Since Thanksgiving my relationship with my family has been a bit strenuous. The main culprit was my sister, but because no family member publicly sided with me or even told her that it was not a way to deal with family members, I took it as they also shared her feelings towards my Significant Other (S.O.). This feeling has caused me to distance myself from everyone. If you have a relationship with my family, then I stay away from you. The disadvantage is that most of my friends are somewhat connected to my family. It is easier to hang out with acquaintances now, but sometimes they ask about my niece or my sister and I close up. I do not know how to explain to people that I am ashamed of them at the moment. I love them, but I want them far away from me. I am also afraid that people will assume that I am a bad person because my family treats me badly. Why would you treat someone dear to you badly unless they are bad people? I miss my family, but for the moment we do not talk. I am afraid that the disconnect that we are experiencing now will affect our friendship. I wish I had a guide to navigate that situation.
This past Thanksgiving, my sister dis-invited my significant other (S.O.) to the dinner that was being held at her place. She sent a text message, stating that her baby-daddy did not want him to join them for dinner because of what he did two years ago.
Two years ago, my S.O. was working retail, and we had to leave dinner early because he was working that same night. On that day, he was tired, we had a fight on the way to the dinner, and he was a bit upset and uncomfortable. My family did not know of that nor did they try to understand what was going on.
I always dreaded going to my sister’s place. I do not feel comfortable there, and neither her and her significant other tried to make me or my significant other at ease. We always feel like strangers at that place. Additionally, she had never accepted him into the family. She never tried talking to him and would always voice her discomfort with him. Even my niece acts up when he is around. However, when my sister needs his help, she can be the most lovely person, whether it is for work referral, car trouble, fetch her food, or to show how diverse she can be.
This Thanksgiving, I stood up for my relationship and said that I would not accept how my family treats my S.O. It was not the first time they had kept him out of family reunions. Before I played along but this time I realized that things would not get better if I do not do or say something. I decided not to go to the dinner, and I also reminded them that it was a family day, yet they decided to keep him and I (supposedly family) out of the celebration. This time I had enough. I said what was on my mind and I was resentful, not because of the dis-invite, but because my own sister had decided to keep the love of my life out of her life. Her agreeing with her man made me feel alienated. My brother, who I had hopped would side with me, still went to dinner like nothing happened.
Throughout the years, I realized that I loved my siblings but strongly disliked them. The people that they are becoming are very ugly in the inside. Moreover, they have been absent when I needed them and indifferent to me. My sister has always felt entitled to everything and is a very selfish person. My brother, on the other hand, is manipulative and selfish because he has always been spoiled. According to my parents, he could do nothing wrong. It is hard for me to cut them off of my life. However, I believe that I need to remove myself emotionally from them. And I need to do so tactfully. My family is very fickle and sensitive.
I think the main problem my siblings have with my relationship is because my S.O. is White and I am black. My sister dislikes him because of his skin color. My brother is more accepting, but I question his motives. My siblings always voiced the difficulties and aches that come from racial stereotyping. It is so hypocrite of them to do the same to another race. They do not know how to navigate an interracial couple, and they are not even making an effort.
It is stressful and draining to be in a relationship. It is even more when the people are from different backgrounds, culture, and race. I have no support group, no compassionate ear, no comforting shoulder to lean on. Furthermore, my family is making my life miserable. Since the Thanksgiving problem, it has been only insults. Last night my mom told me that I am following the devil. My family do not see the irreparable damages they are causing, and frankly I do not believe that they care.
I decided to see a therapist. It is very costly, but I need professional help. My life is crumbling, and I have not idea how to survive.
The new year started 3 days ago, and I still have no concrete idea of what I want from 2017. Of course, I want to be healthy, have a job, and have a place to live but besides that I have no clue what I want from this year or from my life (to be honest).
2016 has been challenging. Not only for me, but for women, Muslims, immigrants, transgenders, LGBTQ, and people with compassion in their hearts. For me it has been a year of learning about myself and also about my loved ones. I have always been a tolerant person, happy-go-merry, easy-going, non-confrontational, and accommodating person. I am a perfect example of a middle child. I grew up feeling that my older and younger siblings get all the attention (and still feel that way). They are the most looked after; my parents still provide for them. Also because I am financially stable and more resourceful than them, I always felt guilty of my luck and did my best to assist, support and provide for them. I also wanted and expected the reciprocal; the love, the attention, the care. Nonetheless, because I always put them first, I forgot about myself, my expectations, my feelings, my standards. I lost myself in the cause, and I did not see how self-destructive that behavior would turn out to be. Helping my siblings became the only goal. I would anticipate their needs, and I would jump as soon they said they needed me. I would drop friends, lovers, myself to run out to them. This was the way I lived my life. I allowed them to feel entitled to everything I own. However, summer of 2016 after a nervous breakdown, I realized how I let everyone dictate my life. I saw the extent of my “humanitarian” actions.
I always drew satisfaction from knowing that my siblings and friends needed me. I treated my friends the same as my siblings. It gave me purpose. It also filled my days, I never made time for myself. I was not big on self-care. I was always the giver, and I received little in return. I always wanted to be surrounded by people because I believed that charisma was a sign of success. Therefore, in order to have an entourage, I would agree to and accommodate to everyone’s requests. Having people around would validate me; it would say to the world that I am a great person. Additionally, attending a Catholic school enforced the idea that I was a sinner, that I was bad, but that I could redeem myself if I was a good Samaritan. I forgot however, that life is about balance, if I give and do not get something in return, I will empty out…. Then, sometime during the summer of 2016, I realized that I was empty. I had no idea who I was, what I wanted, what brought me joy, or even how I made it that far in life without an identity. I allowed people to define me; what they say in me was what I was. I just did not realized that I was denying myself a chance at happiness.
Lately, because I will no longer accept to be a doormat, my friends and family are rebelling against me. They call me names, they insult me, they marginalize me, they manipulate and abuse me. They are testing me. Life is testing me. Nonetheless, I recognize that I need to figure myself out and grow a backbone. I need to stand up for myself and allow my true self to be revealed. I need to stop seeking validation from friends and family. I want to be happy. I deserve to be happy. I should do things because I want to, not because that is what is expected from me. I think that the universe is removing these people from my life, and it is a painful experience. I wasted years on ungrateful people. My life is mine, and I choose to be happy .