay friends with her for a variety of reasons but it is hard work and if it gets too much I may have to rethink this friendship.

    3. Your husband maybe right and it maybe time to let this friendship go, and for you to surround yourself with people that you can trust and who can support you. Bottom line is can you trust her!

  • You need to dissolve this friendship as it is negative and harmful to your health. True friends stick with you regardless , I have experienced this as husband has Lyme disease which is misunderstood by many and so called friends abandon you but true friends remain and are non judgemental. Good luck

  • Difficult one, at first glance, you are internalising her opinion of someone you don't know because she has RhA. Maybe she has good reasons for her opinion of the woman. Even people with chronic illnesses can be lazy and abuse sick leave, It's possible she is basing the opinion on a lot of factors and maybe you don't have enough info.

    Maybe we don't though. I suspect there may be other things bothering you about this friend as ending a friendship of that duration and that level of closeness is a huge thing. Does your husband dislike her?

    If there is nothing else wrong in the friendship I would probably take a stab at having it out with her, tell her how it made you feel, ask her to read some literature on RhA and educate her. You may well be doing poor Connie a favour too! Xx

  • It might be one of those penny-dropping moments for your friend. If she hadn't made the connection before, maybe her realisation that you have RA, plus her trust in you, will change her opinions about both the condition and her other friend...

    This relationship is obviously really important to you. So I'd give her the benefit of the doubt for now, and TALK to her. It might be you do end the friendship, but I'd say you're a long way from that point still...

  • Everyone else has made some very good points and are worth taking into account. My opinion is get at as much info as possible,but before you do that write a letter detailing your problems and how they make you feel and say how you feel when others say unkind things when they don't know what is wrong with them. After you have got your evidence give it to your friend and get her to read it and then come back to you with her opinion and only after that give her the letter you have written and give her a chance to redeem herself. Then and only then you can stay/leave the friendship with a clear heart and you will know that you won't have to feel bad about dumping the friendship.xxxxx

  • I like the idea of writing things down then holding on to it for a while

  • My best friend was my sister. We to went through many things together. We didn't always see eye to eye, although we never argued or fell out. If there was something we disagreed on we just agreed to disagree. My sister had no time for illnesses & thought in a lot of cases it was mind over matter. So what she would of made of my RD I'm not sure but I do know we wouldn't of fallen out over it. My sister lead a really healthy lifestyle but died of a massive stroke because of a genetic fault that runs through the female side of the family.

    My other friends & indeed family don't really understand & have made stupid comments like 'I've got a bit of that in my knee' it would be nice if just one of them really understood but they don't which is why I love this site.

    I wonder why your husband is keen for you to end your relationship with your friend rather than talk it through with her, surely this would make you very sad & leave a big gap in your life.

    Whatever you decide to do I wish you luck & hope you'll be able to sort things out.

  • I'm sure you must be feeling awful about this Sue but to quote an ex Prime Minister.....education, education & education. You need to sit in a relaxed situation with her & try to help her to recognise that her understanding of the disease isn't correct. Some here I know have used the spoon theory with success butyoudontlooksick.com/arti...

    I really do hope this can resolved, you've supported one another through really awful things in the 36 years you've been so close it would be a shame for a misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of RD to spoil it. It's one of those chronic conditions that unless you have it nobody will ever really get how it is, particularly when flaring, but you must try to make her understand. x

  • Cut her loose, friends like that you don't need…

  • I'm In a similar situation with an old friend who lives some distance away. She started to involve herself in my personal life at what was/is a difficult time for me. While this is going on I've asked her to give me some space and I'm planning to look at things in a while. I'm hardening my attitude to her as what she's done seems to fit into older behavioural patterns so I don't know what will happen, but some times we need peace away from insensitive friends.

    I'm not sure an abrupt break is the best thing to do, but some times time can make things clearer


  • Based on my experience -

    People who gossip about their 'friend' don't just gossip about one person and only to one person. She's been gossiping about Connie to you for 10 years so chances are, Connie isn't the only 'friend' she badmouths behind their back.

    Connie might be lazy and self absorbed. Having RD doesn't make you a saint. But if that is how Kim speaks about someone she considers to be a friend, I think that tells you everything you need to know about KIm.

  • I thank you all for giving me good advice. I have a lot of thinking to do. I like the suggestion of writing my thoughts down and giving her the letter.

    This is such a wonderful site.

  • If she says ignorant things like that about conditions like RA then either:

    1 you educate her. Show her info from the web.

    2 if she refuses to be educated and still thinks this painful crap is fake then I'm afraid I would just cut the friendship. I know it'll be hard, but if. She's been badmouthing someone else for it, then how long before it's you. That's only me saying what I would do. Of course, she's your friend so it's up to you to do what you feel is right.


  • Hello Peter55

    I haven't cut ties completely off with Kim, I just haven't answered her calls etc....I just don't want to spend my energy educating people on this disease. My energy is spent working full time and waiting for my Dmards to kick in. I've had to come to terms with the loss of her friendship. As sad as this sounds, I'm OK with it...If she decides to educate herself and knocks on my door, I know I would let her in and forgive her.... If she doesn't...well...It's her loss...

    Hope you are well Peter55


  • Hi sue

    What DMARDS are you on?

    I was started in methotrexate on Sunday (had a funeral Monday). I had a severe toxic reaction to it. It'll probably be 10 days before I'm well again. It sent me "off my head" D&V, fever, aching from head to foot. Had to have lft and fbc today.

    I wanted to be put back on azathioprine as that completely cleared up my UC and after a low increasing dose start the worst I ever got was a headache for the first couple of hours.

    Hope you're well

    Pete x

  • Hello Pete

    Yuk, sounds like you had a hell of a week!! Methrotexate sounds scary to me. Sorry you are suffering :(

    I have been on 200mg 2x daily of hydroxychloroquine since last November. Hydroxy only helped me about 50%, so a low dose of 500mg 2x a day of sulfasalazine ec was added this past June. I had to increase the dose of sulfa to 500mg 3x a day just last Monday. My rheumy gives me the sulfa "ec" as the "ec" protects your stomach.

    Some mornings I actually just get out of bed and into the shower completely forgeting I have RA... No pain....Then some mornings my feet, ankles and fingers ache. I just want more of the days of forgeting I have RA...I hope the increase in sulfa helps me achieve this.

    The only side effect I have with hydroxy is that it turned my curly brown hair into staight blond hair!!! The only side effects with the sulfa is that I have a strange "chalky" taste in my mouth, not a bad taste, just chalky. I can live with that..... It is wierd though, my daughter made us bacon & eggs last Sunday. I had bacon & eggs & chalk lol....

    How come you were taken off of azathioprine?

    Wishing you health and happiness


  • Hi Suzanne, I'm a bit late to your post but came across it as I'm in a very similar situation myself! I was wondering how you are getting on now and if you had decided to continue with this friendship or cut ties completely? Hope you're well x

  • Hi 3LittleBirds2

    I haven't cut ties completely, but I am not anxious to call her at "the drop of a hat" anymore. I truely love Kim, but I don't have the energy to "educate" her either. I expect her to google RA to educate herself...Over the past couple of weeks, her 82 yr old mother suffered a stroke. She phoned me to cry and I cried with her...I miss the way we were... If she were to knock on my door to talk and apologize, I would welcome her in with open arms, and forgiveness would flow...The ball is in her court.

    It's hard to live without her, but I love myself too much to "fake not being in pain" in order to remain friends..so bloody sad

    take care


    PS I'm sorry you are going through something like this. Feel free to message me. Not many people understand the loss of a longterm friendship...It just breaks my heart


  • Thanks for your reply Sue and your offer to message you....Hope you and your friend come to some sort of understanding. Good luck to anyone else suffering from or with ignorant friends....something in time we will just have to get used too I guess!!!

  • It's been awhile since I saw my old friend, but when she learned of my fathers death, she was back at my side...

  • The bond still held at a time you needed your friend, that's good to hear Sue. x

  • I would give your friend another chance after being friends for 36 years and sharing so many good and bad events in your life would be a huge mistake to break up a friendship that has lasted this long just because of some ignorant remarks she made. Educate her and then she might not only help you when you go through difficulty, but also the lady she was taking a dig at.

You may also like...