Gabby Kuper
Selfishness Revealed by Illness
Throughout the ‘hard times’ of a person’s life, they may face their difficulties with an attitude of generosity and fortitude. When it comes to living in sickness, however, true human nature seems to reveal itself. When confined to the house, room, or bed with a chronic illness, one becomes weak. Their misery will spread and infect those around them as well. This weakness allows themselves to show the nature of humans, which is not the aforementioned strength, but selfishness as well as impatience.

Young People Affected by Illness
Chronic illnesses have an extreme effect on the mindset of an individual. Effected children and adolescents are subjected to developmental issues, worries of being socially unaccepted, and being uncertain of their future. Children have been observed to experience more stress and far more changes in personality and behavior. Their risk for psychological disorders significantly increases in the presence of a severe illness. The limits put on chronically ill children, usually by parents or doctors, destruct their concept of manners and ‘behaving’. This causes the child to be quick-tempered and prone to tantrums. Human selfishness is the underlying root of negative behavior changes due to sickness. As illness weakens the body physically, humans have less energy to be able to hide our selfish, impatient nature. Sick people make their desire known and it is quite obvious they don’t give much regard to anyone else. Individuals with a chronic illness are viewed as a burden on society by the vast majority of our population. It is the healthy person’s own selfishness that causes the sick to be aware of everyone else’s ‘not my problem’ attitude. Sickness has a monumental impact on the person living in it, and alters every aspect of their life.

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Illness Impacts the Family
When a family member is suffering from a severe illness, the dynamic of their family will drastically change. Parents are primarily the caregivers to their children while they are sick. Their role is a challenging one, as they face great tension between members of the family, high financial expenses, and difficulty communicating with their child. When the family views these stigmas as unmanageable, relationships weaken, and stress accumulates. The parent’s perception of their child’s uncontrollable selfish behavior causes them to believe there are disciplinary issues occurring. The common tendency for mothers who experience more elevated levels of stress due to their child’s illness is to view their behavior as deviant. A severely ill person will naturally have more difficulty suppressing their selfish desires, but this drives a wedge between them and their apathetic family members. Siblings of the sick become ‘forgotten’ by their parents and they too may lash out in attempts of receiving some attention. Being around an ill family member causes the rest of the family’s own selfish motives to surface.

Chronic Illness and the Elderly
Elderly people are often diagnosed with chronic illnesses, making them even more aware of their numbered days. When most people hear the words ‘sick old people’ it can be quite obvious that they are the last thing anyone wants to be around. They are believed to be grouchy, rude, and miserable. And it is true, they are! Elderly people suffering from chronic illnesses often address people rudely, will make threats if they can’t get what they want, and will even get physically violent with people that are trying to care for them. Like many others that are chronically ill, older patients can try to put on the humble and serene façade, but it won’t last very long. Nobody wants to be sick, and nobody wants to be in the presence of a sick person either. Why would anyone want that? People want to be able to make their own decisions without any restrictions. So, when chronic illness stands in the way of that ability, selfishness and impatience becomes very prominent.

Chronic illness causes humans to reveal their weak nature of impatience and selfishness. Behavior issues become prominent in individuals of any age. Young people and children especially develop psychological and behavioral disorders as a result of suffering from a severe illness. The family becomes frustrated and quick tempered as well. There is also a severely negative impact on the conduct of elderly patients. The overall loss of control amplifies humans’ root of selfishness.


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