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Thread: Caring for Someone that Doesn't Care for Themselves

  1. #1
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! MotoMan's Avatar
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    Caring for Someone that Doesn't Care for Themselves

    I got a call tonight from my mom. She took my dad to the hospital this evening because he was short of breath and wasn't feeling well. He had congestive heart failure.

    This isn't much of a surprise given that he has had two heart attacks, the last requiring a quintuple bypass surgery. He smokes, eats like shit, is overweight, doesn't exercise, and essentially does everything you're not supposed to do. He has a bad back, arthritis, etc., which makes it difficult for him to exercise, but there are things he can do, like water aerobics, that doesn't hurt him so much. But the smoking and eating poorly are, in my mind, unforgiveable, especially after two heart attacks.

    After the bypass surgery, for about 6 months, he quit smoking, ate better, exercised, lost a lot of weight, and said he felt better than ever. Then he slowly started back into his old habits and all the good that happened disappeared.

    I know he is depressed, for various reasons, including his mother being in a nursing home and him not being able to do anything to help her. I'm sure there are other things going on in his head, but he is too stubborn to talk about them and is too stubborn to admit anything is wrong with him or to get help.

    I just wanted to vent because although I am sad that he is in the hospital again, I am having a hard time truly caring because I have watched him slowly kill himself for so many years now. On the surface, and based on his actions, he just doesn't seem to give a shit anymore, and hasn't for a very long time.

    What pisses me off more than anything is that my mother has to deal with his bullshit on a daily basis. Both me and my sister live in other states, both physical and mental. We only have to deal with it when we go to visit or we get the call from the hospital.

    And I am torn. Although I love the man for the mere fact that he is my dad (step-father more specifically, but raised me from a baby), it is hard for me to feel much else because I hold him to the same standards as I would anyone else. You make bad choices, you get bad results.

    And why should I care about him if he doesn't care about himself? In my mind his actions are the ultimate in selfishness. Again, it isn't just about you. Look at all of the other people his actions are impacting, particularly my mother. I think of how she has had to, or rather chosen to, put her life on hold to essentially take care of him while he slowly kills himself. If she had more self-esteem herself, I think she would have left him years ago. That's an entirely different issue. I know I have asked her on several occasions how she even puts up with him. I would have left him long ago if I were her.

    It is sad that people put themselves through things like this in life, things that could be largely avoided through seemingly simple actions. I know we are all human and we do not always do the right things, for whatever reason, but again, if you don't care about yourself, and you're an adult, I can only care so much about you. At some point I have to let go and accept what is. Why should I expend the emotional and physical effort of caring about you when you don't care about yourself nor care that I care about you? Surely I can find something much more fruitful to do with my energy. Motorcycle riding perhaps?

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by MotoMan; 10-10-2006 at 10:13 PM.
    Jeff

    Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable in their apparent disinclination to do so.
    -- Douglas Adams

    Happiness is not a goal to be pursued - it is the by-product of a balanced and purposeful life.
    -- Unknown

    The value of life should not be determined by the geographical and political borders that surround it.
    -- Me

    My ride: 2006 ZZR-600

  2. #2
    RiderCoach We've stopped counting... LoDownSinner's Avatar
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    Let it out, man. Sometimes all you can do is vent.

    About all you can do sometimes is try and be as supportive as possible.
    Quote Originally Posted by OBX-RIDER View Post
    put the whiffer in the dilly

  3. #3
    Flirting With The Redline
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    I feel ya, MotoMan. I'm truly unwilling to care for another person more than they care for themselves. All the same, I really hope that your step-father learns to care for himself and to heal himself.

  4. #4
    Flirting With The Redline 3000 Posts! azpenguin's Avatar
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    Let it vent, dude, it's good for you. My father-in-law is in a similar situation - had a heart attack, turned things around, stopped smoking, ate better, so on and so forth. Then he started slipping. Same story. He went in to see the doc about being short of breath, and it turns out his arteries are calcified. Doc says there's nothing they can do and he's only got a few years - and the doc's also pissed as hell at him for smoking again. Plus both of my sisters are smoking, even after watching both grandma and mom die of lung cancer.

    There's only so much you can do. You know that. It still hurts. You also know that, unfortunately. Just do your best to not be judgemental towards them; for some people, that's hard to do. But it can also be the best way to show them you care when they're down.
    '02 Shadow ACE 750 - "Fats"
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoDownSinner View Post
    So, I'm obviously incorrect.


  5. #5
    Senior Moderator We've stopped counting... subvetSSN606's Avatar
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    I smoke. I drink. I ride a motorcycle. (but not simultaneously )

    I don't know why.
    If I don't know why, I don't expect anyone else to know why.
    But I would hope you would continue to forgive me, accept me as I am, and to love and care about me anyway.

    Hope that helps...
    Tom
    Last edited by subvetSSN606; 10-10-2006 at 11:42 PM.
    In the end, regrets rarely come from things done, but from things not even tried.


  6. #6
    Moderator/RiderCoach We've stopped counting... Missy B's Avatar
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    Motoman, I can only say that I know all too well what you are going through. My mom had a double bypass surgery July 05 then had complications due to smoking for 30 years. After medically-induced coma, 5 weeks on a ventilator and a tracheotomy, and lots of rehab, she is up and mobile but still has a lot of medical issues, including the depression.

    Anyway, vent away!! I know the internal struggle.
    CURRENT BIKES: 2014 Suzuki Wee Strom, Yamaha TTR250
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    Test riding bikes since 2004.
    If loud pipes save lives, imagine what learning to RIDE that thing will do!

  7. #7
    Hmm ... after my heart attack I ate better and exercised and got healthier than I had in a long time. And then I started slipping, eating poorly, quit exercising, got into worse health trouble than before.

    I've written a bunch of things in this paragraph and erased them all, they weren't capturing my thoughts. I guess I understand what you are saying, and even though I seem to be unable to express myself in writing, I might understand your dad a little bit too. We are all so flawed, and tend to turn to whatever has helped us cope with stress, depression, anger, and loss in the past, even if it kills us.

    {{{MotoMan}}}
    =D

    Nan

  8. #8
    Flirting With The Redline Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Let it all out, dude.

    This may end up sounding rougher than it is supposed to but here goes. Sometimes people are stubborn and selfish. Every one has a right to, you have a right to be selfish with your feelings and not love the man. He has a right to be selfish and not take care of himself. But, people also have the choice to be selfless, loving people for their flaws, taking care of them despite their best efforts to the contrary.

    Not saying any one is in a worse or better situation than you but....

    My grandma died and my mom took it real F'ing bad. It'll be 2 years this month. I've tried talking to her about it but she cries and walks away at the mention of her mom. The few times I've been able to get feelings out of her she tells me "I don't want to be here, but I can't do it myself because I won't go to heaven and be with Bubba."

    It sucks but the best you can do is be there for him.
    1973 Honda CB750-four

  9. #9
    Flirting With The Redline 2000 Posts! MotoMan's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the kind words folks. I really appreciate it.

    I really do understand what everyone is saying. It's just a tough issue. As Pittsburgh aluded to, we all have a right to be stubborn and selfish in our own way. And logically speaking, why is his selfishness of not taking care of himself any different than my selfishness of wanting him to take care of himself? It's his life, he can live it as he chooses.

    Perhaps what bothers me the most is that...

    ...I think it's that my mom is left to deal with it. No, she doesn't really have to deal with it if she doesn't want to, but I think we all would if we were in the same position. You can be pissed as hell at someone for them doing or not doing something as you think they should, but you can still love them.

    I think that is where I am with my dad. I'm pissed as hell that he doesn't take care of himself. And Nan, I do think that I understand him a bit too. I recently saw a comedian that said if living to be 100 means I can't have butter, then I don't want to live that long.

    And there is some truth to that. Life is to be enjoyed within reason. Or perhaps moderation is a better term. I will never be a health nut, and yes I do eat poorly sometimes, but I don't do it all the time, even though I know I could be better. Perhaps I will be. Perhaps I won't. I just hope ultimately I don't follow in my dad's footsteps.

    I know if I were to be involved in a motorcycle accident, my parents would love me all the same, even though my mom hates the fact that I ride. Isn't that as selfish of me, to ride, as it is of my dad to not take care of himself? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Riding does not necessarily lead to death. Not taking care of yourself pretty much assures an early demise.

    I am just rambling here.

    Would life be worth living for my dad if he started being more healthy? Everything we do we do for a reason. What is the reason for him not taking care of himself? After his last heart attack he expressed that he has already lived longer than he thought he would. A self-fulfilling prophecy in action?

    He won't listen to anyone. The doctor already told him he would have to cut salt out of his diet. My mom said she is going to throw away all the salt in the house. He said bullshit. If I could beat his ass, I would. But he's stronger than me, even with his handicaps.

    I'll ramble more later. But I'm tired. I need some shut-eye. Have a great night folks!
    Jeff

    Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable in their apparent disinclination to do so.
    -- Douglas Adams

    Happiness is not a goal to be pursued - it is the by-product of a balanced and purposeful life.
    -- Unknown

    The value of life should not be determined by the geographical and political borders that surround it.
    -- Me

    My ride: 2006 ZZR-600

  10. #10
    Contributor 8000 Posts! jenniferb's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear what you're going through. It's very hard to try to support someone who won't help themself.

    I had a close friend who had terrible financial problems. I did everthing I could to help, but got frustrated when the husband sat on his butt and didn't do anything to help his family. There's only so long you can be supportive in a situation like this.

    Take heart and vent all you want. We'll listen...

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