When your family won’t take no for an answer

By Nina Steele 

Childless woman under pressureOn a recent trip to the Ivory Coast, I found myself having to justify my decision to cut a close relative out of my life. No one told me that there was going to be a ‘meeting’ and so I wasn’t prepared. At first I sat there, listening to the stories the said relative had told the person who appointed himself adjudicator. Funny how even people whose own lives are a mess, think that they can give you advice on life, just because they happen to be older. It never occurs to them that wisdom has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with a person’s level of development.

The close relative who lives here in the UK, had painted a picture of me as selfish for no longer wanting him and his family in my life. The self-appointed adjudicator who also happens to be a close relative, listed everything I was being accused of and told me with a straight face that it was my duty to be there for my relative no matter what. It didn’t matter that the person making the accusations has some major issues the whole family is aware of. That’s when I had enough of listening and interrupted his flow. I gave him my own version of events and told him unequivocally that no matter what was being said about me, I wasn’t going to see that relative at this point in my life. And that was that.

I don’t know about you but if there is one thing I dislike more than anything else, it is people who make no effort to change and grow, trying to make you feel guilty for changing constantly and taking charge of your own life. They can see that you have changed for the better and that you are no longer the less confident person they once knew and that makes them feel uneasy. Why? Because as mentioned above, unlike you, they have stayed pretty much the same, and have no intention of changing. As a result, every time you see them, instead of feeling uplifted, you feel as though all the energy has been sucked out of you.

As a childless person, I get even more of the selfish tag thrown at me. That’s because those family members assumed that I would be clamouring to have them and their children around, and when that didn’t happen, they found all kinds of stories to make themselves feel better.

The greatest threat to personal development, I have found, is always the people closest to us. Family members particularly often use the fact that some people don’t have much courage, to further their own agendas. Simply put, they prey on the weak. They reckon that most people are so afraid of damaging their relationship with their relatives that they are willing to put up with anything.

Well my relatives now understand that this lady is not for turning. No I won’t let anyone bring their bullshit into my life, regardless of who they are. I am not changing so as to make other people feel better about themselves. I am not responsible for their happiness, only they can do that. Personal development for me is everything. I have had to make a conscious decision to better myself continuously and understand that change is at the core of our lives. That others are too caught up in the world to understand that, let alone do something about it, is their problem, not mine.

Childless woman under pressure

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