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Counseling/friend abandoned me


I am a 27 year old woman with stage 3 ovarian cancer, scheduled fo surgery next month.    I have a male friend, we dated over a year ago,, but now are close friends, who was supposed to be there for me for 2 weeks for my surgery.   I live with my family due to my illness now but we don't get along.   He just told me he has taken a job so will be unable to help me out except for weekends. I am angry with him as I think he has put the job over our friendship.  I don't have any other close friends to help me out during this time.    He says he has no money, just got out of college and needs the job and will help as much as he can.  I can't help but feel abandoned due to his taking this job.  I think his parents are pressuring him because he has had to live with them until he gets his own place.  what do you think?   Shouldn't he refuse the job to help me?

Hi Angela - I propose that the REAL questions are "why don't I'get along with my family?' and 'why aren't they there to support me?" I suspect the answer is that they - and you - inherited psychological wounds from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma). See these:

If these apply, invest time in studying online "lesson 1" at It promotes psychological [and physical?]) healing, over time.

Your friend's needs are just as important as yours [do you agree?). He has the right to decide how to apportion his time nd energy toward filling his short and long-term needs - just as you do. Since you aren't married (co-committed) partners, I vote he has no obligation to sacrifice his own needs for yours. - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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