My family disgusts me. Most times, I am embarrassed by their interactions, their lack of education, how they speak and how little we have. They are mostly uneducated, backward in their reasoning, and I find that I do not want anyone to know who they are. I believe that as soon as I am able to, I will want to change my name and never look back. I have worked through my guidance counsellor to achieve a scholarship that will take me through my final year of high school and after that, I am out! My mother keeps asking me about graduation, but I do not want any of them to be there. My friend at school says that I am ungrateful. I do not think so. What do you think?
I see where you are embarrassed by the members of your family. I also see where you are looking at the issues that have little value on what constitutes a family. “The value of a man does not lie in what he lacks but what he gives.” You have based your feelings/values on education, how well they speak, and other material things. Have you considered that they have provided you with the best of what they have? You did not say that you were ill-treated, or hungry, or naked, neglected, or abused. I hope that you can see the value in what your family has given to you – the support that you can be better than they are.
cannot choose our family. We ought to see them for all the flaws, the challenges, the good times, and love them unconditionally. Are you able to change the situation at all? Have you ever expressed this concern to your family? You did not say when you became aware of the perceived circumstances of your family. It has been my experience as a counsellor that you may have become aware somewhere in your late grade-seven or early gradeeight years. This, I dare say, is normal for teens who compare themselves to their peers and their presented situations.
Sometimes you have to reflect on what has been provided and the resources available to you, in order that an appreciation of what exists can be made. It may be helpful to ask yourself if the family has changed prior to your highschool years. Has there been any deterioration in the family’s social or financial standing? Or is it that you have become more aware and conscious of the situation?
C.H., you have been afforded the opportunity of education. I suggest that instead of disgust or embarrassment, you sit down with your family and explore the history of your particular circumstance; you may find you have a different perspective than you have now. Many of our countrymen/women all started from humble beginnings and have excelled in ways that only serve for the development of their families. Many musicians, doctors, entrepreneurs, and politicians use the resources available to them within their humble beginnings to take their families with them on that journey of success. You have the responsibility now to be a trendsetter in your family ... a lifetime of firsts. Have you thought of being the first to complete high school, the first to be deemed an academic success, a role model? Are you ready to take on this challenge?
It may be a lonely journey, emotionally and physically, for you if you walk away from your roots. Family may be likened to a tree; the branches may grow in different directions, but they are all from the same root – and that you cannot change.
Being ungrateful is not a permanent state, as in your case you can change how you are perceived and how you see your family.
As it relates to your upcoming graduation, remember that it is an important milestone in your life. I hope that you will share this accomplishment with your family. I wish you all the very best.
Dr Karelle Hylton, PhD, counselling psychologist.