Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Would you let them stay?

I grew up always having relatives and older people in our house, although i am the first child of my parents. Looking back now, i can't remember a time when there was no aunt or uncle or cousin staying with us. Some of those people have helped to shape in who i've become today and some of them have left a bitter taste in my mouth.

First was my Aunt Y whom i loved so much and i still love a lot. She's my mum's half sister and she made the house fun. She was so loving and hardworking. We all simply adored her. At the same time Aunt Y lived with us, we had Aunt B who is my cousin actually on my dad's side. Aunt B had a meanness sent from hell and a special dislike for me. Till this day, I don't know why! Maybe cos she knew i was close to my mum. I don't know. Aunt B grew up to become promiscous and unfortunately,Aunt Y had to stop living with us. She was our shield from Aunt B's wrath and i cried when she left us. I love her so much.

Then Aunt B alone lived with us for a very long time and when my mum was running a course which took her away from home a lot, Aunt B brought home different men and sometimes didn't make food for us. I was only 6, there was little i could do. Aunt B beat me so much i took to running away from home to stay at my mum's friend's a lot of times. Gosh i was so afraid of her! At a time, us kids planned to deal with her and we all said we'd teach her a lesson and beat her...well she came in and only my immediate sis had the guts to pounce on her, rest of us were shaking like leaves. Oh! My poor sis got the beating of her life that day! Sis, i'm still sorry we were all cowards that day! We shoulda fought and taught her a lesson. Maybe the abuse would have reduced if not stopped!

I have a scar on my right arm because of aunt B's disappearing act. My mum was out to school and it was getting rather late. There was no dinner. I was about 6 or 7 and we were all hungry so i decided to fry plantain. Well i did fry the plantain but ended up with a swollen thumb on my right hand for about a month. I had to go dress it at the clinic and all that. I almost hated Aunt B

Fast forward 20 years, Aunt B is a mother of 2 who abused her pastor husband to the point that he left her when his manhood was almost taken from him. Guess what, Aunt B wanted moi, yes moi, to assist her with money and stuff like that. She actually came begging to my house. I am generally not a heartless person and i did give her some money but i made my dad warn her not to come back. My parents did their best to bring her up in the right way and after all they did, i shouldn't have to continue! What goes around comes around. Maybe she remembered her ill treatment of me or not, i really don't know.

While Aunt B lived with us, several other cousins used our house as stopovers or a place to fill in the blanks in their lives either temporarily or not! My mum, God bless her, she's too accommodating. There's an incident that's never left me, i was about eight, i was lying on the bed and my cousin, a guy said we should wrestle. He was short, very short and must have been about 8 years older. It sounded like fun and i was all for it till he was lying on top of me and i just felt what he was doing didn't make sense. I told him i wanted to stop. I got off the bed and left the room not really understanding what happened till several years later. I remember on a particular day he locked me and a guy in the room and i kept screaming and throwing stools before i was let out. His intention, i don't know till today but i'm glad i came out of it untouched. He still visits, he's close to my mum, but somewhere in my head, i can't get over it. I never told my mum though.

I won't ramble on and on, there were too many...too many of them and some of the experiences were horrible. It was an older cousin who made sure we never had whole pieces of meat to ourselves for a long time. She'd divide them, we were too young to eat whole pieces of meat. It was the same cousin who made sure my sis who i'm only a year older stop calling me by my name and added the Sister prefix, i think that 'almost' killed our relationship and i'm not sure we eevr recovered from it. I wish i could rewind and fight her with all my might now!

There were too many incidents but I've come to a decision, while my kids are growing up, i shall have no relative living with me. I don't want a wedge between my kids and i. I don't want them influenced wrongly, i don't want so many things...

This post has made me very emotional...it was inspired by GNG's post. I just went down memory lane. I know it's not that bad and a lot of people when through worse things. But i'm angry i did, i'm angry there were too many people in our house, i'm angry for a long time, we didn't get to be a real family....but i guess there's some therapy in writing.

I won't let them stay, call me a witch or not but i will protect my kids from external influence as much as i can and trust God to do the rest. Would you let them stay?

49 comments:

Danny BaGucci said...

Guess its all about what works for you though.. The principle of not lettinng someonne get between you and your kids is great.... I had slightly better people stay in my house growing up.. and till today we all act as though we're one big nuclear family.. so maybe its all about takingit on a case by case basis....

Good Naija Girl said...

Awww, honey, I just want to hug you. I'm sorry for these unforgotten memories, but I'm also glad that you escaped unscathed from that your cousin. I pray that these incidences become faint memories.

These evil people will not be allowed to win!

Funms-the rebirth said...

hugs!!!!!!!
Thank God you are a better person for the memories. A lot of relatives used to stay with us when i was younger. mostly from my mother's side and i think cuz my mum is a teacher, she was always home when we were home. Personally, when i get married and have kids, i dont think i'd have relatives staying for a long time. only weekend visits cuz ive seen friends who went thru things like u did....

Good Naija Girl said...

I think your resolution to avoid having relatives live with you (at least for extended periods of time) is a good one. Extended family can be a blessing but also a curse. I think I treasure my family unit (the six of us) so much because our time in North America has always been only the six of us, and as a result we are so close.

We had the relatives I alluded to in the post that inspired this post stay with us and it was a horrible time. I didn't go into that part because it is my parents' wish that I don't discuss it but needless to say the time they spent with us would have done permanent damage to us as a unit had it continue any longer than it did.

Writefreak said...

Danny: Yes case by case is good but from my experience, having relatives live in your house can be bad news...maybe they can stay in the BQ if push comes to shove but i want MY own family!

GNG: Thanks darl! Lol at evil people...made me laugh!

MilesPerHour said...

Family is great, in small doses. That's why I moved thousands of miles away and visit instead.

Writefreak said...

Funms: Yes i am a better person! I definitely am for it! My mum is a teacher too o, but she had to take all those courses for a while. They can stay over for short periods but not for long...i agree

GNG: I would love to have that just us thingy! I feel you on that jare!

downtheaisle said...

u brought back memories... I also grew up with loads of family members:cousins,aunties,uncles etc ard. They passed both right n wrong info across to us. Many times wrong info which we were too young to be exposed to. Now, I will think many times before I bring a relative into my home.

Tyger said...

reading your experience is like reading about myself and i vowed a long time ago i will not trust my kids to anyone... i dont care how it makes me look ... AINT LETTING ANYONE STAY!!!

The risk of molestation, bad influence and maltreatment is so high its just not worth it!

they can all visit - a few days and thats it....

Only Jehovah can change my mind oh! and the instructions will be rather explicit! otherwise

NOBODY IS STAYING!

Writefreak said...

downtheaisle: I wonder if they'd so the same if they knew better! my house ain't open to anyone for too long o!

Tyger: Wo ore make you no even let Jehovah change your mind...that's the right decision jare!

Woomie O! said...

I know what you mean, but these realtives, sometimes you need them...but not too many of them. Too many attaches and the house begins to smell...the food is never enough...and you begin to see the useless side of them, yougetmypoint?
I just pray I can structure my life such that I don't need no stranger-relative raising my 8 kids and keeping me in the dark. so-help-me-God.

FFF said...

my mom was just like ur mom - she liked 2 have people with her. it was frustrating! i don't remember having any of them particularly mean 2 us - d housemaids certainly, but not d relatives. Still, no live-ins 4 me. Nah nah nah. if i can avoid it, no maids too.

BSNC said...

well i grew with alot of siblings, cousins, uncle and aunt..

my experience wasn't bad. Some people still think my cousins are my brothers

Sorry you had a bad experience... Hope they fade away with time.

Anonymous said...

Please do not ask us for your opinions....just do not let us stay, if I get started on experiences with relatives.....or if (God forbid) your a CLOSE family member has fallen on hard times, give them a time limit to get back on their feet.i.e. 3months.

leggy said...

i never had relatives living woth me for a long period of time they just come for hols and leave maybe thats y we all have a close relationship cs we didnt live in close quaters..i just had a cousin hu lived with us ...since i can remember..and hes stupidly nice so noone even wants him to leave and wenever he tlks about marriage my parents tell him his too long...lol.i think not allowing peeps to stay in ur house is good..cos they influence ur children wt a lot of stu[id things...and that sister stuff is thrash...i think it spoils relationships thats y my mum never let us use all those things!!!!nice post.love ur blog!

scribble,me.free said...

I wouldn't. I'm selfish like that

miz-cynic said...

the relatives i remember were cool.used to tell us stories and teach us songs.twas a fun experience but pls dnt allow in ur case o...i o fit shout!

Tigeress said...

i'm sorry- i dont care if i'm called evil selfish bitch- but no extended family is staying at mine if i have children. Dont need anyone touching up my children. I'm sorry but i think Nigerian parents are one of the most ignorant parents ever who for some silly reason put their children at risk of being abused and mistreated all in the name of family. Again i'm sorry but my children come before any siblings/cousins/extended relatives.

NoLimit said...

Nope...No frigging way...my mum loved to have relatives around her too...I was indifferent so long as you don't cross my path...the ones that did were dealt with accordingly...yeah I was what you'll call a "L'enfant terrible"
I terrorized the wicked aunties...you don't wanna know the mischief(s) I could cook up back in the days...hee hee hee!!!
As for me o,I don't want that crap...it is just too much unnecessary stress!

Adaeze said...

I don't think you're being selfish at all and I definitely wouldn't let them stay either. Looking out for yourself and your closest (kids) is NO sin or crime at all. I have never had any relatives live with me but your stories reminds me of my husbands stories. He was made to live WITH relatives t hough and they treated him just absolutely awful and he is a scarred man today because of it. He has a lot of issues today as a result that is hard to get over.. all kinds of awful abuse.
I am a very helpful caring person, I like to help people, but if it jeapordizes the most important there's no way I'm doing that anymore..Ive learnt from my mistakes. It's funny how you said your Aunt B came back to you for money. That's how it is with my hubbys people..His uncle who did really awful things to him actually wanted to take OUR house as his PERMANENT residence. God forbid. Maybe I should do a post about some of these stories. Anyway WF - I am sorry you had to go through all that, but it has made you the strong woman you are today! You have unique knowledge you can use to empower you in so many situations. You've learnt about people, and thank God because you won't have to learn about it like that again. If we suffer and learn lessons early we are lucky to not have to learn them again. Big hug

Writefreak said...

MilesPerHour: yep...small doses...gosh how did i miss your comment earlier

Woomie O: Need? Do we really need them? If i am in a position to help someone, i will help but not by taking them into my house on a long term basis

FFF: I'm with you o even on the no maids one, i have an outsourcing policy..God help us

BSNC: Maybe if you're like the same age group, it's not so bad...thanks dear

Anonymous: Thanks for stopping by, i really don't get your point though

leggy: it definitely is trash, kinda erodes the closeness

scribble: i really don't think it's selfishness

mizcynic: those relatives, did they leave with you? were they always in your house? if so that was really cool..we had some good ones but the bad ones just kinda stay in your memory...

Tigeress: I'm nodding my head at your comment sis!

NoLimit: Yes o NO FRIGGING WAY! lol at l'enfante terrible! I wish i was a more wicked child! lol

Adaeze: awww about your husband, i hope he gets to work through all the issues...and they all come back don't they? What goes around comes around! God forbid! Why would he want to live in your house? You're right about the lessons learnt

QMoney said...

Mon dear,i am so sorry about your experiences.
My dad couldnt stan any relative living with us oh,we had househelps and they were HORROR.from the guy that tried to kiss me to the girl that tried to get me to sleep with her, i told my parents about this 2 and my dd brougt out a cutlass.lol.i wasnt even 10 at d time.
then we got other househelps and that one taught me to steal,i use to steal money ALL the time from my mum's bag and we'll use to to buy bleaching cream or biscuit,steal meat from d pot then give her later,then the one that told me twas evil to be a virgin....waoh,all thse happeneidn in pry school oh.sec shool was boarding so i was never really at home for that long!i told my mum about that one much later......walahi,i can only remember one good male househelp and he was living in the BQ.
I really and truly dont think i want anyone in my house sha,maybe d BQ but not main house INCLUDING househelps,i will have sum1 come in daily,hope dat one doesnt steal all my property sha....lol

QMoney said...

Helppppppppppppppppp,i cant find my long comment,the thing isntt coming up!!!!where do i wanna start from again?lol

Writefreak said...

QMoney: Lol..your comment is here jo! Don't freak out!
Wow some escapades with the help! God save you say you no turn to armed robber..lmao!
I've always had help that come in once in a while, not daily sa...if i ever have a househelp, he or she will live in the BQ..period!

pink-satin said...

wow..i think everyone had uncle and aunties staying with them...for as long as i can remember there was always someone in my house...most of them were nice and the men never tried anything with us...but now with all the stories i have heard i dont know if i can let relatives stay with me o!that is selfish se?considering the facts that when i moved to the States i stayed with people with kids and occasionally i still do during vacations and stuff!!We just have to closely watch our children and talk to them, so they know to tell us if anything is amiss!God help us

Olufunke said...

I can relate to your post....., I have mixed experiences about people living with the nuclear family.
You have a right to decide not wanting to have relatives stay with you, although I agree with Danny that it should be taken on case by case basis, and I have also have wonderful people stay with us and we are like families today...I have also had the 'not so good' relatives that I have bad memories of.

Our culture is the societal-dependence kind ( although we are gradually shifting away from that)
My parents (esp my mum) too had to live with some relative to be bale to go to school etc
I guess everything has its advantages and disadvantages......I generally grew up knowing a house of 'the more the merrier'
I would say that one should at every time be 'led' by God to allow a relative live with you or not.

The fact that evil happens around should not make us shut up our bowels of mercy, God has blessed us, made us comfortable so that out of that comfort He gives us, we can bless other too.

I should say I also would think twice before allowing any relative live with my family.
Nice one!

Enkay said...

Pele my dear!
We also had people living with us while we were growing up. My dad just had this 'thing' about raising all the young men from his village. I still don't know how my mom coped!!

My mom started getting worried though when we started becoming adolescents. Having all those men with testosterone running wild in their bloodstreams was dangerous for her blooming daughters. Soon they all left but appeared every once in a while for short periods.

It wasn't until about 8 years ago that we had the opportunity to live with absolutely no outsider around and it was great! - while it lasted. We had that for approximately 3 years before they all started coming around again.

I don't think I minded that much though. we just seemed like one big happy family.
Your experience wasn't pleasant at all and it is totally understandable for you to make your home OFF LIMITS!

aloted said...

hmm this post is also bringing back some good and not so good memories to me...cuz we also ALWAYS had one/more relative living with us.

overall experience was 6/10

i also dont want relatives...and if they have to come i will so monitor them...and kick anyone's behind who comes near my children...

sorry i know this sounds so unchristian like...but i will kill for my children

Original Mgbeke said...

Awww, I totally feel you! I myself will not feel comfortable with too many relatives around my children. Most kids who were molested at young ages, were molested by relatives. Growing up, my mom's sister lived with us and it was cool...that wasn't a horrible experience. I will probably do maybe one person at a max but my house will not be filled with random people. I really do feel this post.

Favoured Girl said...

Awww sorry about your experiences with relatives. Growing up we had some relatives living with us at different times, but thankfully they were nice. The person that stayed longest was an aunt that was lovely. Occassionally we had an annoying cousin or uncle but thankfully they didn't stay too long.
I'm definitely placing restrictions on who can stay with me and for how long. I've heard too many horror stories. Fortunately hubby too has declared that he will not let extended family come and stay for ages, causing trouble. I think I shouldn't take chances with my children in the name of being accommodating to family.

Rita said...

Oh my dear...*Big Hugs*...thanks for writing about it...

Beulah! said...

Wow!...this is so touching...*sob,sob*..i bet aunt B taught u guys were too young at that time to remember all the bad things she did. Kids are very impressionable, most adults dont understand this, they go ahead & torture little children, thinking they have no minds to process information/happenings around them...truth is, their minds are sharper than ours, they sense even the littlest of things.

I relate so much with ur story, thanks for sharing. If i can help it too - No relatives in my home home

justdoyin said...

hmmm...memories, memories, and more memories...I definitely feel u on this one...also had loads of uncles and aunts stay with us while growing up...

my hubby is a people-person, but we've discussed it and I hope I'v been able to convince and not confuse him...that I ain't having random people come live/stay with us for extended periods...short visits r fine...

rayo said...

i learnt, the hard way. its not nice having them around, growing up i had d craziest, dumbest, relatives from popc's syd livin wt us. at d same tym howeva, i had one wonderful person from there too so i guess for me, in future, its going to boil down to that relative's character!

Have you any wool said...

yes, i prefer when people stay in their own houses instead of over crowding that of others. relatives staying around almost never end in 'happily ever after'.

Frankie Rose said...

I don't even know what to say. I felt like I was there living some of your moments with you. I guess one thing in life is true, the past as a way of molding us into a better person. What you did for Aunt B was kind, don't know if alot of people would have actually help'd. Family is family, good or bad, I guess.

1 + The One said...

Very touching, thank God you survived the experience.. Its very sad how "outside influences" including relatives do so much damage to a family. I have heard many stories of little girls molested by "uncles/cousins" and its heart-rending..
I agree with you on allowing them stay only for a brief period but sometimes it's hard in the kind of culture that exists in Nigeria..One may be branded "bad" "evil" heartless". Notwithstanding our homes should come first! I can offer financial help where possible from afar but not encourage housing anybody..
I'm sure the experience has made you stronger and wiser, thank God you came out without lasting damage xx

Nefertiti said...

Yep, I can so relate to this post. Takes me back a few yrs too. Unfortunately, I don't believe I have a choice at this time, but best believe, I watch my child like a hawk. I'm glad u escaped all those experiences undamaged physically.

Buttercup said...

awwww momma...sending a million hugs ur way..

as everyone has said, theres absolutely nothing wrong with ur decision..

i personally wont be quick to say i wont allow them cos i know im too much of a softie..God help me..

babajidesalu said...

Good write up, going down memory lane.

You know what, you have done yourself a lot of good spilling out some of those ill feelings you have harboured for so many years. They can be extremely harmful without you having a clue where all the bitterness is coming from. Can you imagine you have lived with those toxic thoughts for these number of years?

Well done for having the courage to at least put your feelings down on paper.

Trust me, it will only get better from here.

God bless and take good care of your thoughts.

O'Dee said...

NEVER!
By Gods grace I wont have extended family living in my home.

Growing up the only family we had were my cousins and we were of the same age. We had a cousin who had bad behaviour, and my mum sent him back to his dad to take care of his own son.

My other cousins stayed with us till their parents moved back to 9ja, it was really hard separating us all. Till date we r still so close.

Having extended family; especially older ones living with your kids isnt really good.

Sorry you had to go thru all that.

ManCee said...

Lol at your cousin asking you to wrestle...
Seriously i feel you...Same reason ppl like me dont even want house helps; male or female.
Like Some one else said..."I think case by case is best...and wetin hubby say?

naijagirl said...

As long as you live in naija, there must be someone outside your nuclear family living with you...thats what i had always believed in, from experience.
As for the sister thing, I believe in respect, but I believe that when "sister, aunty, brother, etc" is added to a close relative, it brings a gap. My siblings and I are really close but we all believe that if the sister callig was there, we probably would have had reservation as per respect in the kind of openess or discussions we had. I am grateful that we fought it when they wanted to introduce that....no matter wat you think, your children will still have a great time, more than you did cos every generation is supposed to be better than the previous one. thats the gift you give them

OPTIMISTIC_alyzzz said...

emmm, NO, rally i dont know depends. i have had good and bad xperiences with relatives, my parents have this door open policy really there was a time we had up to 8 uncles and 3 aunties in my house. well wen that bridge comes i will cross it.

aloted said...

Ore, your attention is required on my blog x

Chari said...

I am on the same page with you on this one...I grew up with no relatives as such and I appreciate my parents for that with all the horror stories I have heard...hmmn...I pass and will prolly do the same...

disguisedfeelings said...

hmmm, sorry, but No. can't stay.

Lolia said...

:(

Why am I only just seeing this?
Nope, I don't think I would let anyone stay with my family for longer than their stay can be called a 'visit'...
My mummy's sister lived with us for a couple of years in London but fortunately for us she was a real blessing esp when my mummy had to work all the time. Like I really can't imagine growing up without her but then that's not always the case and I think I'd want to protect my children from any external influences that I'm not sure about...even if they are related to me or my husband except grandparents but even that can be a bit iffy sometimes...
*big hug* sweets and e-mail me please, I miss youuuuuuu!

SHE said...

I wouldn't let anyone stay for too long either.
What's the use of exposing one's children to all that unnecessary 'risk'?