Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Jerk: a contemptibly naive, fatuous, foolish, or inconsequential person.
Given the two options above, would you rather be considered a) a passionate person or b) a jerk? The answer is simple, right?
Yet we see it everyday…in all walks of life…people who choose to be total turds. We see it in politics. We see it in the news. We see it in sports. And boy oh boy, do we see it in the celiac community. I’ve gotten more emails than I care to remember over the years from my fellow celiacs whose friends or even worse, family members, treat them like sh*t, simply because they have a disease that is caused and controlled by food.
Case in point is the following email, which I received this week.
My family doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to be educated about celiac disease. People die young in my family and wonder why…I don’t want to ostracize myself but I’m hurt at their ignorance. Intestinal cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other diseases run in my family. I am recently diagnosed with celiac and I’m relieved to have an answer after so much pain, but celiac disease is staring me in the eye and people I love won’t even think about getting tested.
My grandpa always had a big hard belly and died at 57. His sister died in her late thirties from small intestine cancer.
I love my family but they have actually gone as far as to tell me something was GF that actually wasn’t just “to see if I could tell”. And that is just the half of it. I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to forgive them and I don’t know if I can ever trust them again.
Have you ever heard about family reacting like this? Any tips on getting them to listen?
Thanks in advance,
The Sad Celiac
Sadly yes…I’ve heard of this far too often. Why would someone poison you “just to see” if you get sick? I wish I had an answer. I cannot fathom your own family doing this to you and I hurt for you. To make matters worse, people who lack compassion also lack the desire to change their ways. They never see that the problem may be them. So you are in for a struggle unless you can somehow get through to them.
I don’t know how old you are…but if you’re over 18, I’d suggest getting away. If you’re under 18, I’d suggest some kind of family counseling. In the meantime, perhaps you can connect with some fellow celiacs in your area and/or age group on my forums.
And heck…send them this blog post. Maybe they’ll get it through their thick skulls that not only do you have a lifelong disease, but perhaps they to do.