Eye-Opening Moments Podcast

Cruelty (and more)

July 09, 2024 Emily Kay Tan Episode 128
Cruelty (and more)
Eye-Opening Moments Podcast
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Eye-Opening Moments Podcast
Cruelty (and more)
Jul 09, 2024 Episode 128
Emily Kay Tan

Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about Cruelty and Lessons from Poverty.




Website: https://inspiremereads.com
Books: https://amazon.com/author/emily-kay-tan.2021_

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about Cruelty and Lessons from Poverty.




Website: https://inspiremereads.com
Books: https://amazon.com/author/emily-kay-tan.2021_

Support the Show.



Comments or questions welcomed:
Twitter @emilykaytan OR https://inspiremereads.com.
Subscriptions appreciated: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1919670/support

Hello and welcome to episode #128 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. They are moments that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. For the introspective mind that likes to reflect, discover, and find solutions or meaning in a complex life, this is for you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about Cruelty and Lessons from Poverty.

Cruelty
Why are some people so cruel, or why do some do such evil deeds? Is it their selfishness, insecurities, or anger misplaced onto others? I now believe it is because they are in significant pain inside. However, I have endured much pain myself, but I didn’t harm or hurt another person. Wait, I did when I broke up with some boyfriends. Maybe if I thought harder, I could find other instances when I was unkind. For the moment, I would like to explore or understand what I call cruelty.

I lent him eleven thousand dollars to pay several months of office rent in his business. He couldn’t pay me back. He never apologized for it. He couldn’t even say the word sorry. He left me in the car waiting for him for two hours when he said it would be a quick chat with a business partner at an office. He didn’t say he was sorry when he kept me waiting. He didn’t think much of it at all. The worst thing he did was, after nine years of pursuing me, he cheated on me. Of course, he never said sorry. It wasn’t a part of his vocabulary. This man was someone I loved deeply. I was ashamed of staying with him for so long, blinded by what I thought was love.

He belittled me for having a Master’s degree because I did not have all the answers to his questions or problems. He thought I should since I had a Master’s degree. He thought me to be below him since my teaching salary was lower than his salary as an engineer. He would scream at me for two hours on end for some trivial matter because he was anal and revealed his monstrous temper after we married. He was the man I married and then divorced. How could a person be so kind before marriage and so cruel after marriage?

My mentor gave workshops, dropped by my classroom to see how I was doing as a beginning teacher, and asked if she could take my novel ideas to present at her workshops. Wasn’t she stealing from me in broad daylight? Leanne, the teacher next door to me, told the principal that I was threatening my students, which was why they excelled. How could she be so cruel to concoct such a lie because she was jealous of my accomplishments? Esther, my superior, withheld information from me so I couldn’t complete the needed tasks. She wanted our superior to think less of me. Another person was doing something unkind out of jealousy. 

I could say my ex-boyfriend was cruel because he was selfish and a coward. My ex-husband was abusive because he was insecure and had to put me down to make himself feel better. My co-workers were jealous and had to put me down to elevate themselves. I admit I didn’t know what to do then but I learned what I could have done upon reflection. Had I known, I wouldn’t have subjected myself to such cruelty. Explaining the cruelty doesn’t remove the pain suffered. Attempting to stand up for me doesn’t remove the misery endured. It is like the holes made in a fence when you drive nails through them. Once bored, you cannot remove them. Even if you plug them up, the damage is already done. How can you console yourself? Think about acts of kindness or make lists of gratitude.

I had a grandmother who cared for me and raised me when my own mother didn’t. I am grateful for the values she imparted. I once had a boss who showered me with gifts and hugs. I am thankful for her generosity and model of compassion. I am fortunate to have had a cousin who joined me in business and made my dreams come true when he helped me build a team. I am lucky to have met Sonny, a friend who always has a listening ear for me. I thank God for being blessed with a friend like Selina. She has rescued and saved me many times from extreme disasters. I couldn’t ask for a better friend. 

Each time I experience a bit of cruelty, I remind myself of all the kindness I experienced. I believe life has a way of balancing cruelty and kindness. Listing ten positives every day allows me to see more positives than negatives. Giving more than I receive reminds me to put more compassion into the world. Focus on what brings comfort and joy!
 
Lessons from Poverty
I never thought there could be anything to brag about being poor. But when I look at my ex-boyfriend, a millionaire, I can’t say I admire him for his wealth. When I look at my parents, who worked hard to move into upper-middle-class status, I wouldn’t say I was proud of them either. I laugh in amusement that I could be proud of myself for moving from poverty to middle-class to poverty and back to middle-class with pride.

Devin, the millionaire ex-boyfriend, made a lot of money as a businessman but spent a lot freely, too. Sure, he could afford it, and he used his money generously to frequently treat dozens of people at a time for lunch or dinner. All the recipients, myself included, enjoyed it, too. I admired his generosity but stopped applauding his status when I learned of something first-hand. 

After eight years of making and spending lots of money, Devin’s income fell steeply. Still, he continued to spend using his credit cards. One day, Devin and I ran into three associates while shopping for office supplies, and he invited them to lunch. When we finished eating, the other gentlemen walked ahead and out the door, assuming Devin would pay for it as usual. Devin got his credit card out, and one after another, was rejected. He had no money in his accounts. I was beside him, and he asked me for the money. The millionaire asked me, the poor lady who made little in the business, for money. Luckily, I always had emergency money with bills or credit cards on hand. I paid the bill. He never paid me back, and I gathered that he had treated me countless times, so I didn’t ask for a reimbursement.

Soon, the global economic crisis of 2008 hit us, and Devin was two months behind in office rent. He didn’t ask me for money but shared about his money troubles and didn’t expect my help. He knew I didn’t make much in the business. Blinded by love, I volunteered to help him pay for two months of office rent, a five-digit expense. He never paid me back. He didn’t have money to pay me back. Most hurtful was that he never said: “Sorry.”

I was a middle-class lady with a stable income until I quit my job to enter the same business as Devin. I spent more money (on the business) than I made in the company. I could not make a living out of the business and only survived with savings from my previous job. 

Growing up poor, I learned early on to save money for a rainy day from Grandma’s example. I penny-pinched to survive as Grandma did. I kept a budget manually, recording all my expenses and income. I calculated the amount I saved each month and analyzed the numbers to manage my money since I was seventeen and entered college. The saving habits I acquired kept me afloat and even helped Devin, the supposed millionaire, several times.

Though Devin was once a millionaire, his spending habits scared me when I considered him as a future husband. In the end, though I was devastated and heartbroken by the breakup, I dodged a disaster. I would be in financial ruin had I married him. I worked too hard to keep myself financially safe even when I made little in business. 

I no longer felt ashamed for growing up poor, struggling to make a decent income, losing money in business, enduring the global economic crisis, and the global pandemic crisis. I survived all the bouts of disaster with money-saving habits. Besides that, I appreciate and value what I have. 

It was undiscerning to see Devin give little value to whatever he spent money on and not seem to appreciate what he did have. Observing how people took advantage of his generosity and kindness was abominable.

Because I grew up poor, I learned valuable skills of penny-pinching, saving, and budgeting to survive. Because I was poor, I struggled to get what I got and appreciated what little I had. Whenever anyone gave me something, I said thank you because I treasured any generosity coming my way. On the other hand, Devin never appreciated anything he bought or had. I believe that included me. That was his loss. Though I was never a millionaire, I could brag about lessons learned from being poor or be proud of how they made me a survivor and a grateful person.

I grew up with my grandparents, who were poor immigrants. My parents were also poor immigrants living in another state. Dad was the breadwinner, while Mom was the housewife. Grandma unloaded the burden of having me as a child for Mom, but Mom continued to bear more children. Dad worked hard with several businesses and eventually made enough money to buy a house in the suburbs and live the American dream. Mom was the spender. She spent lots of money to look good to others. That included the house, cars, beautiful clothes, and cosmetic surgery for herself and two of her daughters. She thought herself admirable, but I was ashamed of her. She never developed any skills to be a career woman or an entrepreneur. Her only job was housewife and mother, and I thought she did a poor job of it as only one child out of six loved her dearly.

When Mom and Dad reached retirement age, they didn’t have money to retire. They had spent it on vacations and luxuries to appear wealthy to others and never saved any money. At Grandma’s funeral, they asked each child to contribute a thousand dollars monthly to their retirement income. They were shocked to learn that only one child willingly gave to them. The rest didn’t make enough to contribute; even if they did, they didn’t want to do so. As for me, I was shocked that they even dared to ask me. 

Mom and Dad never contributed to raising me since I was five and living with Grandma. I paid for my own undergraduate and graduate school education. I paid for my wedding expenses. Hello, Grandma and I raised me; how dare they ask me to finance their retirement! This act, among many other acts, leads me to have no sympathy for them. They certainly had no compassion or empathy for my struggles as a kid or a teenager to become financially independent at seventeen. Their use of money and their thoughtlessness are nothing I admire. 

Instead of learning some saving habits as I did with Grandma, educating themselves with investing as I did in business, or getting another job to supplement income like I did, they chose to beg family members for money. I have no respect for that. I am no longer ashamed of the periods when I was low on cash because I educated myself, invested money, got gigs, and became an entrepreneur. I never begged or asked for a handout. So, I brag about the lessons gained from being poor. Never underestimate the power of what positivity in poverty can do for you. Don’t complain; don’t beg. Please choose what you can gain from it. 

Key Takeaways: Though I have endured cruelty from others, I have also enjoyed kindness from others. 

Though I have suffered from poverty, I learned to appreciate and value what I have.

Next week, you will hear about two real-life stories called When I Saw Him and Because I Took Risks. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please share it with others, support the show by clicking on the link in the description, or go to www.inspiremereads.com and leave a message. Thank you for listening!

 

 

Introduction
Cruelty
Lessons from Poverty
Key Takeaways