Jump to content
meme13

Anger toward smokers

Recommended Posts

Does anyone else out there ever feel really upset or angry when you see someone smoking? Many of my coworkers go outside for smoke breaks. Some know all about my mother's cancer, others do not. I cannot help feeling so frustrated, sad, and angry towards them.

 

My thinking is that yes, they realize they may someday develop cancer, but what I am guessing they don't realize is how difficult it is for the survivors to deal with their grief when they are also very angry at their lost loved one.

 

Am I the only one who feels this way? This is the part of my grief that seems most difficult at times. I know that the anger is a negative emotion, and on some levels I feel I have forgiven my mom. I realize that she didn't know the dangers back in the 50's when she started. And is it right to be angry with somone for living their life their way? No. So logically I get it, but emotionally, not so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please, someone, if you are reading this and you share these feelings, leave a reply. I am here hoping to hear from someone in the same situation. Coming here makes me feel even more alone in my grief because nobody replies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anger can be one way of dealing with grief.  Some people are angry with God because

he let this happen.  Like you say back in the 50's and even later, smoking was sold as

a way to relax, socialize , take a break.  The cigarette companies I believe knew that there

were many consequences of smoking but they wanted to make a fortune selling them.

 

Today I believe there are many things people don't realize can cause cancer and illness but

again people are not going to tell you if they can make a lot of money.

 

Be patient the grief may not go away completely but it does change . 

Perhaps later you can use your journey to love and educate these addicted people to truth

 

Donna G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Donna, thank you for responding.

The last several days have been far worse than the ones I was most dreading (like Christmas day, or family gatherings for Christmas with my mother's family and such).

My brother is creating a lot of family strife with my Dad and my siblings, I think that the current situation as it relates to the loss of my mother has been so much in the front of mind, that my still fresh grief, which I thought I was managing alright, has been given new life by my brother's behavior.

 

I guess what I don't understand is that how trough my internet searches for others like myself, who have lost someone to lung cancer, and for whom the anger sometimes overshadows the grief I have found nobody. Someone else here suggested I seek counsel with a clergy member. That doesn't work for me for many reasons. I hoped that I could find someone online who was maybe like me, and found some awesome ways to channel the negative emotions.

 

I know that anger is a part of grieving, but I'm not sure if mine is the same, or different. I am not mad at God. I am mad a Mom which sucks because she is gone. She repeatedly told me she was sorry during her final weeks (although I never told her or displayed anger). I told her she had nothing to be sorry about. Of course I told her that I love her. Soon after her diagnosis, we talked about the 'lung cancer stigma' (I was already doing web searches then for people who are angry with a loved one who has lung cancer (maybe this was anticipatory grief?)). I didn't want my mom to feel ashamed or guilty, and I told her that back then. Yet while wanting to spare her those negative feelings, I"M PISSED.

 

I see above in your small bio that you are a LC survivor and that you lost your husband 2+ years ago. I'm very sorry that you have gone through so much. I hope you don't think I'm awful for the things I said. I know that for many it is every bit as addictive as heroin, and when you started (as you said) you just didn't know. My mom was 74 this year. So she was in the same boat. And she was one of the unlucky ones too who was not able to quit once she did know the dangers.

 

Some of my anger is justly directed towards the tobacco companies (and let's not forget the lobbyists!!). And that anger is easy for me to understand and deal with.

But being angry with your deceased loved one, that just really stinks.

Again thank you, and if you know of a more lively grief forum, please let me know, this one is a very lonely place and I think when you are reaching out and nobody responds, it just makes you feel more isolated in your emotions (you know?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry about the loss of your Mother and the pain you are dealing with.  Anger is a natural feeling following the death of a loved one.  We all understand your feelings as we too have "been there".  Your Mom was addicted to smoking it seems.  Many people start in their teens because they think it looks "cool".  Then, before you know it you're hooked on the habit.  It's very difficult to quit and many don't succeed.  Not all lung cancers are caused from smoking either.  Anyone who has lungs can get lung cancer.  

 

Please let us know how you're doing and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive your Mom.  ((hugs))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dealing with negative energy can be done like this.. I had LOTS of anger when my wife passed away.. did a lot of talking under the stars with her and god... also threw lots of eggs into the trees... release negative energy not good for you... you have to get it out of your life.. Yeah I have Friends who smoke and work for tobacco industry as well... they know when they wanna know some cold hard facts who to turn to. til then I just try toi educate them on the signs.... I jsut tell em when your ready come talk to me over a beer and some supper and will tell ya the facts...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have trouble seeing smokers and not having a reaction. I wouldn't say I get angry...maybe more so a bit jealous. What I do get angry about is people still asking if Jason smoked after they find out he had lung cancer. For the record, NO he did not and I hate that it's then perceived like those who do smoke and get lung cancer some how deserve it....which is totally not true. I have been told I'm sometimes too passionate about my response when people ask if Jason smoked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing wrong being passionate about these things. Perhaps those folks need to see your passion and your feelings. Hold up a mirror to their faces. Too many folks can get behind pink ribbons, but not behind "this" kind of cancer. Wrong attitude if anyone asks me. A lung cancer survivor of 4 whole months and counting.

Barb

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the anger.  My mother died from non-small cell lung cancer.  I get especially angry with people smoking, but also when I see the smoke stacks from a local factory.  When my cousin's little boy was diagnosed with lung cancer, her husband and sister never stopped smoking.  At best they took it outside - with the smoke blowing back inside the door or with the little guy sitting with them.  That made it okay in their minds.  Their son got pneumonia before he died, so they like to tell people it had nothing to do with lung cancer - it was pneumonia.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry that I did not see your post earlier...  My mother died of small cell lung cancer last March after 65 years of smoking.  I was SO ANGRY with my mother when she was diagnosedbecause 6 years earlier she also had a small tumor in her lung, which was operated on and removed.  She had a big scare, she had her WARNING and we, as her daughters went through a lot with driving to/from the hospital, seeing her through her surgery (at 80) and watching her difficult recovery.  We were afraid of losing her, but she pulled through.  She stopped smoking.....Then 9 months later she started smoking again.  I was PISSED.  But more than that all my life I begged my mother to stop smoking because I was so afraid for her, I was afraid that something terrible would happen to her.  I was my mother's first born of 4 girls and I loved my mother and I cared about her but my greatest fear  was that something terrible could happen to her because of her smoking.  I didn't want to see her get sick, I didn't want to lose her! But she would not listen to me. Fast forward 6 years later, routine CT scan revealed a large tumor in the same lung.  I lost it.  My sister who is one year younger than me who is a very compassionate caring health care practitioner took it in stride.  I said, NOW WHAT?????  The surgery 6 years ago almost killed her!  My sister said, well....surgery isn't the only option, we can look at chemotherapy, radiation, etc. etc. etc.  I was SO ANGRY.  And I said you know what?  I am NOT on board with this.  I refuse to turn my life upside down this time, driving to and from chemotherapy treatments, and on and on and during the next year and half of her treatments, she lived with my sister and I stopped by occasionally, but it upset me too much to see my mother dragging around an oxygen tank, wearing turbans because she lost her hair.  Her greatest fear was dying from not being able to breathe.  so after a year and half of chemo, during which the tumor shrank 85% followed by chemo, she reacted well, but the cancer had its own ideas.  Eventually they found a tumor in her brain, it interfered with her ability to speak, more radiation to her brain, then she got her speech back, then the doctor finally told us that while she had reacted well to the chemo and had good results, that he would not recommend more treatments.  Exactly one year ago, the resulting metasteses to her liver, bones, etc. etc. took her to a very slow and painful death.  And we had to watch it.  Which almost killed ME.  The suffering I endured watching my mother die was on a scale of horror that I really wondered if I could ever mentally recover from.   I was so traumatized by watching my mother die I thought I was going to have to go into a psychiatric hospital because I was consumed with grief, complicated by ANGER.  ANGER that she did this to herself, anger that she did this to us, and anger that we had to watch her die like she did.  So, when you ask in your post "Is there anyone else out there who feels like I do?" I have to say YES.  My grief has been crippling and my mother-in-law has said that my grief is worse because I held so much anger towards my mother.  So, guess what?  I get to suffer AGAIN and more than a usual grieving person would.  So this is my story and my response to your posting.  Yes, I get the ANGER. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I am a lung cancer patient but from the age of 16 to age 30 I got to watch my father die from heart disease from smoking. His first heart attack was at age 39 ( yes genetics plays a part) he had open heart surgery and went from 2 ppd to quitting. Quitting lasted 3 years then he was up to 3ppd. Another open heart surgery and he was able to cut back to 1ppd but gradually went back to the 3 ppd.

before 7 years passed again it was time for his 3rd open heart surgery. He was so embarrassed about his smoking he would hide and smoke, least that way it adveraged about 1.5ppd. By the age of 53 ( 13 years later) he was dead.

his quality of life decreased with every year and every surgery and in the end he suffered. His only option was a transplant and he couldn't give up the cigarettes to get the transplant.

so I can understand your anger.

I was lucky, my anger passed because all I can remember is how hard he tried to quit but was never able to. And believe me , he tried.

all I can feel now is a deep deep sadness for all the wonderful things in life he missed, grandkids he never knew, great grands he never met, and all that life holds , I just hope he gets to watch from heaven.

so what I wanted to say is I think your anger is normal and I hope in time it leave so that you can enjoy your earlier memories of your mom and get some mental peace regarding how things occurred.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pamela,

I understand, completely and agree absolutely.  I am a nicotine addict, a long term smoker who quit cold turkey just one month before my diagnosis with late stage NSLC. My four years of near continuous treatment put my family through a meat grinder emotionally.  The treatment almost killed me.  After 13-years of non smoking, when I smell cigarette smoke I feel the tug of my addiction.  I've not given in and hopefully never will.  

Fortunately, families tend to forgive and I've been forgiven for the mayhem I caused.  I'll never forget.  I wish you peace but I completely understand.

Stay the course.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband has continued to smoke on and off. He has quit before so I know he cans but he goes back to it and "punishes me" with it when he is mad at me cuZ he knows how much it upsets me. He has already had 2 cousins and one brother all smokers die eithER of heart attack or lung cancer before the age of 50. He now has anothER smoking brother dieing of small cell carcinoma cancer as well. He probably has a few months at best. We have watched him go through chemo 2 times, brain radiation because it metastisized, immunotherapy. He is constantly weak and nauseated.  And I am VERY angry now that my husband chooses (yes choice because he has proven he can quit for a lengthy period when it was important enough for something to him) to continue to smoke. I can relate because if he ever does get lung cancer I will definitely have grief complicated by much anger. Already having difficulty with the anger now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enachrei,

Your anger is understandable. Your husband is fortunate enough to have a wife that cares. 

I wrote a book about my lunc cancer experience - "Scanziety". (Amazon ebook) Many readers have told me they've shared the book with family members who smoke and in several cases it worked as a tool to help them stop. If he reads it, he'll at least be prepared for the mayhem that awaits. 

Stay the course. 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am dealing with this as well. My Dad died of lung cancer when I was five, all my pictures and memories of him include cigarettes (35 years ago next Saturday). 15 years ago one of my brothers diagnosed with emphysema, Diabetes and more recently kidney failure and on regular dialysis. 10 years ago another brother diagnosed with Lung cancer and had a lobe of lung removed. Still smokes and likely has it again but in denial. Yesterday my sister told me she has been diagnosed with Lung and Liver Cancer and possibly metastatic disease. With the grief is SO MUCH ANGER! Not a one of them could say they didn't know smoking causes cancer and watched mom go through the grief of losing a husband. I see a distinct future where my mom may well lose 3 of her children in the next few years... over something that could have been prevented. They have given me so much crap over the years when I worried about their level of smoking and drinking (Pretty much nonstop for both) and the inevitable outcome of it has come to pass. I know this sounds like victim blaming, but...they are a victim of their own addictions. I am heartsore and grieving, but I am so angry for what they will be putting my mother through and themselves through...all for another puff or drink. I love them all but right now I am so angry. And Angry at myself for feeling this way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi AusTex, 

I'm sorry for what you're going through with your family.  Smoking for sure increases the risk for lung cancer. But in fact anybody can get it whether they smoke or not ( for example, me). And a lot of people smoke and never get it. And drinking certainly increases the risk of a lot of diseases, including liver disease. And yep, it is victim blaming and yep, they are probably victims of their own addictions. None of this is easy to deal with. Unfortunately, none of us can control other people' s behavior, especially so when it is addictive. Sometimes we can even contol our own behavior. So you're heartsore and grieving and angry. It's normal. A lot of us have been there.  This forum is a good place to vent. Take it easy on yourself. Remember you love them. Think about how you can support your mom through this. I don't know what else I can say. I'm glad you found us.

Bridget O

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you BridgetO for your reply.  Unfortunately it is already 2 and a half years since I lost my mom to lung cancer.  As of this day I STILL CRY at her loss..i have terrible flashbaacks of how she suffered and how we were helpless to stop her dying and it has left mwith such sadness and painful memories of how she suffered during those last 6 weeks.   I am in therapy to help me deal with my grief.  It's been very hard.

And my grief has been made worse because I was so angry with her.  Because for years I saw this coming...and I begged her to stop and I was unsuccessful.  You are right, that each person has the right to live their life they way they want to and it is an addiction.  I just kept asking myself why, when so many people I know (her 2 sisters, my husbands parents) did quit, why she could not because my worse nightmare came true when I had to watch her die of this.

I am still 2 1/2 years later on a long road to acceptance and healing....but I miss my mother every day in ways that all daughters miss their mothers.  She is the only one who could forgive me my anger, but she is gone.

 

Pamela--Long Island

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Pamela,

I'm so sorry for what you have gone through and continue to go through. I hope the therapy will help you deal with your grief. I  wish acceptance and peace for you.

Bridget O

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pamela & AusTex,

I cant say honestly that I know what you feel. I’m a guy who likely caused my lung cancer and it devastated my family. 

As Bridget suggests, addiction is a powerful physical and psychological force. I continued to smoke knowing full well the consequences. Now, I try and help parents develop strategies to counter their children’s smoking. Sadly, addiction wins more often than not. 

We can try and influence behavior but can’t control it. We can grieve loss but not restore loved ones. What does that leave as an available remedy: Love, both the living and those passed. 

I was lucky I survived. I stopped smoking about a month before my diagnosis. I tried many times before, but laugh now at the irony: quitting cold turkey is rewarded by a lung cancer diagnosis. I was lucky in another way. My family never stopped loving me. But my family suffered through the mayhem of treatment and I am saddened that my mother and father had to witness a son in dire straits not long before their own passing. 

I can’t begin to suggest strategies for mitigating grief. My own experience is time passing heals; some heal faster than others. The memories never stop but the pain wanes over time. 

Pamela - I hope your journey on the acceptance road ends quickly. 

AusTex - I hope your anger is extinguished. 

I also hope for a world without the anguish of lung cancer. It kills, then kills again while causing family discord in the extreme. 

Stay the course. 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody smokes or drinks with the intention of getting sick from it.  Many people never do.  Nobody eats a bad diet with the intention of getting heart disease, either.  And, as Bridget pointed out, many people get sick without indulging in any high-risk behavior.  

Addiction (and denial--"it won't happen to ME") are both very powerful.  

Something else very powerful, though, is also at work.  There's a theory out there that a lot of people are captivated by, called the "Just World Theory (or Hypothesis)."  It's very appealing, in many ways, to believe that our world is basically just and that when bad things happen to others, it must be someone's fault.  And that someone is often the victim.  I'm a retired prosecutor and still work in the field of crimes of violence against women.  It's the same theory/hypothesis that makes it hard for jurors not to blame victims of rape and domestic violence.  In a way, it's self-protective.  The juror thinks, "Well, *I* would never (let a man into my home) (go out with someone I'd met online) (stay with a spouse who hit me)."  It makes people feel safer to think the victim must have done something to cause whatever it is.  It's a lot scarier to acknowledge that bad things can happen regardless of what we do.

I empathize with your anger--I've been angry with loved ones suffering from addictions, too, who refused to take care of themselves.  I eventually had to let go of the anger, though, for my own sake.  It was taking over my life.

Your mom had no wish to harm you or your family.  I hope you can eventually let go of the anger so you can enjoy the good memories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My therapist she said that I am angry with my mother for dying....however, my anger did nothing to make  her dying days better and in the long run harmed me (even more).  All that it did was cause me deep depression because I had to turn my anger inward.  It could not really be expressed as she was dying now, could it?

My strong mother looked at me and said "Did you ever think you'd see me this way?  and I I responded..."Yes, mom, I did, and this was what I was afraid of all my life."  

I keep telling myself to be grateful that she lived to 86 and that she only really suffered 6 weeks.  She sat on the edge of the bed and said to a minister...."Why all the suffering??"

But I have had a hell of a 2.5 years since losing her.  Trying to find a way to fill the loss and to accept her addiction that finally killed her.  Its been very hard on those close to me to see how long my grief has lasted.

By far the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with in my life and it has made me sick. 

I just have to keep on...living..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×