Honestly, this is a very tough topic for me to get into.
Before I start I would just like to share something about my life:
My granddad passed away in the second week of June. He was one of my favourite people on the planet.
Not that I ever told him or that I ever showed it. But he was.
He has always been there to support me and encourage me in ways my father never could. When my dad lost his job in the recession he took us in and at that moment I couldn’t see his love or generosity.
I was a 12-year old whose life had completely changed. Separated from my dad for the first time ever, I was forced to move to my grandparents home in Kerala from a very comfortable life in Dubai.
My mom, brother and I slept in the same room and I treated everyone in the house like shit. I was a teenager whose life looked like it sucked. I would only come out of my room for meals and reply curtly to my grandparents.
I deeply regret my behaviour.
I wish I was better than that.
I am really sorry for the way I treated you back then Achacha, I hope I have shown you how I have changed.
I will make you proud.
Thank you for all your love and support.
IS FAMILY TIME QUALITY TIME?
So for the funeral, all my cousins, aunts, uncles, distant relatives and other people I haven’t seen in years showed up. At the funeral, unfortunately, there isn’t much time to grieve. Neither is there time for the next two weeks after that because people keep coming for condolence visits.
It was really difficult for me to accept he was gone. But also I knew he had been suffering for too long.
Now I had to deal with people who are only aware of professions like doctors, lawyers, teachers, and engineers. Anything beyond that is rocket science.
So first of all explaining that I am a content writer going to get a Masters degree in Media and Communication was a whole task.
I usually try to stay out of people’s way. But as a girl, I could tell that there are certain expectations that they had for me. I was to talk or get tea or something similar, and both things I am not particularly good at or wish to do.
So I realised that I had to do something about the way I was feeling around all these people.
I would feel nauseous, uncomfortable, sad, depressed and overall angry.
Drop a comment below if you have felt like this around your family. It was time for me to break it down.
Here’s a few questions I asked myself to figure out why I was feeling so uncomfortable around my family.
- Why was I feeling that way?
Ans. I was grieving and the constant onset of people did not let me feel my emotions. I had to cover it up and it made me feel angry and upset.
I also felt I was expected to do certain things just because I was a girl, which is a notion I totally do not agree with.
And I was projecting some of my fears and thoughts on the people around me. I felt like because I was a girl there were some expectations from me, because I was insecure about my looks they preferred to talk to my cousins or because of my silence they mistook it as arrogance. But maybe none of it was true, and I was projecting my doubts on to them.
- What do I do when I feel this way next time?
Ans. I will say “Boy, bye!” to them because I do not need such festering negativity in my own mind. I will dismiss the negative thoughts completely or if I can’t I will take them with a pinch of salt.
For example: If someone says, “Couldn’t you have been a doctor or engineer or something like that?”
Just laugh it off. Even though it may sting a bit, just remember they are only saying it because it is all they know. They are not aware of a world that exists beyond their own.
Educating them at their age may also be a waste of time. Explain to the best of your abilities and move along.
Don’t waste anymore of your time and precious energy explaining or justifying your actions to people who you are just going to for a couple of weeks.
- What are some easy hacks that I can keep in my arsenal for when I keep uncomfortable?
-Ask questions to them. DO the reverse attack for each question they ask you ask three back to them, don’t let the conversation come back to you. -Laugh at everything.
-Attempt to make jokes
– If it gets too bad –pretend you have to take a phone call and rush out
You can make your own set of rules but I have found that these have really helped me out.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU MUST REMEMBER ABOUT DEALING WITH YOUR FAMILY
Not everyone is like you.
They have not been exposed to the world as you have.
They are speaking and acting in the best of their knowledge. Living up to their societal standards in the best way they know how.
Anything beyond seems incomprehensible and far off to them.
As a family, all you can do is be patient and present.
Remember they do not mean to hurt you or offend you in anyway. They are speaking from their high horse or bundle of insecurities that have nothing to do with you.
Just do your best and one day they will speak to others about the time they got to talk to you.
Now this is from the perspective of my family, where I have not found any of the members to be toxic, but maybe just slightly ignorant.
If your family makes you constantly feel a sense of depression, sadness, and pulls you down constantly. It is okay to want to take a step back.
Move away. Limit the number of times you see them and who you see.
Decide how close or how distant you want to be from your family based on how it makes you feel.
It’s worth trying to see if it is possible to have an open conversation about it or not.
If not you might need to distance yourself.
Either move out or move away.
Meet once a week or once a month.
Whatever suits your mental health
Remember that your family will not be around forever. If you truly do love and care about them and know they do the same for you it’s worth pushing through the discomfort and show up for all the important moments.
And if you are a little shy and hesitate to speak like I am, it is well worth the trouble to go out of your way and say how you feel to people you care out.
I honestly regret the things I couldn’t say to my granddad.
Don’t be like me.
If you love someone let them know today.
If they are bothering you, let them know today.
If there is any way to mend a broken relationship you really want to fix, do it today because our time on this earth is really not guaranteed.