I was catching up recently with a colleague who told me about some issues that she was having with one of her sisters. While they had always seemed thick as thieves back when we were in elementary school and high school, she shared some current feelings with me about her sister that were surprising.
“She’s just got a crazy temper and is way too irresponsible. I try to tell her stuff for her own good and she just blacks out on me. I’m over it. You know I haven’t talked to her in a year? It’s crazy. But it is what it is. I love my sister to death and would do anything for her, but I swear, as a person, I don’t like her. If she weren’t family, she wouldn’t be someone I would have anything to do with.”
And while most of us wouldn’t say that we don’t like our loved ones, as in their personality, their character and what they stand for, if some of us are honest, we sometimes feel somewhat obligated to love certain people. You love all of your family. Don’t know what you would do without them! But there’s always a few in the bunch who bring nothing but grief. Who have a negative disposition. Who take and take and take. Who judge you and make you feel less than. Who say hurtful things because they’re hurt.
You love them and put up with their foolishness, but you know that if any other person in life treated you like they do, you would probably run for the hills.
Nope, we don’t say it to them. But it shows in the way that folks interact with those loved ones.
Take, for instance, Love and Hip Hop Hollywood star Moniece Slaughter and her mother, Marla. I don’t know if you watch the show, but Slaughter, the mother of former B2K member Lil Fizz’s son, Kamron, has stated in the past that her mother was one of the reasons she lost custody of her son. According to her, Marla took Lil Fizz’s side after the former couple got into a fight soon after Kamron was born. And when police came, Marla took Lil Fizz’s side, which, down the line, allegedly aided in the rapper securing primary custody of their son. He has been the custodial parent since. It’s something Slaughter has held against her mom for years. And despite her own irresponsible behavior and confused priorities at times, I can see why.
Marla is cold.
So cold that she not only gave Rich Dollaz of all people a warning about dating her daughter but instead of stepping in to help or agreeing to talk to Slaughter about making more time to watch her son when Fizz needs to work, Marla encouraged him to seek full custody. She told him to go after her daughter’s money and just hire a nanny because taking care of her daughter’s son/responsibilities is not her obligation. And yes, I know that people say reality TV is fraudulent, but the tears of stress from both Lil Fizz and Slaughter’s eyes, and the clear exasperation Marla had when speaking of her daughter, made me a believer. Not only does Slaughter not have a support system, but her mother, who also struggled to raise her as a single parent many years ago, does not like her.
And then there’s the mother I watched on an episode of Iyanla, Fix My Life this past weekend. The woman, Norma, was at odds with a daughter, Domonique, who was seeking to take back the son she left behind during hard times. And while the past reckless conduct of the daughter couldn’t be overlooked, it was evident that her mother just couldn’t stand her. Over the years, Norma called Domonique everything from “classless” to “deadbeat mom” and a “hoe.” And as Norma tried to share her pain with her mom through a letter with Iyanla Vanzant as a mediator, Norma interrupted her over and over, attempting to refute everything her daughter said. It was so bad that eventually, Vanzant told the struggling young woman, “Dominique, you’re absolutely right: she doesn’t like you. And I don’t know why. And my heart weeps for you.”
So yes, disliking your blood, whether it’s your sibling or your own child, is not uncommon. But it should be.
Some people you just can’t reach, and others are just difficult with everyone in the family. But in the case of my former classmate, I had to remind her of how significant and precious it really is to have a sister. And after losing one of my siblings almost a decade ago, I don’t believe in holding grudges with people who are a part of you. Because you just never know what tomorrow will bring or take away. Yes, some family members can be toxic, and they likely deserve to be kept back at an arm’s length. But I think most just need a good talking to.
Therefore, I encouraged her, as I would any of you avoiding a family member who is important to you, to try and be the bigger person and reach out. If her sister chooses to keep her wall up, at least my colleague knows that she tried to make things right and could leave the ball and the burden in her sibling’s court.
We do so much talking about our family members but fail to talk to them when they make us feel disrespected. And instead of letting them know what behaviors you can’t tolerate, we say nothing, allowing them and their behavior to get worse. Allowing our anger to build. Allowing the distance between our loved one and ourselves to grow further and further. But there’s nobody in the word like your blood. And while you might be just fine with dropping friends and making new ones, and dumping boyfriends and trying your luck out there in the dating field, you only get one family.
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