Social Question

Aster's avatar

Is this a reasonable excuse to have never worked a day?

Asked by Aster (18320points) January 23rd, 2013

A 52 year old man I used to be related to was born with a hole in his heart. When he was in his late twenties and had children he decided to go to Court Reporter School then dropped out. His mother was told it was a very dangerous condition so she accepted it as did his wife. He took up drinking in his forties when his wife left him for a man who is employed and he had just had surgery to close the hole . Now he’s fifty two, living with his mother and drinking daily. A friend of mine had her hole sewn up in her sixties and she’s fine. Do you think this man should still be sponging off his 80 year old mother?

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21 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

There is obviously more to the story – you are giving a brief synopsis based on your feelings, and expecting us to make an objective judgment off of a subjective description.

We don’t know all the details. We don’t know him or his mother, and why she is comfortable with the situation. We don’t know what your role is in the situation.

Bottom line is that you think you have detected a situation you feel is wrong, and you want us to agree with you.

But I want a whole lot more facts – not opinions – before I come to that conclusion.

Aster's avatar

@elbanditoroso I apologize for the question.
His mother hates living with him only because he gets drunk so often and she has to buy the beer. I know this because she told me a month ago.

gondwanalon's avatar

I assume that the “hole” in the man’s heart was in the septum that separate the left and right sides of his heart. The size of the hole is a significant aspect of this. But even a tiny hole can cause a clot that normally would have gone to the lungs to shoot to the brain to cause an ischemic stroke. He should have had that hole fixed long ago. Without fixing the hole he was one clot away from a nursing home. Now that the hole is fixed he have no excuse for his behavior.

Perhaps even a better question here is why the the mother allow this situation?

Aster's avatar

She told me that it is not in her nature to ever “kick out” one of her children. Even though he gets belligerent to the point of scaring her she just can’t make herself do it. Plus, the fact that her other two children died may have something to do with it.

wundayatta's avatar

I think no one can answer this question for anyone else. We all have our own sets of experiences and judgments about what is reasonable or not.

I think that people who work and contribute to the community are happier and live longer. But people can learn helplessness and being told not to work due to a heart defect can take over your psychology and make it very difficult to work.

Is this person getting therapy? Because it sounds to me they need some mental tools if they are going to work on mental health. It’s not just a physical problem. It’s a mental issue. Has anyone been addressing that? Because if not, then I think this person has been woefully neglected and everyone in his life should be ashamed for not helping him.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

He could do everything else except get a job suitable for his condition? I am not talking about backbreaking work, but even an office job( part-time)? Mmmmm,

Aster's avatar

@wundayatta I’m interested in your unique reply. I hadn’t thought of him as being “woefully neglected” since his ex wife supported him and their three kids for 20 years. And his uncle, 73, got him a job and he wouldn’t even show up so he got cussed out for that.
Besides; what does a middle aged man even say to a counselor if he just doesn’t want to work? “Hi, I’m John and I need someone to help me want to work; I’d rather mom support me and buy my beer. Can you grow me a backbone?” And in case you were hinting, I’m not in his life.
This is not a teenager we’re speaking about.

Aster's avatar

@ZEPHYRA he was led to believe for decades he couldn’t do labor because of his heart. It’s fine now but he’s sort of stuck between a rock and a Budweiser.

wundayatta's avatar

Only a teenager? No therapy? This is pretty neglectful. The problem is in his head, not his heart. He needs help. He needs to reenvision himself. He needs to see himself as able to work, and able to find work. He is probably pretty depressed. That’s what happens to people who never do things for themselves. That’s what learned helplessness is all about. And probably the whole family contributes to the problem, so it wouldn’t just be him who needs therapy. Family therapy. Occupational therapy.

I don’t know what the therapist would say, but they are trained in problems like this. You can make fun of it, but he may well be afraid to want to work. Afraid to try. He knows one life and this requires him to be different from how he’s ever been. That’s got to be frightening, and I’m sure just about everyone in his life has the same attitude you do about it. No one can understand what it’s like to be him.

Not your fault really, although you could be more empathetic. You don’t have any experience, either. That’s why a therapist can help.

YARNLADY's avatar

My son and two of my grandsons are sponging off me. I am just grateful we can help them. They all would rather be fully employed and self supporting, but we do the best we can with what we have.

Aster's avatar

@YARNLADY they’re so lucky to have you. Are they in their fifties with a drinking problem and living in your home? I’m not sure I would term this particular circumstance “helping.” It’s more like “raising.”

Shippy's avatar

If he can drink, and survive, he can work.

wundayatta's avatar

Of course he can work. That’s not the problem. Motivation is the problem. It’s a head problem, not a body problem.

Aster's avatar

Yes; so can a counselor turn a non-motivated person into a motivated one?

wundayatta's avatar

@Aster That can be a reason to hire one. Which is to say that yes they can do it, although they won’t be successful with every client. But if the client wants to become motivated, they counselor can help.

Buttonstc's avatar

”...he gets drunk so often and she has to buy the beer”

Here’s a newsflash for her. No, she doesn’t HAVE TO buy his beer. She chooses to do so and whether she realizes it or not, she is enabling his alcoholism.

Here’s a thought. What would happen if she flat outright refused to buy his beer?

Then they could put all that money to some positive use such as therapy for Codependency. Then there’s a chance that each might grow in a healthy direction.

As long as she keeps supplying his booze, why on earth would he even want to work? And who wants to hire a nasty drunk?

Aster's avatar

Good points, @Buttonstc . GA

jca's avatar

What happens to this guy when his mom passes away? He’d be needing either motivation or a disabilty check, and disability is not going to pay all his bills.

Aster's avatar

Good question, @jca. All I can offer is that his grandmother lived to 97 and his great grandmother to 98. His mother , 80, looks 70. She said something to me about possibly he could get back to his wife, 50 who has a good job but her health isn’t as well as it could be. She got a boyfriend and left him so I have no idea what will happen. He also will get an inheritance from his mother that many people would be thrilled about.

jca's avatar

@Aster: When he gets the inheritance he will be all set.

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