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Noticing Something About Myself...Not Sure How I Feel About It



Has anyone said to you, "It's all about you.". I have had this statement said to me numerous times. Today I have been thinking...Do I make others feel this way? Am I egocentric? Do I lack empathy or maybe sympathy? You get the picture I'm sure. There are things I have noticed about myself since the stroke: I talk a lot about myself and the stroke or stroke effects left over. I get on my own nerves sometimes. There are certain things that I feel indifferent about. My stepmom hoards (cleanly but hoards). It's caused her issues in the recent past when her mother passed. She hasn't been able to let go of her things whether they are useful or not. So much so that she pays for 3 storage units to house all the items because her house is full. (Remember I live with my dad and stepmom for now due to financial reasons.) She also was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism about a year and a half ago. This caused her to lose calcium and vitamin D from her bones and caused several hairline fractures about her lower legs, ankles, and foot area. So she has had pain, surgery to remove three of her 4 hyperparathyroid glands and the last year to recover and build her calcium and vitamin D back up. The problems I see is that she keeps anything and everything and can't let it go besides true filthy trash. Like she rinses and reuses Ziploc bags, has an insurmountable amount of "stuff" that is buried on top of each other that is never used, has like 10 China cabinets full of glassware, trinkets, ceramic anything, things that she had "collected" through the years, all the curtains, sheets, clothing, etc. that she has had over the past 35+ years and all that anyone will give her, out of date beauty and Avon products that she refuses to get rid of and says they are ok and she plans on selling them, honestly the whole house is a trip hazard for me and wrecks havoc on my overstimulation issues, the downstairs is so full that there is a walking trail from room to room. Anyway, I can't or won't help her because I get severe anxiety and she micro manages every move I make. She got upset with me for throwing away a bar of Phels Naptha soap because it was green and cracked and just gross. It was probably 20 years old. You can still but it. She said she could have sold it. I am writing a book here, sorry. She also moans all the time like every 10-20 seconds, "uh, uh, mm, oh, oh, ooh, ooh, oh my gosh, mm, etc." over and over constantly. Especially when someone comes into the room she is in. The doctors have told her in the past to stay off her feet, be careful and don't fall, no lifting, and she does it all. She has been on opioid pain killers for over a year. She's had 7-8 MRI's. Refuses to do what her doctors have said. Actually her levels are back to normal. No matter what else, I can't seem to find I guess sympathy for her. I have a tendency to get agitated with her and get on a soapbox and fuss. I have noticed recently that I avoid noticing her grunts and groans, self mumbling, negative self talk, just everything. Granted I still talk about my stroke effects, sometimes using them as examples of how to "accomplish" things. I am getting way overboard in my explanation. I also notice that I speak about my stroke effects to many others I am close to all the time. I have to make myself stop. I don't really know what I'm trying to say...I'm sorta lost right now...my points are gone.😕 I'll just end with do any of you experience moments of egocentric behavior? lack of empathy? lack of sympathy? a more than what I Feel is normal preoccupation with stroke and self? Does anyone else feel like this toward you? Do I think its all about me? Confused...


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Yes, sometimes I run out of empathy. More so when I was a full time caregiver. I think for me it was about me being too tired to care about anything that was not connected to being a caregiver. Now it is about people complaining about husbands when I wish I still had mine. 




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Tracy :


I also think I talk about my stroke & my recovery story to every one. I also feel I should stop. Its been 14 years this is my life with my challenges no one has to care about it & give any allowances for it. World does not revolve around my problems.Every one has gne through some issues in their life.  your step mom has issues but  since you are living with them, only thing you can do is to help out in cleaning without judgement. there has to be give & take in every  relationship.







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I remember reading somewhere about "it's all about you"  but reading your post made me think about how others must see me. It's like the misery needs company. Not saying you're miserable but I see it as trying your darndest to make everyone else to 'see' how we see the world.  Having your life change is a devastating thing and sometimes we, as survivors of any kind, are focused on ourselves for we are now on the outside of life. We are still there but when we were , say riding in a car and now a stinky bus, accustomed to a way of life and with the mental guardrails we had ,to better deal with certain situations in life , are damaged, we can't handle the BS that is flung at us.


Empathy , or lack there of, is often a 'stick in the mud' for we had/have to fight to better ourselves and when you see someone not wanting to better themselves just is so frustrating.

  Sensory overload triggers  are very prominent at your fathers house. 


I wish I could have a continued thought to write back but , it's not feasible so... there xx

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Thanks Kelli no worries. I think you have a great point. All of you do. I think yes that I have to fight not in the physical way but emotionally yes. I'm also exhausted and honestly only me to take care of me. There are some things I have to avoid or stay away from...trying to keep my anxiety at bay most of the time. I know I spend every waking moment feeling the effects of my stroke...it is always right there. I suppose I have had to put me first...I used to never. This makes me think of the quote "you are more than your stroke". I'm going to try to be more aware and talk about the things others may want to talk about. I don't think I really have ever noticed I do it til recently. Maybe this is a new milestone. 🙂

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Step 1 of change see something and decide to do it differently.  Being able to see yourself from the outside view is not easy.  I think it is a milestone and like all of those celebrate it and make the change you want.




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Tracy, I think one reason you talk about your stroke, is because you are thinking out loud. Trying to make sense of it. Making sure you aren’t going it alone.


I liken it to people talking about other things, like falling pregnant, a wedding, a breakup...we all vent and think out loud.


Stroke talk is no different, unfortunately that’s not how it’s perceived.  Even by us.  We are definitely too hard on ourselves.


When people ask me how I am, I will tell them, but then immediately ask them how they are etc. 


No words for your stepmother.  I’m glad you have made the decision to ignore her antics. They are doing you no good whatsoever. 


Thinking of you. xxx

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I think we all get caught up in whatever is the prevalent thing in our life, and it can overtake everything else.   It's not that different than what your stepmom is doing, but hers is more visible - she is stuck in a place in her mind where she can't stop thinking about the same thing, just like you are stuck.   Ok, now to tell on my self.    I'm not one of those people that expect or even want help from others, my manifestation of this same 'mind set' is that I have a lot to do and also my own health problems, so I want to do what I need to do fast, and resent getting somewhere (like the pharmacy) and finding they have the pick up wrong AGAIN.   So I am stuck waiting for them to fix it, maybe 30 minutes, standing on swollen painful feet.   But that is just one example.   My big brain thing is, if I have a list of things to do, I want to do them, cross them off the list, and be done with it, making way for the next thing.     Unfortunately, it seems that anytime anyone else is involved, they drop the ball and the things don't get checked off the list, but need to be a 're-do'.    Every re-do takes away from getting anything done (appointments from workers, who didn't actually get it fixed, someone who wants to help, and you try to give them something simple to do, and they tear something else up that is now going to cost money and another appt to fix the thing they 'helped' you with).    SO, the outcome of all this is that I have become a "cut to the chase" kind of person, expecting precision from others, who apparently have never done one thing right in their lives, as far as I can tell.   My mission has been trying to be NICER to others.   This is more of a slippery slope than it sounds, because one of the reason I became so on point is because a more polite approach led to people just disregarding what I was saying and going right over top of me, like I was a child and they didn't need to listen to what I wanted.   I'm sure they would not have treated a man like that.    So a little like walking a tight rope, being nice and still assertive.   hmmmm.....    

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Tracy you are a good perzon or you would not have any self reflection so please see the beautiful soul in your mirror. 


For me as stroke took my life it took my identity. I worked hard to become and be and do but stroke made me evaporate like I was nuked. This was different from any caregiver role I had done in my life. This is not a loss of power or an inconvenience. This surviving rendered me a shadow or some clone who looked like me but my props that were familiar went missing. But not just a loss of home car job friends but I struggled to identify who am I without those things. I felt truly unwanted and unloveable and on the fringe of human existence. Honestly I still do. I suppose this makes me constantly scream See Me because I want someone to just relate to me.


I got lost in watching movies. There are many about some lost soul overcoming and then happy ending.

That is easier for me to stomach than listening to some blab about how their physical ailment was like winning the lottery. I clap for their good fortune to have a catastrophe pay off in money or in guilt stricken peoples loyalty. Those are usually the ones without the ability to see the pain in others because for some reason they cannot face their own inner pain. Sometimes as I look at certain people in our group at our hospital....I am ashamed to admit...

I honestly wonder if certain people would not have been anything except for the stroke coming along and they struck oil and are milking it for all its worth. They annoy me.


Am I the harsh one or do I recognize the dishonest self proclaimed ones from the rest.I am a judge now quickly able to see phonies.

Yet realizing they are even more lost than I so I do not expose anyone and just nod smile but do not get in my way.


Tracy you have every right to claim your place . Wherever you choose that place to be. You have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. You came to Fathers home as his child an adult but his child needing help. You are not Cinderella. 

If she needs a bunch of junk or prized possessions or slimy soap to define her then let it be. But do not feel like you owe it to anyone to be their custodian. If it was me I would offer to help her pack it to donate it but otherwise I would have a place like a room to keep up after myself . I would clean up the kitchen. It would make it clean for us all. If it helps your dad to wash or make his bed then I would say Yes. But let her hire people if she wants someone to follow lists and be micromanaging.


You are right. YOU are fighting for your life. It is not selfish. YOU must do whatever you need and I am so sorry that you are not supported better. But you are doing great things to take excellent care of yourself. You went through a big loss but emerged. You are the heroin. You are not getting what you want from others so you can take care of yourself. You need you now.


But nevertheless I know Tracy as a warm caring very empathetic woman.


I think we as woman have a strong nurture instinct and we feel guilt when we feel selfish. But that word is wrong. We must self care.


I do things to carve out new identity. But my days are spent coloring. Not much to show for the time I spend just surviving pain. What is the measure of my worth now. I feel warehoused. But I have a purpose when just 1 person loves me. Then that is my purpose.to be loved.


I love the book The Little Prince. SUch rich texts. We are not selfish cruel though. We are in many ways starting over with identity development. It makes my head spin. I feel useless but Yet......


I guess it depends on how much of yourself you considers lost different.

I guess we would not be on here if we did not care about helping others so we are an empathetic group. Yet we all are seeking support. So what a blessing as we help eachother we are helped.


Tracy you are in a one way over there. The next time you hear those words..it is all about you.....think of what you have been doing compared to receiving. And I do not mean shelter in your Fathers home. 

Yes he is good man for helping his child and he loves you. So he does not want you stressed by this or ashamed.

No need for shame. It was not your goal for this.


Ok so for overstim around the house all I can say is have a space in your room that is comfy to you to relieve when you are in busy spaces. Clear a pathway and if needed use a walker. My walker lets others know I am not steady so beware. Also it carries my tote bags. I have a 3 wheel so it folds and is light. It helps me look down at it rather than at clutteredness. Bright lights put me in a bad mood

That is it.end of story. Dim those lights when I just cannot endure or when possible. 


I am high maintenance now. No apologies.

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Pam I really appreciate your points of view. They are a great help when evaluating the me now. I do have a safe place to retreat to...My room. No one bothers me in there and I don't subject myself to unnecessary "stuff" when I choose to be there. I really am so grateful to my father and step mother for opening their home to me. I can't control others thoughts or actions...I can only control me. When I can't, I have my bedroom. As for its all about me...well sometimes it is but not because I chose that path. Oh my, I am falling asleep as I write this...I just dropped my phone onto my face LOL. Without the possibility of babbling I'll stop here. I am having to redefine me and not by choice. It's time I put me first and that's ok.

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