My husband and I are busy but have been trying to be more involved in family activities. However, when they started distancing themselves from me, I knew there was more to it. I just was not ready for the reason behind the silence.

My name is Emily, and I have been married to my wonderful husband, Alex, for over a decade. Alex, originally from China, captured my heart with his kindness and intelligence. He works in tech, a field he has always been passionate about.

On the other hand, I work as an accountant, so we both lead busy lives, juggling demanding jobs and personal projects. This often means we miss out on some family time. However, until recently, we always made an effort to attend important family gatherings, especially during the holidays.

Despite how busy Alex and I had been, I noticed that my family had started to distance themselves a bit more. For instance, I am really close to my cousins, but lately, they rarely speak to or even call me. I understand that I am at fault sometimes because of my busy schedule, but it has never stopped us from sharing short catch-up calls between breaks.

I remember sitting down with Alex one evening, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this issue. I was so confused and started to worry. “Do you think they’re upset with us for missing Thanksgiving last year?” I asked, hoping it was just my imagination running wild.

Alex looked up from his laptop, “Maybe, but it doesn’t make sense. We’ve missed dinners before, and your mom always says the family understands,” he replied, trying to reassure me. But the reassurance didn’t stick; I continued to worry more.

Then, a few months passed with this uncomfortable silence hanging between my family and me. No calls, no messages, nothing. It felt like being slowly erased from a picture I had always been a part of.

I brought it up with my mother, but she also reassured me that nothing was wrong. “Those events aren’t crucial, and everyone knows how busy you and your husband are,” she said.

This feeling of being singled out became a painful whisper in my daily life. I wanted answers, but I was not getting them from my parents. Little did I know that the answers would come to find me.

I was pushing my cart through the grocery store, mentally ticking off items from my shopping list when I literally bumped into someone rounding the corner. To my surprise, it was my Aunt Linda, her arms full of groceries. “Emily! Oh my, what a surprise!” she exclaimed, her face lighting up with a genuine smile.

“Aunt Linda!” I said, my heart swelling with joy. “I’ve missed you so much! How have you been?”

As we hugged, Aunt Linda’s expression shifted slightly, and there was hesitance in her voice as she spoke. “I’m good, darling. Actually, I was just at a little get-together the family threw for me. It’s a pity you and Alex couldn’t make it.”

My smile faltered. “A get-together? We didn’t know anything about it.”

“Oh, that’s strange. But, Emily, there’s something else. Can I ask you something important?” Her tone was serious, filled with concern.

“Of course, Aunt Linda. What is it?” I braced myself, sensing something was amiss.

She took a deep breath and said, “Is what I heard about you true?” My heart sank. “I mean, your mom mentioned something that seems very out of character for you, and I wanted to see if it’s true.”

“What did she say?” I asked.

“She said you started working as a scammer, and that’s how you make a living. And that Alex helps because he’s like a ‘computer genius.’ I didn’t believe it, Emily, but…”

I was stunned. “That’s not true, Aunt Linda. None of it. I can’t believe this!”

My heart started racing, but I couldn’t control the tears streaming down my face. I had to confront this head-on. I called my parents, and as soon as their faces appeared on FaceTime, I didn’t waste a moment. “Mom, Dad, why are you lying about us being scammers? Aunt Linda told me everything.”
Their expressions were unreadable. Dad looked straight into the camera and said bluntly, “Because you told us so.”

“I never said any such thing!” I countered, frustration boiling over. “Why would you even say that?”

Mom walked off, refusing to participate, while Dad’s tone grew harsh. “You must have amnesia then,” he snapped before trying to switch the subject. The conversation ended with no resolution, but I did not understand why my parents would spread such a rumor about me and my husband.
I tried to get more information out of them, but they just kept insisting that I had said so. They even tried to downplay the whole ordeal, saying, “No one thinks any less of you because of it.” But how could they not see the damage they had caused?

It was not even about what people had to say or think of me, but the fact that my parents did not understand how much they single-handedly disrespected me and my husband. They have literally stereotyped my husband, which is offensive and problematic in many ways.

I tried to explain all this to them, but they were stubborn and did not want to be wrong. So, after much reflection and with a heavy heart, I decided to continue keeping my distance from my parents.

The trust we had was shattered. Now, my Aunt Linda has been calling and asking me to forgive my parents. She even blamed herself for telling me and coming between my parents and me, but it was not her fault. The truth had to come out.

I know I will speak to my parents again, but I need space and want them to reflect on the severity of their actions. Nothing might come out of it, but I will be able to think and approach them with a clearer mind.

After all the calls and messages from Aunt Linda, I find myself questioning if I am wrong for wanting to keep away from them after they spread such harmful lies about us. Is it wrong to protect myself and my husband from further pain and misunderstanding?

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