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2013年9月26日 (木)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「きょうだい」の義務とは /東京

September 15, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Considering our responsibility to our siblings
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「きょうだい」の義務とは /東京

I have recently been seeing an increasing number of patients in my office for consultations regarding their siblings who are suffering from social withdrawal, or 'hikikomori.'
 最近、診察室に「引きこもりのきょうだいのことで……」とやって来る人が増えた。

Here is one concrete case to consider.
具体的なケースを想定してみよう。

A woman in her 40s came to see me regarding her brother, three years older than her, who had long been living in social isolation at their childhood home. Their parents had been taking care of him, but their father had passed away two years prior, and their mother was due to be institutionalized after being diagnosed with dementia.
 相談に来たのは40代の女性。3歳年上の兄が、長い間実家で引きこもり生活を続けている。両親が面倒を見ていたが2年前に父親が亡くなり、その後母親は認知症になって施設に入ることになった。

"My mother's pension payments are going toward her institutionalization fees, and I myself have absolutely no spare time or money, since I am already taking care of both my own children and my husband's parents," the woman explained. "I am going to bring my brother here to see you, so please give him medication if he is ill, and do something so that he is able to work again."
 「母親の年金は施設の費用になりますし、私には子育てや夫の親の介護があり、時間的にも経済的にもまったく余裕がありません。今度、兄を連れてきますから病気なら治療して、何とか働けるようにしてください」

While this is actually a hypothetical case, I do in fact see numerous clients who come to me with this sort of dilemma. Sometimes, my patients have fallen into depression after a sibling came to them and announced, "Now, it's your turn to take care of me."
 これは架空のケースだが、相談の多くはこんな内容だ。きょうだいから「今度はあなたが私の面倒を見て」と告げられ、うつ状態に陥った人もいた。

Legally speaking, there does exist an obligation to provide support to one's family members. Consequently, it is not possible to simply turn a blind eye when one's parents or siblings have fallen on hard times.
 家族には法律上、「扶養の義務」というのがあり、親子、きょうだいが窮地に陥っているのに知らんぷりをすることはできない。

That said, however, such obligations are more lax in the case of siblings. The law states that one is "required to provide support (to one's siblings) to the extent that it does not require making sacrifices within your own life."
しかし、きょうだい同士はその義務が少し緩く「自分の生活を犠牲にしない限度で援助する義務がある」となっている。

Rather than giving assistance at any cost, then, the law states that such support is to be provided to siblings only to the extent that one is able to do so comfortably.
「何がなんでも」ではなくて、「自分にゆとりがあれば」助け合う。それがきょうだい、と法律で決められているのだ。

In the hypothetical case above, then, the woman would not be legally required to take care of her 'hikikomori' elder brother.
 そうだとしたら、先ほど挙げたケースの場合、その引きこもりの兄の世話をする義務は妹にはない、ということになる。

The situation, however, is more complicated than this.
とはいえ、事はそう簡単に運ばない。

We can imagine, for example, that, if the woman's brother in the above case made an inquiry to social welfare representatives about receiving assistance, they would ask him whether he had any family members who could support him. We can imagine, moreover, that the brother himself would also contact his sister numerous times to ask for help, and that their institutionalized mother would say something like, "I'm really sorry to ask you this, but please take care of him."
もし、兄が生活保護を受ける相談に行けば福祉担当者は「どなたか親族で扶養してくれる人はいませんか」と尋ねるだろう。その前に、本人から「なんとか援助してくれないか」と何度も連絡が来たり、施設に入っている母親が「申し訳ないけど面倒見てあげて」と言ったりするかもしれない。

Whether it's legally or emotionally speaking, then, breaking one's family ties is not so easily accomplished.
法的にも感情的にも、「家族の縁を切ること」は簡単にはできないのだ。

The question then remains: Should one endeavor to help out one's siblings, even if it requires inviting hardship into one's own life? This would likely result in feelings of resentment toward one's siblings for being unable to support themselves -- and also toward one's parents for leaving one in this situation following their deaths. Such a situation, in fact, would mean that one's remaining years would be so difficult as to actually say that the person in question was not even living life at all.
 では、やはり自分の人生を犠牲にしてでもきょうだいの世話を引き受けるべきなのか。もしもそうなったら、その人は生活能力のない兄や妹を恨み、そんな状態にしたまま世を去った親を恨み、息も絶え絶えで、人生の後半を生きなければならない。

Although it is certainly not impossible for people in their 40s or 50s who have been living in social isolation while depending upon their parents to go to a clinic or other consultation-type facility, and work to achieve independence -- thereby making a comeback -- this would unfortunately be the exception rather than the rule.
 長い間、親に依存して暮らしてきた40代、50代の引きこもりの人たちでも、一念発起してクリニックや相談機関を訪れ、そこから自立を果たす可能性もないわけではないが、残念ながらそれは極めてまれなケース。

The issue of who will take care of one's 'hikikomori' siblings following the death of their parents, therefore, constitutes a serious social problem that must be addressed.
「親が亡くなった後、誰が引きこもりのきょうだいの面倒を見るか」という事は、これからの深刻な社会問題だ。

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2013年09月10日 地方版

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