How to respond when people can be dismissive

Hi all,

Any and all tips would be greatly appreciated. My partner and I have been together for 5.5 years (I was diagnosed before meeting them). In the beginning, my partner didn’t really understand the disease and didn’t really try to understand it either. When I was having a bad day or experiencing distress, I would try to explain what was going on. Their response oftentimes was that I just needed to change my mindset.

It hurt so much to hear that. It made me feel alone, misunderstood, and like my experience was being dismissed.

My partner would insist that if I just changed my mindest, things would be easier and that if other diabetics seemed to be handling it so well, so why couldn’t I? I never knew how to respond to this. I tried explaining that every diabetic’s experience is different and that comparing two people with diabetes isn’t fair. They would also say things like, “If cancer patients can be positive, why can’t you?”

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of focusing on what you can control and being kind to oneself…but to say, “Change your mindset” is an oversimplification of what it’s like to have diabetes - or any illness.

My partner is now a lot more understanding and supportive of my diabetes, but so many years of less than understanding responses had a long-lasting affect on me. I try to talk to him about his past behavior and how dark of a time that was for me, but I’m still met with “You need to change your mindset”. They say that they were coming from a place of love and wanting what’s best for me because they don’t like to see me suffer, but that’s really hard to believe when what I was saying about my experience wasn’t being taken seriously.

How do you handle situations where people are dismissive of your experience with diabetes? How do you respond if people say that you just need to change your mindset?

For context: I had a high A1C before we met, but have since then brought it down to a 5.9%. Even with the low A1C, I have really hard days due to what I suspect is nerve damage from bringing my A1C down quickly. I struggle day-to-day to get things done even though my numbers are great on paper. I’ve been working with my endo to see what else could be going on and possible solutions.

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Hi @lesedi.ks . I’m sorry to hear about your past experiences with your partner and am glad they are attempting to be more understanding - and apparently succeeding. I wonder if now when they say “Change your mindset” they may be referring to how you are responding to their present efforts? I understand it may be helpful to you to revisit the past to perhaps to get apology and some closure; while at the same time they’re focusing on what they are trying to do now.

I once read the book The Five Love Languages and learned that couples express their love in different ways - languages, with each having one or a couple they naturally gravitate to while the other had one/s they prefer. Of course they may not be the same. This isn’t something I learned from the book, but perhaps your way of addressing conflict is to go back and discuss it for the sake of closure, while your partner’s is to try to change old habits, leave them behind, and move on. One thing I did learn from the book was, the fact that your partner "speaks a different language " doesn’t mean they don’t love you or care about yours - just that they express it differently. Recognizing our differences has helped me focus more on the things he does so and not dwell on the areas where he’s not as strong (and I’m not perfect - I try to do things I know he responds more readily to). I personally find that when someone recognizes my present efforts, it makes it much easier if we have to go back into the past.

This is just my personal opinion and experience - I’m certainly not a counselor. And please don’t think I am dismissing what you are saying - just another way to look at things.

Please don’t hate me people!

Wishing you all the best.

Hello. I can’t say I’ve ever relied on other people’s opinion on my T1D. I’m comfortable being a loner not needing reassurance from anyone. The battle I’ve waged everyday has been a lone warrior quest for 58 years. I know it may be difficult to hear but if your partner is not supportive of your need to be understood in respects to you being a T1D and your need from someone to be told great job you’ve got this, you need to be honest and tell them point blank what you’re expecting and if they can’t give you what you need, a life change in general may be required to keep living your life as healthy as possible. It’s always easy to tell someone else to change their mindset but having a disease that requires 24/7/365 involvement for the rest of your life is not that simple and I dare them to walk a mile in my shoes if they think it’s so easy. Let them deal with BGL highs and lows, taking injections or changing infusion sets, changing sensors, programing pumps, pricking fingers, dealing with hormone changes, trying to keep A1C levels at bay, and going through sicknesses along with having T1D, etc. IMO you have A1C numbers to be proud of, and appears you are taking good care of yourself now, well done. If your partner is not supportive of your hard work, don’t let that deter you from doing what you are doing. This battle is yours and yours alone to be able to live long and healthy. You are important to this world so fight this battle no matter what others say or think.


Hi @lesedi.ks ,

I’ve had this same issue with family before and I know how hard it can be. My mom would also tell me to change my mindset and how I shouldn’t complain because ‘it could be so much worse’. For the majority of my 14yrs with T1D I have dealt with these comments from family until recently.

How I like to explain it to the other person is that by them telling me I need to change my mindset or saying it’s not that bad they are invalidating my pain, which only makes it harder to be positive. I also like to add the point of whether I need support or solutions. What I mean by this is that when I complain about my pain and dealing with my T1D I am looking for support (someone to listen, acknowledge my pain, ask what they can do to help). I explain to others, such as my mom, that I ask my endo doctor for solutions and her for support. I think explaining that difference may help.

Situations are different for everyone, but bringing up these points have helped me with this problem.

On another note, you mentioned that from your A1C drop you’re having a hard time with possible nerve damage. I used to have an A1C in the 9.5-9.8 range and only within the last couple years have I got it down to 7-7.2. I have also experienced similar pain. Something you might want to look into is alpha lipoid acid tablets. It’s helped a lot with my nerve and joint pain and it’s mentioned on the ADA’s website. Just thought I’d mention it if you want to ask your doctor.

I hope this helps!


Look, this is just me, lay-person, no expert here, but if this is true then that is a pretty big red flag regarding the healthiness of your relationship, imo. Love = support, validation, empathy, understanding, buoying up, and being constructive. The things you mention are the opposite of that. Having T1D - like any struggle in life - absolutely requires people in your life who give love, not its opposite (just like their struggles require love from you, not the opposite). It’s true that it’s easy to get into a spiral of despair and depression and negativity, and that a good partner will not want to indulge those negative things in you. But they will not indulge them by positively supporting you, empathizing, and buoying you up, not being dismissive.

So yeah, that’s just my two cents, based on what you said in your comment. Only you can decide what’s best for you!! Aside from that, being a T1D-er myself (albeit a somewhat recent one), I really empathize with your struggles with this disease, just as I do now w/ every other T1D-er. It’s hard. You’re doing great, what a super A1C! I hope your diabetes-related issues get better (or at least don’t get worse) - at least you’re on the right track! All we can do is our best. And, a good partner is so worth it - indeed, one of the best things life can offer.

I had many partners including a fiancée who never understood or really tried to understand what living with T1D is like. I met a man 3 years ago who has from the beginning been very supportive and understanding. Much more than any previous partner. We got married two months ago. He was worth the wait !
I recommend you give your partner an article called ‘Type 1 Diabetes Finally Explained’ by Riva Greenberg. It explains the demands of the disease better than anything I’ve read before. If your partner doesn’t “get” it and improve their behavior after reading the article, you may want to think about moving on.
T1D is extraordinarily difficult and demanding. Many people, family, partners won’t always be supportive. But that IS what you deserve, and you shouldn’t settle for less.


I can’t say that I have ever faced this situation directly, but I can understand where you’re coming from and sympathise. I don’t know why I have never faced it, but maybe it’s because after 47 years I must project an “attitude” and people shy away from expressing their opinion in my presence.

On the occasions when somebody has said something stupid, or dismissive, I usually give them a crash course in the reality of living with T1D. I do it in such a way as to encourage questions, so I can provide them with the 5 seconds of education that might be made available. If nothing else, they learn enough to know that there’s more to the subject than they know and they should think twice before displaying their ignorance in the future.

To be fair to the muggles, as “diabetes”, be it T1 or T2, is usually invisible, with the flat screen data retention ability that is common today, I can’t blame them for having next-to-no comprehension of what we live with.

I don’t recommend it as a course of action, but having a significant hypo in their presence always gets attention, not always for the right reasons, sadly. Ironically that is because a significant hypo is visual, and quite confronting for the viewer when they don’t have a clear understanding of what’s happening.

30 years ago my in-laws would make gentle “amusing” references to diabetes - eating too much sugar etc. When I had the force 7 hypo in the back seat of their car, with my wife yelling at them to pull over at a shop so she could get me some orange juice, the slight references ended. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, they now had a better idea of what they didn’t know, so rather than make themselves look more foolish, they shut up.

Job done.


Not great for you, obviously, but it makes for a great story. That is definitely one way to get them to shut up. (And a hearty “well done!” to your wife, too.)

First let me say that I joined this community as a parent, not only seeking support that I can share with my son who was diagnosed at age 10; but it has also been my goal to help my child overcome the many hurdles and challenges that he’ll face during this stage of his life. This means knowing what’s helpful and what’s not, what to say and what not to say. What and who to allow in his space and who not to to minimize the affects of words that DO HURT. I have learned throughout this process the severity of T1D and not only how it affects your physical but emotional wellbeing as well and in this I’ve learned to be sensitive to my sons emotional needs as much as his physical. I have had some rough experiences even with his dad, family members, teachers and the parents of other children who just say the first thing that pops up. It is my hopes that my son seeing me advocate for him and being sensitive with my own words does something to show that I care but honestyly I don’t know how it feels to be in his shoes so to you I say: Thank you for being brave enough to share this. You are not alone as you can see by this forum and lastly we have learned to use any isolation time my son may need as a time to heal, pray and find some motivation in the areas of wholeness, identity and security. As you learn and become confident in who you are and that you are no different from anyone else, that you have gifts and a place in this world like anyone else, in turn you will learn how to defend yourslef boldly, unapologetically and respectfully. This gives you the sense of power that you need on this journey. We can’t change others, what they say and how they feel but we can change our actions and perspectives by learning the tools to succeed emotionally regardless of what anyone thinks. Hope this helps and blessings on your journey!


hello and welcome Crystal @Cryssy2021 to the forum. I know what I am saying is off topic for this post, but I wanted to say hello, and that your son is lucky to have such a caring parent. Even with adversity, your son will figure out acceptance and learn to be strong, but I have to say it seems a whole lot easier with an involved and sympathetic ear nearby. Cheers, welcome, and I hope you enjoy Type One Nation… also, there are hundreds of years of experience here, (I am treating my Type 1 for 42 years now) and I hope everyone takes advantage of that.

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@lesedi.ks and all the newcomers, since I went off-topic just earlier, I figured I better make up for it any way I can.

The way I respond to someone who says the equivalent of “Just Get Over It”? is: I don’t respond. There is not a sole on this planet that can make me feel “less than”. Sure, people say dumb things… sure, even my immediate family do not fully understand the daily and hourly struggles with insulin and blood sugar and that is OK with me. I KNOW, and that’s really all that matters. Here’s my philosophy, for what it’s worth. Disease makes everyone uncomfortable. It is a survival instinct dating back to the origins of humanity, so I really can’t be pissed. Or at least if I do get upset, I realize it’s futile, and not helping the situation, them, or myself. For the strangers of the world… I smile and nod when they insist that cinnamon cures diabetes or they feel the need to tell me about their friends, grandma’s cat (who had diabetes). Smile and nod and excuse myself at the most convenient moment. It’s been a key element of my happiness. For my family, I forgive them. They all have their own problems, trials, and issues, and I do not need for them t bend in my direction or to treat me any differently than if I did not have diabetes. They are entitled to their own opinions, and I neither want to change them nor do I want to teach anyone anything they don’t want to learn. this is the other key to my happiness. Now if ANYONE asks a question, or wants to learn, I can talk for hours on the subject and am willing to do so.

There are some people who can aggravate me almost immediately. In some cases, there were times in my life EVERYONE aggravated me. After inspection, and years of therapy, I have come to a conclusion that it’s not them… it’s ME. If someone says something that makes me react strongly, most of the time - that’s a clue to something I have to work on. I did react to other people’s attitude about diabetes, but when I looked really closely, it was because on some level it was an area of my life that needed examination, or work, or acceptance, or help, and for me, that meant I needed some acceptance for my own faults and shortcomings (and personality defects). That’s what worked for me in my case.

I hope you can find peace with diabetes, and with others, and I hope you keep talking about it, and if it means anything, you always got an ear here.


Thanks for the welcome and encouragement!
I’m excited about the forum and am always all ears to any wisdom/advice given. We are 3 years in and I feel like I’ve grown 20 inches of gray hair already. Overwhelming for sure but we’re taking it day by day and learning daily! Good luck on your journey as well!

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