Anybody wear an emotion mask? 

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Anybody wear an emotion mask? 

by CaregiverPete on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:33 AM

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My first day as a caregiver was filled with fear, sorrow and worthlessness. I needed help. We both told our family, friends and co-workers. Initially everyone was on board our boat of cancer survival. Slowly as the months passed by there were fewer and fewer people in our little boat. No calls, No texts, No cards,  No offerings.  

My wife became cancer free . The few people still in our boat that were with us from start to finsh became apart of our special inner circle. We could count all of them on one hand. My mom, two friends and two co-workers. 

My wife's cancer came back in August of 2017. We have only told our inner circle of people. The rest of the family, friends and co-workers we keep in the dark. 

In the past three years as a caregiver I've learned alot with reading caregiver books, going to support groups and seeing a grief counselor. I'm now able to "mask" my emotions from people very well and so has my wife. 

Those people outside our inner circle ask, "how's M____ doing? Everything still ok"? 

I put my mask on and say in a calm reassuring voice: "M____ is just fine and doing well" and always finish with a warm smile. 

It's a mask people feel more comfortable seeing,  than not knowing how to react to the cancer is back. In a way, my wife and I are saving them from feeling grief, distress and not knowing how to act, what to say or do.

Her and I also benefit from the mask because we don't expect anything from these people that would cause us negative resentment in our life. 

I asked my counselor if this was a healthy lifestyle to wear this emotional mask. She said it was and we shouldn't feel guilty about it. 


I don't in the least

RE: Anybody wear an emotion mask? 

by radiationtonsil on Sat Dec 09, 2017 01:59 PM

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Thank you for expressing what I was afraid to say.

I have had a very similar experience.

Greg in Chicago

RE: Anybody wear an emotion mask? 

by PunkyD on Sun Dec 10, 2017 06:50 AM

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Hi Pete,

Long time no speak.  I think that when it comes to feelings and coping.......everyone should do what they feel is best for them. Yes, it's tough dealing with other people that don't really understand what you're going through, can't help, or don't want to get involved. You definitely shouldn't feel guilty about your feelings. But remember, just because you are wearing a mask now, does not mean that you can't change your mind later and take the mask off, or that people won't change either. 

Pete, I've taken a step back from the other thread, but I'm always listening.  Praying for you and your wife. 


RE: Anybody wear an emotion mask? 

by MommaA on Fri Mar 15, 2019 09:06 AM

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I was so happy to read this post! Someone else out there just like me! My husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Grade 4 metastatic RCC July 2018. At first I was shell shocked. Next I was overwhelmed by everyone’s quick and wonderful outpouring of care, concern and support. THEN, I blinked during my continual caregiver role and there was NO ONE! No concern or care suddenly... My emotions have been on a roller coaster! So I just turned them off. Or ‘masked’ them. I now when asked about his health and status seem to answer like a robot! All mono-toned and matter of factly in a flat voice. I sound cold almost. I don’t mean to not do I want to.
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