Nothing Highlights The True Character of a Person Like a Hardship

Wanna see the true character of a person? Watch how they react when hardship comes their way. This essay is about hardships and sustaining relationships through them.

Nothing Highlights The True Character of a Person Like a Hardship
Source: Pixabay

You want to see the true character of a person? Watch how they react when hardship comes their way.

Because of all the things I’ve encountered in my life, a hardship is just another issue on the plate of life I have to deal with. Whether it’s money problems, work, people, children, or relationships, I have found a way to cope without taking it out on other people, killing the moods of those around me, and finding the Plan B (or Plan C, D, or E if need be) to ensure nothing in life stops me. By no means am I saying I’m some resilient human being able to overcome life’s challenges easy breezy.

That’s not what I’m saying here.

I’m simply saying when adversity comes my way, I’m quick on my feet to find a solution or alternative. Putting out fires is something that I’m good at, unfortunately. But a lot of people out there, both men and women, suck when it comes to dealing with hardships. They’ll take their frustration and anger out on someone who had absolutely nothing to do with the hardship.

Hardships reveal the true nature of people.

Hardships also can make or break any type of relationship be it friend, family, romantic, or a marriage.

How Racism and Money Ended My Marriage

The primary reasons my ex-husband and I broke up were racism and a pay cut. Both reasons came from the workplace. And although these issues arose in the workplace, somehow, they manifested at home.

My ex had a racist boss (a Cuban woman) who was a part of a hospital system that valued pinching pennies and the bean counters over medicine. Most people think racism simply exists between Blacks and Whites, but there is a lot of racism from other ethnic groups that Blacks in America endure from other ethnic groups who arrived here and assimilated after Africans did. The Hispanic communities racism, in particular racism inflicted up American Blacks and those of African descent (i.e. Haitians), is a huge issue in South Florida that is not often addressed. The problem has existed for decades.

It’s one of thee area’s dirty little secrets that is neatly hidden between water front high-rises, strip clubs, plastic surgeons, white sand, and beautiful blue ocean.

I received a first hand account on how racism by non-whites (Cubans) harms Black people, their ability to earn a fair income and their upward mobility in the same manner injurious racism inflicted by Whites blocks Black wealth accrual and upward mobility. It was quite eye-opening to say the least. Cubans use their fair-skin and straight to curly hair to inflict the same harm Whiteness does against people with darker skin in South Florida.

Their racism stems from Cuba, and has become an institution in Florida unbeknownst to me. I guess you live and you learn.

My spouse had been recruited to come help create a new family medicine residency with by his old boss who happened to be a residency director for over 20 years.

He had the employer agreed upon a salary, work terms, etc. and we relocated. As soon as he arrived though, things changed. Unlike his previous working relationship, he was no longer supervised by a doctor and a hospital administrator with a background and license in medicine. He was no supervised by a Business Office Manager.

She was a woman who disliked African Americans we’d later learn (like many White-skin Cubans here in South Florida), and she disliked the fact my ex made not only more money than she did, but he made more money than almost every Nurse Manager in the entire hospital system. Why was that?

It was because in their culture, the darker the skin, the lower on the totem pole a person should be, just like back home in Cuba. My husband was Blackitty-Black (like Afro-Cuban), so he had to be put in his place, apparently.

It was because of the level of experience and expertise he was bringing to the table in addition to they expected to have something implemented that did not exist. He came in did his job, and he did it well until the bean counting racist Cuban Business Manager decided his pay was something that needed to be reduced to save her department money.

She nagged and nagged and inquired about his salary until she found there was nothing she could do. Her next objective then was to make every day a living hell until he’d leave. Mission almost accomplished.

It got really bad at work to make a long story short. Every week that went by that my ex remained in the office made things more stressful at work and at home.

He didn’t want to eat. He was extremely grumpy with me. He stopped doing chores around the house. He started getting ill, and he didn’t want to have sex. This job began to change his entire demeanor. He was no longer the person I married.

Finally, enough people began to complain about her that the hospital began to investigate the inappropriateness of her actions. She was removed from the department and all was well for a spell (she was not terminated from the hospital due to inappropriate behavior because her superior was guess what…Cuban). The Business Office Manager was now working for the head of all nurses employed in the hospital system, her dear friend.

And guess what happened next? That $10,000 pay cut she was so looking to try to implement.

Things took a turn for the worse here folks. While $10,000 may not seem significant to some people, it was a huge deal for us. We had a kid in college, two homes (one we were trying to sell back home), and the monthly living expenses we incurred with our move to FL. The cost of living was much higher than it was back home, so a $10,000 pay cut for two middle-aged folks trying to plan for retirement and still live was a tad bit much.

The America dream is a bunch of bullshit!

Instead of my ex looking for a new job after being disrespected and cheated out of his income, he stayed at the job, biting his lip every day trying to not do anything else to be injured financially or emotionally. He just hated being in this new cruel workplace. He became a yes man by staying there after all he’d endured. They piled more work onto for less money, and he hated it.

Guess who got shown no love? Me, Mrs. Better of for Worse his wife, that’s who! It was a relationship from hell at this point let me tell you. I went to be many-a-nights questioning myself.

Needless to say, after about 2 years of being mistreated, having my feelings hurt, no intimacy, and his unwillingness to move to another job or relocate to another area, I left him.

My ex did not know how to handle hardship and adversity well. Instead of placing blame where it should have been placed, and allowing me to help create a solution to our new household income, he buckled to the pressures of this new and evolving cut-throat work environment.

After 20 years in the Army, and nearly 14 years with the same employer, he didn’t know how to adapt to change well. I was a casualty of that.

Racism and a $10,000 pay cut put the nail in the coffin of my marriage.

Hardships show us what people are really made of. A lot of us are made of jelly. We can’t handle bad gas let alone a serious crisis. And while I realize nothing teaches us better than life does

Sometimes Adversity Reveals the Character of Good Friends

I have another friend who decided to retire recently, and her retirement income is nowhere near the monthly net income she received from working.

And of course, every darn thing breaks down when you’re on a fixed income. Because yes…that’s just how life works.

Every time something happens she’s a mess. It’s not even anything major, but I am guessing when you’re used to living upper-middle-class for 30 years and you have an income drop to an income level that correlates with people in poverty, everything is a crisis.

She doesn’t wear a crises or hardships well, even minor things like the fridge going out.

We were supposed to go out for my birthday and have drinks/dinner, but her fridge crisis killed her entire mood. She couldn’t do one thing about the fridge that evening. Nor was it my issue. She sulked and worried and worried and sulked, which in turn made me feel like I was wrong for being happy for my birthday celebration. I picked up and internalized her emotions like most empaths do.

I didn’t have a problem, yet my friend ruined my day by not being able to adapt to the hardship and adversity in her life.

We had planned to hang out for my birthday for weeks. The one thing I was looking forward to on my birthday she ruined because she didn’t know how to act in crisis, and that’s a shame.

These types of incidents, major and minor, reveal the character of a man (or woman).

I expressed how I felt about the way she reacted on my birthday and shared how selfish I thought she was. She agreed and apologized, but it was too late. The damage had already been done. From now on, I’m not allowing anyone’s inability to adapt to hardships impact me. It’s definitely made it harder for me to trust this friend. Now I see her as fair weather.

Hardships Reveal What a Person is Made of

When I have problems, I either keep them to myself, or I share them in confidence with people who can help me think things through if I need that. Most times, I have a plan. I’ve lived a life of adversity.

Me, adversity, and hardship are cousins. But somehow, I always manage to survive.

Hardships reveal what a person is made of. You should pay attention to the signs. Don’t ignore them.

People with money, good jobs, pretty good mental health (most times) and an inability to adapt to change are very hard to be in relationships with. They get moody, irritable, and sometimes they insult the good people around them who mean them no harm. Sadly, we can’t pick our friends, family, and sometimes our spouses by their ability to overcome hardships and adversities because those things usually happen at the most inopportune times and phases of our lives.

I wish we could choose our friends, families, lovers, partners, and spouses by their ability to handle crisis. It would make life a little easier knowing the person in your corner not only has the fortitude to take challenges head-on, but they have the desire to overcome those challenges. For better or for worse.

Instead, we find out later, sometimes way later. Sometimes when it’s too late.

Some of the best people I know are not people of the best backgrounds, those with the most money, the best educated or the most affluent. They are people who know how to struggle and those who have overcome hardships.

Being with people who can’t fight their way out of a paper bag or people who allow their emotions to overtake their total being is a drag. I need me a ride or die who can fight to the death, letting nothing or no one deter them from solving some of life’s most ridiculous problems.

Nothing teaches us better than life, and nothing highlights the true character of a person like a hardship. You want to know who your real friends are, go through a hardship together and make it to the other side, then look back to see what’s left. Wanna see a man or woman’s true character? Watch how they act and react when under duress due to any type of adversity.

These revelations can make or break relationships if you pay close attention. Never underestimate the power of crisis. Racism, drastic or sudden income changes, politics, or family drama will show you who you’re really dealing with.

It can be life-saving, devastating or perhaps even life-changing. You just have to get to the other side to find out. A person who hasn’t experienced adversity hasn’t lived fully. Consider this when getting married. For worse really could be worse.

Marley, 2019