seen for many years, came to live with me and he is not well now, so I have to go shopping”. I was way sorry for
the sickly old lady but after looking at the trend in our own community, we are not immune to such widespread rivalry.
In the African community abroad, the trend is overwhelming. It’s not uncommon to see siblings, who came to UK, Financially helping each other, but once they have landed and settled, the rivalry takes charge. I give it up to those brothers, sisters, cousins and even parents who are in very good close relationship with their relatives while abroad.
So what is the problem?
Many misunderstandings are money oriented. When one owe some money to the other but the payment become hard. When the siblings share a house and only one seems to be paying the bills, shopping for food or even paying rent. When the others requested to cost share, things go bananas. When the sibling moves out, that is usually the end of once a close relationship.
Another common reason for the break in relationship is children. Abroad, childcare is expensive and unavailable. It would not be so bad if there was a relative who can take the burden off your shoulder. It is a common thing to see that siblings and relatives want nothing to do with your children. In such situations, friends are more than families. You can count more on friends to assist, without reservations but close family links have been broken when a child has come into the picture.
Jealousy could be considered as another factor that facilitates rivalry. When one family member is doing better than the others, it’s bound to be a nerve stressor especially if it includes great investment back home or show off back home. Backstabbing to parents and family on the other side of the globe is always one that many cannot get to term with. Calling home to say hello to mum and she is like” what were you doing in that pub on Saturday”, very clearly as if she was there! That’s a shocker.
There are many reasons, some I might not know about but it’s really sad when a time of need come and your relatives are not there for you. Bereavement has left the community awed at the depth of the rivalry as grieving relatives are given a cold shoulder by those they are supposed to lean on. I am inclined to say that it’s about time we work on our relationships with family while abroad.
If you are in that situation, be the one to take a lead, make the first step.
If they have become offensive, take a back sit over insults. Two wrongs do not make right.
Avoid unnecessary fights. Some arguments siblings get to are not even worth it!
Find way to resolve the matter, even if it involves using a friend, a pastor or even a councillor as a link.
Give them space, but not blackouts, if you move out of the house, check on each other regularly.
Remember life is too short. You do not want to stand on your son, daughter, sister, brother or counsins grave wishing you spent more time having fun!
What is your take on relatives rivalry abroad? Do you see eye to eye with your relatives?