A few years ago, I made the decision to pack my bags and move to Texas for a consulting opportunity. This was after months and months of deliberation. I decided to sell everything in my house in LA and make the move. The experience from this opportunity was going to set me up for the future.
Here I was moving furniture, packing my car, and listing stuff on craigslist. It happened quickly.
I will keep this family member un-named for obvious reasons.
So this family member stopped by on our last day in LA. After I told them the reason for leaving it became obvious they already knew. They ended up shouting at me for about 30-60 mins straight.
I didn’t get a chance to speak. I’ve always been strong in my own skin and can see things from an objective point of view quite easily but I did feel disrespected and confused. What was said was intended to hurt me. This person made me feel that the community would judge me differently if I decide to move. Interestingly, this person left their family overseas at one time to immigrate to America for opportunity.
I wasn’t sure what this ‘family betrayal’ meant at that time because it was centered around what others would feel and think about me.
By the end of their rant they chose to ‘cut ties’ with me because they said I was a ‘bad influence on their family and their kids’. A few days after this incident they were gossiping negative things about me to the community, which affected my parents, because they felt it was hurting their “reputation”. This person was a machine, just going on and on.
Reminds me of a story Hasan Manaj shared in his Netflix Special Homecoming King. His family was against marrying outside his religion and nationality. They came to this conclusion based on what people would think about them in their community.
I was hurt to see my parents hurt. You would think that this family member would keep an already stressful time for me private and help me during this time of transition. Maybe I was only seeing it from my perspective and not there’s. It was a learning experience.
I just didn’t understand the benefit of broadcasting “gossip” of how bad of a person I was for taking a role in Texas for my career and moving away from my parents. I wasn’t living with them for at least 4 years, we were on our own. My parents were going to miss their granddaughter/my daughter, so I understood that point of view. But all the drama created a cloud of negativity that my mother and father had to deal with.
I’ve later come to the conclusion that this person is like everyone else. We are, as a people, going through a lot. Most people feel trapped in a ‘service to self interests’ attitude. Not always thinking about what they say and how it psychologically affects others. Most people are caught up in circumstances around people, money, and past negative experiences that shaped their behavior and habits. I’ve dealt with it myself, so I can relate with them. I understand.
Sometimes you end up with a family member who, if you just met them, you would not go to dinner with them. Just by their negative vibe.
After this debacle, my mother still kept communication with this person. She always had compassion towards them no matter all the negative things said to her about her kids. She would always see the best in others, and give them the benefit of the doubt in every situation.
Surprisingly, my mother would not say negative things about this person to me either. She spoke about this person objectively without taking my side after this negative experience. She took in information from both sides.
I carry this as a lesson with me to this day, that you never know what people are going through. They will have bad days, so never take anything personal, and hold your tongue. If I get emotional and end up “speaking my mind”, I may say things I regret. So I just nod, smile, and be on my way. It keeps my mind at peace and mindful of how I invest my energy.
The ‘blood connection’ creates a bond we call family. An unconditional love that our ethnic communities still hold close to their heart. Even in the US and Canada. But a toxic relationship is a toxic relationship and it needs to be dealt with by keeping a distance and forgiving others. Life is too short to hold that energy. As all energy has mass, and carrying it with you only hurts you in the long run.
Looking back, I’m grateful for sticking to my intuition and trusting myself. At the time, I had a young daughter and moving was one of the most difficult life decisions I had at that time.
It was a decision after months of going back and forth.
At the time, Texas had more opportunities with small companies doing big construction and apartment projects. Whereas, California was run by large corporations and most of the small companies were run by private families with old money. Texas had the new money in real estate. I made the move for the experience and not the pay (however it would later pay off). The period of time I spent in Texas was an incredible growing experience as it lead to meeting a client who opened my life to large property management and construction. It was a small company and not a big corporation so I learned fast.
By being the average of the 5 people you spend most time with, sometimes we need to move ourselves into new environments.
Let those that hurt you go their way, they will remember how you reacted when you interacted with them. You are, in a way always, planting seeds without expectations. Even with those that don’t appreciate your time.
We care for family that hurt us because we feed into the emotions. We have spent time growing up together, share a common bond as family, and are invested in the emotions we shared in the past. So it stings when they say things that you might not agree with. But never take it personal. Learn from it. They could be the ones to say something that most people won’t say to you. Tough love. A recipe to unhappiness is trying to make everyone happy. So being upfront with your vision but misunderstood for long periods of time is a part of the long-term growing process.
The ones that hurt you won’t appreciate your presence until you’re no longer there.
So care from a distance.
Send a postcard.