All Articles Tagged "family matters"

Family Matters: My Relatives Resent My Success, Talk About Me Behind My Back

January 6th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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new relationships don't last

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Are there people in your family who are jealous of you?

Of course, those people would never come right out and say it to your face, but it’s something you notice in the way they talk to you about certain things. Or rather, the way they talk to others about things that have to do with you.

I have a good friend who was telling me about the fact that she hadn’t spoken to her older brother in quite some time. Not because she had any beef with him, but because a new position at her job had left her overwrought with responsibilities and long work hours, making it hard to reach out. She was trying her best to answer calls and Facetime folks back when her schedule allowed, but at a certain point, her brother decided to become distant and stop answering due to her so-called schedule.

She would later find out during a check-in conversation with her mother that her brother had said that as the eldest sibling, my friend needed to do better about contacting him. He basically went in on her.

“I know she likes to pretend like she’s so busy, but family is family,” he said. “People think their jobs really mean something, but she’s not the first person to have had some money. Sh-t, I’ve had money too, but I don’t start turning my back on my people.”

When my friend found out that her brother felt this way, she was hurt. She didn’t feel like she had tried to throw her success in the face of her loved ones. To her, her brother’s opinion was unfair. And in her opinion, she felt it had a lot to do with the fact that he was struggling when it came to holding down a steady job.

He held pretty good positions in sales here and there, but when the companies he was employed by started to struggle, he was let go. That was the case almost a handful of times over the last few years. During those times, while trying to take care of his family, he would ask my friend for a loan now and then. Sometimes she would oblige, other times, she couldn’t. When the latter would happen, he would act as though she was being stingy and would make those same comments about my friend letting her job and her salary get to her head. Her brother went from one position as he watched his sister, my friend, buy Chanel bags and a house. He eventually trained to work in another more lucrative field and found consistent employment earlier this year.

But it’s an animosity he’s held on to for quite some time, enough that he’ll talk about her behind her back to other family members. My friend is sick of it.

And who could blame her? We all expect support from our kinfolk, not to be talked about and hated on. Sadly, it’s all too common.

One of my good friends from college had a cousin who badmouthed her for years after they moved to New York together to make their dreams come true–but only my friend was able to find work. It was something her cousin took to heart all the way back to their hometown, trashing my friend until they finally reconciled earlier this year to keep the peace between the family.

Like my college BFF’s cousin, my childhood friend’s brother is dealing with issues that he won’t confront that he prefers to take out on others. Specifically, insecurities about his employment ups and downs. He’s especially upset with my friend since she can’t be the walking ATM he hoped that she would be during such times. But that’s something that he has to work through on his own, instead of talking crazy about his blood to whoever will listen.

Thankfully, though, my friend hasn’t cut off her brother in the way that some would. She’s aware that he hasn’t had it easy over the last few years, and so she has decided not to take it too personally. She will continue to support him (not financially though), but has decided to do so from a distance. Because who has time for that kind of negativity?

How would you handle things if a family member you thought you were close to held animosity towards you for what you’ve been able to accomplish and they haven’t? Has this ever happened to you?

Family Matters: Would You Want To Be With A Man Like Your Father?

December 22nd, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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VH1

So there I was at damn near 2 a.m. trying to keep my eyes open to watch Love and Hip Hop New York. I had just come from a dinner and movie outing with one of my best friends from childhood and knew I needed to go to bed, but the ratchetry was calling me. So I listened here and there as my eyes opened and closed, sleep taking over. But one part of the show caught my attention, and I darted awake. It was the part where Rich Dollaz and his 16-year-old daughter, Ashley, were catching up in his living room, and he asked her about her love life. The man even asked her if she was a virgin, to which she hesitantly replied, “No…”

Feeling as though 16 is too young for sexual activity, Rich immediately worried that his child was going to be out here getting played and passed around left and right by men who only want one thing. You know, the way he does a lot of the women he’s featured alongside on Love and Hip Hop.

In an effort keep that from happening, Rich was honest and upfront with the teen and told her that he would never want her to fall for a man like him.

“You’re 16, so you’re still a baby,” Rich told her. “You’re still my baby. I would never want you to bump into guys like me. You understand? And I think you and me gotta always be here because ain’t no dude going to be able to run game on you that I haven’t tried to run or have run before. So you can always come to me, and I will always tell you the truth and be honest about what a ni–as intentions are.”

He continued in his confessional, “Maybe I haven’t set the best example when it comes to healthy relationships, but having this conversation with Ash right now, I’m hoping it helps her make better decisions with men. The last thing I want for my baby girl is to end up with a creep–like me.”

I think it does take a lot to admit that you’re a scumbag when it comes to how you treat the women who have come and gone in your life. But I think the next question is, what will you do about it?

I’ll never forget a conversation my sister and father were having during the holidays a few years ago. I’m not exactly sure how the conversation started or what the point of it was, but I do believe my dad made a comment about marriage and his hopes for the men who try to come into our lives. Out of nowhere my sister said, “Would you say you want us to marry someone like you?”

My father laughed a little and then said something to the effect of, “Well my daughter, I would say no.” The truth was that my dad hadn’t always treated my mom well, and to this day, things between them go up and down. He wants better for us, but his admission of that didn’t spur real change in his behaviors and choices. And I think that’s one of the reasons my mother was initially worried about my decision to be with and marry a Nigerian man (it wasn’t something I was trying to do, that’s just the way love goes).

But I never grew up wanting a man like my father. I even said I didn’t want to date Nigerian men ever. And to this day, Nigerian man or not, I don’t want what my mom has dealt with. I think I’ve gone out of my way in my own relationships to keep that from happening. The communication issues I saw growing up I try to avoid by hashing out issues immediately after they happen. And some of the similarities between my father and my fiance I’m often on alert about (being stubborn, blaming everything on culture, trying to start businesses abroad, etc.). But we have good communication, and we genuinely love one another. Still, whatever is meant to happen in my own relationships will happen, and my efforts, as well as the words and efforts of my father, won’t change that. Whatever mistakes I make are mine to make.

Same for Ashley. Rich might try and give her pep talks about “creeps” and hope that his efforts to have in-depth conversations with her about all the men she meets and dates will keep her from cavorting with the wrong ones. But whatever she is meant to do, she will do. Whomever Ashley is meant to be with, have her heart broken by or fall in love with, she inevitably will. Having a better example growing up would have been nice, but who has time for shoulda, coulda and woulda?

The best thing he can do for his daughter, and himself, is instead of living by a date-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-date rule, treat the women he encounters romantically better. They are someone’s daughter, too. But, as always, folks don’t care until they see the women they dupe and disrespect in their own “little girls”…

Family Matters: My Sister Cut Me Off Years Ago, And Now She Wants Me Back In Her Life…

December 15th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Source: Shutterstock

What would it take for you to cut a family member off?

For some, it only happens if someone in their family did an unthinkable thing. For others, it happens when you feel like your family member is just plain ol’ toxic.

 

And for a few people, it might be because you’re living in a way that you know isn’t the healthiest, and you’re sick of hearing your family’s opinions about your choices.

My friend Courtney’s sister cut her off two years ago and never really explained why. They didn’t have a big knockout, drag-out fight. Instead, her sister was dating a guy that her family didn’t think was good for her and good enough to be around her two daughters.

When Courtney tried to contact her sister after a big family row over it all, her calls went unanswered. Messages were never returned. At one point, Courtney got so nervous because she hadn’t heard from her sister that she started calling everyone who knew her, only to see that her sister was just fine. She was posting on Facebook like it was nothing–she just didn’t want to be bothered with her family. She even acted like she didn’t see Courtney when the two encountered one another briefly at the mall.

Feeling exasperated and not understanding her sister’s decision, Courtney eventually gave up on trying to figure her out. She went on with her life and hoped that her sister would be okay.

Then out of the blue, last week, Courtney’s sister sent her a text. She told her that she missed talking to her and would love if Courtney could come by her home sometime to hang out and catch up. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to mend fences, Courtney did feel that her sister’s out-of-the-blue request was odd.

After two years of treating someone like a leper, now she wanted to hang out? No explanations as to why she had gone ghost? No apologies for her behavior? Just a “Hey sis! I’ve missed you”? Nah. That won’t work.

But all Courtney received was a regular text message as if they had just talked recently, asking her to come over and see her nieces and to hang out.

However, Courtney’s mom (who is her sister’s stepmom) isn’t feeling it. She thinks that her sister just wants something from her and is not necessarily that interested in working things out. Whether it’s a babysitter or some money, Courtney’s mom thinks her stepdaughter just needs help of some kind and won’t come out and say it straight.

And Courtney’s boyfriend doesn’t really trust her sister either. He says that should Courtney decide to go visit her sister, she shouldn’t go by herself. You just never know what people have going on or what they’re up to. Especially when they cut you off out of the blue and in such a cold manner, and then turn around trying to be all warm and fuzzy.

So Courtney is confused. She genuinely misses talking with her sister and would like to get back to the way things used to be, but she’s wondering if she’s setting herself up to be used. Or even worse, to be hurt again.

You all know that I’m all about family, so it should be no surprise that I’m saying that Courtney should try and give her sister another chance. However, she doesn’t need to pick up, drop everything and run to a woman who didn’t even care to call her to let her know that she was okay or to explain why she had a beef in the first place. For Courtney’s sake, I think it’s a good idea for her and her sister to try and reconnect slowly through actual phone conversations. Heck, maybe even FaceTime. But they can’t move forward with things until they have a good understanding of the past. And by moving slowly, Courtney won’t take a hard blow if it turns out that her sister is still on that bulls–t. Would she be disappointed? Yes. But hurt, with no answers and wasted gas from trying to go out of her way to see her sister? Nope.

How do you think Courtney should handle things? Should she attempt to reconnect with her sister? Does her sister need to do more of the work to mend things? Or does Courtney need to leave her alone altogether?

Family Matters: My Family Can Always Count On Me, But I Can Rarely Count On Them

December 8th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

Would you say that you’re a very reliable person?

If someone asked you what one of your best qualities was, could you say that being an individual others can count on is one of them?

Well, if you are, then you know how much it can suck to be a reliable person, especially a reliable relative. When people in your family go through things, they know they can count on you. Rely on you to be a listening ear, lend a helping hand, or support them in their endeavors. You’re clutch. So they call you to vent, to make a request, extend an invitation–whatever their heart desires. But when you try to call them for the same support, they’re too busy, too tired, too broke, or don’t even pick up the phone.

I have a friend who recently marked a significant milestone in her life. She invited a few friends and family to celebrate that milestone with her and sent out info about how she planned to celebrate a week in advance. She wanted to grab a few drinks with some of her favorite people, family included, and called about eight or nine loved ones.

Day of her event, only two friends showed up. The rest, including family, either cancelled on her, waited until after the shindig was over to send her a text, or ignored her text message altogether. Or, worst of all, they said they would come and then failed to show up, let alone send a message explaining why they all of a sudden went MIA. She tried to keep a smile on her face that evening, but she eventually shared her pain with me.

“I’m just really disappointed that I got stood up by people I’m always there for,” she said. “I would never do them like that.”

And therein lies the problem.

Her family knows that. Her friends know that. And that’s why they feel comfortable enough to do her so greasy. When you know that someone doesn’t have the heart to let other people down, you can always count on them to show up. That’s why people are so disappointed with individuals who are known for having a good track record when they fall through, while they’re less than surprised by those who constantly bail on others.

I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have too. People ask you to watch their kids, pick them up, let them stay in your place, take on extra responsibilities, and so on and so forth. They know you’re a dependable person and probably won’t find the same excuse that everyone else they thought of calling probably would have come up with. And so, you dutifully give, and give, and give of yourself, even when it’s a major inconvenience.

And yet, those same people have nothing to offer but excuses when you come around looking for assistance, a listening ear, a dollar, or some love and care.

But this can be one of the sacrifices of being a giving person. You don’t give because you want the kudos or because you only want someone to know that they owe you. You give because you know whatever you were able to do was the right thing to do. Plus, if you’re a church dweller like myself, you also do in the hopes that down the line, by blessing someone else, you will be blessed. And the more you’re blessed, the more responsibility you have to give.

I’m not going to preach a sermon today, but I do want to say that, from experience, it’s good to know when not to overextend yourself for selfish people. And that includes some family members. I think it’s beautiful to do what you can out of love, and because you would want someone to do the same for you if you ever found yourself in similar circumstances. But I think it’s detrimental when you’re only giving yourself, and everyone else is taking. That’s how you end up not just a little disappointed, but flat out hurt as my friend was, when those same people fall through for you.

But when they do, it’s good to be thankful for those who do stand by your side when others don’t show up. (If you don’t have any of those people, well, you need to entertain a new circle.) The friends who have your back even when your blood is thinner than you thought. And it’s also good to remind yourself of this lesson: It’s nice to be a reliable person. But when you’ve been used up a few too many times, it might be time to make yourself a little less available. For the sake of your own mental, financial and emotional well-being.

Carl And Harriet Winslow Reunite

December 2nd, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Pinterest

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Carl and Harriett Winslow together on screen but the Family Matters TV couple has reunited for a new movie.

Reginald VelJohnson and Jo Marie Payton are set to appear in Lifetime’s upcoming flick, The Flight Before Christmas. The TV movie stars Mayim Bialik and Ryan McPartlin as two holiday travelers who end up stranded in the same room at a bed-and-breakfast in Montana when snow diverts their Christmas Eve red eye flight.

The details on VelJohnson and Payton’s role in the film are scant but we’re super excited to see them share the screen again. The Flight Before Christmas debuts Saturday, December 5 at 8 pm on Lifetime. Will you tune in?

Family Matters: My Partner Wants To Move Their Unemployed Son Into Our New Home

December 1st, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

When you fall in love with a woman or man with children, you have to work with the total package. You can’t love the parent and then loathe the child. I mean, obviously some have done it, but it usually turns out terribly.

But do you have to deal with, or even provide a roof for the child of the woman or man you love if they’re already an adult who should be out in the world making moves? Paying bills? Being independent?

One man, who is related to one of my colleagues, says you shouldn’t have to. And his way of thinking has created strife between him and his wife-to-be.

Joseph* has two adult children. He’s engaged to a woman named Kay* who has one adult son. And while Joseph’s children are all out in the world doing their own thing and starting their own families, the growth of Kay’s son has been stunted. He’s been relying on his mother for quite some time now. After high school, he passed on college and started working different jobs here and there, but he’s currently without work and living with Kay, doing temp gigs when he can.

Joseph and Kay have been engaged since early this year, and plan to move in together early next year as the wedding nears (they will move in before they say “I do”). But Kay came to her future husband a few months ago and asked if it would be possible for her son to stay with them, in their new home, just for a while as he got on his feet.

Joseph said, “Hell no!”

Instead, he told Kay that her very grown son had wasted enough years trying to get on his feet, and that while he could continue to stay with Kay in her home for now, once she and Joseph move into their own pad, baby boy has to bounce. Joseph doesn’t know if that means going back to school, getting serious about finding employment, or living with friends or another relative, but he says it’s not his problem to worry about.

This has obviously caused quite the drama. Kay is very close to her son and doesn’t want to leave him hanging. And with Joseph’s orders looming, Kay’s son has expressed his disappointment with her for allowing her partner, one who has only been around for a few years, to dictate what happens in her home. That, of course, has put a strain on this mother and son’s relationship. And yes, that pressure has created some animosity towards Joseph.

And no, Joseph didn’t ask for advice, and he doesn’t plan to change his mind, but I just had to share this situation with you. Can’t blame him, right? Little kids are one thing. Even an adult child who has abruptly fallen on hard times. But grown men who’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing for a whole lot of years? That’s a bit much. As Joseph pointed out, Kay’s son has had quite some time to figure things out, and if he still doesn’t have everything figured out, he can continue to ponder on his future from someone else’s couch. A grown man or woman can’t come into the home of a newlywed couple to stay. That puts extra tension on a new union, and that’s not how you want to start married life. He has a few months left — plenty of time — to figure out how to get on the good foot.

So, if you ask me, I think Joseph and Kay should support her son (and his future son) in any reasonable way they can–but without going broke, going crazy, or going into their marriage with him as their third wheel.

Family Matters: My Father Wants Us To Spend Thanksgiving With Him–And His Former Mistress

November 24th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, to eat a large helping of a variety of foods, to come together with family and friends, and to get mentally prepared for all the money you will likely waste on Black Friday.

But Thanksgiving can also be a time for drama.

Like the drama my neighbor has found herself dealing with. While catching up with her in the hallway over the weekend, she filled me in on her complicated situation when I asked her about holiday plans. According to her, her father wants her and her adult siblings to spend the holidays at his home this Thursday. And while other family members would be coming to eat and bond, my neighbor, who’ll we’ll call Sheena, said that her problem is with the hostess. Her father’s girlfriend will be cooking most of the food and will obviously be present for all the festivities, and Sheena is not okay with that. Why?

Because her father’s girlfriend was the same woman he was seeing while still married to her mother. She’s part of the reason Sheena’s dad left her mom.

Sheena is uncomfortable around the woman because of the pain that she knows the situation caused her mother, and also because of the way her father’s affair tore up her immediate family. And while it has been a few years and Sheena’s father has been in a pretty loving relationship with the woman ever since, Sheena isn’t here for it, even if her brothers have been able to move on.

“She knew what was up with my mom and dad, and she didn’t care,” Sheena said. “She used to call my mom talking so greasy. Talking about she was just trying to help my mom out by satisfying my dad and that if she did right by him maybe he wouldn’t step out. Naw, I’ll never forget that. I can forgive him for it, but I will never forget that sh-t.”

Over the last year and a half, Sheena has tried to work on her relationship with her father, but according to her, mending things with him never meant getting close to his girlfriend. That’s a no-no. Sheena’s loyalty to her mother wouldn’t allow it. That has upset her father’s girlfriend, who feels as though Sheena, not her brothers, won’t won’t even attempt to be “civil.”

Sheena said she told him that she can’t come because she doesn’t want to share the same air, let alone space with the woman. Plus, her mother has also encouraged her and her brothers not to go over to their father’s home while the girlfriend is there. So that influence is making them feel like they would betray her if they were to make an appearance. They’re stuck in the middle.

“She thinks that woman has a negative energy, but really, I know my mom just doesn’t want us over there because she hates her. I would feel like I wasn’t loyal if I went.”

Sheena doesn’t want to disappoint her dad, but after watching her mother go through so much, that’s where her support lies. She said that’s something that her father has openly been salty about.

“But I don’t really know what he expects. These are the consequences of messing around and being selfish. I mean, c’mon. I love him to death, but things will never be how he wants. I could care less if he marries her, or whatever. She will never be family.”

While talking with Sheena, I found myself thinking that I couldn’t even imagine being in such a situation. I’m very close to both my parents, but as the child of a stay-at-home mom, I just always had that extra attachment to my mother over my father. If he hurt her and left to be with someone else, I would probably feel and react the same way. And if the tables were turned and my mother inflicted such pain upon my dad, I would probably react the same way towards her and her man. But as I’ve stated before, I am the leader of the Petty Gang.

Sheena’s father’s girlfriend is technically someone who strong-armed her way into a family and now hopes that everyone can respect her and be close. But you can’t always get what you want–especially when you try to obtain it through messy means.

Well, here’s to hoping that your family situation is a little less scandalous, and more focused on food and fun this Thanksgiving. Happy holidays!

Family Matters: My Mother Won’t Give Her Blessing For Marriage Because My Boyfriend Has 3 Kids

November 18th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Shutterstock

How important is the blessing of your mother and father when it comes to tying the knot? Could you go into a marriage knowing your parents didn’t approve of your spouse or your decision? And if they don’t, how much attention do you pay to their reservations?

I’m asking because a young woman (let’s call her Efie) I know is struggling with this. She’s in love with her boyfriend, and he feels the same. They’ve been together for about a year now and have been talking about marriage here and there. But being a Ghanaian woman, it is important that her family have a say and approve of her taking that next step.

The problem is, they don’t.

According to Efie, her mother is not a fan of her boyfriend. Not because he isn’t a good man, but because he comes with three children from previous relationships. He’s in his mid-30s if you were wondering.

Efie is rightfully upset about this and feels like she can’t freely move forward in her relationship with her boyfriend. Her father actually gave his blessing, but her mother wants her to date someone else, someone with less (or preferably no) kids, someone with a bit more “potential.” So when her boyfriend came to her family’s home bearing gifts of goodwill and looking for a “Yes, you can marry our daughter,” they were both shocked when her mother said “No.” It’s created quite a bit of drama, not only between Efie and her mom but between Efie and her boyfriend.

He wants her to think for herself since she’s an adult. And while he would have loved to receive the blessings of her parents, he asked more so out of respect, and for Efie, than for himself.

So she’s caught between a rock and a hard place, feeling like her mother is holding her back from being with the man she truly loves, and, at the same time, being hesitant about going against the people whose opinions and approval matter so much to her. Complicated or nah?

So what is a girl to do? The support of my parents is extremely important to me, as it is to many young women out there. And while I would keep in mind their reservations to ensure that my fiancé was, in fact, the right guy for me (and maybe give myself time to see where things go between us), if my heart were telling me he was the man for me, I’d politely have to tell my parents to either support me or mind their business. (I’m Nigerian though, so it would be much less curt and probably a lot more Nollywood-esque.)

There are some times where parents do know best, and base their decisions on how they’ve seen you treated. And then there are times when they simply, stubbornly believe they know best because they have certain expectations, hopes, and goals for you. But at the end of the day, it’s not their life. And if you’re making a mistake, well, such is life. It’s a mistake you will have to live with and learn from. But again, it’s your, or Efie’s, mistake to make.

How would you handle it if your parents didn’t approve of the man you wanted to marry?

Family Matters: My Mother Put Her Hands On My Son And I Don’t Know How To Feel About It

November 10th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Corbis

When I was young, I was bad. Well, actually, I wasn’t a really bad child, as in the kind that bullies other kids, tears up public property and always get in trouble with teachers. But I was a mischievous child who complained a lot, didn’t listen the first time when I was told not to do something, and would draw on walls or make a small hole in the TV speaker a big one.

And for that, I used to get my butt whooped. My mom had this fancy red belt, a small leather joint that used to tear my legs and butt up! Enough whoopings with that stylish accessory, and by junior high I knew better than to keep testing her. As the youngest of six children my mother had raised in her lifetime, her patience had pretty much worn by the time I hit adolescence in the late ’90s. She didn’t have any more time for the shenanigans.

So it’s so interesting to see her with my nieces and nephews so many years later. While they have and still do throw their tantrums and make messes, she doesn’t have to do much to get them to sit down somewhere. She just looks them sternly in their little, round eyes and says, “That’s enough now.” And just like that, they stop whatever irritating thing they were doing.

Yes, my mom has come a long way from pulling out the skinny red belt and whooping behind and has moved on to Jedi mind tricks. In fact, she’s pretty docile now and spends more time playing with my nieces and nephews than she does yelling at or heavily disciplining them. Despite her past with my siblings and I, especially me, my mom keeps her hands to herself these days–unless she’s tickling my nieces and nephews.

But some mothers don’t change, and they grow up to be no-nonsense grandmothers. And if you don’t get their grandbabies in check, they will. Like one woman online who admitted that the first person to spank her child was not her–but her mother.

“I think the right for someone else to spank your child should be reserved for close relatives and family friends. My mother was actually the first one to spank my child…but she didn’t put up with fall out tantrums with me so I know she wouldn’t for my son.”

This particular woman didn’t really say how the spanking made her feel, but referenced her own encounters with her mother’s iron fist. And despite not exacting whoopings upon her son in the hopes of disciplining him in another way, her mother decided to do what she wanted and knows best, which is lay hands. And that got me to thinking: Is it ever okay for your mother, father or any of your relatives to put their hands on your child?

I have quite a few nieces and nephews. But I often feel a little odd or uncomfortable in the presence of my sister when one of my youngest nephews acts up or tries to whine, and I find myself loudly saying, “Uh uh! Stop that!”

Right after showing my obvious exasperation, I end up feeling like I overstepped my boundaries. And while she doesn’t blink twice at my attempts to get him together, I often feel awkward. The reality is that the patience you or I may have with a child, even if he is family, is not the same level of patience a mother or father has. And while I might easily get frustrated with my nephew or niece’s attitudes and exploits, I try to remember that their parent knows best and knows what they need to say and do when said child decides to show out. I never want my sisters or brothers to feel like I’m trying to fill in where I assume they’re slipping. And just because someone may have their own child that they discipline hardcore with positive results, that doesn’t mean the same works for every kid. Instead, I think it’s good to let people know when their children might be misbehaving and then let them handle it in whichever manner they decide. And if the parent isn’t around, it’s best to let a child know what isn’t acceptable and do it with love–and a stern voice.

That’s what’s so refreshing about watching my mom with her grandchildren nowadays. She knows that her children have their own expectations and ways of dealing with their kids, so there’s no need to intervene as though her way of parenting is the end all, be all. Instead, she spends her time talking to them like little human beings and lets them know where they’re going wrong and that they need to act like the big boy or girl they are. At the end of the day, that (coupled with the regretful emotions a child feels knowing they disappointed their granny) can do a lot more than any ass-whooping ever could.

Family Matters: When Social Media Makes Brings Out The Worst, And The Troll, In Your Relatives

November 3rd, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Social media can bring out a lot of things in a lot of people.

Like a provocative/scandalous side. Hence the reason some young women post half-naked pictures on sites like Instagram and Facebook, all looking for validation from men they’ll never meet.

It can also bring out one’s often hidden political ties. Like the people who you know from your neighborhood but never realized they hated President Obama and Democrats in general. Awkward.

And then there’s that volatile emotional side with a hint of TMI that you forgot about. Like the high school classmate who lets everyone know that her son’s father is a deadbeat on Father’s Day.

And who could forget the troll side? Like the Black guy from college who says, “Why do we care so much when police kill us, but not when we kill one another?” Aaaaaaand block.

And in some cases, social media can just bring out the absolute worst in people. Like your family. While they show one side of themselves in your face at family gatherings, some do the absolute most on social media because they either want attention, or because you never actually realized how big of an asshole they really are. Their behavior is almost block-worthy.

Like the family member who feels the need to debate you on damn near everything you say.

A few years ago, I said that I wasn’t really a fan of Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. Not because I have some sort of vendetta against Perry, but because I felt that the stories of some characters were poorly developed compared to others. Around that time, every person I knew thought For Colored Girls would get nominated for an Academy Award and become a modern-day classic (it didn’t). And being the odd voice out, I was immediately side-eyed and called out–by my cousin nonetheless.

“Wow. How do you not like the movie? Those were real women with real stories. Just be glad that you’ve never had to go through anything cuz.”

But, of course, my lack of appreciation for one film about a group of Black women facing personal crises had to be a testament to the fact that I’d never gone through anything and only disliked the film because I couldn’t relate. Thanks a lot, “cuz.”

That same cousin has since made it their mission to get on my very last nerve each and every time I post a status on social media. So I refrain from doing so these days to keep the peace.

What about the family member who throws you under the bus to gain sympathy from fake “friends”?

You know who I’m talking about. The plan is simple enough: Paint the rest of your family members as ungrateful, trifling, conniving, unsupportive, hurtful and narcissistic individuals, play victim, and in turn, get people to tell you how awesome of a person you are and how sucky said family members are in comparison.

Like my friend’s cousin who took to social media to call out “so-called family” she felt weren’t doing enough to support her mother, who is battling Alzheimers. The cousin, who looks after her ailing mother during the evenings and barely likes to, said that if it weren’t for her husband and son, she wouldn’t be able to hold on to her sanity and take care of her mom. They have been her anchor because the rest of her family, including my friend, had allegedly up and left her to do everything for her mother on her own.

“All that my mom has done for all these so-called family members and they haven’t called, nobody checks on her. I do this on my own.”

And as my friend read her cousin’s status in disgust, she was even more appalled to see complete strangers attacking her and the rest of the family based on a status.

“Forget them,” one man said. “You can do this. Your mother is blessed to have someone so supportive on her side.”

“You don’t need them,” another said.

“Let me know if you need anything, I’ll be praying for you, girl,” another colleague chimed in.

Instead of telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, my friend’s cousin soaked up the praises and tainted her family’s name for likes: “Thanks so much for the support. I really needed it!”

And how about the family member who posts all kinds of strange things? You know the ones. When you try to tell them that they’re doing too much, they post froggy viral threats?

You’ve read the statuses. They usually read, and look, something like this: I WISH some body would TELL ME what I can and cannot put on my Facebook page!!! If you don’t like it DELETE ME!!!!! Your lost! Cause I’m grown!”

They’re the same family members who send subliminal shots calling folks everything but a child of God, only to turn around and post Bible passages one minute and WorldStar videos the next. Who can keep up?

Yes, social media brings out a whole different side of people, including family, that you would prefer not to be bothered with. While your cousin or your uncle may seem sweet and tame at the family reunion and Christmas gathering, they might be nothing but a troll on these Internet streets, looking to debate, overshare and write angry messages in all caps on Facebook (because you know there’s no word count on Facebook).

But pat yourself on the back. Despite their shenanigans, you’ve managed not to unfriend them or tell them how you really feel. You didn’t block them. And you didn’t completely abandon your social media pages in order to avoid them. Probably because at the end of the day, it’s just the Internet. And until there’s a button to easily block people in real life, you’re just going to have to play nice and try not take it all too personal.

Or start denying and ignoring family friend requests…