Jump to content

Anger Issues

Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone. I am a regular reader, but this is my first post. I want to say that this forum has given me much insight and hope. But I haven't yet found a post that deals with what I am going through. This is a delicate subject and I would like to let you know that I do not want to offend anyone, but I need some help.

I am dealing with some serious anger issues surrounding my mom's illness. She was dx over a year ago with stage IV adenocarcenoma. She has had her good moments, but she is steadily getting worse and worse. She is on oxygen and can no longer get up without help, and she is medicated to the point of sleeping 20/hrs a day. I need to deal with this before it is too late.

I have searched grief and cancer sites and I know that anger is a typical and usually necessary process. But I have had a constant and increasing anger since I found out my mom was sick. I am not angry at God or cigarette companies, I am angry with her. She made the decision to smoke and the decision not to quit. To this day she tries to (and with my father's assistance) smokes cigarettes. She has no resolve to quit even as her life is quickly diminishing. I am quite libertarian and believe that a person is responsible for their actions, but I also know that addiction is a chemical disease. Even so, there are so many ways she could have quit if she wanted to- but she didn't. She never got help.

I am in my early 20's, so as a child of the 80's & 90's, I was taught since preschool how dangerous (and disgusting) smoking is. So every single day of my fricking life I begged, guilt-tripped, pleaded, yelled, lied, tricked (or tried to trick) my mom to quit smoking. Throwing her cigarettes out of the car window, hiding them, showing her pictures of smokers lungs, asking her how she could kill herself to leave me behind, etc - none of that worked (this was all stuff I did as a child, by the way) Why didn't she care enough to listen to me? I was young, yes, but I only wanted her to have a long time on earth. What could I have done to convince her to quit? She didnt even try. And now she will never see me marry, her grandchildren will never know her, my father will be without his wife for the rest of his life- And for what? All because she didn't care enought to make the decision to quit.

I really want to let this anger go. I know it is not productive and is hindering my last moments with my mom. I am mad at her and see her as weak, despite all she is going through.

Did you go through this? Any help is appreciated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi las - I too was VERY angry at my mother when she was diagnosed ( I smoked too though). We fought over her still smoking, I asked for advice on how to deal with it because our friendhsip was getting ruined, and through alot of strong advice that was very straight forward and blunt to me through my family her at this forum, I cried for hours wondering how could I all of a sudden be so incredibly angry at her. Smoking now will not make my mom incurable nor will it cause a recurrence but chances are of course more increased. Don't be full of anger. Cherish the time left and understand that is what your mom chose to do before they new exactly "how bad" smoking was and smoking is such a hard addicition that it is not easy for them to quit at such stressful times in their lives.

I hope you find a lot of support and relief from your anger soon as life is to short to be angry. I will be praying that you will come to peace with this and cherish the time left.

Prayers for you and your mom!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Las,

I too am mostly a reader here and have found so much comfort. Every now and then a post comes that I must answer and this time it is yours. I know exactly how you feel. My husband watched his father die of lung cancer 15 years ago. He still did not quit. I too begged and pleaded. And I have to say he really did try to stop. The addiction was just to much for him to overcome. He started back in the early 60's, way before the dangers were know. I had some really angry moments after he was dignosed. I REGET THAT SO MUCH!!! I took precious time away from us with that anger. It does not solve the problem. It will not make the cancer go away if she stops now.It is to late for that. It helps calm her in what is the most terrible time of her life. I will keep you and your family in my prayers Las.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Lensiedel

I know how hard it is to watch someone that you love continue to do something that is killing them. My mother drank herself to death, and on May 24th my husband died. He smoked up until the point he was no longer conscious enough to hold a cigarette. After he was diagnosed with lung cancer I was so angry that he continued to smoke. He wanted to stop, but just couldn't do it. I felt that every cigarette was taking more time away from us. People would say, what difference does it make now? But it does make a difference, it does continue to shorten the life span. So I really struggled with his smoking. Every time he lit one I felt more minutes were being subtracted. But the smoking wasn't about me, he couldn't quit for me, and he couldn't quit for himself. I had to give up the anger. I loved him too much to waste precious time on it. I'm so grateful that I was able to. I wasn't able to do that with my mother, and it's taken me years to deal with that. Your mother has no more control over the smoking than she does over the cancer. It has her in its grip. It's not about how much she loves you or anyone else. Please try to let it go so that you can find some peace. I'll be praying for you.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I honestly do not think that a non smoker can even begin to imagine what it is like to be addicted to cigarettes.

I too. hear my kids yelling the very same words to me. There is no one in the world more important to me than them, my mom is right up there too. But, for the life of me I cannot even find the desire to quit. Even after a yr of watching my mom go thru chemo,radiation, severe SOB, all those horrible things lung cancer brings on as well as COPD. I still step outside to smoke around her. I dont like myself for this, i wish I had never picked up a cigarette and preach to my kids about how bad it is. The 2 oldest are smokers and I live with the knowledge that my smoking led them to smoke. My youngest is 13 I pray everyday that she is the smart one, and really does not want to smoke. Kinda hipocritacle(sp). Alas, what do I do, I have not found within me whatever it is that makes a person ready to quit, I have prayed for this, just the strenght to say yes I am ready to try this.

Dont be mad at your mom, you are wasting precious time that can never be made up. The guilt will haunt you forever if you dont forgive her.

God bless


Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, to be angry at the situation is normal, and it is even normal to be angry at your mom for not quiting smoking is normal. There are many of us here dealing with LC who have never smoked. So actually, not smoking doesn't guarantee a clean slate.

Second, you need to forgive your mom and let go of the anger. You must decide to do this, and work on it. You may need to talk one-on-one with someone you trust to get the anger out and done with. Once you start to forgive, as others have said, you can spend the time more constructively and more creatively for your mom and yourself. Good luck. Don

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who would you direct your anger at if she didn't smoke and got lung cancer?

Lung Cancer is NOT just a smokers disease. There is more then One factor that has caused your wonderful mom to have lung cancer. It's NOT just the cigarettes that did this. Cigarettes are a contributing Factor.

I wish your mom lots of TLC. God Bless her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Your mother doesn't need your anger, she needs your compassion. The anger is YOUR problem, the smoking is hers. YOU need to deal with that anger, I suggest you seek counseling and find a way to work through the anger and better your relationship with your mother. Time is important here.

Who am I? I'm a non-smoker with lung cancer. This is NOT your mother's fault any more than it is MY fault. Even were she to consciously play the odds of "one in ten smokers develop lung cancer", the odds were still in her favor of NOT getting the disease.

She's still smoking. Obviously, she KNOWS it's not good for her. She's dealing with major guilt issues from what I have heard throughout my time on this board. Your anger is not helping her one bit, your blame is adding to her own blaming of herself.

Give the woman some breathing room, and take care of yourself. Being angry solves nothing, it just causes a distance in relationships that you may not be able to fix and will hold in your heart forever. YOU deserve to forgive your mother as she deserves your forgiveness.

I'm sure that she has sacrificed a lot for you in her life, she just can't get the monkey off her back. Don't turn it into a gorilla. She's your MOM, for goodness sake, accept her for her flaws, she's human! Beware of Karma, it has a tendency to bite one in the butt...

Be kind to yourself, and to her,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Listen to what Becky and the others are telling you, it is very important.

You must lose this anger before it is too late and you will have some lasting ramifications to deal with. It won't on her as she will not be her anymore.

Let me tell you something. Just because you smoke does not mean you will develop LC. Many people were chimmey smokers who went to their graves at a old age and never developed LC.

Also, stastically 40% of people who develop LC are former smokers or people who never smoked at all. They are finding out now that people who have stopped smoking as far back as 30, 40 years are coming down with LC. You are not immuned either. it might be somewhere in your DNA... We don't know we need reasearch.

My husbands biological father died of LC at the age of 79 and he had stopped smoking over 40 yeras. That is a very frightening as many people are now former smokers. So there is more to this disease than smoking.

You mom has an addiction and can't get rid of it. Like Becky said, it is a monkey on her back. And she finds it doubly hard as she is so stressed out that she has this horrific disease. It is her crutch to lean on. Of course, she wishes she never started.

Be kind and compassionate, as her load is very heavy and she needs your love and understanding. That is what matters most to her. To put guilt is not the answer. The cancer is not going to just dissapear just because she stops smoking. It may or may not prolong her life. We really do not know that.

You can do something now, before it is too late. To be an 'Angry Young Man' is not the answer. Let it go! Take her to dinner, buy her some flowers, make her feel wanted, that is what she needs.

Please take care,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just as you have already heard in the preceding posts, lung cancer is not always caused by smoking. I can understand your anger but as Becky said, you need to get help dealing with it and toss it out the window in time to help your mother deal with everything she's going through right now. My husband was a smoker and like you, I begged hin to stop for years. He alwasy assured me that he could stop...when he was ready. He always had a million excuses for not being ready to quit. Reasons such as bills....work...kids.....stress. Well, I never really believed he could quit. But..he did. The very day he walked out of the doctor's office, after something suspicious was seen on his chest xray, he threw down his cigarettes and never picked them up again. Of course...too little, too late. My anger came after his death. I was so angry at him for abusing his body and taking all of those precious years together away from me. I was angry at Dennis. I was angry at God for taking him. I was angry at myself for not trying harder to make him stop. I was even angry for the sun coming up in the morning because that meant I was here...alone...to face another day. Unlike many others, smoking was the cause for Dennis's cancer. At times, I am still angry if I think about it too much. But, now I am understanding a bit better. Last week, I had an EKG that raised a lot of flags, so I have to have further testing now. I know I have always fought high cholesterol but yet I continued to eat many wrong things. Now, the time has come that I have to realize that I have not taken good care of my body and because of that, I am very prone to suffer a possible heart attack. If so, I can only pray that my children would not be angry with me, as you are with your mother. See, each of us have our own addictions and ways of abusing our bodies. Please, give your mom a break and concentrate on love rather than anger!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand how you feel. My dad died of lung cancer after smoking 65 years. I know the statistics that are quoted about former and nonsmokers, but I have no doubt that smoking was the direct cause of my dad's lung cancer. I feel certain he would have lived longer if he had never smoked. (But then he could have been hit by a bus. Who knows?)

My mother died at 61 because of heart disease. She definitely shortened her life by her choices. She was overweight, didn't exercise, didn't manage her stress well, and breathed 45 years of second-hand smoke.

At different points I have been angry with both of them for leaving too soon, and I wanted to go back and rewrite their histories to make the outcome different. But ultimately, it is what it is.

Frankly, I think we would be angry with our parents or loved ones for dying REGARDLESS of what killed them. We don't want them to go. We need them in our lives. If we weren't angry with them, we'd be angry with the doctors who didn't catch it soon enough or the ambulance that didn't come soon enough or the tobacco companies who supplied the poison or God for not giving us the miracle we begged for.

I appreciate your honesty about your feelings. I suspect that just writing what you did helped you.

Underneath all the anger is terror at losing your mother and facing the rest of your life without her, and grief for the loss of things that will never be, and empathy for the horrible pain and suffering she's experiencing, and a host of other overwhelming emotions. Sometimes we unconsciously choose anger because it allows us to feel in control, empowered, while grief and pain and fear make us feel helpless. Maybe if you consciously choose to feel the other emotions, the anger won't be so dominant.

No judgment here. Only compassion and understanding. This is a terrible time for you, and you will find your way.

Kind thoughts,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

My profile will tell you I was a non smoker longer than I was a smoker. And still I am here. My anger IS with the cigarette companies. To me it is a product that should be off the market forever. This is a topic that has been covered many, many times here.

Anger is a part of grief--you know you just want to turn your anger to the appropriate direction. The phrase "kicking the dog" came to mind when I read your post.

My suggestion is to call the American Cancer Society, and ask to talk with someone about this. They have trained personel available for everyone involved with cancer.

And of course, keep talking here.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a very, very difficult subject and you are not going to find the answer in any of these posts. I stopped smoking at the same time as my friend - she got lung cancer and I didn't. She started smoking again, I didn't.

Others have addressed you already on the lottery of lung cancer, lung cancer patients who have never smoked etc. All of that is right but your Mum does smoke and that is the entire point of your post. It's clear you've never smoked. You seem to be angry not because your Mum got a horrible disease and it wasn't fair but because she did it to herself. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't but whatever caused it I doubt she's a truly evil person and therefore she does not deserve it.

Do you know what I mean by the "it won't happen to me" syndrome? As a smoker one does appreciate the risks on an intellectual level but do you honestly believe that any smoker here thought they'd actually get lung cancer when they were smoking that cigarette? Have you ever driven your car too fast? You're sure that risk's Ok because you'll never knock someone over will you - it's not going to happen to you, is it? If you did would you expect your Mum's support or would you expect her to have so much anger that you remained unforgiven till the day you die?

It may not seem like it but I do sympathise with you. I don't mean to patronise you but you are very young and you are going to have to deal with this quickly. I could go on for ages but that won't help. Your Mum is most likely going to die. Are you going to be loving and supportive (your Dad could probably do without this) or are you going to make this more unbearable than it already is?

You have no control over your Mum's destiny but you do over yours. You've judged your Mum as weak but you've shown that you are too. Let go of this or you'll spend the rest of your life regretting it and there will be ramifications you haven't even contemplated yet.

I really do wish you the very best of luck.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never smoked, and my mom's sclc is pretty well linked to her heavy smoking for over 40 years. But at the same time, I remember her trying to quit. It was literal torture for her.

Smoking is more addictive than drinking or heroin, yet there is no inpatient treatment for smoking. Heck, you can go to a fat farm to lose weight, but smokers have little help. I believe most need a lot of medical support, like antidepressants and the like, but few will get what they really need to quit.

And even if cigarettes magically vanished, there would still be a lot of new lung cancer cases for the next 40 years.

You MUST forgive your mother so you can move on, so you can love and support her. You don't have to feel she is doing the right thing. Just love her. Her smoking says more about the nature of addiction than the quality of her character.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not much left to say here. Everybody has already said it ahead of me, and Becky and Dee REALLY hit it head on.

I would add: "Until you walk in someone else's shoes, you will never "get it", so don't even try.

We just have to learn to accept people where they are and as they are. To do otherwise, is being judgmental. That doesn't mean we don't have an opinion or have to like or approve of someone else's behavior.

It's all about acceptance. Accepting people just they way they are and loving them with all their faults and idiosyncrasies.

Lots of love for you and your mom,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

:cry: Please,Please, don't be angry anymore. She is addicted to cigarettes. It is very very hard to stop. Don't waste your engery, and possibly last days with her fighting. Kiss her, love her and let her know you love her unconditionally---as she has loved YOU. Deep in her heart she would quit--if she could. It has a hold on her like nothing else. I know--i don't smoke. My husband does and is dying from lung cancer before my eyes. I still help him up to go smoke away from his O2 tank. And he coughs, hacks, spits and is miserable during the smoking---but he is addicted. I love him with all my heart. He was dx 18 months ago and didn't quit. I did all the things you did---let it be. Just love her---. God bless you, please have compassion for her. Nancy C
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been thinking about this post all day.

The first thing I want to say is I think to a point I understand your anger. I have noticed when I'm dealing with stuff, anger is almost always part of it, and I always aim that anger at different things. It might be a piddly thing, or it might be a big thing. Usually it's not THE THING I'm angry at that I focus the anger on to. Somehow the anger is a preservation mechanism. I don't know if any of this may play into YOUR anger or not.

Regardless of where it comes from, it is important that you practice be gentle with your Mom. From what you've told us it sounds like your struggle is that you're trying to, but this is in the way. Something I've learned abour forgiveness is that it's not always something that you feel. Sometimes it's something you just do and hope that feeling comes later.

I did the same thing as I was growing up. I did everything I could to try to 'make' my parents quit. They couldn't do it for me. And I wasted a lot of time not just accepting them. You don't have much time left.

Love on your Mom. Know she is a human being with hang-ups like the rest of us (mine are really bad for me foods). Know that the anger is part of it, but try not to focus it on your Mama.

Praying for you both.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Being angry takes so much energy. My dad has SCLC and had quit smoking many years ago. My FIL has NSCLC and continues to smoke. Initially I was so angry at my FIL I didn't even want to talk to him. The pent up anger I had was eating me up. Then I remember my own issues/addictions. I have been struggling with my weight. I have to take high blood pressure medication but wouldn't have to if I could just lose 40 lbs. I am a educated woman/scientist YET I haven't been able to lose that weight. I know it is really bad for my health (I am short so 40 lbs is a lot)and know that heart disease runs in my family. Once I started to think about my own addiction I stopped being angry and started loving my FIL again. Let go.....you will feel a lot better....it doesn't mean that you can't still hate the cigarettes.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been away for awhile and your post is the first that caught my eye. I too have some comments.

First of all like the others here I know that there are other causes of lung cancer besides smoking. At this stage it matters little if your mom's cancer was caused by smoking or not. She has lung cancer. Can you even begin to imagine what SHE feels like? Don't you think she has beaten herself up time and again for smoking? Your anger just gives her one more thing to have to deal with. One more thing that she does not need and will do you both more harm than good. Lose the anger or redirect it in to something worthwhile.

Start a petition to try and get the states that won all of that money from tobaco companies to put it back to the people that they used in order to get that settlement. Get people to demand that the money be spent to give people the help they need to quit cost free. Demand that the money be spent on research not only into treatments and cure but to find the other causes of lung cancer. The anger you have can be used for good things but you have to direct in toward the right things not your mom.

I will tell you that I watched two people that I loved with all of my heart die. My mom who died of lung cancer and my Johnny who was the love of my life died after being diagnosed. I have serious questions about the cancer diagnosis but I know for a fact that he had COPD and there is only one cause of that. Smoking. Still after all it has cost me I smoke. I have tried everything to quit and have come close but I never quite make it. Cigarets are one of my crutches. They are there when I am loney, scared or tired. They never leave me alone and they never make me feel like I am less than I am. Without the cigarets I would be done in by my other cruch, work. I would work until I fall on my face but at the end of the day it is the thought of finally relaxing with a good smoke that makes me stop. Is this bad for me? Your damned right it is but it is how things are and who is to say witch is worse for me?

I knew a man related by marriage he was in his mid 80's. He had a very bad heart and a pacemaker. Everything he had done all of his life had been lost to him. He couldn't work or work in his garden. He couldn't eat the things that he had enjoyed all of his life. The only thing he had left were his cigarets. He knew that he wouldn't live long because of his health so when the doctors told him that he had to quit smoking he asked them a simple question. What are they going to do kill me? Think about that. How much time do you think quiting now would give your mom? Is it really worth the agnony of battleing to quit while she is battleing this disease that is eating at her? Give her a break leave her alone and leave her with at least one thing that she enjoys.

When you lose someone you love for any reason there is always a certain amount of guilt. No matter how much you love that person or how hard you tried to save them or make them comfortable the guilt is there. That anger is setting you up for a guilt that will play havoc in your life when your mom is gone. Believe me I know. I was never angry at Johnny. I was angry at his kids and with good reason but my anger cost me to miss out on some good days. It also caused Johnny to worry about me and that made his anxiety worse. The very thing that I was angry at his kids for and I didn't see it until it was too late.

When he died I was so angry and before then I was afraid. Fear breeds anger. I was angry at everyone encluding myself and I just couldn't admit that I was angry at God but I was. The thing is just being angry at Him proved my faith that I believe in Him and he has big shoulders he can handle it. He loves me enough to do the one thing that I can't always do and that is forgive. If there is one thing that I have learned it is that to forgive does not mean that you have to condone. Just open your heart and love your mom while you can with nothing held back for any reason because once she is gone it is too late to wish that you could do things differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate all of the thoughtfulness that went in to all of your replies. I know that I have to deal with my anger in more constructive ways. To be clear, I have not and will not ever take out my anger on my mom since she was diagnosed. I still care for her, create special times with her and treat her with the utmost love and respect. This post was more about me dealing with it internally, on my own time. Of course I never let her know how her smoking makes me feel, but I still think its difficult to control what I am feeling inside. I can't seem to just "let it go because I will regret it later" - It's something I think I really need to work through. So, I have found a grief counselor who seems to understand what I'm going through and I will be hopefully through with this soon, so that I can be happy without this feeling in the back of my mind... Thank you again for your responses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Las,

I had no idea you were not taking it out on your mom. I am glad to hear that is not the case.

Your decision to seek out a councelor for help is a good one. I pray your councelor can help you deal with all of this anger you have inside. I feel this will be very beneficial to you.

Keep us posted on how you are doing.

Sorry I took what you said the wrong way. I am so glad you mom does not see what is going on inside of you and when you are around her you are a loving son.

Take care of youself, :wink:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is much wisdom in all the replies here. Please try to see the other viewpoints from those who have walked down this rocky road. One of the biggest impediments to having more government and health agencies put more money into research, early detection and finding a cure is the STIGMA that you and so many others have in the association with lung cancer. There are 45 million ex-smokers that are still in a high at-risk population for being diagnosed with lung cancer within 20-30 years from the time they quit; 10%+ of all lung cancer patients NEVER smoked. This way of thinking has to change in order for the medical community to receive more funding necessary to change the outcomes of this disease. Women have learned to get frequent mammograms which have greatly increased early stage breast cancer detection. HIV patients now can live with their disease because of the vast amount of money invested in finding treatment for their disease. Your mom is not to blame for her disease but attitudes need to change so outcomes will improve for all those affected. We all have had anger issues on this road. I hope your anger will progress into acceptance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


You have had many thoughtful responses, so I won't be redundant.

You recently posted that you don't take this anger out on your mom or voice it to her. My kids don't either, but for at least one of my kids, I believe she thinks the things you do.

When I read your post some days ago, I thought that you might have well been my daughter. Probably nearly the same age. She did all that you say you did, and still I smoked.

Maybe your mom doesn't fear you have this anger, but I bet she does. For me, it seems to be the "elephant in the room" at times. It may be hindering our relationship at a time when our relationship needs to be more open.

I don't really know what I want to say, but maybe this: if you do come to accept and forgive, please let her know. Don't say it if you don't feel it, but if more times than not the anger is gone, then let her know. If she is like me, right now, she needs more than ever to be accepted, warts and all.

It may be of comfort to her.

love and fortitude


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.