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Dealing With Rude Family Members


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#1 ReneeBTX

 
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Posted 16 February 2010 - 05:35 PM

I've been gluten-free now for 4 months. I was just diagnosed with Celiac a week ago. No testing, just the basis of my health issues improving with gluten-free diet. I've been struggling with health issues since 1996.

My problem is family members. Some of them rather loud and rude. The word hypochondriac is frequently thrown in my general direction when speaking about the food I have to eat now. Or the food I can not eat. Even after informing them about Celiac Disease, and before that generalized gluten intolerance, I can not make them understand that Celiac is no laughing matter. I have had comments ranging from "wow, you're really taking this too seriously..." to "if it's not an actual allergy, it's not real".

How can you get family to take the disease as seriously as it should be taken, and how can you teach them that it's not something to snicker at? Any ideas or advice is appreciated! Thanks, in advance!

RBTX
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I am 38 years old, mother of 3 sons. One son as Down Syndrome with severe Autism.
Diagnosed Hypothyroid 6/98 No longer Medicated.
Diagnosed Cervical Lesions 7/05
Diagnosed Premature Menopause 7/06
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Diagnosed Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, IBS 8/07
Gluten Free Since 10/17/09
Diagnosed Celiac 2/10/2010 after 4 months gluten free. No testing has been ordered. Extremely gluten sensitive.
Ailments on the mend after eliminating gluten include massive hair loss, burning scalp, itchy skin and rashes, mouth sores, brain fog, adrenal burnout, severe IBS, migraines, severe exhaustion, extreme gas and heart burn.

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#2 JNBunnie1

 
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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:07 PM

I've been gluten-free now for 4 months. I was just diagnosed with Celiac a week ago. No testing, just the basis of my health issues improving with gluten-free diet. I've been struggling with health issues since 1996.

My problem is family members. Some of them rather loud and rude. The word hypochondriac is frequently thrown in my general direction when speaking about the food I have to eat now. Or the food I can not eat. Even after informing them about Celiac Disease, and before that generalized gluten intolerance, I can not make them understand that Celiac is no laughing matter. I have had comments ranging from "wow, you're really taking this too seriously..." to "if it's not an actual allergy, it's not real".

How can you get family to take the disease as seriously as it should be taken, and how can you teach them that it's not something to snicker at? Any ideas or advice is appreciated! Thanks, in advance!

RBTX


It's been my experience that the people who behave disrespectfully about something as simple as food are generally completely disrespectful, period. I think of it as an American epidemic.

My only advice would be to simply ignore the naysayers and change the topic whenever possible. In a few months when you look totally great and feel totally great, and people say 'Wow! You look great!' and they're still giving you a hard time, tell them it's all about the gluten! It's sometimes hard to accept, but it doesn't really matter what those people think. You're better, and good for you.
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If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill

#3 sandsurfgirl

 
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Posted 16 February 2010 - 07:01 PM

Well it's not an allergy. It's an autoimmune disorder which is worse. With an allergy your body doesn't perceive the food as poison and destroy your own intestinal tract to avoid ingesting the perceived poison.

I'm sorry they are being jerks to you. I can't imagine going through this without the support of friends and family. I hope that you have some support from some of them. The ones who are saying that need to receive large packets of reading material and daily emails until they get their heads out of their behinds and get a clue.
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Lots of doctors diagnosed me with lots of things including IBS, lactose intolerance, wheat intolerance, and quite a few of them threw up their hands in total confusion.

Had GI symptoms, allergy symptoms and unexplained illness my whole life.

Jan. 2010 Diagnosed celiac at the age of 40.
Ready to get well and get on with my life!

#4 NorthernElf

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 06:10 AM

Sadly, you just may never convince some people. These folks have known you for years and seen you eat gluten for years - and they often don't get it. No one can feel what you feel when you are on gluten - they don't feel it, they don't get it.

Stick to it - eventually most of them will get it. I agree they will see you feel better, act better (I know I get quite snarly when I eat gluten !), and so forth. Consistency will prove it to them - why put so much work in to not eating gluten if it isn't worth it ?!?!

I went through several stages myself - it took awhile for ME to believe it - and believe it to the point where I had to have my own baking sheets, colander, etc. (get the whole cross contamination thing). Immediate family took a bit longer - though I gotta admit my husband was very supportive, he saw the way NOT eating gluten changed me. Oddly, strangers, co workers, seem to just accept it easier !

I do have a brother who still doesn't get it - took me & my family to a pizza only place at Christmas - I was not impressed (had a couple of glasses of wine for "supper"). However, that's him & his problem, not mine (though I won't go out like that again - next time I look ahead to make sure there is something I can eat). I would have thought that it would help that I am very strict about my diet - it is not a weight loss style diet where you can cheat !!!!
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#5 CeliacMom2008

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 09:05 AM

Maybe I'm in a mood here, but I guess I might come back with:

Do you know how ignorant you sound right now? I doubt there's anything I can say that would help you understand, so you just worry about your health and I'll worry about mine.

Of course that might just be my mood right now...I'm sure others have better, more civil answers. But seriously, why is it any of their business? People can be incredibly rude. When I was talking to the mother of the boy who thought it was funny to throw bread on my son's lunch (first gluten-free lunchtime experience at school) she thought it was completely ridiculous that my son referred to gluten as poison. Some people are just jerks.
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#6 Ahorsesoul

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 09:27 AM

Maybe I'm in a mood here, but I guess I might come back with:
Do you know how ignorant you sound right now? I doubt there's anything I can say that would help you understand, so you just worry about your health and I'll worry about mine.


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1960s-had symptoms-could have been before but don't remember
1970s-told had colitis or nervous stomach-was given phenobarbital, felt great but still had symptoms
Me, dd and ds diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance
2000-osteopenia
2001-had stroke because of medications I was given
June 2003-saw Chiropractor who specialized in nutrition: Celiac Disease not Lactose Intolerance, went gluten free with once in awhile cheating, off soy and dairy for about 6 months
June 2003-found excellent doctor for fibromyalgia (who has found out she has Celiac Disease)
May 2006-went gluten free with NO cheating-excellent! Made all the difference in the world

#7 OptimisticMom42

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:16 PM

If your relatives admit that you have celiac. They have to consider that they may also have it. If you're wrong then they are safe and can keep eating junk.

My doctor wrote my diagnosis on a sheet from his prescription pad. I carry it in my purse and have whipped it out on a couple of co-workers and said in my most diva like voice, "Well, my doctor doesn't agree with you!" toss of the hair, show them my back, get a drink of water and sit right down! Never leave the room while they feel like talking behind your back :lol:

My boss has Lupus and says she would rather die than eat like me. She would rather pay for pills than give up cheap cookies. So we don't discuss it. She has her pop tarts and ramen noodles and I have my eggs and fruit and Wendy's chili.

You'll figure out the best way for you to handle it. RA
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#8 shayesmom

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 12:42 PM

Maybe I'm in a mood here, but I guess I might come back with:

Do you know how ignorant you sound right now? I doubt there's anything I can say that would help you understand, so you just worry about your health and I'll worry about mine.

Of course that might just be my mood right now...I'm sure others have better, more civil answers. But seriously, why is it any of their business? People can be incredibly rude. When I was talking to the mother of the boy who thought it was funny to throw bread on my son's lunch (first gluten-free lunchtime experience at school) she thought it was completely ridiculous that my son referred to gluten as poison. Some people are just jerks.

LOL! The "mood" must be catchy because my first thought was "And this affects you HOW???".

Some people really are ignorant. And those same ignorant people have no problem stuffing their faces with non-foods (things made with petroleum, coal tar, car wax) while having the nerve to judge others who are eating real food. Items that are manufactured, processed, artifically flavored, colored, sweetened and chemically "created" are now the "normal" diet. Anything else is considered "extreme". A whole food diet? You must be crazy to deprive yourself in such a way!


Ultimately, you have to be comfortable with yourself and with your choices. If you're feeling better and seeing positive results, than the people who care about you should rejoice for you and with you. If they don't, they have a pretty messed up view on what it is to be a caring and considerate human being.

The problem is theirs, not yours. Don't try to justify your life. You have every right to live it as you deem fit.
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#9 sandsurfgirl

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:34 PM

I have to wonder if you were doing a diet by choice for weight loss, such as Atkins, would they be so difficult?


Sometimes I think that it scares the heck out of people to face the fact that this disease is even possible. I think they want to pretend like it doesn't exist so that they can pretend that they can't get something like this. It's really illogical when you think about it. How can simple food be THAT dangerous to you? It doesn't make sense. And yet it is the truth.

The first time I heard of celiac was when a friend was diagnosed and she was so sick they thought she was going to die. It freaked me out to think that food could kill you and when I heard about how difficult it was to find hidden gluten and give up all those foods, it did scare me. I remember telling my husband, I hope I don't have THAT. Well 7 years later here I am!
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Lots of doctors diagnosed me with lots of things including IBS, lactose intolerance, wheat intolerance, and quite a few of them threw up their hands in total confusion.

Had GI symptoms, allergy symptoms and unexplained illness my whole life.

Jan. 2010 Diagnosed celiac at the age of 40.
Ready to get well and get on with my life!

#10 kareng

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:45 PM

I've been gluten-free now for 4 months. I was just diagnosed with Celiac a week ago. No testing, just the basis of my health issues improving with gluten-free diet. I've been struggling with health issues since 1996.

My problem is family members. Some of them rather loud and rude. The word hypochondriac is frequently thrown in my general direction when speaking about the food I have to eat now. Or the food I can not eat. Even after informing them about Celiac Disease, and before that generalized gluten intolerance, I can not make them understand that Celiac is no laughing matter. I have had comments ranging from "wow, you're really taking this too seriously..." to "if it's not an actual allergy, it's not real".

RBTX

I bet these people were loud & rude before you had Celiacs. Might want to minimize the amount your around them. If not Celiacs, they would probably find something else to bother you about.
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#11 Bobbijo6681

 
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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:11 PM

I have been very lucky that my friends are very supportive of what I am going through. They saw me at my worst, when even my family hasn't see that( they all live out of state so they don't know the everyday troubles that I have...and even when you call regularly you don't crash the mood with I have been sick again.) The hardest part is that most of my friends do not understand the severity of the disease. They think that well if you have a little bit it won't be so bad, so now I am trying to educate them on the full concept. But again overall they are very supportive and are willing to compromise to eat or go places that I can enjoy too.

Hopefully you can educate these people on the new way of life for you, otherwise I agree with the others, I would limit contact with them as much as possible. This is hard enough without getting a hard time from the people that are supposed to care about you the most!

Good Luck!!
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#12 babygirl1234

 
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Posted 13 March 2010 - 04:50 PM

my family used to be like that but now they just got better the last few years but they still go out of their way to make what i can have because to them they think that i should have whatever they have but guess what im not getting sick for anyone wxp my family, ive been doing good without cheating i have a blood test on my celiac disease to go for before i go to my stomach doctor for my yearly checkup (so i need to be good otherwise they will see that ive been going off my diet ) hehe
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#13 plantime

 
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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:35 PM

My family wouldn't dare be rude to me about it. My mother died from not treating it, and they all know it. For those that are rude, I like to be rude right back. I offer to come to their house after consuming gluten and crap all over their furniture. I also make sure they know that I will use their knives to slit my wrists and draw in the blood all over their floor because of the depression it causes me. Finally, I tell them that they can also listen to me scream from the pain while I am doubled over. It usually shuts them up fast.

Of course, the "And what is it to you?" and "Do you know how ignorant you sound?" comebacks sound excellent. They are also less graphic and don't take as long to say!
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#14 canutillomom

 
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Posted 15 March 2010 - 03:00 PM

My cousin just glutened me 3 days ago to prove that my doctor was wrong. I don't know how I'll trust her again- never, ever with food- but even generally. My lower half is broken out in dh now and I wish I could "share" it with her!

The rest of my family and in-laws have been very good about it, though.
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#15 mndtrp

 
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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:10 AM

I've found that trying to change rude people with rudeness doesn't work. It's only cathartic for a short time. Sticking to your guns, unfortunately having to reexplain something for the thousandth time, and continue to hope that they will either understand or just give up trying to make you "come clean." It's strange and extremely upsetting that your family, the people who should always be there for you, are the ones who are making this the most difficult for you.

Stay strong, and know you are in the right.
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