Motivation v. Outcome - Excerpt from Marriage or Soulmates by Rajah E. Smart

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

Now that my mother is out of the hospital and back home, I figured that wouldn’t be the end of this drama. The rationale for making such a statement is simple really. It’s called history. Both of my “parents” are now much older and need care. As one of their children, I’m expected to provide them with care. Here is where people will tell you it’s the “right thing to do,” but is it right if you weren’t given that level of care as a child? Mother expects a level of care she never provided and admits this even today. I don’t hate mother, dislike her, etc. She helped me understand the world and I’m better for it. While I may be diagnosed with a personality disorder, I would say my thought pattern has helped me achieve great things and I owe that to parents that lived their lives the way they wanted, despite their children. The result is approaching life decisions from a different lens.

As my wife notified me about her stroke, I stayed in my chair watching television. It bothered me to be disturbed on a Sunday, especially after a long week of work. I’m a narcissist by nature, so it’s a natural response. Something told me that I’d be responsible at some level, so I eventually left from Lansing to be at the hospital. This is where the drama ensues.

I’m not one for unsolicited advice. It’s advice given from folks that don’t have the qualifications to provide it, they aren’t in the trenches helping, or they don’t know the history as to why decisions are made. While in Detroit for work, my wife summoned me back home as a decision needed to be made about surgery. She was apparently in a coma. Rushing, home, I didn’t want her to have to make that decision in my absence. I also didn’t want my younger brother to bear that responsibility as I knew the two of us would have to “fix” everything or deal with it later.

If something went wrong, I have no issues taking the blame. I arrived in time to meet the doctor. He said my mother had an 80/20 likelihood of surviving. Ah, the 80/20 principle. That is something I could wrap my head around. Two options: avoid the surgery and she dies slow or they do the surgery and she dies on the table. Here is where Motivation v. Outcome is important.

Since the surgery has an 80% attrition rate, I could choose surgery and she dies on the issues. If we didn’t do the surgery, she dies slow, we keep going to the hospital, and we incur hospital bills. I chose the surgery for selfish reasons, but a thought permeated in my head. If she survives, we [sons] are going to have to be responsible collectively. Laughable, I thought. It seems to spite me, she indeed survived and recovered.

Now, the woman she was when she raised us is back and worse. Nasty, manipulative, stubborn, and selfish. This time it’s no longer entertaining as I’m an adult with responsibilities. Now we have two parents that are in need of care. Again, care they never provided when I was a child.

Knowing my wife would jump in and my younger brother would assist, I made myself available because that’s what a husband does for his wife, and that’s what an older brother does for his younger. While family makes up in their mind opinions about the situation that don’t mean squat, and people have their opinions about what we should do, I think about the care that’s expected and the reality. Folks question your choices but aren’t at the table making the decisions. For that I say, they can kick rocks or have a Coke and a smile and shut the f---k up.

She continues to manipulate situations and people as she admitted to me recently about her behavior in the home. I eventually had them place her in a chair next to the desk. She knew that I was behind it because that is how we have always been. She knew I placed her in that home. To her credit, she has always been good at manipulation. It’s a gift. Imagine living with an undiagnosed individual during your formative years or having your father tell you "I never liked you" as far back as 12-years of age. She actually shared this with her nurse as well to get a reaction out of me but those things no longer work. The last day I saw her, she put on a great performance including tears. Not 10 minutes before she was walking around the house, picking up, eating ice cream, and more. Once an audience came, waterworks. As I said, she’s good.

So, while my motivation was strictly selfish for the choice of surgery, the outcome was small at best. Yet, it happened and my circle and I are left to take care of parents that didn’t take care of their own equally. I’m more of an enact a plan type of person versus nurturing, caring, empathetic, and sympathetic. Mother understands that about me, which is oftentimes why she doesn’t want me around so she can manipulate a situation. So, if you make a decision based on motivation, be willing to accept the outcome. It may not be what you want so you will have to deal with the choice in some way. I am responsible for paying their bills as well. This is a task I'm okay with because they can't live with me, so I'm going to make sure they have what they need. Think what you may, but at least I'm honest with myself. :)

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