3 strategies to deal with people who don’t seem to care

Remembering that we can't control how others act is key

Shawna Barnes avatar

by Shawna Barnes |

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The eye roll. The “I’m not listening but want you to think I am” head nod. The silence. The outbursts.

Any or all of these have been responses I’ve received from people who are, or used to be, in my network when I provide updates on my life with myasthenia gravis (MG). When it comes from acquaintances, it doesn’t sting as much as when it comes from those who you thought cared.

I’ve mentioned before that my word for 2023 is “reset.” This includes resetting how I react to those around me when they don’t respond how I hoped they would. So sit back in that chair right there, and let me show you how it’s done: my top three strategies for dealing with disappointment.

Strategy 1

Reminding myself that others may be struggling and not in a place to engage or support what I’m doing has helped ease the disappointment.

Social media can help us nurture relationships, but it can also help us destroy them. One thing that bothers me is that when I publicly share my struggles and achievements with various issues related to MG, I get lots of interactions and support from people I barely know. Yet those who I wish would take the time to try to understand this disease rarely tune in.

It still bothers me, but it used to bother me more. My primary strategy for dealing with the disappointment is to remember that we all use social media for different purposes. Some of us, like myself, use it as a platform to share about daily life with MG, with the goal of helping others just starting on their journey. Some people use it as a refuge to get away from daily life struggles.

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Strategy 2

My second strategy goes hand in hand with the first. By telling myself that other people may not be in a place to pick up what I’m laying down, I’m also reminding myself that they’re not the reason I’m as open and transparent as I am about my journey with myasthenia gravis. I don’t write or share for them. I write and share for others like me, who need to know that there’s light at the end of the MG tunnel.

Strategy 3

When all else fails, I focus on me.

That may sound selfish, but in reality, it’s self-care. I can’t control how others react to the information I share or don’t share. I’m striving to live my best life. That includes sharing my journey so that others can relate, learn how to relate, or at least know how to approach sensitive topics. As much as it hurts to distance myself from those who seem to lack a desire to understand, it’s what’s best for me and my well-being.

As we all know, stress is a nasty trigger that exacerbates MG symptoms, and we need to do our best to keep it to a minimum. Knowing that this needs to be done and actually acting on it are two different things. It’s hard, I know. I’m in the middle of practicing what I preach.

I know it’s difficult to be surrounded by people who don’t understand or don’t seem to want to. Remember that you cannot control how others react or respond. That single statement sums up the bigger idea behind all three strategies for how I cope with disappointment.

For me, what makes the discomfort and pain tolerable is knowing that my peace and health are worth it. I am worth it. And so are you.

An adult white female with glasses and a beanie hat sits for a closeup selfie while an adult tabby cat sits on her lap. The cat is looking toward the camera and down, with a grumpy-looking expression that makes tabby cats so adorable.

Columnist Shawna Barnes and her cat, Piper. (Photo by Shawna Barnes)

Note: Myasthenia Gravis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Myasthenia Gravis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to myasthenia gravis.


Kevin Charles Hillock avatar

Kevin Charles Hillock

Why was she not wearing a medic alert bracelet. I have on that list Diabetes and had MG added to it.

Sharon H avatar

Sharon H

Enjoyed the article. I've found that editing the info I share to "need to know" especially around limitations has helped. My family is usually in denial about illnesses so they don't get the colour commentary on my condition. My MG is well controlled but I do tend to trip if a walk or stair climb is too long, and I'm immune compromised so I avoid crowded spaces. For most people, accommodating my need to take breaks or eat on a patio is easy. There was one acquaintance who didn't get it, even lied to me about a restaurant having a patio, and I no long see her.


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