Philosophy of The Big Society

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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Charity - No Pain, No Gain

Something shrink wrote about, few blogs back, has really got me to thinking.

He wrote that charity hurts or that is what I picked up from the posting.

Maybe was just another reason for me to go on a mind fuck, or twist it in with my own twisted thoughts, but I don't see what I do for my Dad as charity but it does hurt. Well, actually it is the doing things that don't seem to alleviate any of his pain that hurts.

His latest posting in regards to a daughter's attitude to her mother's deteriating mental state also hit a spot. Not because I view my father as vile or evil (he isn't at all but that is his view of himself) but it is the impact of someone's illness on another that hit me.

You can't really understand that until you are in it. I don't think. For sure you can empathise by imagining yourself in that position and wondering how you will feel or react but, in my experience, how I have thought I would react is different to how I react. As in, I liked to imagine myself as being able to handle anything with stoic bravery and rallying on to the bitter end, with a stiff upper lip and a hug and the reality is I chop and change...sometimes I am pretty upbeat with Dad..whatever he says to me and try to reassure him that we will get through things, together.... however, his behaviour and illness takes him. Then another time I see him and I am desperately trying to hold myself together as he pours his pain out.

I don't think this is charity. Charity is something that is separate to family ties. To me it is an organisation, or person, doing something for someone they aren't that close to....They aren't, for want of a better word, obligated to.

By using the word obligated, it makes it sound like Dad is a chore. Now, crunch point sometimes it feels that way to me. Perhaps because he isn't the Dad I used to know, rely on, look up to. Perhaps because his illness has changed him so much and it is so difficult to face his demons (especially when I am not quite sure what they are) whilst facing my own. I don't know. It gets complicated for me but to know someone is so miserable, so lost in life, so destroyed it is bloody hard to keep trying to see the light and then show it to them.

Am veering off on tangent but getting back to the title.... The saying may well be that charity begins at home but it is much more than charity that is going on between Dad and me. It is a fight for his survival and in some ways mine too.

I don't think charity is painful because people can opt in and out. They can decide what/who warrants their charity, family relationships are different. Well they are to people who care about members of their family.

And not having a pop at Shrink for what he wrote. It made me have a re-think about my views and what charity means to me (or not as the case may be).


  1. Just wanted to say, I love your writing Mandy.

    I think there are two kinds of charity: the first comes without thought - the second comes after thought, but not as an afterthought. Both are as good as each other. It is the act that counts in life, as it ever does in everything.

    Take care, D

  2. Like you say Mandy I can't imagine how it is for you. I agree that charity to me is a optional thing. when it is someone like your Dad their is no option you do the caring and running around because you love your Dad but also because if you didn;t then who would? hoping tommorow gives you some direction. x

  3. Thanks D

    Actions speak louder than words...but often non-action says quite a bit too.

    Em's Nan says "You know what thought did...let the moment slip away whilst it was thinking"

    Then again Descartes said "I think, therefore I am"..quite what, I guess, depends on what he was thinking he was.

    Time for another lozee, me thinks x

  4. Hi Lareve

    Thursday's blog post could read "Neurotic daughter carted off to loony bin whilst father remains at home with suicidal ideation as his only friend"

    And am only slightly jesting. I do sense the services will make me out to be the baddy in all this. Over-reacting and being counter productive to their endeavours to do barest minimum.

    After all he has the right to say "No" and to take his own life...but if he does you can bet your sweet aunt fanny that they will be doing all they can to dump any responsibility for his death outside of themselves.

    Another serious incident statistic that gets the accompanying "We were so passionate about patient care that we didn't see it coming" spiel.

  5. This is an important issue.

    To me charity is something selfless that we are able , willing and in a position to give to help
    others less fortunate than ourselves .

    Giving what we cannot afford to give away to assist others is incredibly compassionate but as selfless and admirable as it on the cosmic scale its not charitable because it will ultimate destroy the giver.


  6. Hi Mandy just picking up on what Em's Nan says, I often get it wrong using my own version ' Thought, thought it did but it didn't'. Which really makes no sense to be honest.Agree with Abysmal Musings though.
    Not sure what else to say to be honest.
    Sis xxx

  7. Hi Sis

    I get the saying. :>)

    Heavy day yesterday and not up to posting about it yet. It is a case of letting it sink in and hoping that all the words (that were bandied about) in the meeting turn into actions.

    Take care there xx