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Question
Posted by: Going Crazy | 2010/02/10

My Father father thrives on pity

My father had a very mild stroke last August. He is fine now. The stroke hasn' t affected his speech or anything. But he wants everyone to feel sorry for him. He keeps telling people he is fighting for his life. His neurologist gave him a clean bill of health and he was so angry that he saw another one. That doc also told him that he is healthy and put him on some other meds for the heaviness he feels on the left hand and leg. He had the blood clot on the right side of brain.

My father now goes on about how he is suffering and no one cares and even the doctors are frigthened to tell the truth about how sick he is. He says he is in pain all the time and if he just touches his hand or leg, the pain is so bad.

He also goes on about how he is disabled despite him helpsing so many people over the yrs and doing favours for them, no one has even offered to help him. I asked him what kind of help does he expect from people. He just says they can see him suffering. He says he can no longer work and hasn' t worked since August last year. He is a building contractor. My husband and I offered to relocate and continue his business and he said no. My younger brother offered to help him and says he can' t work with my father. He complains and criticizes everything.

My father complains about not having an income and he doesn' t have money for petrol or groceries and even wanted to cancel the medical aid. But he bought a brand new A class mercedes for cash last month. He also wanted to buy a house last year and despite us telling him not to pay the full cash amount for it, he deposited R800000 into the agent' s account. He withdrew his offer to purchase and was given back R700000 last week.

Now is this a man who is so broke??? Even my little brother told me that I should be taking care of him and paying his school expenses and thereafter tertiary costs as it is my duty. My father would have said something like this to him.

Doc, how do I deal with this? I am going crazy. I feel as if he is trying to send me on a guilt trip as everytime I speak to him he tells me that no one offers to help. He has no money and can' t pay for anything.

Last year and even this year, I begged him for a loan. My hubby and I have been trying for several yrs to conceive and I can only do say with IVF. I knew he had the money and hubby and i would pay back, but he said he is broke.

Doc, in a way, I feel sad that my dad told me he has no money and then went and paid cash for a house and now when i ask he says he is broke and then buys a mercedes. I am sick of his complaints of being disabled, when there is nothing wrong with him and he expects everyone to feel sorry for him. When people call him he tells them he is so sick.

My gran has cancer, has had a mastectomy and is on chemo and had a part of her colon removed and a hernia op all in the past 5 mths. She is still on chemo. And my dad doesn' t think this is serious. He is the one fighting for his life. What a joke!

Oh doc, advise me. I am on atidepressants and now I am feeling depressed again. Oh and my dad said yesterday that people who go for therapy and take meds are all looney!!!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hello GC.
I couldn't help but smile to hear of a man who, when a specialist told him he was healthy, demanded a second opinion ! Reminds me of the politician, who was told he had a low sperm count, and demanded a recount.
There ae some odd symptoms that can follow brain damage, including a stroke, and can include odd pain syndromes, but the neurologist would have checked on those possibilities.
Sounds like he primarily wants attention, soothing and comforting, as he seems inarticulate when asked exactly what he expects from other people. Sounds as though he is almost, peculiarly, in competition with and jealous of his wife, who has certifiably serious illness and perhaps get automatic sympathy without asking for it.
A perspective I sometimes find useful, is that some people ENJOY being miserable - you do them a service by letting them have something to grumble about, and indeed if one magically solved every possible source of irritation, they would be greatly frustrated and much more upset. They need soothing noises and agreement that things are indeed awful.
But there sems to be a degree of negativism and denial - to claim one is penniless AND by an unnecessary Merc, and a house, at the same time, is odd, even not to realize other people will see through the claim of poverty.
It is also, of course, your father's duty to provide for his son's education, and not you as the sister.

I would wonder ( and maybe the naurologist checked on this opr maybe not ) whether he might have experience more marked cognitive ( thinking ) damage from the stroke, as sometimes happens, and is thus less logical in his thinking, including unwise financial decisions. He might, if he saw it as an acknowledgement of his awful problems, agree to see a shrink, maybe a psychologist ( rememded that neiropsychological testing can reveal more subtle aspects of brain damage from a stroke ) for proper assessment of such possibilities.
Don't let him depress you.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/10

Hello GC.
I couldn't help but smile to hear of a man who, when a specialist told him he was healthy, demanded a second opinion ! Reminds me of the politician, who was told he had a low sperm count, and demanded a recount.
There ae some odd symptoms that can follow brain damage, including a stroke, and can include odd pain syndromes, but the neurologist would have checked on those possibilities.
Sounds like he primarily wants attention, soothing and comforting, as he seems inarticulate when asked exactly what he expects from other people. Sounds as though he is almost, peculiarly, in competition with and jealous of his wife, who has certifiably serious illness and perhaps get automatic sympathy without asking for it.
A perspective I sometimes find useful, is that some people ENJOY being miserable - you do them a service by letting them have something to grumble about, and indeed if one magically solved every possible source of irritation, they would be greatly frustrated and much more upset. They need soothing noises and agreement that things are indeed awful.
But there sems to be a degree of negativism and denial - to claim one is penniless AND by an unnecessary Merc, and a house, at the same time, is odd, even not to realize other people will see through the claim of poverty.
It is also, of course, your father's duty to provide for his son's education, and not you as the sister.

I would wonder ( and maybe the naurologist checked on this opr maybe not ) whether he might have experience more marked cognitive ( thinking ) damage from the stroke, as sometimes happens, and is thus less logical in his thinking, including unwise financial decisions. He might, if he saw it as an acknowledgement of his awful problems, agree to see a shrink, maybe a psychologist ( rememded that neiropsychological testing can reveal more subtle aspects of brain damage from a stroke ) for proper assessment of such possibilities.
Don't let him depress you.

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