Dear Nadine Khan,
I am a 44-year-old working woman. I am on a high post and earn a handsome salary. Right from the time I got married, I always had money because of my job. I am not stingy and help my immediate and extended family members, and my in-laws financially whenever they need it. Unfortunately, they all want my money, but talk against me behind my back. Since my husband is my first cousin, whatever my in-laws say get back to me through family grapevine.
The thing is I am outspoken and cannot take nonsense from anyone, so I say whatever I think in front of people. I don’t talk about anyone in their absence. My relatives are totally opposite; they ask me for help and I give it and then they say I am blunt and insulting.
I genuinely care about my siblings, and I ask them about things happening in the lives of their children, which they don’t like. I don’t hide anything from them about what is happening in my children’s lives, but they don’t tell me anything because they think I spill things out to extended family members. Well, I don’t believe in hiding things and sooner or later everything comes out. Few months back, my sister’s son got married. She told my parents and other siblings about the match, but she told me about it after everything had been decided and didn’t even ask me for help in wedding preparation.
I feel very upset because I am sincere with my siblings; I love them, but they don’t trust me. I don’t understand why everyone has a problem with me. I help people but in return I encounter ingratitude. I always try to give good advice to my family members, because I know they are not very realistic and sensible, but they don’t listen! I paid for my cousin’s daughter fees and she flunked. I mentioned this to another cousin and she told everyone else in the family. I didn’t mean to humiliate anyone; I just told this cousin because she is rich and I thought she would take care of the fees for the next semester. My intention was to help, but my cousin has stopped talking to me, as her daughter felt humiliated by my disclosure. I tried to explain, but she didn’t relent.
I feel depressed because no one likes me despite what I have done for virtually everyone in the family. I am accused of being malicious and people call me ‘Bi Jamalo’ in my absence.
How can I get my family members’ trust and affection? Is it wrong to expect good treatment from people when you help them? I am not asking for reward from people. I just want good treatment in return. Is it too much to expect? What should I do?
Dear Depressed M,
You are basically a good person who loves her relatives and makes efforts to help them. In the current scenario when almost every other person is under great financial burden, it is very generous of you to help your family members when they need money. But, my dear, helping people does not entitle you to interfere in their affairs. If people want your advice, you can give it but telling them what to do is not right. You may think - even rightly - that you know better, but no one wants interference. Help people from the goodness of your heart and Allah would reward you. Don’t do it because you want them under obligation. When you interfere in their affairs, they take it as interference and probably think that just because you gave them money, you meddle in their private business. If you tell everyone about what’s going on in your life, it’s up to you, but it doesn’t mean others must do the same.
Telling secrets of family members is not right and your reason that sooner or later things come out is faulty. Whoever spills secrets is not liked, respected or trusted. So try to get over this habit. If you want people to like you, stop interfering in their affairs. Apologise to those whose trust you have compromised and tell them it would not happen again. I am sure your family members love you and appreciate your generosity but keep things from you because they don’t want them aired until they are ready to announce things themselves. Once they realise you have changed, you would get the trust and warmth you miss out on.
Best of luck!
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