The brand of the needle also makes a difference. Some brands are better than others for the cable. I have a red heart 16inch cable I use for sleeves, and it is crap. The cable still curls under and around in an annoying way, but it's not AS stiff as it was the first time I used it, so it's not as annoying.
But use the trick Ladybug suggested and it should definitely take the stubbornness out of the cable.