I recently passed the third anniversary of my husband’s death from cancer. This milestone brought to the fore, once again, some thoughts about what I will term health selfishness. Let me explain: I joke that my mother has been dying since I’ve known her. This woman has now outlived every member of her immediate family, their spouses, her own spouse, and many times I wonder if she may outlive her children. By choosing to always be ill instead of formulating a method to choose wellness, she has created a harsh, negative, black hole environment around her. I certainly understand that there is true pain and suffering. My heart goes out easily to those. What I speak of is a different breed.
What led me to coin the term health selfishness are certain observations. In addition to being around my mother and witnessing her effect on me, my husband had a sister who also was constantly suffering. He would call her every Sunday as a very gracious gesture and listen to her harangue about her ill health for over 30 minutes. Always, he was frustrated from this waste of time. This sister is still around and kicking and complaining while having buried her brother (my husband) and will very soon bury her daughter-in-law. I feel in my heart that by my husband and I both being victimized by the selfish behavior of these individuals, that we ignored signs of impending health issues which needed medical attention. I can understand when scientists speak of caregiver burnout and dangers of additional stress on the health of this group. I often wonder how much stress caring for such people shortens the lifespan of those around them and if there is a general discrediting of signs of any illness out of fear for taking on the same attributes. What gives them the right to take away our freedom of life?
The health selfish will never acknowledge the negative impact they have on others’ lives. What makes them believe they have a selfish right to our time and energy? If we act in any way as if we resent their complaints or harangues, we are then labeled as the selfish one. Our time is for their convenience, not our own. They are sick, and you are expected to do all in our power to ensure every moment of their life is pleasant and every command or need met. It is assumed that we can’t know what real illness is and therefore we probably shouldn’t spare time seeking out any medical care for your ourselves. I certainly resent having spent numerous hours away from my dying spouse to silence the continuous storm of displeasure my mother inflicted upon me. This is time I will NEVER recover and I damn well resent it for a reason! I see it as long-term murder.
The health selfish have a choke-hold on their enablers. People who visit doctor after doctor or have multiple elective surgeries have someone in the wings that they are strangling the life from. They seek out and life murder someone, then move on to their next victim. All the while, how can they be sick if they keep going on forever?
Do you know or are victimized by the health selfish? It is very freeing when you cut them loose to either change their behavior or fly alone. If something happens to them, claim self-defense!
Some restrictions apply: health selfishness is limited only to those who constantly complain about everything and never want to embrace or witness joy in life.
Guest post by With_age, an introvert who abhors when the truly stupid utilize the aural capacity of others.