Communicating Your Annoyance with Misplaced Diabetes Concern

Loved ones who are sincerely trying to help can be off-the-charts annoying.

Instead of avoiding advice-giving people or snapping at them so they avoid you, it is preferable to let them know that their concern is appreciated but their way of offering it is not. You may ruffle some feathers by being honest, but ruffled feathers are better than lost friendships or resentment-filled family feuds.

Respectfully Say What Is True for You

If someone offers advice or makes a comment about diabetes management that is annoying or offensive, you can choose to let it go in one ear and out the other. However, if doing that generates irritation, anger or resentment, you are better off letting people know what is true for you.

For instance, you might need to express things such as:

  • “I know the advice you share is meant to be helpful and I appreciate your concern, but I am not in need of any advice right now.”
  • “I’m aware of the dangers of untreated or poorly managed diabetes, and hearing tales of your great aunt’s struggles with diabetes complications is not motivating or reassuring. By taking care of myself, I will likely live a long and productive life – that is what I’m focusing on.”
  • “I realize checking my blood sugar and taking insulin is not pleasant, but if you want to hang out with me, I need you to start taking these things in stride, as I have to. I don’t have the energy to deal with your horrified looks and rattled nerves every time I stick my finger or take insulin. If you need to leave the room, that’s fine, but please do it without making a fuss.”
  • “You know me well enough to realize I’m grateful for what I have and that I’m aware there are worse things in life than diabetes. But when you tell me things could be worse and to count my blessings, it implies having diabetes is not a big deal – but it is! Every day I have to think about what, when and how much I can eat while I monitor and factor in my blood sugar levels, medications and exercise. It’s a lot of work that I can never ignore.”
  • “I keep a careful record of my blood sugar numbers and share them with my doctor. I’m aware of what high and low numbers indicate and what to do about them, so please don’t look at my numbers without my permission or comment on them. It’s frustrating and doesn’t help me.”

People might get a bit huffy at hearing they have been annoying and not helpful, but nothing erodes relationships faster than the resentment of unexpressed annoyance or anger. Most of us can bear hearing we have been annoying as long as we are generally appreciated and spoken with in a way that does nothing more than bruise our dignity.

Inspired by: Behavioral Diabetes Institute
Photo credit: Micheal Coghlan / flickr creative commons

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