Motivations

Sometimes the people who need the most support ask for it the least.

Occasionally I will mention S and his mom. S is a friend of husband’s who is taking care of his mother as Alzheimer’s continues to take an increasingly negative toll on her. Around the time he began to take care of her he also quit drinking. The combination of the two resulted in a decrease in his level of friends.

The longer he takes care of her the less his remaining friends offer to come over. He doesn’t want to go to the bar anymore and his social life is almost non-existent. As for dating, he doesn’t have the time to put into a relationship so he doesn’t try to start one, just sticks to the occasional fwb opportunity. He does go visit M and he’ll come to our house and I try to find the time to go walking with him in the evenings when I can but he spends the majority of his time alone with a woman who may still look like his mother but there is almost no trace of the woman she used to be left. It’s a lonely life. I can see the toll it’s taking on him and it’s not good.

Since the majority of his friends are men, and selfish men at that, he’s long since stopped asking people to come to him or accommodate his schedule. He almost never asks for any sort of help at all and none of them take it upon themselves to offer any. When people chastise me for going walking with him or sending him a funny picture or just a text to check in and see how his day is going I want to shake them and ask them why they think it’s inappropriate to offer a bit of support to a guy who really needs someone to show they care about his well-being or offer an ear to vent to. Why don’t more people offer the same support?

Is it a female trait to want to offer emotional support to people who are in a touch situation? Is it a male trait to not want to ask for any? Why is it so easy to dismiss the struggles of other people? Does society try to push us apart and discourage the concept of supporting each other to make it easier to control us?

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8 thoughts on “Motivations

  1. You could do a PhD thesis on your questions and still only scratch the surface DBA. I think a lot of it is that people view relationships as a balance book – debits and credits. He obviously can’t earn credits because he has no time or energy – so they offer him nothing. That may sound cynical but I suspect that a lot of relationships/friendships are like that. It is so kind of you to continue to checkup on him and make time for him. You’re a good person DBA.

  2. You are kind and thoughtful. He is fortunate that you are there for him. Sadly I think you are right in that women are more likely to be empathetic, sympathetic and offer support and men are more likely not to ask for help. Men also generally find the caring role so much more difficult to do than women. By saying this I will probably get shouted at by certain women’s groups but from my own experience and observation I know this to be true. Some men are excellent nurses and carers and some women very poor ones but they are the minority. Whoever cares for someone with Altzheimer’s or dementia has a very difficult and lonely life and is likely to become depressed and have eating disorders etc. There is so much ignorance (and fear) about mental health issues even in the medical profession. Each person with a problem experiences slightly different symptoms to everyone else and will react differently to help and medication. This puts a lot of people off vital research into mental health – there is no easy answer and the money needed for the research cannot be even guessed at.

    • You bring up valid points. S definitely struggles with depression and he is steadily losing weight each year even as his mom gains it. I just wish the village mentality still existed and that society encouraged people to invest in their fellow community members.

      • That would be wonderful but I think that has gone for good in most towns and cities. In Britain the government have been plugging ‘Care in the Community’ where sick people (especially those with mental health issues) stay at home and are cared for there by visiting nurses and doctors and long-suffering relatives. This is mainly a government cost-cutting project because most people aren’t cared for very well at all.

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