This is part 3 of a story of a family dinner. If you haven’t read what happened at the dinner, click here for part 1 (“A family dinner and to raise your glass or not to raise your glass”) and here for part 2 (“A loss of face”).
After Y has paid, his mother who sees that I’m still fighting with tears tells him that we should leave. The others will stay a little longer. Once Y and I am downstairs, I can’t hold back my tears anymore.
Y: “What’s wrong? You’re not crying because of him (referring to his uncle), are you?”
I: “How can you treat someone like that? (Also referring to daye, his oldest uncle). If you want people to respect you, you should respect them too. You know, I was having a stomach ache and back pain just now at the family dinner, but when your uncle started asking me questions I still tried to smile. Is this how you treat family?”
Y hugs me and tells me: “You know, when I was a kid, daye would always want me to kowtow – kneel down in front of him at Chinese New Year. This is a Chinese tradition, the kids kowtow and will then get a hongbao (a red envelope with money). I never liked the way he ordered me to do this and I never knelt down for anyone in my life, just once when my parents were fighting and every time I visit my grandfather’s grave, but that’s different. I’ve always had clashes with my uncle, I usually avoid seeing him.”
I feel a lof better already.
I: “If this is how he treats family, I really don’t want to know how he treats people who aren’t family.”
Y: “Oh, this is still harmless. He always tells his married son to find another woman who should give birth to his grandson.”
I: “Because he only has a granddaughter, not a grandson?”
Y: “No. Because he hates the grandson he already has.”
And like this, we walk into the night. I feel at peace again and love my husband even more. I love him because he doesn’t allow people to treat him like shit and he also stands up for others if people treat them like shit.
Have you ever had difficulties with family members, be it your own or your husband’s or wife’s family? I’d love to read about your experiences.