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Dealing with toxic relatives... relatively speaking. Help!

I received my diagnosis this week. I reached out to my sister and mother who were extremely negative. They said it was all in my head (actually it’s all in my spine and optic nerve, brain looks fine), that my long term use of my medications for neuropathy (prescribed by my neurologist for eight months), the combination of vitamins (once again, prescribed), stress of having two children under three, and telling me that I am a hypochondriac.

I’ve sent pictures of the MRI to them and they will tell me they aren’t radiologists and they have no clue what they are looking at which I reply, my point exactly. My husband is acting like this is not a big deal. I’ve been crying on and off for two days bc my muscle weakness and pain has increased tenfold over the last few months and I’m terrified of what might come later- I’m worried I won’t be able to take care of my boys like I should be able to.

I guess my real question is (had to give a little back story), what do I do? Has anyone had anything like this happen? My doctors and other relatives are beyond supportive and empathetic and offer support and words of encouragement as well as a kick in the butt when I get down. How do you get someone to understand the severity of this disease?

  1. Hi NatalieAddison! If you haven't already, you might want to check out this piece on dealing with toxic people -- You might find it relatable. And, while no one should put up with toxic relationships, it's especially important for people living with chronic conditions like MS! It's best to use your time and energy on the things and people you love as opposed to toxic people that drain you. Best, Erin, Team Member.

    1. A GREAT resource also is to find a local support group! People SHARE ideas of coping and relationships too. (My MS friends have the BEST senses of humor ever and we often reply to a comment with "Oh, it's "ALL in your head",which it IS literally. 😀 ) You can find one from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society & definitely be sure to sign up for their magazine - a awesome resource, just as THIS site is for a forum.

      You are probably aware but it's those many, many "invisible" symptoms too that they just can't seem to grasp. (I used to tell my mom I was SO tired if she told me I could get a million dollars just to walk to the corner, I have to look her straight in the eyes and tell her to keep it as I couldn't make it that far.)

      Maybe you could see if they would agree to go w/ you to those support groups just to "learn more" about it. (One man in our group was the catalyst for his wife with MS attending so they BOTH could learn more about this 'life-changing" disease.)

      There are also resources for "caregivers"to help them "handle it" but it seems you aren't quite "there" yet. (In my own case, although my husband tried, it wasn't until I also developed IBS and severe scoliosis with my rib cage and spine sticking out that he became more empathetic. THEN my problems seemed more tangible to him, I guess.)

      Don't succumb to "the negative". There are many resources (I spend many hours online looking for answers)

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