Experts Weigh In: How Your Family Can Help or Hinder Recovery

Experts Weigh In: How Your Family Can Help or Hinder Recovery

The interesting about family is that they can either be the source of our strength or our damage. When it comes to someone that is fighting a serious illness, let’s take a look at how family can either help or hinder recovery.

Support That Counts

Any physician will tell you that your support system is a critical part of your journey in dealing with an illness—especially one as serious as cancer. It is the people around you that will be able to provide you with the push that you need whenever you feel like giving up the fight. There have been countless stories of people who have been saved by their support system after they believed that they had reached the end of the line.

It is a terrible fact of life that not everyone’s family will be that helpful when it comes to being supportive. In fact, this is when the true nature of most people bubble up into the surface. Here are a few ways that your family can help or hinder your recovery:


  • Reminding you about appointments – family members can really help your recovery when they take an initiative to remind you about your doctor’s appointments. Bonus points if they actually take you to your appointments.
  • Acting as your sounding board – family members are in the perfect position to be able an effective sounding board for your ideas and your feelings. Being able to talk about your feelings in a safe space is a great way to relieve yourself of any stress or anxiety.


  • Putting their needs before yours – it is understandable that the world does not stop because you’ve gotten ill. However, a family unit needs to be able to adjust to the fact that someone in their life has an illness and will need a bit more consideration.
  • Disregarding your personal wishes – what we believe needs a bit more emphasis is the fact that not everyone who has been diagnosed with a serious illness will want to undergo treatment. While treatment does not always go hand in hand with recovery, some family members feel the need to push their personal preferences over the one who is ill. If this happens to you, do not hesitate to push for your rights and use your voice.

Before You Go

It is completely acceptable—even advisable—to cut off toxic family members. Right now, your priority should be yourself and how you will be able to achieve your best sense of self while battling an illness. Yes, family can be important but what is more important is that you are able to provide an actual supportive set of people that you can rely on.

On a personal standpoint, how do you think your family can help or hinder your recovery?