An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

Sharing an email.

IHM,

I am a regular reader of your blog and I appreciate how you highlight the discrimination of girls in Indian society. But, in my experience I have seen a number of boys (and men) who are manipulated and misused more so by their own family members for selfish reasons.

They are raised and brainwashed from childhood to be faithful to their parents and be their as providers and nothing else.  The education, the extra-care they give to boys is only in this hope, and the rules set for his wife, the DIL, is just an extension of this mentality. They fear the son will stop providing them and their family (read as daughters and her family) and hence start controlling his thoughts and his life from childhood.

I do not know if this is a south-Indian mentality, but I have rarely seen any discrimination when bringing up girls, in fact they are loved and cared for a lot more than boys and it continues to a larger extent even after they are married. It is the boys who are restricted, controlled  and disciplined a lot more. The parents do not mind having N number of daughters as long as they have one son  as ‘Budhape ka sahara’.

In my in-laws family, all the discrimination you talk about is only for the Son.  My husband, the son is  just the provider whose job is to have a constant supply of funds regardless of what it is for.  It is so ‘normal’ an expectation it does not matter to them how the son provides as long as the parents, the daughter and her family are kept happy.  My husband & I have had our share of financial troubles, some which the family is aware of, but nothing has mattered to them, they talk in a supportive manner when it suits them but  their expectations from us continues at other times, this despite my in-laws being financially secure. No questions can be asked when they feel the ‘need’.

I do not understand why this is rarely talked about in our society. It is so very unfair. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?   Doesn’t his wife and kids have the first right to his earnings? Aren’t they the first priority?
Along with this, there is always a fear in these parents that the son might care for his wife’s family similarly. Hence all the ‘jamai‘ kind of attitude is taught to the sons, my husband is manipulated and has always been kept away from getting close to my parents. I am always blamed for showing ‘extra-care & love’ to my parents instead of my in-laws.

The daughter, my sister-in-law on the other hand  rules the roost, still demands whatever she wants from her parents, and the person who has to meet these demands is their son. My husband refuses to deny that in the fear of ‘hurting’ his family.  He has been brainwashed into believing that the only reason he has to even earn is to make their lives comfortable and happy. His family does not stop reminding me & my husband how we need to save for their medical expenses in the future, and how the daughter has to be cared for, provided for and given her due share in property even after they are gone. There is no such similar caring and concern shown for their son and daughter-in-law.

My husband has been there for them financially for over two decades, denying himself of acquiring any property of his own, always considering his family house as his own, his family’s needs as the major priority and now there is talks of giving away part of the little property to the daughter because it is her ‘right by law’. My in-laws emotionally blackmailed us against acquiring anything on our own, and I now  realize it is because they feared the son will move separate and not be there during their last days.

Why are Sons treated like ATM machines? They are expected to give away all their savings as ‘duty’  and  parents have no hesitation taking it from them,  but  when it comes to giving the son anything in any little form it is seen as a big deal? My sis-in-law has always been given anything she demands after marriage from clothes, to house hold items to jewelry to everything that she thinks is of need but even an occasional saree given to me  is always mentioned like a favor done though it was bought with my husband’s earnings!

I am very disturbed about denying me & my husband the right to property even though we are the sole-providers to this family and will be there till the end. But I have no voice in this whole matter though it is my life that will be affected. I am made to feel like ‘a not well-raised girl’ who interferes in the family affairs and  a typical daughter-in-law who prevents their daughter from getting her due share.

Sorry about the ranting, am  just frustrated to see the unfair discrimination, where the husband and I have no say in any household matters except be seen as a constant source of never diminishing funds .

I consider myself a fair, non-judgmental, co-operative person but I am disgusted and disappointed with how manipulative, self-centered this world is.

Am I wrong in thinking like this?  Should I just keep quiet as a ‘good’ Daughter-in-law’? Even my parents advise me to just let it go and do my duty, but I am very worried about my own future, this role of ours as providers is unappreciated and  seems never ending . My husband loves me and assures me that things will be alright, but I am hating the entire helpless situation I am in.

another frustrated daughter-in-law married to a ‘good son’

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251 thoughts on “An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

    • Glad to be first.
      What I don’t understand is who would give a thumbs up to this comment which is no comment really!
      I will send a proper comment in the afternoon.
      I have much to say.
      I can recount two such sons who are very close relatives and their experience is equally bitter and frustrating.
      Regards
      GV

  1. im just scared by this mentality on earth! everything that happens to a DIL is because of her in-laws..i dont see posts or comments too often where people do complain about DILs not adjusting with MILs. whereas the truth lies in this: today the girls dont want to adjust even 1%. i agree that we the girls shud not be the only ones to adjust, but that doesn’t end up becoming we shud not adjust at all. but this germ has spread already and i pity for those MILs who get such brilliant DILs for whom life is nothingbeyond, i, me, myself, and my husband, and my parents…what about my parents-in-laws?

    and for whosoever says, i completely believe that the man and woman are constructed differently. a woman can carry emotional load while a man can do anything with his muscles. there has to be some sort of balance but what i see and read is one loves to blame the other and there is no balance.

    and whosoever wrote this mail, pls ask on my behalf to correct the statement:
    They are raised and “brainwashed from childhood to be faithful to their parents” and be their as providers and nothing else. aren’t girls are made to do the same these days, if this is such a big crime for you? and being faithful to one’s parents is a crime? shame to people who get to think these ways even if they are fellow woman.

    another question to this writer of mail:
    I do not understand why this is rarely talked about in our society. It is so very unfair. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives? Doesn’t his wife and kids have the first right to his earnings? Aren’t they the first priority?

    WHAT DOES FAMILY MEAN TO U? just husband, wife, and kids? aren’t your parents part of the family? did they made you suffer when they faced the troubles in their lives? ask your husband for that but only after you consider him as a human?

    do ask her did she ever sat with her in-laws and had a discussion with them? just hate it when people rant unnecessarily. all her frustration is out of nothing but a mere insecurity that she has no control on her husband. but why do you want a control? why not ask for support? the day this mentality changes, she will realise the change. the more you try to control someone, the more you endanger your own peace of mind.

    i will get back to you with my mail very soon!

    • I DO NOT SEE ANYTHING WRONG in what the DIL SAYS .

      My sis is married into a family where the ONLY son is the bread winner. The mom-in-law has a credit card and spends on a lottttttttttt of things, pattu podavai, dolls, a lot of household stuff, so much so they have a entire attic (IMAGINE in a foriegn nation!!!) filled with dolls for golu, a lot of toys, kitchen stuff so much so some friend in the foreign country exclaimed they have a angadi (shop) at home itself.
      All this money comes from where ???? of course from the son’s only earning. My sis has very less say in these matters. Imagine how she will feel when her siblings are building or buying flats , where as they still stay in a foreign country and still have no sayings. A lot still is given to his sisters when they visit maaika and the in-laws are forever shuttling between US and the foreign country. The daughters stay in USA. When in India, the parents travel in flights between 2 major Indian cities that can be covered by a train journey

      For my sis’s wedding we had 8 pandits (very costly ones), the money was contributed by my mom alone
      Also the boys party refused the hotel booking we had done and demanded a better hotel , WHICH was suggested by the boy’s sister

      I can go on and on. This is a work day for me , So I stop here. So before we make harsh comments about adjusting etc, lets stop a minute that various cases exists in India, in various Indian communities

      PHEW!!!!! what a way to begin work day

      • oh let me add, after 9 yrs of marriage and 2 kids, sis is expected to receive praise worthy gifts from her parents when she visits India on holiday. Last time., my mom decided ‘ no more giving money etc because all finally goes into pockets of the MIL. so we took her kids to a shop and got toys for them.My parents aren’t ATM they are retired.
        Over the phone , her MIL to her daughter : She didn’t get any thing this time from her parents!!!!
        and the son gets taken over to a corner before every India visits. Probably he gets a lesson on how much distance to maintain from the girls parents etc ..

        I dunno why I get a feeling this post is from my sister itself :-(

        • //sis is expected to receive praise worthy gifts from her parents when she visits India on holiday//

          That’s what this system does, all daughters to get gifts from their parents for their husbands and their families and extended families.

          Those who believe in the traditional system don’t see how it basically makes having daughters so difficult.

      • Mr Vethal,

        i dont deny that women are ill-treated, discriminated and lot more. What i am trying to put forward is its a simple case of misunderstanding. When woman from old eras like my nani and dadi talk like this, i understand their mentality. But a woman from this century, educated, working is demanding for justice and fairness, i have a right to ask about her own integrity.

        A simple question: Yes, the MIL shows enormous love to daughter, and gives nothing to DIL. Its wrong, very wrong. But isn;t it wrong when the same DIL walks in to her maika and accepts unnecessary presents from her own mother. Then does she think about her parents and brothers and whosoever is concerned. See as IHM in one of the comments pointed out, the problem lies in the basic root of our culture and upbringing. Yes, some parents might have used emotions in order to keep their kids under control. They might be right/wrong/grey in their very own situations. But going by the kind of language that people have used in here. i mean what if my parents did not bring me up well, they did not give me the same luxuries as my brother, do i think the same way for them. do i start hating them?

        Frustrated DIL wrote “she is made to feel she is ‘not a well raised girl’”. no one can make u feel it unless u want to feel it. Giving up your own fight and cribbing about the same-is this a solution. i had appreciated the mail and the trouble of the writer had it been kept as a problem, but no she is sharing her judgements and wants the world to come and say “yes dear, you are in deep shit. leave your in-laws asap and blah blah.” I dont disagree that she doesnt have the problem, what i disagree to is the way people have come back and replied yes yes we are aware the society has this and that…yes there are flaws…flaws in each one of us.
        One such thought where the writer is wrong:
        My husband has been there for them financially for over two decades, denying himself of acquiring any property of his own, always considering his family house as his own, his family’s needs as the major priority and now there is talks of giving away part of the little property to the daughter because it is her ‘right by law’. My in-laws emotionally blackmailed us against acquiring anything on our own, and I now realize it is because they feared the son will move separate and not be there during their last days.

        Did the PILs ask the son to give away the daughter all the property? If you have an insecurity about your PILs making unnecessary expenses, first talk to your husband and make him see the troubles that you see. if his answers dont satisfy, talk to your in-laws without hesitating that they make you feel watever. For a moment, people on both sides wont like the discussion, but at the end of it, you will be relieved of your mental baggage. Instead of warmly talking to your own parents, use the same warmth to make your in-laws understand.
        Next in line would be your SIL. make her understand your situation. You think this does not work out with your evil SIL, then make her feel about it by asking her to do the same with her SILs (if any). You gotta make others realise yourn problem rather than making yourself realise what others think of you. Feminism is not about crying and cribbing that oh my god society has so much evil. Want a peaceful life for your future DIL or D, then start making changes now. Change is not easy, and i tell it to you from my own personal experience. Its not inevitable as well. And we have to bring the change to improve the life of the woman altogether. The forum should not be restricted to i am a DIL and i am MIL. i have a suggestion IHM, can we have a section on your blog where we can discuss common household issues. Issues we have faced in our families and outside it.

        • @prinks05 – If only we could all just talk to each other so freely and easily to resolve issues in this patriarchal Indian society.

        • “But going by the kind of language that people have used in here.”

          Are you talking of your own comments here?

      • I am talking about the same kind of expenses. Their need of say Rs20,000 is for buying ‘golu’ dolls for daughter’s navarathri celebrations. Another Rs25,000 for buying silk clothes for all of them for Deepavali They always justify it by saying ‘we have only one daughter, we will do everything to her as long as we are alive.’ I understand the love, but should it always be shown in kind with the son’s earnings? Where is the love for the son, and the fear for his future? :(

    • Umm…the definition of “family” depends on the individual. I don’t think you personally have the right to define what family means for other people. By all means, choose to include your parents and in laws in your definition of family if that’s what you wish. But please don’t sermonize to other people as to what family should mean for THEM.

      If a woman or a man chooses to view “family” with regard to unlimited financial support as meaning just a husband, wife and children, that is their choice. Nothing good or bad about it. It just is.

      The problem is that parents are selfish enough to DEMAND that their children look after them. They rely on emotional blackmail, and that is unethical.

      • i hope the name bhagwad is not given to you by your parents.

        Yes, they are selfish. But yes i dont understand why were they not selfish when they fed you and brought you up. Why did they allowed you education and upbringing? so that one day when they need your support, you can discriminate and say “Mom and Dad, just fuck off, its my money and my life.” huh, well said. i just hope they dont read you here. Nothing more, they just would feel more embarassed to have you as a child.

        when you asked for that extra pocket money to treat your gf or just to show off infront of your set of friends, your parents should have just sent you to some dhaba and asked you to earn and learn. But nah, they obliged. Thats there big mistake.

        We the grown up kids know so much about the best use of money. When we have that extra shot of tequila, we are no wrong to spend. But when our parents travel via flights, thats so unethical. When we buy those expensive branded bags one after the other, we just love to collect bags. When our parents buy toys and all, they have opened the shop. When will the I in us will ever look into their own business before minding their parents’? and if all of you have so much problem with your parents, just go and dump them. They deserve it, coz ultimately its their upbringing. they missed out on educating you on family life and culture.

        • “i hope the name bhagwad is not given to you by your parents.”

          can we stay away from personal attacks/comments please.

        • can we stay away from personal attacks/comments please.

          Not to mention empty rhetoric, content-free arguments and holier-than-thou morality.

        • Attacking people like this is not going to get your point across. There is a difference between parents and children spending out of joy and the same being forced on them to the extent that they are left with a bleak future.

        • I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Parents have children for their own selfish needs. No one has children thinking “Let me make some child’s life happy!”. No. Rather, they have children because they either WANT to have kids or because they cave in to pressure from other people. Either way, it’s not a charitable effort.

          Yes, parents love their children. But don’t make a virtue out of it. Even animals devote their lives selflessly to protect their children. It’s instinct. Don’t take credit for it and make a big deal out of it. After having given birth to children, parents have a DUTY to do the best they can for the life they brought into the world without its permission. They would be monsters if they didn’t do that.

          Moral of the story? Parents don’t “selflessly sacrifice themselves for their children”. It’s a very selfish motivation indeed. And all of nature does it. Forgive me for not singing their praises for doing the same.

        • Lady,
          Don’t get all carried away.. The comment about Bhagwad’s name was totally unwarranted…. You might want to watch what you say in a public forum…hardly mature.

        • If parents feed, cloth and educate their kids – it is because they have an obligation to do so, this is because they actively choose to have a child – the child does not fall from the sky.

          Parents are normal human beings with their faults, likes, dislikes. Please do not make them into holy cows of sacrifice and piety..

        • I too want to emphasize on that little secret Bhagwad has talked about. Parents are doing NO FAVOUR to children by bringing them up. It is their DUTY to do it as best as they can. Children are not investment bonds for the future. You bring children up to stand on their own feet and let them free.
          EVERY single animal on earth brings up babies. It is only shameless humans who crow about their supposed “sacrifices” for bringing up children and in later try to wring out as much as possible from those children by citing those very ‘sacrifices’ (!) they have made.. WHO the hell asked parents to have children in the first place? If they do have children, they better bring them up (without CRIBBING) or else choose the option to remain childless.
          No child has the obligation to fulfill every whim and fancy of parents just because parents did their duty to a life THEY decided to create. IF children do something for the parents, the parents should thankfully accept it for the generosity it is. The joy of children is NOT the money and luxuries that they get for you, but just having them in your life.
          Parents who see children as “business propositions” for securing their old age should understand that in business market forces prevail, not love and compassion.

        • @prinks: Women’s parents make all these sacrifices too.

          Can I assume you are trying to say that women should be expected to take as much care of their parents as men are, EVEN AFTER MARRIAGE?

          I ask this because our sick “Indian family system” expects and even trains women to dump their parents and forget about them post marriage, but men get to stay on and get the best of both worlds.

      • Agree, if they only left out the emotional blackmail the whole patriarchy house of cards would fall. Never saw the the big deal with having children, every single couple I have seen had them out of what was expected of them by someone else, to fit in, to blend. In all probability these people later regret having children, everything can be reversed : 1) Relationship 2) Career Course 3) Marriage but having kids cannot be reversed.

    • The email is not news I think I’m more intrigued with this comment. :-)
      Caring for family is not bad. But does caring mean providing just money? She says the I laws r financially secure so why ask for
      money? I just wonder how the son and wife are supposed to live out their retirement without a roof or savings? Oh I forget they best set to start having sons as a retirement plan or will the sil take care maybe?

      Love , care, provide support for your parents nothing wrong with that but do it with an eye to your future. Support them but don’t go overboard and finally tell your sil to get a job. Independence does wonders for the soul.

    • I’m not going to respond to most of what you’ve said because I know everyone here is going to. Just this though- A man can do anything with his muscles. Wow. I’m sure that if PT Usha and the pot-bellied uncle next door run a race, uncleji will come first without even breaking into a sweat.

    • I gave you a thumbs down too.

      I have just one thing to ask – What does family mean to YOU? Why do you feel that money is the only way a son (or daughter) can show his ‘loyalty’ to family?? Of course a family is there to be taken care of, shares laughs with, wipe tears,….. and parents are as much a part of the family as wife (/husband) and kids. There is nothing wrong in being faithful to parents, and provide for them when required. There is nothing wrong In adjustments either. BUT adjustments, compromises, sharing responsibilities should not be imposed on just one person. The minute you do that, the spirit of a relationship is killed, and people start treating it as a burden.

      I also find this sentence objectionable: ” just hate it when people rant unnecessarily. all her frustration is out of nothing but a mere insecurity that she has no control on her husband”
      Why would any sane person want to have ‘control’?? A marriage is between two equal people. Or should I say two equal INDEPENDENT people – who love and respect each other. Why would anyone want to destroy the other person by trying to ‘control’ them? Highlighting an issue that exists and bothers most of the women is not manifestation of insecurity. It asks for more discussions and understanding. Whatever role you might be playing in a relationship, it always helps to get the view point of the other person.

      • So isn’t the son compromising here? Isn’t he giving up on his choices? but he has made up his mind, so who the hell is the wife? if you cant make your husband understand about your insecurities, its your problem. he is loving, caring and promising but the wife can’t get out of her eerie insecurities. What else does she want? The husband is asking her for support and coordination but wife is not ready to bear. so what else does she want. she wants control on her in-laws? she wants the same control on husband as the parents have. now here, yes the upbringing of the husband could be a question but for all of these just to blow up the whole situation is too much. Tomorrow the same woman would want her in-laws to be around to take care of her kids when she is out making the bucks. tab kya? why to treats parents as useless items once you are no longer dependent on them financially? and in return if they have the needs, you label them selfish and mean, wow!

        • Who the hell is his wife? She is his partner.. who is affected by his decisions. Being loving, caring and promising does not excuse him from his duties towards her, right? Moreover she says that “My husband loves me and assures me that things will be alright”. What if the husband himself feels the pinch and yet doesnt say anything because he is not supposed to, otherwise he would be one of those thankless sons in the hindi movies of 80s – the ones who threw their old and helpless parents out.

          How can you decide whether it is her ‘insecurity’ or if there is some real issue out here? I don’t see any of the comments out here advocating desertion of one’s parents. All that is being said is that parents should be there for children, and children should be there for their parents. Why always bring money into it?

          “she wants the same control on husband as the parents have. ”
          - so you agree that his parents have control over him. And I am sure you feel that it is justified. After all they are HIS parents. And how is she trying to ‘control’ him? By suggesting that they should have some form of financial support when they themselves are old? Is that wrong?

          Here I want to narrate one incident from my own life. My FIL once asked me if me and my husband had planned for our future. We both were young and financially illiterate at that time. He then gave us a financial plan to follow. Of course it wasnt forced upon us. We did eventually plan a few investments. He insisted that I have some to my own name, even while I wasn’t working, which sounded strange to me. But now I realize how wise those advices were, and shall always be thankful for the same.

          My point is that the parents are usually concerned about how their children have planned their future. But in this case, you get to hear “My husband & I have had our share of financial troubles, some which the family is aware of, but nothing has mattered to them, they talk in a supportive manner when it suits them but their expectations from us continues at other times, this despite my in-laws being financially secure.” I wonder who is insensitive and insecure here. The DIL or her in laws?

        • “So isn’t the son compromising here? Isn’t he giving up on his choices? but he has made up his mind, ”
          — Yes, he is compromising, he has given up a LOT of his own wishes, and it is FAIR is the question I am asking.

          “so who the hell is the wife?”
          — Who am I? I think I will have to let my husband answer that question for you :)

          “if you cant make your husband understand about your insecurities, its your problem. he is loving, caring and promising but the wife can’t get out of her eerie insecurities. ”
          —- My insecurities are perfectly understood by my husband, but he is in a similar situation, the only difference is he WILL NOT Complain about it because he has always been expected to do everything as HIS DUTY.

          “What else does she want?”
          — What else I want? I do NOT want to feel insecure about my own future and for this everyone who I consider also ‘family’ has to co-operate. Is it too much to ask?

          “The husband is asking her for support and coordination but wife is not ready to bear. so what else does she want. ”
          – My husband has ALL my support in every RIGHT thing he does. Anything else I have every RIGHT to talk to him about it as every decision of his affects my life EQUALLY.

          ” she wants control on her in-laws? she wants the same control on husband as the parents have. ”
          – No, I hate CONTROL of any kind, I will NOT control either my husband or my in-laws, not will I want them to affect or control my life because of their actions. I do not believe in relationships where actions one affects the other and that we all have to tolerate. Is that too much to ask?

          “now here, yes the upbringing of the husband could be a question but for all of these just to blow up the whole situation is too much. ”
          — The only problem I have about this kind of upbringing I have mentioned before. Sons and DILs are expected to provide and serve without any complaints. No ifs and buts about it. Nobody cares, not even parents.

          “Tomorrow the same woman would want her in-laws to be around to take care of her kids when she is out making the bucks. tab kya? ”
          — First of all I do not believe in burdening parents, both his or mine for my selfish needs. Secondly, when I am expected to help them, why is it NOT OK for them to help me? Why will I be BAD for taking help from my in-laws, you will not say the same for my husband when my parents help. Right?

          “why to treats parents as useless items once you are no longer dependent on them financially? and in return if they have the needs, you label them selfish and mean, wow!”
          —- Not everyone is straight out of bollywood movies, not every situation is.
          Their needs according to me is – A comfortable worry free life, no slogging physically, proper food, health checkups, freedom to move around and live their last days comfortably. As sons & daughters I feel it is our duty to do that much. Anything more than that, is a luxury and the parents have to think twice about demanding it from their children because what they earn today is important for their own future.

    • im just scared by this mentality on earth!
      ==> I am scared by your mentality. When can we get over the fact that men and women are different and to stop using the difference to assert that men or parents who bear men are not superior. Why is our society still stuck in such an attitude and why are we not breaking our mental shackles?

      today the girls dont want to adjust even 1%. i agree that we the girls shud not be the only ones to adjust, but that doesn’t end up becoming we shud not adjust at all. but this germ has spread already and i pity for those MILs who get such brilliant DILs for whom life is nothingbeyond, i, me, myself, and my husband, and my parents…what about my parents-in-laws?
      ==> Where do you get your statistics from? There are good DIL’s and there are good MIL’s. Just ranting does not immediately convert us into bad DIL and the MIL need to become good.

      i completely believe that the man and woman are constructed differently
      ==> Yes, different does NOT mean inferior or superior but problems arise when differences are used to treat certain sections in a bad fashion.

      and being faithful to one’s parents is a crime? shame to people who get to think these ways even if they are fellow woman.
      ==> It is not but one should not forget children have minds and personalities of their own. Expecting them to do whatever you want in the name of filial piety is bad, it seems then that parents do not raise a kid out of love but for getting some robot and support in old age.

      WHAT DOES FAMILY MEAN TO U? just husband, wife, and kids? aren’t your parents part of the family? did they made you suffer when they faced the troubles in their lives? ask your husband for that but only after you consider him as a human?
      ==> What does family mean to in laws? Listening to only their children’s point of view and not considering ever the DIL’s view because she is a woman? Not their child? Humans have flaws and we have to work on them. The lady here is considering him as a human and humans can piss us off.

      ==

    • A DIL is supposed to accept her parents-in-law as parents, respect them, care for them etc etc. Whereas if the son-in-law is cordial with his parents-in-law, he is considered great!.. This kind of societal mentatlity is what makes it difficult for the daughters-in-law in above suituations so frustrated. Caring for your parents is not criminal.. But caring ONLY for one’s parents and disregarding their own family is wrong!

      Also, the DIL in the mail, has not mentioned if she is financially independent. If she is not, she should start earning and start her own savings..

      • @Ranj , I did take up a job to improve our financial situation. The problem now is they think since we have two incomes we have even more to give. I am becoming a little wise of late and trying to put aside for our future, but it is not enough in today’s times, his savings would make our future a lot more secure for sure.

    • “Your children are not your children.
      They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
      They come through you but not from you.
      And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

      You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
      For they have their own thoughts.
      You may house their bodies but not their souls,
      For thir souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

      Khalil Gibran’s poem should be compulsory reading for all parents.

      • Agreed! :) infact i wish they were given a copy of this page of the book along with the birth certificate.

        Lovely book by the way. if anyone in this forum has not read it , please do. Totally worth it.

        • I agree Rahmath. I read Gibran’s poetry rather late in life, in my thirties, and I wish I’d read it earlier. :)

    • Actually I see the point where this commentor says “do ask her did she ever sat with her in-laws and had a discussion with them?” My own SIL would always talk abt how she used to hand over her salary to her MIL and how she had to hide from her MIL when she ate out. Even to tjis day (5 years after the old MIL has passed away) my SIL still feels like a martyr coz she did that..however when i asked her once whether the MIL had ever asked her to hand over her salary to her, she said “No I did it out of respect for my MIL”..So she has no reason to go around telling people abt her martyrdom and making people think that the MIL is the ogre!
      Maybe in this case the first question to ask is “has the writer of the letter tried to speak to her husband and her in laws about how she feels”

      • ““do ask her did she ever sat with her in-laws and had a discussion with them?” -
        Yes, I have and their reply was…’We have only one daughter, and daughters are precious, as long as we are alive we want to do everything for her, we have sent her away, so we should show more love to her, you are part of this family so it is your duty to do the same for her even after we are gone” – How do I answer that? My husband has been told this all his life so he firmly believes in the same too, but the couple of times he mentioned his difficulty there were tears and tantrums after which he has stopped saying anything.

    • ‘and being faithful to one’s parents is a crime?’

      not at all, and kindly also remember that the wife also didn’t exactly pop out of the blue, she also has ‘em parents.

  2. Interesting mail. The family mentioned here seems to be steeped in feudal joint family mode with a ‘weak’ son who seems not able to assert his Patriarchal right above his father, even though he is the sole earning member.
    In joint families individual husband-wife units have not much importance.

  3. I accept the last part of this sentence but who so ever wrote the first part is mentally sick as per me:
    They are raised and brainwashed from childhood to be faithful to their parents and be their as providers and nothing else.

    To be faithful to your parents is a crime? wow! probably this is one reason why she is in a such situation…maybe a torned relation with her own parents which is why she doesn’t know the meaning of family. for her, the husband’s own family comprises of husband, wife and their legal kids…then she might have her own separate family and so on.

    and i would ask her to go back to the subject of her own mail- aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family life? she has problems with her savings, she should talk to husband and in-laws. since the mail doesn’t mention her actions taken to sort things at her place, i assume she has not taken any as she declares she is fair and non-judgemental but creating opinions about her in-laws that they are partial is just too fair.

    The lady probably does not have a kid yet, coz for sure she does not have the sound knowledge about parents-kid relation:
    be seen as a constant source of never diminishing funds .

    She should talk to husband and see how much funds were diminished when husband was a kid. and also try to understand how was the husband blackmailed to be a faithful son. coz she would need the same values in her kids or else they will dump her too.

    I don’t see this mail from a frustrated wife but from a frustrated woman who never wanted to support her husband rather who always wanted a control. and every human being on this earth needs to know and learn this, whether they are MILs, DILs, FILs or SILs – the day you wish control out of a relationship, that’s the day when you start ruining it up. Relationships are not nurtured through control, they nurture more with values and support.

    I suggest she should work out more on supporting husband dear rather than controlling his funds. if we assume that the good son is already tortured by his parents, I don’t see how the wife is a comfort who would be cribbing day in and day out.

    • /She should talk to husband and see how much funds were diminished when husband was a kid./

      If you just have to bring this up, what about the money HER parents spent on raising her? Ah, but they raised a daughter, right? Do you even realize that it is precisely this mentality that is responsible for female foetuses being aborted in the millions?

      /also try to understand how was the husband blackmailed to be a faithful son. coz she would need the same values in her kids or else they will dump her too. /

      YOU seem to be the one who is worried about the decreasing importance of those ‘values’ and the ‘dumping’ of parents, not the letter-writer. Look around yourself carefully, without those blinkers for a change, and you’ll see just how the blackmailing is done. I suppose, though, that taking those blinkers off will not be easy for such a dedicated foot-soldier of patriarchy as you. Too bad .

      • Yes i am a foot-soldier of patriarchy. i love the culture and the heritage and the values thats embedded within through this system. Like all other systems, yes this too has its share of flaws but thats what my parents taught me, work hard to bring that change. Cribbing and blaming people won’t help. Keeping pre-judices against your would-be-in-laws or existing ones is not a healthy idea.

        • Ah, patriarchy, that wonderful system which has given us such valuable ideals to live by..
          And that’s why today we have a miserable sex ratio that sees no signs of improvement.
          One day when your like minded patriarchy trumpeters wake up to a country with fewer women than ever before, then maybe you will come to your senses, or not.. And even if you do it will be too late!

        • To the email-writer,
          I don’t think your in-laws care about your future. We humans are selfish beings we all want security added to that our wonderful culture has conditioned us for various other useless needs , showing off and a perverted sense of justice. So in order for you to not repeat the cycle, you need to be very explicit in explaining to your husband about how much you must save. Some people are not money savvy. So when his paycheck comes cut the saving at the source, bring the rest home.

          Explain that you are saving for their sons and your future. They may not agree but too bad there is that.

          Tell your sil you cannot fund her parents love for her , is this going to cause animosity of course no one likes to give up free money and wealth.

          And finally pray for peace of mind since you have probably married someone with a softer spine :-)

          To the foot soldier of patriarchy – how would you like to have a daughter and her in-laws use all her money and she has only daughters and in her old age is penniless? Not good right?

          Culture is not being greedy, culture isn’t asking your son to pay back what you spent on him, culture is not taking from one child and giving to another based on gender. Culture is not stopping someone from being financially secure.
          Culture is living life truthfully, without causing harm, without hurting anyone physically or mentally and most important culture is following the good ways of the past, history is there to learn from learn the good and dump the bad..
          And before you say it -yes I do have 2 sons older and yes we spend a ton of money on them and as they enter into college this yr we will give them the world and an education not because we want them to quote patriarchy and take care of us in our old age but because we want them to lead happy lives with their families be successful and contribute to the good of the society and hopefully they will have learned from us to save up for retirement. That is what gives parents true happiness – happiness of your children and your child is only as happy as his/her spouse.

    • So true. So perhaps the man’s parents should now relinquish control on the couple and their finances, and let them live in peace. And please enlighten me who is going to be of comfort to the wife, since you are advocating that she should be a comfort to her husband.

      To be faithful to the parents is a crime, if it comes at the cost of every other relationship. A grown person must learn to balance various responsibilities of various relationships, and try to ensure they do not clash.

      And I think you are the one mentally sick, not the OP, if you do not realize that everyone needs to look after their own interests at some point of time, because in the end when they are old and unable to work, the man’s parents would be dead and unable to come to their rescue.

        • Why would anyone want to burden their poor kids with such responsibility when they don’t have to? And anyway,what if they don’t? Why be dependent on your poor kids when you can be independent? Isn’t that rather stupid, when you have a choice?

        • I think prinks05 believes in the idea of generational reverence too much to really understand your pov Fem :)

        • … and thereby perpetuate the huge circular ponzi scheme that we call parenting in India.

          No, thank you.

          There are such things as retirement plans. Mine does not include contributions from my future kids, nor should anyone else’s.

        • And dear Prinks05, if the kids are girls , they wouldn’t come to her help , as per your patriarchal system, right ?? God !! Really when do we learn better things … sticking to Patriarchal system in this age – shocking !!

        • “but the kids should come to rescue my dear Fem!”
          What if there are no “budhape ka saharas” for kids when the man needs rescuing.

    • What about the husband supporting his wife and HIS in-laws?

      Did not his in-laws spend large amounts of money on raising his wife (their daughter)?

      Care to expound on the man’s obligations as a husband and son-in-law?

      In your world-view, a man’s duty towards his wife and in-laws is not as important as his duty towards his parents.

      There’s a simple solution to this dilemma — such men should stay single and become modern-day Shravan Kumars.

  4. I think almost every DIL will have the same story to say. The daughter even after she is married, is given the best of things, and the DIL is the one to adjust. It is the same at my place too.

    But I’m glad my parents in law equally love me and my husband. And I hope whatever property they have will be distributed equally among their son and daughter. And even if it is not, me and my husband have decided not to expect and be disappointed later.

    I think I can understand your frustration, but all you can do is save some amount for your future as well. And try not to expect anything from your inlaws, and also don’t burden yourself and the husband with these thoughts. I know it is not easy, and as humans we do have some expectations, but if that is what is bothering you, ignore it.

  5. another question to the lady from the mail: why can’t you accept in-laws as set of another parents and sort out your troubles. believe me you would be living in paradise after the confrontation.

    • Hello
      what talking with parents in law amicably are you talking about

      If you read her email she says ” I am made to feel like ‘a not well-raised girl’ who interferes in the family affairs ”

      So where does she get the room to sit across the table and express her opinion.

    • Because a lot of times In-laws don’t behave like parents to their DILs. She is not their daughter–and they can’t be bothered about her–I don’t see why she needs to think about them like another set of parents!

      • Sruti,

        answer this: my parents did not take care of me. I was married off at a young age without being taught anything about married life. now i have 10,000 issues. Will blaming my parents is enough? shall i break all ties and stop respecting them as my own parents for what they did to me?

        • Well–that is up to you. But if you are talking about most DILs –the truth is in-laws can’t be parents. No one is asking you to break ties or to stop respecting them(though i always feel respect has to be earned) but well most of us can’t think of them in the same way as our parents–if you can –more power to you.

        • So in this case, why is the DIL cribbing…she should wait and continue perspiring and earn the rewards aka respect. Respect and love comes to those who believe in them not just write and talk about them.

        • Prink05 I think the DIL is trying to understand how to deal with the situation. She has tried talking but it has not helped.
          Why do you think is it wrong for her to look for solutions now instead of waiting? What would she do with respect if it is given in return of insecurity and sacrifice?
          Don’t you think patriarchal attitudes lead to all our social problems?
          This is how I see it,
          Indian parents dislike having daughters (and hence abort them) because they can’t/don’t fight against the traditional system of providing for daughters all their lives dowry, gifts etc.
          Sons are prayed and fasted for and chosen through sex selection for the same reason – to be providers for the entire family. Is it fair to sons? And to daughters?
          If parents let their children live their lives, and if parents find satisfaction in well brought up self reliant children (sons and daughters) and stop seeing them as sources of support (sons) and life long liabilities (daughters) – we will see parents welcoming baby girls.
          Do you think loving parents – who are not really dependent on their children, should be accepting support from one child to pass it on to their other children? What about this child’s old age and security?
          And do you think a daughter who is accepting gifts from her parents (or brothers) is happier than the woman who doesn’t need to?

        • Er–this is a reply to the latest comment–since i couldn’t find the reply button there.
          When i talked about respect– i meant it both ways. I don’t see the need to respect my in-laws just because they are a. old b. apparently wiser c. apparently know how the world works.
          There are many a times I’ve found their behavior and thoughts illogical, and have just used my own judgement.
          And while i respect them for bringing up my husband –and making him the fair minded and balanced person he is– it’s not the blind respect that DILs are expected to have( and in all fairness i don’t think mine expect it)
          I’m not saying that in-laws are all bad— mine are pretty good– just that i’ve know of many people who make the lives of their DILs rather tedious and tiring. There are houses where some people try to enforce rules onto a DIL that their own daughters would scoff at.
          As for DILs trying to be daughters, i don’t think that is possible either. I’m my parents daughter–and as for my in-laws –i have a good relationship with them–i think that is enough.

        • Sorry to say, the fact is that you have still not learnt anything about married life and you have only yourself to blame for the same … no where in your talks , support and taking care of the wife’s parents are coming out… Sorry for this personal attack , can’t digest what you write ..

    • And how about her husband thinking of HER parents as another set of parents? You leave me speechless, dude. I hope you are not married, and I hope you never get married.

      • @MAdhu: i am not married, i wish to get married and with this same mentality. That i dont want to control my husband or my in-laws. there are various decisions made by my own parents that i do no agree to, but at the end its their decision. They might have their own saving but that would not stop me to take care of them, to fulfill their wishes. The way parents dont think twice about spending on kids, why do grown up kids think the other way.

        • You know, you really don’t sound like a woman at all.

          I have never heard a woman say the kind of things you have, offline and online.

          If you are indeed a man, please, do the ethical thing and OWN UP.

        • You say that you wish to fulfill your parent’s wishes and care for them.

          You also say that you wish to be married and wish to be a good wife/DIL (assuming that you are a woman).

          What would you do if your future spouse/in-laws opposed your desire to care for your parents?

          You state that you will be a comfort to your husband and will treat your in-laws as a second set of parents.

          What if this second, new set of parents claimed all your time and money and forbid you from caring for your own parents?

          Which set of parents would you choose?

        • Are you Ananya/Shravan Kumar? Can see the same tone/ same opinions. You were the one who wrote complaining about your SIL right? You cannot be a woman, if you were you would have empathized a lot with what the women around you go through.
          If really are a woman, I want to hear from you a year or two after marrige. If you are a guy, please change your thinking, for your future wife’s sake.

    • One’s in laws cannot take the place of parents. You respect them because they brought up the man you’ve joined your life to. You are concerned for them because they’re at that phase of life when health is not always on their side. You cannot replicate the bond that you have with your own parents that’s been formed over decades, overnight. It take time and equal reciprocation from the other set of ‘parents’. Its simple really – if you’re an equal and unconditional recipient of love, respect etc etc in any family unit, you will love them back unconditionally.

      • Well said. You only have one set of parents, and no one can really substitute for them, especially at the age of twenty five or so, when most people get married. It is plain silly to expect so.

        • No one can really replicate them at any age.

          I absolutely love my in-laws, they’re great people, the whole family is many shades of awesome. I frankly like the in-laws quite a bit better than my own parents.

          Even so, it is not the same equation and never will be the same equation as I have with my parents, for the simple reason that my in-laws are someone else’s parents.

          We’re just relatives, that’s all. We don’t share a filial bond.

        • I disagree, Praveen. I am sure children adopted at an early age can find it in them to love and receive filial love from their adoptive parents. However, that should not apply to marriages, mostly because we are no longer marrying at the age of 5.

        • Fem,

          Er, adoptive parents ARE parents. At least in sociological terms anyway.

      • i am sure the MILs also think the same way:
        Its simple really – if you’re an equal and unconditional recipient of love, respect etc etc in any family unit, you will love them back unconditionally.

        • Well–i would suggest you get married and stay with your in-laws before making these very bollywoodesque statements. yes you may have in-laws who are good human beings—- but well they can’t love you in the way they love their own children and the way your parents love you. You are simply not their child.
          Even if you get along famously–there will be things you will clash on–and while with your own parents you can fight —and not lose their good will or love–with you in-laws that doesn’t always work.
          And unconditional love—with in-laws– doesn’t exist.

        • I agree… but tell me in how many families have you seen this – equal and unconditional exchange of love, respect etc?

          There are some issues in every kind of family unit. You have to learn to make decisions accordingly.
          My great grand father in law willed major part of his property to his wife. Because he didnt want her to be dependent on their two sons (who were doing quite well, and loved and respected them greatly). It wasnt because he didnt trust his children. But it was because he knew how important it is for a person to be financially independent.
          If you don’t have a family with strong financial background, you plan your finances accordingly.
          And why this dependence on kids? You have made them responsible even before they are born!!! No wonder such mindsets are so strong.. and almost impossible to break..

        • Yes in-laws will love you, praise you as the ‘best DIL’ as long as you shut your mouth and pretend like you have NO OPINION about anything that happens in the family.

        • So let me understand Prinks – You get married, submit completely to your inlaws(if you are a woman), have no say whatsoever in your husband’s finances and hence can’t save and plan for future or retirement. Then you have kids – if it is boy you raise him as investment for retirement so he can spend whatever he makes on you because whatever you have spent on the child is out of abundant love but definitely has an accounting ledger associated with it. If you have girl – depending on how your in laws decide to treat her you make sure she understands that her goal is to get married and stay married – submit first to you and then to her in laws – give birth to boys who will be investments for later in life… Did i capture that right? what an excellent idea!!!!

      • Agree with all that KMKH said but actually, I don’t believe it’s possible to always love unconditionally even if you are a recipient of unconditional love. Loving unconditionally in itself is a rare thing. As a parent, I recognise that I will always love my children more than they love me.

        As you said, I don’t think it’s possible, except in very rare cases, for the parent-child bond to be replicated. Even if there was equal reciprocation from the other set of parents I don’t think, except in rare cases, it would happen.

        We should just give up pretending that the in law relationship can be a parent-chld one and work on making it a respectful and if possible but not necessarily loving, relationship.

        • what i see here is giving up and blaming the in-laws completely. when you say in-laws cant be parents….why cant you better accept DILs cannot be Daughters.

        • Yup totally accept that DILs cannot be daughters too. It goes both ways. And I don’t think DILs not being daughters or MILs not being mothers is negative either. It’s just realistic.One can still have a decent relationship even if it’s not parent-child. In fact, the unrealistic expectation that Dils be daughters and Mils be mothers is what causes a lot of problems.

        • Replying to Prinks05. That’s exactly what most of us are saying didn’t you notice? Please read The Bride’s comment.

    • @prinks05, Which dream-world are you living in I wonder? What result does accepting in-laws as parents have? Unless the in-laws see the DIL as daughter what good will that do?
      And who are these in-laws who are going to change magically from in-laws to parents as soon as the DIL accepts them as such? If they were so good at heart to start with, they would have been the first to offer to treat the DIL as daughter. After all WHO are the older and more wiser people here? If age has not given them any sense, do you think a DIL treating them as parents is going to change things?
      Besides, It is easy to ask someone to treat in-laws as parents. Do you SERIOUSLY think ANY in-laws are prepared to accept that, be treated really as parents? They always want to be treated as goddamn Gods. THAT is the real problem, their expectation of worship from the DIL. One can be oneself, even fight and talk back with parents, and still be loved and love them. WHICH in-law is so magnanimous enough to give that freedom or right to a DIL? The problem with in-laws is that they want to REMAIN IN-LAWS always.
      Don’t ever advice any DIL to treat in-laws as parents. In-laws are NOT her parents. Period. But most important, first the in-laws have to grow up enough and BE READY to be accepted as parents.

      • Shail, prinks05 isn’t married. She probably views the whole married situation where dil’s should be daughters as a big fictional star plus saas-Bahu serial. Once she gets married, moves into a joint family and stays with in-laws will she understand the email writers position.

  6. This email is a good example of how patriarchy is bad for both women and men. It forces women into dutiful, sacrificial moulds and men into being the “Budhape ka Sahara”. A truly terrible situation. Ideally both the man (email-writer’s husband) and his sister should share the responsibilities and rewards (property) equally. My sympathies are with the email-writer.

  7. Before judging the email writer please read what she has written. She is not saying that she doesn’t want to support her already secure in laws. She is frustrated that she and her husband have to be the only source of support to the parents and the sister in law who do not think twice before making demands.

    We all know how expensive everything is today. Couples find it difficult to manage a house even with double income so forget about taking care of a few people. Moreover if you have children it is even difficult.

    What right does the sister in law have to demand gifts from her parents every time and why is it the duty of the son to provide gifts for the sister. Again I am not saying that they should not help the parents. But the couple need to have a open discussion together and decide on a certain sum that they will give to the parents every month. The parents can do what they want to with it. Give it to the daughter or save it. That is nobody’s business. But the couple also need to plan for their own future.

    My only sister in law demanded gifts from my MIL when she got married. My in laws kept on giving her and her family gold and cash the first year of her wedding for every occasion. When my SIL got pregnant she forced my MIL to buy her gold bangles and gift it to her in front of her in laws and the family when they came for the baby shower. I still remember how my mother in law had cried in front of me because she felt the daughter twisted her arm and forced her to buy such an expensive gift.

    Next day I went with the MIL to the jewellery shop and negotiated a huge discount on the making of the Bangles and saved around 7000 Rs for her. The shop owner told my MIL, your DIL is so smart and saved you money why don’t you buy her some gold with that saving. My MIL just left the store without saying anything. And did I mention my in laws have never given me anything, infact I just gave my MIL a gold ring when I visited them a few months ago. Also before you judge me I am not asking for anything from them. I am just talking about the distinction that is made here. She could buy bangles for her daughter who has always asking for something, worth 75,000 but did not even give a thought to buying something for her DIL who has never demanded anything.

    So there you go all DIL’s are not evil as the 2 commentators above are stating. We do not mind treating our in laws with love and respect as along we are treated with the same love and respect by them. It is a two way street and yes why should we adjust and compromise, their own daughters don’t.

    • Bella, you are a good person for continuing to give your MIL expensive gifts. I noticed you mentioned your SIL got your MIL to give the gifts in front of the in laws so I sense there is pressure from her in laws to bring in these kinds of gifts. The entire system is messed up and everyone loses in the end, though some lose more than others and that’s generally the women.

    • Demanding and extracting are two different things. all demands are not to be fulfilled. So the lady of the mail needs to learn how to say no!

      • Tell me how ‘demanding’ and ‘extraction’ are different? How can I distinguish between the two?.
        …I can only differentiate between what is necessary and what is luxury.

        And how do I say ‘no’ to elders who believe that DIL has to only agree to what they think & feel, and never have an opposite opinion of her own.

  8. I am a woman, and am proud to say that I have beautiful parents, in-laws and husband. I have a sister and a sister-in-law and can fairly inderstand why the in-laws think the way they do.

    No, I don’t think that the parents “love” the sister more than your husband. The plain difference is based on who is earning and who is not. Your husband is earning and most probably, the sister-in-law is not. According to them, since your son is earning, he can take care of himself, and since the daughter isn’t, they have to take care of her. Its a really backward ay to think, but being a new mother, I have a feeling I am going to think in the same way too.

    Never “ever” think that the husband’s money is only yours – he is not a prize you won. He had a family much before you came along. If you can’t earn, keep track of your savings – a standing instruction or a RD works well, since the deduction is automatic and you really wouldn’t have any extra money to pass on to the family. If you want to manage your husband’s finances, ask him and take up the onus, instead of sulking in the corner and saying he shouldn’t be sharing his money with anyone else except you.

    By the way, they are more than twice your age. You really shouldn’t be talking about their taking flights when they can come by train. That is very cruel – who knows what pains they have?

    Finally, I really really hope that you haven’t been “cribbing” to the husband. If you are, then the family’s saying that you are a “girl not raised well” is not far off the mark. If you have said so many bad things about the in-laws, imagine what opinion they would have of their daughter-in-law who is mutinous about the husband supporting his parents.

    And to others – how is the husband the weaker character? I understand that “patriarchy” is a term that the commenters on this blog love to use freely, but use it with context na. The views expressed here are of a disgruntled DIL – the husband may in fact be proud to be able to support his parents and his wife(at least he thinks so).

    • Hello my sis’s in laws have been literally globe trotting betweenIndia , US and the foreign country where my sis resides. If they have ill health , they should restrict no of outings. BTW my sis is used as a glorified driver whenever her mom in law wants to shop in the foreign country.

      I only pray the son remains healthy and can provide , may turn into Goddess Lakshmi himself, can mint more money and keep every one happy. what else can I say.AMEN!!!!

      • and why he be called weak.

        Why cant he open his mouth and say ” amma I cannot provide more. Make a excel sheet and show how expenses, school fees are spiralling.

        All our parents are born middle class, have seen pain in turns of finances. so if only the son could open the mouth and see reality.
        alas !! :-(

        • i just found another solution: with the above mindset, i think this should work:
          bring up your kids but at the same time, maintain a log sheet. Whatever you spend, penny by penny, note down everything. Then when the child gets a job, show it to him and make them repay. this way parents wont have to beg for their rights, they are just asking for refunds. Kids should also feel proud that they brought themselves up.

        • Children do not ask to be born, and parents have children because they want to, not as an insurance policy. Children are not obliged to spend their lives putting up with unreasonable demands from their parents.

          What rights are you talking about? Taking over their children’s finances? Making their decisions for them? They have no such rights. No one does.

    • “being a new mother, I have a feeling I am going to think in the same way too” So you are not going to bring up your daughter to be independent and work for her living? Why would you even want to do that? This is so disgusting!

      • Miss Fem, there is no question of being independent. I dont see why the lady in trouble is not independent. She is earning (may be not preety well, but she is independent)…well regarding her role to say, i dont know how much she has spoken about it coz she already presumes that her in-laws treat her like this and that….and this presumption part is too common but too complex.

    • Hmm–just wondering –did you actually read the post–or did you skim through and just draw your own conclusions?
      If her in-laws are financially stable –why should they depend on the son–who as the DIL says does have financial problems?
      And yes any normal person would discuss her financial problems with her husband like an equal partner–that is not “cribbing” !
      And yes maybe the parents would like to support a daughter who is not working, but can they expect their son to do it too?

      • ”And yes any normal person would discuss her financial problems with her husband like an equal partner–that is not “cribbing” !”

        And, if any normal person discusses his/her financial problems with his/her son – that certainly is. Right, isn’t it.

        Weird!!

        • They (the parents) are not “discussing” financial problems, they are DEMANDING financial support.

          Really, it’s a question of priorities.

          Some men are good husbands, fathers, brothers and sons and some prioritise one relationship over the other.

          Some parents treat their sons as ATMs and old age insurance and some care genuinely for their sons’ happiness.

          It all boils down to what sort of person you are dealing with.

        • It’s weird only if you have built some kind of fake equivalence in your mind between a husband-wife relationship and a parent-child relationship.

          My wife has a right to my money, my parents don’t.

        • Well– in the e-mail she never mentions that her in-laws have monetary issues–just that she and her husband do.
          No one said it’s not ok for parents to discuss their financial issues with their children– I feel families are for that, just that here her issue was that her husband and her don’t have saving/property.
          It’s not an easy life with the ever rising expenses— and i find it illogical that parents expect the son to take care of their daughters needs–esp when he has monetary issues.
          This is like my friends MIL who complained that my friend and her husband had only given gold “jhumkas” of a small size to their niece, she forgot that the very same son had paid for the daughters wedding, her two deliveries, her travel expenses–and had absolutely no savings of his own!

        • @ PT

          How are you this logical and right to the point???? I would hate to be in a debate with you !!! You would destroy me in a min.!!! I am curious. What is your profession??? Too many personal questions????

          @ IHM, sorry for these irrelevant comments.These are thoughts that just come into my mind while reading the comments. Everyone has already said what i would have wanted to say, so nothing else to add except do thumbs up.

        • @ PRAVEEN (PT)

          You are mistaken. I actually consider the parent-adult child bond to be more important than the husband-wife bond.

        • And you would be fine with not being the first priority in your life-partner’s life? I think it is only fair to marry someone who feels the same way about relationships and about their own parents/other adults in their life.

        • @IHM

          I would like to answer your question in an indirect manner because I am a private sort of a person.

          A guy who believes that parent-adult kid is the most important family bond should certainly have a life partner who feels the same too because I strongly feel no one can love us the way our parents do ; neither one’s spouse nor one’s offspring. (this is true for most people if not all)

      • Rahmath,

        Fittingly enough, it is law. ;)

        Raghav,

        Whether you consider one more or less important than the other is not the point. The point is, they are different relationships, with different ground rules. They cannot be compared to each other, and it is not weird at all that something which is acceptable in one may not be acceptable in another.

    • ” Its a really backward ay to think, but being a new mother, I have a feeling I am going to think in the same way too.”

      Really? Why? Why wouldn’t you want to raise both your son and daughter so that they could be independent and take care of their own needs?

      • The Bride and Fem,
        Don’t be so judgemental. I come from a family of strong and independant women (and by that I mean emotionally and financially too), and have always been to not depend on a husband. Thankfully, so are my husband and Sister-in-law ( I did say I was very lucky).
        I, unfortunately, only have a son though I craved for a daughter (Before you all go judgemental again, I did want a girl-friend for life). And the whole thought of raising them differently, had I had two children of opposite sexes, is stupid.
        When I said I will be “thinking the same way”, I meant if any of my kids are unemployed or not dependant, I will be helping them. That’s all – doesnt matter whether it is a boy or a girl.

        • Someone I know lost her husband a few years back. Her only son is forty years old, unemployed, single, and unable to find and stick to a job for more than a couple of months. She supports herself and her son on whatever little savings they have. Does she ‘crib’? Yes, you bet. Now whether you call it ‘cribbing’ or ‘discussing her problems’ – is entirely up to you. I mean to assert that she is not as happy to maintain his lifestyle as she was when he was a child.

        • Thanks for the clarification.It was not a question of being judgemental. In all fairness, you can hardly expect me to understand what you meant. I can only go by what you actually said. I think any parent would be happy to help their children, if they could. And vice-versa. The problem arises when there are demands without even a second thought about the other person’s difficulties in fulfilling these demands, as in the case of the OP.

    • Finally, I really really hope that you haven’t been “cribbing” to the husband. If you are, then the family’s saying that you are a “girl not raised well” is not far off the mark.

      I really, really hope that you are joking.

      For god’s sake.

    • Hello Amma,
      Thank you for telling us how to use “patriarchy” in the correct context.

      We were all using it completely out of context, I see that now.

      Thank you also for hinting that the Letter Writer is not “well-raised”.

      Really, who better to pass judegment on than a complete stranger?

    • The daughter is a professional who earns MORE than the son and has been married to a guy who earns a lot more. That is not the question here because the family does not believe in taking anything from the daughter. ‘They think – The daughter has to be given, the son has to give’

    • The question is not about the husbands money only being yours. I am in a similar situation and I empathize with her. I don’t expect him to not send money home,but to plan financially and his parents to have some understanding that the son needs to have some investments and that need to let go a bit reminding him of his duty , ask him to take care of his investments , so down the road everyone benefits.

      You can support your parents within a limit. They want money every month , and now they want to buy a house and they want him to pay for that also. This despite knowing that he doesn’t save much because he sends whatever and how much ever he can. They even once told him they expect a min of so much per month. And they still work and earn money.

      I don’t agree with your comment. The parents want their sons to get married and have children , but do not accept the fact the sons also need to start taking responsibility towards their family ? The problem is they expect the flowchart of marriage children to happen and drill that in. They also drill in the fact you need to bound by a sense of duty. Along the way they forget to teach their sons that they need to plan for themselves too. There is nothing wrong with the girl wanting to plan for their future.

      Your words are very harsh and very wrong. The parents need to back off when they know they are imposing too much. Yes, imposing .

    • @AMMA KT

      “No, I don’t think that the parents “love” the sister more than your husband. The plain difference is based on who is earning and who is not. Your husband is earning and most probably, the sister-in-law is not.”
      — She earns MORE than my husband, but that’s not the issue here as the basic thinking is ‘daughter has to be given, son has to give’.
      I did not say they love my husband any less, but I definitely will say they do not value his earnings, or fear for his(or mine) future life as much.

      “Never “ever” think that the husband’s money is only yours – he is not a prize you won.He had a family much before you came along.”
      — I had a family too before he came along, I left them for him and came to live in his house for his sake , you dont consider that, do you? Just think again, who got a better prize? :)
      My husband’s earnings is first his, and being his life partner, it is equally mine. What he does to his family is necessary, when necessary, if necessary. We consider our parents our responsibility as they are our family, but when it becomes demanding without our voices or concerns heard, it only becomes obligatory.

      ” If you want to manage your husband’s finances, ask him and take up the onus, instead of sulking in the corner and saying he shouldn’t be sharing his money with anyone else except you.”
      —–That is an assumption that I expect him to share money just with me, I expect everyone to be valuing his hard work, his earnings, his future as much as I do. Since they are his family they have to be equally concerned.

      “By the way, they are more than twice your age. You really shouldn’t be talking about their taking flights when they can come by train. That is very cruel – who knows what pains they have?”
      —–I did not get what you are saying. Anyways, I do not have any problems taking care of their comforts, never will I make their lives difficult in old age. But do you want me to forget that someday I will in similar situation and that I should make sure of not depending on anyone at least financially? I expect them to let go of say buying a 10k saree and do with a 5k saree, that kind of sacrifice can be done by everyone in the family. Am I wrong?

      “Finally, I really really hope that you haven’t been “cribbing” to the husband. If you are, then the family’s saying that you are a “girl not raised well” is not far off the mark. If you have said so many bad things about the in-laws, imagine what opinion they would have of their daughter-in-law who is mutinous about the husband supporting his parents.”
      —– My husband and I share a life together, every decision of his has an effect on my life. His lack of savings today will be a burden on our lives say 10yrs from now.. I do ‘crib’ with him about it but hey he still considers me a ‘prize’ and doesn’t fail to discuss with me his finances…so somewhere he must still think I am ‘a well raised girl who knows how to manage her money!!’….

      ” The views expressed here are of a disgruntled DIL – the husband may in fact be proud to be able to support his parents and his wife(at least he thinks so).”
      —- The husband is PROUD of helping his parents, he feels blessed to be earning to do so, but such a ‘good son’ also feels frustrated when he has to do somethings merely out of obligations. I am pointing just that, forget the disgruntled DIL, just think about the Son & his future, is it fair on him?

      • Thank you for replying and I am glad I now understand what you say better!
        My SIL does not earn, and I stopped working for a year to try and pursue my passion. As it happened, I got pregnant, and ended up doing nothing other than taking rest. It was at this time that I felt that my in-laws were getting worried about reduced inflow of money. I dont think they blamed me, but it always came down to – “Pavam he is the only one earninig”. The moment I took up the job again, things became smoother!! Since this solution worked for me, I thought it will work for you too. I did not know that:
        1. SIL earns and earns more than your hubby
        2. The son is disgruntled at times too.
        .
        Blame it on an almost opposite situation at my end.

        I still think that instead of talking about why PIL are the way they are, you should start planning on investments – like start an LIC and tell the partner how much needs to go into it every month. That will reduce the money you have in hand to pass on.

        And lastly,
        “I had a family too before he came along, I left them for him and came to live in his house for his sake , you dont consider that, do you? Just think again, who got a better prize?”

        As I said, he is not a prize and neither are you. When we are talking about equal rights, let us keep it as equal. Dont think of leaving your mother’s house as a sacrifice.

        Most of the commenters to your post have started talking about giving money to their parents. I don’t understand it at all. If the parents need it, why ask permission? If its your own money, by all means, plan it and use it as fit – just like the husband can do whatever he wants with his money. But if the husband interferes, we ask why should he? ( I am one of the askers), and when the wife interferes, we ask why shouldn’t she? (This is what I am against).

        • “He is not a prize and neither are you. When we are talking about equal rights, let us keep it as equal, Dont think of leaving your mother’s house as a sacrifice. ”
          — No, I do not think of it as a sacrifice, it is something we do willingly when we get married. I just don’t understand why it is not valued enough though in society, and taken for granted.

          There are actually no equal rights – because I have no say in the money matters of the house. I am the ‘daughter’ only when I have no complaints, and DIL when I don’t like what’s happening.

          “if the husband interferes, we ask why should he?, and when the wife interferes, we ask why shouldn’t she?”
          —– We do this because the society in general thinks it is perfectly OK when the husband/PIL ask and when the wife asks she is immediately the ‘bad wife/DIL’
          When this kind of bias goes and everyone respects/values each others opinion, and also make sure not to step on each others toes to have their way will things change.
          Adjustments and compromises are OK to some extent but only when it happens from everyone in the family without taking anyone for granted.

          Thanks for your comments, I am going to try to handle my finances better from now on even if I have to do it all by myself.

    • @AmmaKT
      I really think that you need to understand the term “patriarchy” before you go admonishing others for using it incorrectly:
      Patriarchy is NOT Men. It is a system in which BOTH men and women participate, which includes pigeon holing men into set definitions of masculinity that denies them full rights of personhood. It is also never more dangerous than when women deny that they are themselves engaging in it.
      So in the context of this e-mail it is most certainly used in the right context.

  9. This email can be the story of many dils. To sum up the attitude it is “My daughter, my son in law and my grandchildren. And my son his wife and her children.”

    • This statement is correct as far as my situation was concerned. I have been screeched at, never called by my name – always referred to as ‘Aye’, in case of SILs visiting never allowed to eat till everyone finished lest the food prepared was insufficient (and this was the practice even when I was pregnant and breast feeding). I realised albeit a few years post marriage that similar treatment was meted to the maid servants employed.

      My in-laws refused to play any part in raising my kid inspite of staying with them. The part expected out of them was keeping an eye on things when I was out working – I had employed a full time nanny. But whenever my SILs have had maid problems and his is very often – are ever too keen to take complete responsibility

      Fortunately, my husband is very supportive and we have moved out after almost 7 years of marriage close to my parents place so that my child is taken care of, My parents play a big part in raising my son.

      As regards my in-laws we visit often and are in principle responsible for their welfare . However, at times, I do wonder about the fairness of this. Are parents of sons in particular only entitled to rights and have no responsibilities? Isnt it the case of taking the cake and eating it too? Why do in-laws feel entitled to treat DILs as crap? Isnt she somebody’s daughter too? How would you like it if your daughter is treated this way?

      And why do I put up with this crap? I cannot get down to their level and just glad that I donot have to put up with them on a daily basis.

  10. But, in my experience I have seen a number of boys (and men) who are manipulated and misused more so by their own family members for selfish reasons.
    - That’s why we keep saying the system needs to change and this perpetuation of gender/son/daughter roles needs to be stopped because sometimes, it does not benefit anyone but it is very difficult to break one’s mental chains after years of social conditioning.

    They are raised and brainwashed from childhood to be faithful to their parents and be their as providers and nothing else.
    - And women are raised to be good wives and DIL’s. All a part of the wrongs in our system.

    The education, the extra-care they give to boys is only in this hope, and the rules set for his wife, the DIL, is just an extension of this mentality.
    -Exactly, the son earns, the daughter serves.

    They fear the son will stop providing them and their family (read as daughters and her family) and hence start controlling his thoughts and his life from childhood.
    -Same applies to women

    I do not know if this is a south-Indian mentality, but I have rarely seen any discrimination when bringing up girls, in fact they are loved and cared for a lot more than boys and it continues to a larger extent even after they are married.
    - There is no discrimination when you educate them or let them work, but is it not there when you decide who/when/how your daughter marries? Same does apply to men too. There is also the case of women being told to adjust after marriage to the in laws family.

    It is the boys who are restricted, controlled and disciplined a lot more.
    -Even women are but in your situation, you feel it is the guy, maybe true. Have you always been allowed to wear whatever you want, go where ever you want, whenever you want? Weren’t you controlled ad told to wear sarees during the wedding and after that? Did no one tell you to get married to a certain person of a certain caste? Weren’t you ever chided by words like “if you behave like that in your in laws house, they will say we did not raise you well”?

    The parents do not mind having N number of daughters as long as they have one son as ‘Budhape ka sahara’.
    -Exactly. Daughters are burdens and sons provide in old age. I mainly concentrate on one side of the issue. There are many causes to fight for in this world, I can only choose a few battles and fight for what bothers me the most.

    In my in-laws family, all the discrimination you talk about is only for the Son.
    -It is there for women too, for you as a DIL, the way you are expected to behave and be all sacrificing, serve your in laws and not take their son away from them.

    My husband, the son is just the provider whose job is to have a constant supply of funds regardless of what it is for. It is so ‘normal’ an expectation it does not matter to them how the son provides as long as the parents, the daughter and her family are kept happy.
    -It does not matter how happy the DIL is as long as she is docile and follows all their rules.

    I do not understand why this is rarely talked about in our society.
    - It is talked but the majority of the cases are the ones where women are exploited and female subjugation has been going on for 100’s of years.

    It is so very unfair. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?
    - Yes, they are and I criticize the fact that some men are mamma’s boys but why do they give into emotional blackmail. The chains of the society are less tight on them. The same women also do not want to break their mental chains. I fight for the right to women have their own personalities. Lot of women have no right to speak their minds nor have their personalities. The system wants to produce robots who work as maids and serve.

    Doesn’t his wife and kids have the first right to his earnings? Aren’t they the first priority?
    – Yes, they do, if that cannot be assured, then do not marry. Same for men and women. Do not marry because society/family tells you to.

    Along with this, there is always a fear in these parents that the son might care for his wife’s family similarly.
    –There is also a fear that a DIL may care for her family similarly and give her earnings, even a tiny amount to her parents.

    Hence all the ‘jamai‘ kind of attitude is taught to the sons, my husband is manipulated and has always been kept away from getting close to my parents.
    – The women are kept from being close their own family and friends after marriage.

    I am always blamed for showing ‘extra-care & love’ to my parents instead of my in-laws.
    – If your in laws do not treat you well and treat you like an outsider, is it not natural?

    The daughter, my sister-in-law on the other hand rules the roost, still demands whatever she wants from her parents, and the person who has to meet these demands is their son.
    –Isn’t it the reason that women with brothers are preferred in an arranged marriage, because they have brothers to give in constant gifts et al?

    My husband refuses to deny that in the fear of ‘hurting’ his family.
    – Guilt is a very common method to control people. Religions, societies, parents often use this.

    He has been brainwashed into believing that the only reason he has to even earn is to make their lives comfortable and happy.
    — Similarly, women are brainwashed to believe the only reason I am living is to get married and stay married.

    His family does not stop reminding me & my husband how we need to save for their medical expenses in the future, and how the daughter has to be cared for, provided for and given her due share in property even after they are gone. There is no such similar caring and concern shown for their son and daughter-in-law.
    – The system works on the assumption that every family has a son, which is why it is flawed.

    My in-laws emotionally blackmailed us against acquiring anything on our own, and I now realize it is because they feared the son will move separate and not be there during their last days.
    – It is wrong that parents raise children for the sole purpose of support in old age.

    Why are Sons treated like ATM machines? They are expected to give away all their savings as ‘duty’ and parents have no hesitation taking it from them, but when it comes to giving the son anything in any little form it is seen as a big deal?
    – Exactly but we are taught to feel guilty of the most basic of natural feelings.

    But I have no voice in this whole matter though it is my life that will be affected. I am made to feel like ‘a not well-raised girl’ who interferes in the family affairs and a typical daughter-in-law who prevents their daughter from getting her due share.
    – is this not the case of women who are restricted, controlled and disciplined a lot more here apart from the men?

    Sorry about the ranting, am just frustrated to see the unfair discrimination,
    – Discrimination is unfair and it is frustrating which is why we need to blog.

    where the husband and I have no say in any household matters except be seen as a constant source of never diminishing funds .
    – Aren’t grown up women given any say in a lot of things as well?

    I consider myself a fair, non-judgmental, co-operative person but I am disgusted and disappointed with how manipulative, self-centered this world is.
    – Sad but there are good things around too

    Am I wrong in thinking like this? — No

    Should I just keep quiet as a ‘good’ Daughter-in-law’?– If being quiet and being walked over equal to good, then it is better to be bad and raise a voice. Sometimes, someone has to fight and be perceived as bad, but making you feel bad and evil if you do certain things is just the system’s way to control and manipulate us. We have to become aware of this and break free of the mental chains.

    Even my parents advise me to just let it go and do my duty, –They would not tell a son to adjust and do his duty by being quiet. This is the case of the case of women who are restricted, controlled and disciplined a lot more here.

    but I am very worried about my own future, this role of ours as providers is unappreciated and seems never ending . — I am not sure but if you have an understanding husband but maybe it would help to move out? What about working and saving for yourself?

    My husband loves me and assures me that things will be alright, but I am hating the entire helpless situation I am in. — No point hating but may be you could look to earning your own money and save it for yourself? Move out of your in laws house? This is the classic case of the husband trying to appease both his parents and the wife but clearly here their expectations are in the traditional mindset and yours are in another generation.

    ~ another frustrated daughter-in-law married to a ‘good son’


    sos

    • @SOS

      Thanks for your detailed reply.

      ” I am not sure but if you have an understanding husband ”
      —- My husband understands the financial situation we are in, but like I said he has been so conditioned to be the provider, he believes that it is OK to ‘sacrifice’ if it makes his family happy. In really difficult situations, he has said that he can’t afford it, they immediately assume that it is because he ‘doesnt ‘want’ to give. They do not even seem to notice how much we cut down on our spendings, we do not take vacations, do not buy new stuff for ourselves only to save a little, but somehow the little we save is also gone when they suddenly feel the need to splurge. Many people have judged me like I am the one who is making his life difficult, they do not seem to understand that we both are together in this, trying to manage with difficulty, unable to talk freely of our problems, the fear for our future because noone takes our words seriously. I am married to a really good person who is trying hard to balance, but it seems like I am the only one who understands his problem, I am the only one who is helping him by cutting down all expenses from my side.

      “….but maybe it would help to move out? What about working and saving for yourself?”
      —-Another thing about patriarchy, ‘only son’ has to reside with parents, no way of moving out. The day we got married my FIL jokingly said ..’now that you are married, you wont leave us and go away, will you?’.. We wanted to move in to an apartment near work place, wanted to buy one, that is when all the melodrama happened, they behaved like the son was deserting them. They threatened to sell the house and join Ashram …God, all that only because we wanted to buy some property. As I have said in the email, it is because they have this fear we will not look after them after we move out. And if we buy something on our own, we will not depend on their property, and they lose a method to control us….Unfortunately, that is what has happened now.

      “you could look to earning your own money and save it for yourself? ”
      —- I am doing that now, it is not enough but at least we have a little more income.

      “This is the classic case of the husband trying to appease both his parents and the wife but clearly here their expectations are in the traditional mindset and yours are in another generation.”
      —– Yes, it is the Son, my husband who is caught in the middle, unfortunately nobody considers that a big deal. If he has a problem, and if wife has a problem with the situation, they blame the wife, and blame him for being the JKG and not abble to control her and continue with their own way of control…

      My mindset was similar to my husband’s thinking of doing ‘our duty’ to ‘please’ elders. That is how it was for years. When people are just unreasonably unfair, biased, it gets frustrating over a period of time. I am only echoing here my husband’s feelings too. He shrugs it off , and I crib. But we will have to find a solution together, and I will bring it up again and see how we can increase our savings.

      Thanks for all the comments from everyone, really appreciate your feedback.

      • @SOS

        Just to clarify it is not about staying or not with them. The expenses will not increase or decrease because of this fact. Wherever we are we will have to fund everything. Yes, there is definitely a chance to discuss between ourselves a lot more. I have no problems taking up responsibilities of house hold expenses/medical/bills etc. Whatever is necessary, we do it willingly. It is just about the overheads, expensive gifts, favors to every 2nd person ( son earns, lets brag a bit), buy a better car, daugher’s Laptop broke, lets gift one for her birthday…just to name a few!… I know I know I am cribbing, but hey its’s my retirement fund thats being enjoyed there!

  11. and I know another family where the son and his wife stayed in Hyd., the parents stayed in BLR, mom as school teacher, dad was retired from a private firm, a old patti to take care of.
    The mom kept asking him to send 4K, 6K , 5k etc on a regular basis

    It came to a extent where he was asking a friend one day for money to pay phone bills since the company cut the connection

    Imagine the friend, the husband and the wife in one room. How would the wife feel if her husband asked petty 300Rs from a friend simply because HE and his family did not know how to manage finances

    You say the DIl should give in. Give in in what way? add to the share of family woes by adding one more credit card ? The guy was forever hounded by credit card companies for unpaid bills

    Lets accept the fact. Many Indian families do not know to save, they end up taking huge credit card bills. They dont know usage of credit cards

    What harm is it when DIL expresses anguish, thinks a lil ahead about their future, about savings etc???

    True story narrated above!

    • Top comment. Those who are not the earner’s, parents etc., must not be allowed to manage finances. Also, many of these problems are created because of bad financial management. Especially, when you are thinking if I did not spend it, someone else ( the daughter in law) will.

      • Please dont make blanket statements like “Those who are not the earner’s must not be allowed to manage finances”
        I took a break in my career to be home with my child..so am not the ‘earner’ but I still manage the finances in the house. I make sure the rent cheques etc are sent out, i put aside for the childs school, I ensure that the tax papers are ready..I look into various investment plans to put aside some money..mainly because Im good at it and also because that is what I can do so that my husband can get some well deserved break! So if we had to use the assumption that non earners cannot manage finances, our finances would be messed up right now and my husband would have been very stressed

  12. Welcome to patriarchy, E-mail writer.

    This is how it works. Men are ATM machines. Women are brood mares/maids/caretakers.

    I have not managed to figure out any solutions for such situations, so I can only provide my sympathies.
    In my experience, things are just as bad (or worse) for women, but in different ways.

    • @PT – Thank you, I have read all your wonderful comments, and I hope to implement some of your and others suggestions.

  13. That’s damn sad. It is true. I have seen this happen with a friend’s family very close to me. It really makes me shake my head in anger when I see how the family splurges with the elder son’s earnings. And, the wife has no say. It is a very sad setup. Glad that you brought up this issue as well.

    • The last couple of decades has changed the scenario in India, most of us from middle class households got high paying jobs, or went abroad to earn in one year what our parents struggled to make in their lifetime. I see that there is a lot of competition among families/relatives, parents feel the need to splurge and show off the success of their children. And this is what is happening added to the existing patriarchy. They cannot understand how a son who say earns Rs 1-2 lakhs /month will have ‘no’ money for a new car or a short vacation. It is even worse for those living abroad, people have no idea how difficult it is to make a living there, they only count the dollars or pounds earned in Rupees and expect their sons to send as required. You would think dowry and other marriage expenses would come down because of educated middle class, but we see that it has only increased , the show-off of one’s status is at a all time high now.

      My in-laws do not take our money problems seriously, they shrug it off saying they did not have anything when they were of our age. They tell stories of their struggles, and how much they had to sacrifice to bring the son up. Surprisingly, no such reminders ever to the daughter. They do not even understand that this generation has no ‘safe pension plans’ to depend on. For those of us caught in patriarchal families it is an everday struggle to live upto their expectations financially.

      • You are right. Show off is a huge problem of these times. It is just difficult to understand when otherwise thrifty parents fall for it and start draining out the finances of their own kids.

  14. IHM, I think its unfair to generalize such stories. True, there are parents who manipulate thier sons and there are daughter-in-laws who suffer. But the opposite is also true. I think there are loads of stories on both the sides as the comments suggest. The problem is that we hold to just one side of it.
    We had a house in Delhi in the name of my parents. When we shifter to a bigger house, we bought the house in my name and my wife’s name basically because I was taking the loan. Did I see a hint of fear in the eyes of my parents? Yes, I did. But then there was a belief also. They knew I will never do such a thing as throwing them out. And I think that is all that is missing here.
    I agree with the writer of the letter that the son might have been brainwashed. It’s simply because the parents are scared. They have been brainwashed to be scared too by the generation which came before them. And I also believe that the writer and her husband could set things right by removing that fear.

    • Being scared is no excuse for using your own son as a cash cow.

      The way to address that fear is to SAVE for your retirement, not brainwash your kids into being walking, talking retirement funds.

      • Yes, I understand this. The parents in this scenario have not done that. They have been wrong. So what remains as the best possible alternative?

        • The best bet would probably be to chalk out some kind of rigid financial plan with no more than a fixed amount being given to the parents every month. How much this amount is will have to threshed out via a frank dialogue; it would depend on the guy’s income, as well as the needs of the parents. Since it is her husband’s money, the email writer here must take active part in this deliberation too.

          Of course, I’m convinced that nothing of this sort will really happen unless this guy suddenly opens his eyes and stops sipping the kool-aid. Women, especially DILs, have no voice in patriarchal family set-ups and no matter how much the writer protests, she will not be heard until her husband supports her. As it is, he probably doesn’t even see anything drastically wrong with the situation. It will be an uphill job.

        • @PT – You are right, my husband understands our financial situation, but he firmly believes that he is doing the right thing. He is constantly reminded of how much the parents suffered to bring up the two children, and so he thinks this is the time for them to enjoy. My in-laws have regular monthly income for their spending but it goes straight into the bank account, the nomination of which is the daughter. ( I have no problems with it, their wish) Whenever they get upset with us they threaten to withdraw all the money, give it to us and join an ashram. The good son feels all guilty, but the bad DIL sees the manipulation & control in all this melodrama.

          Thanks, I will have to take charge of the situation, dont know how but I will.

          They wanted me to plan a trip for Singapore since the daughter’s kids have summer holidays, I wrote this email when I was totally mad, so I understand even the negative feed back.

          In all this, I only get mad at my SIL, she being educated and belonging to this generation should refuse any kind of spending from her parents/brother. (Nothing of this is a demand from her inlaws/husband – just to clarify). But even she seems to think that this is how families work.

    • Amit, although you believe that you are a good son and would never do such a thing to your parents, you have no right to put them in this situation. How could you sell their house to pay the down for your own? You should work and save for your own home yourself.

      • Thanks for the judgemental tone B and thanks for generalizing things. It was “our” house that we sold to buy another house which was again “ours”. By “our” I mean my family. I do not see my parents as a seperate entity. It was a joint decision and was well discussed. My parents never raised any doubts but there are cases around which always have a bearing on your mind.
        We definitely wanted a bigger house and both me and my father decided to chip in. The fact that the house is in my name does not put my parents in a “situation” smiliar to the fact that I was never in any “situation” when the house was in my father’s name.

        • When you say “our”, do you mean you, your parents, your wife, and her parents? Or are THEY a separate entity?

        • Madhu,
          Since this house has been bought by me and my father, I would not expect my wife’s parents to have a share in this. This applies to me as well. I would not expect to have a share in any property belonging to my wife and her parents. Unless and until a monetary tragedy befalls, I would let matters stand as they are.
          Coming to “Our”, as I said earlier “Our” means my family which includes my wife’s parents as well. As you have put THEY in capitals, I would assume that you have already stereotyped me in some category in addition to the fact that your comment was way off the actual issue we were discussing here.

    • @Amit – You are right there, they indeed have the fear, but tell me how to address that apart from these..
      1. We live with them.
      2. We take care of all expenses
      3.Their son, a typical Indian son who thinks his parents are living Gods
      4.Did not buy own house because they didn’t like it.
      5. Came back to be with them though educated abroad
      6. Daughter & family most loved by brother too, and he has shown that enough by doing everything he can.

      What more are we supposed to do? They seem to fear that the son & DIL will rule over them. And only when we act like they desire they seem to feel assured. Can you imagine my plight in all this? Their son, may be OK with it, but how much should I adjust to make them feel assured? I have already done quite a bit, my only concern now is my future. Should I let go of that too?…

      Sorry, situation varies in every family, you can assure only those who dont feel the need to control children forever to secure their place in the hierarchy..

      • I feel all these activities you did for them has made them sure you can’t leave them. Once that fear creeps in, every other ‘demand’ will go away.

  15. I have a friend who is going through exactly the same situation. Her SIL was widowed within a couple of years of her mrrg and has a son too. All this means that the SIL is pampered by her mother and though it shouldn’t affect my fren but it does because her MIL makes her son believe that he has a responsibility towards her sis (she is working and her in laws take very good care of her). Not only that, the In Laws mint money from their son. The son gives them some 16 K for monthly expenses (buying the ghar ka samaan) and they demand something over & above that as well for any gifts or other expenses.
    When we hear these stories from my fren and then we also listen to the way the money is wasted (even in todays time her MIL insists on cooking 2 veggies, daal, rice & roti’s for dinner for four and whatever is leftover is always thrown in dustbins) our heart bleeds. My fren has tried reasoning with her hubby (to atleast keep a hissab) but he insists that it is his duty to provide to his parents. To top it all the MIL doesn’t even talk properly to my fren, they are always at loggerheads.
    They have been thinking of investing in a property but are not able to save enough after all the expenses.
    We have thought of all the ways to improve the situation but are yet to find one because the problem lies in the attitude. The parents believe that it is the son’s duty to provide them but sometimes they cross the limit of humanity in this thought process. In their pursuit to keep their son with them they forget that the son can have a life its own. They get him married but do not let him go. By letting him go I meant letting him go to handle his responsibilties. they become selfish.
    This can change only when the attitudes change, this can change only when we stop being possessive about relationships. I guess possessiveness comes from the fact that parents see many other sons mistreating their family and they try their level best to keep him tied to them so they do not go thru what their frenz have gone thru. A viscious circle I say! To say that situation will change will be akin to believing that we will have a perfect society. I guess the solution lies within, we all need to learn to say no. Once you start saying no to what is wrong expectations from u will change. Stop allowing others from taking you for granted.

    • See the problem here lies with two women who think they should be taken care of despite being adults. 16 k for a month is not a big money to run a home. On top of that, counting spoons that are consumed by the beneficiaries of this monthly stipend is disgraceful. The reason behind your friend thinking this way is her belief that this money could come her way, if parents in law were not in the way. She should try earning herself for her investment ideals. On the other hand there is this daughter of the parents. Although she is working, she feels no compulsion to help her parents, She could easily share half the expenses, so that your friend’s husband would need to pay only 8 k. But of course, women are not expected to spend anything.

      • B, why don’t you read the comments written by working DILs here (who are women, BTW) before going off the deep end?

        Working women are often prevented from helping their own parents financially, because the husband/in-laws make first claim to their income.

        So parents of sons benefit doubly when the DIL is working, because they have two streams of income coming their way.

      • My fren is already working and managing to save money.
        The daughter of the parents is staying with her In Laws and comes as & when she wishes to. The fact that she expects her parents/ brother to spend money on her conveyance (which might be as less as 10 rs) is something which is quite strange to me. The amount is not big what is wrong is the attitude.
        When I go to my bro’s place or my parent’s place I do not expect them to take care of my every desire. I earn enough to do so!
        16K is a big amount when there is no accountability. Every house has a budget and writing it down is no sin. What you feel is counting spoons is ctually just an example. I do not want to get into finer details because honestly even I don’t know them. Besides that I also feel that there are instances when I feel my fren is also wrong.
        But the underlining fact of all this is that it is easy to generalise things on the fact “women feel that they are not expected to pay”, “in-laws harras their DIL”, “Men carries all the burden alone on his shoulders” but what is difficult is to sit across and solve the issues. Take them heads on and finish them off.
        JFYI I am an working woman, me n hubby share the home loan EMI JOINTLY, we run our home JOINTLY and I DO NOT expect my husband to pay for me. Know why? because it is a matter of attitude & understanding though I am sure you can very easily gernalise and put me in the category of a Feminist because it is convenient. But trust me not all issues can be hidden under the carpet with the a comment “women expect so”.

    • “we also listen to the way the money is wasted (even in todays time her MIL insists on cooking 2 veggies, daal, rice & roti’s for dinner for four and whatever is leftover is always thrown in dustbins) our heart bleeds”

      I am sorry, but I couldn’t look past that – do you expect them to eat “less” to prevent your heart from bleeding?

      • They throw away extra food DAILY. Don’t you think that overtime you realise how much will be eaten? Don’t you think that if you are running a home you can stop wasting? No I Do not expect them to eat “less” I expect them to value what they have not throw it away.

        • lol! I actually meant that if you are getting things easily doesn’t mean that you start taking it for granted. You never know what your kids might be going through to provide you and though it is their “farz” to do so but please value it. Do not treat it is “they are expected to do so”.

  16. Picture this. I am a working woman with a small kid(9 months old). My mother is also working. So, my MIL takes care of my kid. We do not have a maid. My in-laws have never had a maid(MIL has been a housewife all her life). When I went back to work 6 months after my delivery, I had to share some of the household chores inspite of having sleepless nights because of my baby. Sometimes, when I had a sleepless night, i used to skip the chores and go to office. On doing this, I used to recieve a lot of jibes from my hubby for not helping out his mother. My husband later suggested that I give some money to MIL every month so as to compensate for her time spent with my kid. I heartily agreed and told him I will give her a good amount, and a small token to my mom as well. After all, she and my dad were the ones who educated me and made me capable of having a job in the first place. My husband was incensed because my mom is still working. I had to drop the idea of giving money to my mom and give the money only to my MIL that time. This is one of the occassions when I regretted being a woman. My man does not have to balance between his parents and mine all the time! The scales in our society are tipped heavily towards men and we women have to keep proving our love and care for the in-laws again and again. This is what frustrates the DILs inspite of having caring in-laws

    • Ppl who have shown their thumbs down, are you implying that it was fair for my husband to get angry that I wanted to give some money to my parents or do you think it is wrong on my part to think of giving money to my mother?

      • Pardon me, but I am unsettled by the thought of you asking your husband for “permission” to help your parents.

        You have my sympathies, but I do think you should be challenging your husband’s “18th century” ideas.

    • I think giving your MIL a token amount each month is good, what i don’t understand is why must you “take permission” from your husband to give money to your mother?

    • Hey – thats what working DILs are cash cows! In-laws have complete rights over your income. But parents dont. Have been suggested on a no of occassions by SILs to hand my entire salary to my MIL and she would give me some spending money our of it!

      • I experienced the complete opposite situation, but similar in mentality. My would-be FIL, in all his display of gregariousness told my parents that he did not want my income at all and at the end of every month, I should give my complete salary to my parents!

        My now husband quickly stepped in and told that since it was my earnings, I would be deciding what to do with it. And that was the end of that.

  17. For all the talk of favoring boys over girls, what I see happening a lot is the following. Equal amount, if not more, is spent on raising girls as boys, but it is only boys who are reminded how sacrifices were made to raise them. What about girls? Wasn’t money spent on them? They behave towards any financial need of the family as if it is a problem encountered in a soap on a TV i.e., they have nothing to do with it, they can contribute nothing to the solution.

    • Your view is fatally flawed for the simple reason that women don’t CHOOSE to be financially dependent. The role is thrust upon them, just as the role of cash cow is thrust upon men.

      You can’t contribute meaningful solutions to financial crises if you don’t have an income, and you can’t have an income if you’re constantly discouraged from working outside the home.

      As well, I find this whole idea of “money was spent on THEM, so they should pay us back” repugnant, when directed at either gender.

      That attitude is fine if you’re talking about your mutual funds; it’s NOT okay if you’re talking about children. Children aren’t investments. People who think that their children owe them some sort of debt of honor are deluding themselves.

    • Girls are not reminded of the sacrifices parents made for them because they are culturally considered ‘paraya dhan’ (someone else’ property).

      The weird notion of family honour dictates that people take care to bring up their daughter to be the ideal daughter-in-law–and everyone knows that a good DIL is one who loves the husband’s parents as her own, and pretty much forgets her own parents and family. In such a scenario, parents cannot–and indeed they do not– complain if no financial help is forthcoming from the daughter.

      It does not help matters that many daughters, willingly or unwillingly, end up becoming homemakers and are financially dependent themselves. Still others are underemployed, in jobs that do not pay well but are considered suitable for women–teaching , for instance. What financial help can their parents expect from them? Remember that women who are truly independent financially are very much a tiny minority for the most part.

      About women who do happen to be well-employed, I would say they are as good or bad as sons as far as helping parents out monetarily is concerned. I see this happening all around me. Not everyone behaves as if ‘they have nothing to do with it.’

      • “Girls are not reminded of the sacrifices parents made for them because they are culturally considered ‘paraya dhan’ (someone else’ property).”

        Really? Try telling them you will not marry someone of their choosing, or that you will do what you want to do and live as you please, and see how fast the sacrifice argument comes out.

        • Agree with Fem. They are reminded of all the sacrifices very well indeed.When i wanted to marry someone i loved, I remember someone telling me i should be thankful my father did not kill me as a baby because i was a girl. The argument was so ridiculous i could not take it seriously. So yes, Girls hear a lot of it too….in a different context though.

        • I agree that the sacrifice bogey is very likely to get raised if the daughter does not conform to the parents’ idea of honour, culture, moral rectitude and the works.

          I thought B was talking about parents reminding sons of the sacrifices they(parents) made with the intent of getting the sons to offer the desired financial support, and my comment was made in that context– parents do not talk so much about the sacrifices they made raising their daughters because they do not expect to get any reimbursement of sorts from the daughters– they are totally sold on the ‘paraya dhan’ thing.

          But yes, they are apt to bring it up if they think the daughter is ‘crossing her limits’.

  18. My parents live with my brother who looks after them. Although my brother and his wife look after their needs they now have a small baby and things can get tight especially because he is the only earning member.

    My mother never wastes any money that my brother gives her infact even now my bro and his wife need extra cash they go to my mother, who saves every penny that is left from the monthly expenses they give her to run the house. I ensure that I never take any gifts from them. Although they would happily give me, I know it will put them in a difficult position for that month.

    My parents will hopefully move into my new place in India. Once they do that. I have requested my mother to put the house that she has brought (selling her old house) on rent. So she doesn’t have to take anything from my brother. I also send money to my parents every month so they have enough in the bank. This will not only make my mother independent but will also gave my brother and his wife the flexibility to use that extra money (which they don’t have to give to my parents) for whatever they want to do. This way everyone is happy and there is no pressure on one person to look after everyone.

  19. This comment is regarding previous post. Couldn’t post it there for some reason. But may be it is relevant here too.
    I know a woman who earns a hefty amount but her husband does not do anything. Thankfully, the husband comes from a well to do family though. So the woman has struck an agreement with papa in law to pay her the maintenance. A car, house rent, and monthly expenses, the total sum amounting to quite a bit more than what she makes, because of giving her a nikhatoo husband.

    • If she is earning a hefty amount, why cannot she provide for her husband? Would she not expect the same from her partner if she was the one who was not working? Why bring the FIL in the picture at all? It’s not as if they are starving! This is no better than dowry demands made by groom’s family.

  20. Dear Letter Writer

    Its really sad that you have to face all this.

    Few things that come to my mind

    1. Can you talk to your husband about it? or at least make a list of expenses every month spent on what item and highlight stuff where you think you can save money?

    2. Most parents in India believe that their children especially sons are their budhape ka sahara…unfortunately we have yet not been able to change this mind set…Most parents often emotionally blackmail their sons into giving them money etc etc and its pretty common..

    3. My in laws favor my SIL a lot..so much that sometimes I get irritated..may be not financially but in many other ways..she is always supported and her views are never countered…my husband and I have learnt the art of ignoring..while we both love her as well, we are also humans and at times get bugged…and yaa..we have tried reasoning with in laws but it doesnt seem to work! so we just let it be..in your case since financially its getting to be a burden, the only suggestion that comes to my mind is talk it out to your husband..and tell him till what level you can actually spend on your SIL and her demands!

    4. When my FIL sold off his property, we were the first to tell him to give half the share to our SIL…because we believe there is no difference between the son and daughter…infact to be honest he gave more to my SIL than he gave to us…but then at the end of the day, its his money his choice..who are we to expect anything..we were just glad he put aside something for us as well…

    and let me tell you one more thing, no matter how lovely your in laws (as in my case) you cannot really expect to love them or be as free with them as your own parents…and this works both for the daughter in law and son in law…..how much ever, I love and respect my MIL, there is a line I always draw..I never fight with her the way I fight with my mom, or argue with her as much as I do with my mom…

    All the best to you

    • Thanks for your comments. Yes, we have been doing that and trying very hard to put aside for our future. It is a difficult and hard mountain to climb at this point.

      Yes, I have realized that they cannot and will not care for our future in the same way. They did the same for their in-laws and expect the legacy to continue. I have not fought with them, money is a sensitive issue, and I am afraid it will damage relationships, hence the helplessness. Little talks and mentions, even requests have made them realize that I do not approve of it
      and has lead to uncomfortable situations with enough melodrama thrown in.

      I see no way out of this situation, except be tactful enough to save for ourselves somehow.

      • @R’s Mom

        “When my FIL sold off his property, we were the first to tell him to give half the share to our SIL…because we believe there is no difference between the son and daughter…infact to be honest he gave more to my SIL than he gave to us…but then at the end of the day, its his money his choice..who are we to expect anything..we were just glad he put aside something for us as well”

        —-I would have agreed too if there were not other things given to my SIL, a lot of things including property has been gifted over a period of time. But seems like, the son( and the DIL) have no right on the ancestral home too, except LIVE there to take care of them till the end. How fair is that? But yes, I agree with you, since we expect nothing from my parents, shouldn’t expect anything from PIL too, but if only they understood that the son has to save enough to make alternative arrangements for his future. If only they encouraged him to do so instead of recklessly wanting him to spend on his sister.

  21. Answer this please: How many of these DILs who have shared their agony here, don’t accept unnecessary gifts from their parents and brothers? Do they ever ask their parents in return as to how they treat their SILs?

    • Dear Prinks05,

      I dont suffer any agony as a DIL..but I never accept unnecessary gifts from my parents and brother. Whatever my brother buys for me is something he buys for his wife also. My bhabhi gets equally whatever I get from my parents…if Amma buys me a kurta, she buys one for my bhabhi, if she buys me a gold chain, she buys one for bhabhi….

      and if my brother buys me anything which is expensive, my husband ensures that he is taking it only if my brother can afford it and honestly we try and reciprocate in the same manner..not as a matter of who can afford what, but more as we dont want to burden him with anything..

      Please dont create this discussion into DILs are bad and sons HAVE to take care of their parents…its not right…

      Sons should take care of their parents if its feasible..for parents to EXPECT this out of their sons is something that is not right!

      • I am totally with RM on this. When my mom goes out on a trip she buys everything in 2′s one for me & one for my SIL. Last year they had gone to some place where I asked her to buy an expensive purse for me, I paid for it. Taking care of parents is something which all of us advocate but PLEASE DO NOT Use him!!! DO NOT MINT money out of him.

    • I simply don’t get it. You aren’t understanding the point everyone here is making.
      All they are saying is that unless parents and siblings are in dire need of financial support, its simply unfair to let your bank balance dwindle owing to “DEMANDS” made by parents or siblings.
      No one out here believes that they wouldn’t support their family financially, emotionally etc when the need arises. It just seems plain stupid to let your retirement plans go for toss in order to please the parents and sisters.
      N believe me prink05, it’s a very valid concern. My dad never saved anything while trying to support his parents and younger brother. N now he is always worried about money even though my sister and i have reassured them so often about us taking care of their retirement.
      I am going to take good care of my parents in their old age. But i will never ever expect my children to do that for me. I will provide everything my children need until they start earning and then i’ll let them be and enjoy my life with the money i would have saved. Why don’t we in India appreciate people having their own lives, hobbies, friends post retirement. Dependence leads to friction. More so forced dependence.
      Another point that you can’t seem to let go off is that of married girls accepting gifts from their parents. Please understand there is a world of a difference between accepting what you call an unnecessary gift and demanding that very unnecessary gift!
      We the present generation are supposed to this break this cycle of dependence beginning with our children and not perpetuate it further like you have -
      “She should talk to husband and see how much funds were diminished when husband was a kid. and also try to understand how was the husband blackmailed to be a faithful son. coz she would need the same values in her kids or else they will dump her too.”
      I will raise kids to be independent and would strive to be independent myself right till the end!

      Please understand out point of view prinks05. Its better to plan now than worry later.

      • Anonymous, great thoughts. I totally agree. What i dont accept is why isn’t she sorting out issues with her hubby and in-laws rather than lamenting. We heard her side of the story. Have we heard her in-laws side of story?

        • @prinks05 – If you can, please understand, if not, refrain from judging.

          If you want to know what my in-laws think of me, it is not very different from what you think. They too believe in patriarchy and expect me to just keep quiet and let my husband spend like ‘he wishes’ ( their way of putting it). They say that’s how a good wife and a DIL should be, because that’s how my MIL was to her in-laws and my FIL was to his parents.
          My husband being the good person he is assures me that we will work harder to save for ourselves but never do anything to ‘hurt parents sentiments’. Meaning, I have to ‘adjust’ and let everyone have their way. :)

    • You have a point, I agree.

      Many women resent their husband’s spending on HIS sisters/ parents but do not demur when their own parents or brother/s shower cash/gifts on them and their husbands/kids.

      That’s not fair either.

    • Prinks this is in response to your comment – I am a daughter in law and a daughter and I am proud to say I have never accepted or demanded gifts from either my in laws or parents.

      I paid for my own wedding and did not have a single item of jwellery when I got Married as my parents or I could not afford it. When my brother got married we were in a comfortable position and brought everything for his wife from a diamond mangalsutra to ger fav pInk lipstick. I told my mom to treat her better then she treated me. My mother sometimes cries because she could never give me anything and that her dil never stops asking for everything.

      My husband sister on the other hand has been given everything by her parents. And she demands everything from them. Right from them paying for her weird business schemes to dropping her back to her in laws and paying for her monthly expenses and then she wants some more.

      Both my sister in laws have so much that they still are not satisfied and I have a nothing but I cannot be bothered to ask because I simply believe that If I want something I will work towards it and buy.

      U have to accept that the fault lies at both end. Parents need to stop making their children feel guilty for their lives. It was the parents decision to give birth not the children’s decision.

      No daughter in law enters a new family scheming that she will hate her in laws. The same goes for the in laws.

      So please do not be judgmental. And if you go not understand the point most writers here are making please don’t say anything at all.

      Btw what the hell is wrong with the name Bhagwad? It is a beautiful name and if you read what and how he writes you will know he is a good person. So please don’t get carried away after you read a post.

      Relax take a deep breath and then read and try to understand what others are saying and then compose your reponse. You will get a little less thumbs down.

    • I donot! I donot think that it is mandatory for parents to keep on gifting daughters! Any gifts should come out of love and goodwill and not compulsion. And love is not measured in terms of the monetary value of the gift. And why should they? I think most parents (of the DILs referred to by you) have educated their daughters and given them adequte opportunity to be financially independant.

      Fortunately, parents treat my SIL (their DIL) like their daughter and my SIL reciprocates the same.

    • @prinks05

      I paid for my own wedding jewelry and a part of the wedding expenses. My husband paid for a part of the wedding expenses too. And as far as gifts are concerned, whatever gifts my parents buy for me are from their earnings. They are not ripping off from my sibling to give to me.

      I also regularly tell my parents that their goal should not be to leave behind property but to live out their retirement comfortably. If it means they have to sell the site they bought to go on a Europe trip, I am completely fine with it. Infact I would encourage it.

      I also have a SIL (husband’s sister) who has pretty much never asked for anything from either my husband or her FIL. We all get along very well because we genuinely enjoy each others company and it is not burdened by demands for gifts. So when I gift something to my SIL, it is out of my own free will and it actually makes me happy to be able to give her a nice gift on her birthday!

  22. Dear Email writer.

    I read your email with great interest.
    What you are narrating is being actually experienced by two persons close to me.

    Story 1
    =======
    Let me call him ABC. He is in his sixties and about my age. He is one of several children (sons and daughters). His Father died a few years ago but his mother, a grand old matriarch now rules the extended family with an iron hand. Her other sons (ABC’s brothers) rebelled and washed their hands off and kept aloof from the mother as they understood her well. So she depends on ABC alone because ABC is goody goody, noble, dutiful, loyal, respectful, (you can add as many adjectives as you please). She has exploited ABC for nearly 35 years now, seeking money to buy sarees, spend on festive occasions, for her daughters, and to give gifts to her other grandchildren. Her flat is already willed to another son. The old man, in a weak moment did this as he felt that that son was not doing too well in life and needed it more. He never saw fit to compensate ABC even partially with his other assets, not that there was much of it anyway. None of ABC’s brothers and sisters, all doing fairly well and living upper middle class lives, came to help their mother FINANCIALLY when her husband, lay on the deathbed in an expensive nursing home. He was in his mid eighties suffering from a variety of ailments when he was admitted and the doctors had given up hope and said that even if surgery was done it was not likely to succeed in view of the patient’s advanced age. They must have recommended medication to ease pain and suffering and waiting for the inevitable. This old lady, could not accept reality and she nagged her son ABC and made him cough up a few lakhs for this last minute attempt to save his life by opting for surgery which had only partial chances of success. Poor ABC bled himself and also borrowed to placate his mother. He also roped in his grown up sons who had just entered the job market and didn’t have too much money to spare and some nephews abroad who were also new entrants into a viciously competitive job market abroad and who had educational loans to clear and could hardly afford anything more than a few hundred dollars. ABC somehow rounded up the 20 and odd lakhs that was spent on surgery and pre and post surgery treatment of his father in an expensive private nursing home in a Metropolitan city. The money, as predicted by the doctors and other relatives went down the drain. His father survived just a couple of weeks after the surgery and never regained consciousness fully after the surgery.

    ABC’s wife’s agony is known to me and my wife. She is stoic and suffers silently and does not complain orally. She is computer illiterate and, if she could, she would have plenty to write to IHM about her life and experiences in this family. But her eyes, her wrinkled forehead and her weary and tragic facial expressions are more eloquent than words. She sheds a few tears occasionally when she unburdens herself to my wife but takes care not to complain about her in laws. My wife freely offers her a shoulder to cry on but she is unable to do anything more. We have spoken to ABC and tried to advise him to be helpful without being exploited. ABC is philosophical and meek. Now it has become a habit with him. He does not and will not complain to his mother. He merely says he does not expect anything in return from his sons. He is proud to belong to what he calls the “sand wich” generation, that is the generation that will only be “giving” to both the preceding and succeeding generation and will not be able to “pass on” any tradition.
    What can I say to such a person like ABC?

    Story 2
    =======
    Let’s call him XYZ. Just a few years younger to me. He has a brother settled abroad and a battalion of sisters. Not much family wealth except a great big house in a prime locality in a major metropolitan city, which came down as ancestral property. XYZ ‘s father died over 20 years ago, before he could get all his daughters married. All he left behind was his great big house. XYZ, like a dutiful son, shouldered the responsibility of supporting his widowed mom, and yielded to his mom’s repeated requests for money to spend on her daughters and grand children and maintenance of that great big house. I knew how desperate he was as he was often borrowing money and even dipping into this provident fund and applying for loans by citing all sorts of false but legally acceptable reasons. The brother abroad kept totally aloof and didn’t lift a finger to help his mom. Nor did he contribute a pie financially to the expenses in maintaining his unmarried sister and his mom back home and in maintenance of the big house. XYZ supported his mom, got his last sister married, moved out of his ancestral home and rented it out so that his mom could have an independent income, bought an apartment of his own with a loan, kept his mother with him as she could not live alone in her big house and bore the full expenses of his mother’s medical treatment during her final years. None of his sisters and brothers in law and his only brother abroad contributed to her medical expenses. XYZ ‘s mom died recently.

    The house that is now worth crores has become a bone of contention. Everyone is interested in it and the law will settle this finally. Surprisingly the old man did not leave a will and his wife who died several years later too, did not see fit to write a will. XYZ and his wife are a tired and disappointed couple today.

    =====================

    I hope you find some comfort from these two stories. I sure our society is full of examples like this. It is not a South Indian phenomenon. I am sure North Indian sons too experience this. Our present patriarchical social structure is responsible for this situation, which I feel will correct itself gradually in the coming decades. The next generation will not see problems like this, as now people are no longer planning to depend on their children financially. In your case, unlike in the case of XYZ in story 2 above, at least I presume the family house will be inherited by your husband. I hope so.

    Take heart. It is too late now to rebel. You have borne the situation for all these years. I trust you will have the strength to see it through fully. I hope you don’t end up as another member of the sandwich generation that I mentioned in Story 1 above.

    I feel, once your husband’s sister is married, you and your husband must not be expected to be taxed financially for her benefit.

    All the best to you.
    Regards
    GV
    ===================

    • Thank you GV for your comforting words, the stories you have mentioned seems to familiar, we hear of such in almost every family.

      Unfortunately, the way my husband is treated is no different from these two situations, fortunately for him he does not have many siblings.

      “At least I presume the family house will be inherited by your husband. I hope so. ”
      – No GV, and that is one concern I mentioned, it will be divided between son & daughter as ‘per law’, so they say. I would have no problems with it if she had contributed in some way all along, or if she demanded nothing else from our earnings. Looks like the property given to her at the time of wedding, and all the other other gifts given till now is of little importance.

      “once your husband’s sister is married, you and your husband must not be expected to be taxed financially for her benefit. ”

      – She has been married and the demands from her side, and the gifts from our side has only increased over the years. There is no end in sight, as everyone seems to believe that is how it is supposed to be, for them it is a matter of pride to do to daughter, a show of wealth and status.

      Yes, I cannot rebel, unfortunately, I do not even know how to without damaging relationships in the process. Thanks again for your kind words.

  23. My father used to be just like your husband. My father had 6 sisters and 4 brothers and grew up in a tiny village with money enough to eat but for not much else. He was courageous , took several risks, and a few years later had a very generous income. His income paid for the education of a couple of his youngest brothers, land and houses for the whole family, and the wedding and dowries of all six of the sisters. He was then married off to my mother (who was told she would be marrying a rich man) . and not long after my bro and I arrived.
    But my father was still spending all his money on gifts for the sisters, gold for his mother and more and more luxury for various family houses. Meanwhile we lived in a dingy 2 bhk flat, where relatives (full families) were permanent “guests” for years and years.

    My father had no personal savings, no property in either his name or my mothers, no investments , nothing. he spent every penny he earned. My father believed that his siblings (or his son , my bro) would look after him in his old age years, and that there was no need for any savings.
    My mother fought hard, but was not “allowed” to work by the family, and was generally treated like a maid. Finally when I was 12, my parents reached a settlement and my father finally bought a tiny aprt in my mom’s name, in a different city and my mother and us kids moved there to live by ourselves.
    My father meanwhile was happy to have the whole apt for himself and his siblings and their families.
    But luckily for us, the relatives , while they liked the money and free acco, did not really care to see if he had food , or want to make him the tea that he so easily demanded from my mom several times a day.

    Several other incidents happened and finally opened my dad’s eyes towards his responsibility to us. He reconciled with my mom and has since been a great husband and father, never again taking us for granted.

  24. I strongly suspect that the reason for the PILs largesse to their daughter is that her own husband is stuck “providing” for HIS parents and siblings.

    Take with one hand and give with the other.

    In our society, there’s a never-ending cycle of “kiss up, kick down”,

    Parents underwrite a daughter’s marriage/houshold while expecting the DIL and her family to underwrite the son’s household/marriage.

    Who wins this rigged game? Parents who only have sons.

    The older I grow, the more I realise just how big a “liability” a daughter is in our social setup.

    Not because of her gender, but because of our rotten, impractical and outdated customs.

    Me – I agree – the social system makes a daughter a liability. :(

  25. I know I will get heavily criticized on this blog – This to me seems like a viscous circle – one where we can never find the starting or ending point.

    Not long ago, I was reading a post on this very blog of similar nature, the victim, as always was the girl, a women – today I read this post, and although in my view the victim (to the shock of many) is the husband, the post author and commentators here have failed to recognise the issues, pressures, responsibility, family value the husband is under, and simply brush over this by talking along the lines of ‘brainwash’, ‘Mentality’, conditioning, ‘money’.

    People have failed to comment on the habit of the women in the post, the wife (who is constantly screaming me, me, me, me, me, me, my, my, my, my and my), the Mother in Law (who is constantly looking after herself and using whatever means to get her way) and the daughter (who seems to dominating the lives of many in the household, and seems to be getting whatever she wants) yet here on this blog, I’m led to believe and constantly reminded that women are ill-treated.

    Everyone has a fear inside them of failure, everyone will do what is in their power to prevent failure. People create comfort zones as a measure to protect them and those around them.

    Let’s all turn a blind eye on the suffering of the husband in the hands of these women, and let’s talk about his brainwashing so that the (me, me, me, me) wife can get what SHE WANTS so that the mother-in-law envy’s her daughter-in-law and is forced to inflict more harsh mental and emotional punishment on the son, and when the daughter realises she can’t get what she lays her finger on, she too will join in with her mother in the torment at the son.

    Yes, lets forget about the suffer of men,

    So ladies, what were talking about here, oppressed women – please do continue.

    • =>BAB: I know I will get heavily criticized on this blog – This to me seems like a viscous circle – one where we can never find the starting or ending point.

      Me – It is a vicious cycle, BAB.

      Indian parents feel they need to raise sons as Budhape Ka Sahara, and daughters as Paraya Dhan. The daughters are seen as the responsibility of the parents and the brother, and also the in laws and husband – they are not encouraged (or permitted) to be self reliant. :(
      We know this doesn’t make it easy for daughters, they have to depend on other people. Many times they can’t fight back even when they are being forced to marry someone they dislike, or even if the husband is violent/or dies, or even if the in laws are abusive, because they are not self reliant.

      This also makes the parents abort baby girls, and even when they don’t abort them, they often don’t really ‘value’ them.
      So girls are not valued in families, and the society is made up of many families, so the society also doesn’t value them. We see the society does not take crimes against women seriously, their happiness, freedom, education and opinion etc have less value than those of other people.

      And so everybody prefers to have sons. So the in-laws and society, ‘respects’ women more if they have male children, because then the male children can look after them and bring them daughters in law who would look after them – the vicious cycle continues.

      How do we break this cycle?

      Let all children be self reliant, encourage them to choose their own life-partners. More and more women and men would refuse to marry for dowry and gifts.

      Typical semi-forced arranged marriages are not between a couple but between families. Wives/daughters in law are frequently prohibited from making friends, going out, working, having any interests apart from caring for the husband’s family. Husbands under so much pressure are frequently emotionally unavailable – so the wives seek happiness through their children. The couple often have a relationship where the man is the guardian and the wife is the ward – they don’t get a chance to be friends. All this makes emotional (and otherwise) dependence on the male-children even stronger.

      All the children are often pressurized to marry against their wishes, because the person they want to marry may not be seen as the ideal Providers or an ideal daughter in law, and so they don’t become partners, and
      …and the cycle continues.

      => BAB: Not long ago, I was reading a post on this very blog of similar nature, the victim, as always was the girl, a women – today I read this post, and although in my view the victim (to the shock of many) is the husband, the post author and commentators here have failed to recognise the issues, pressures, responsibility, family value the husband is under, and simply brush over this by talking along the lines of ‘brainwash’, ‘Mentality’, conditioning, ‘money’.

      Me – BAB, the title of the post makes it clear that the man is being seen as the victim. And he has as much right to have a happy family life as his sister does. Sons should not be held responsible for providing for their sisters, instead – sisters should be encouraged to be self reliant. It benefits both, sons and daughters. And parents too.

      => BAB: People have failed to comment on the habit of the women in the post, the wife (who is constantly screaming me, me, me, me, me, me, my, my, my, my and my), the Mother in Law (who is constantly looking after herself and using whatever means to get her way) and the daughter (who seems to dominating the lives of many in the household, and seems to be getting whatever she wants) yet here on this blog, I’m led to believe and constantly reminded that women are ill-treated.
      Everyone has a fear inside them of failure, everyone will do what is in their power to prevent failure. People create comfort zones as a measure to protect them and those around them.

      Let’s all turn a blind eye on the suffering of the husband in the hands of these women, and let’s talk about his brainwashing so that the (me, me, me, me) wife can get what SHE WANTS so that the mother-in-law envy’s her daughter-in-law and is forced to inflict more harsh mental and emotional punishment on the son, and when the daughter realises she can’t get what she lays her finger on, she too will join in with her mother in the torment at the son.

      Me – Don’t you think it would be more fair to take the issue a little seriously? It must have troubled the letter writer, or else she would not write this email, right?
      Why do you feel her concerns are not valid? Why not address her concerns – instead of making it a Men versus Women issue? Don’t you think her husband might share her concerns?

      How do you think should they plan for their retirement?

      I have met sons and brothers who resented having to provide for their siblings, even though the siblings were adults etc.

      Do you think it would have been better for everybody if the women were all financially and otherwise self reliant?
      Please tell me, do you think it is fair that one sibling is provided for by the parents but not the other because one is a woman and the other a man? It’s not fair to both the children.

      The son should be able to plan for his old age without feeling guilty.

      => BAB: Yes, lets forget about the suffer of men,

      So ladies, what were talking about here, oppressed women – please do continue.

      Me – BAB, why only ladies, do you want the male commentators to ignore your comments? :)
      And Patriarchy oppresses men too. Men are seen as and forced into roles of Providers, and they are also discouraged from choosing their life partners unless they can provide someone who would join them in the roles of providers of care and support.

      • You should rename your blog and call it the ‘Backward Indian Blog’ because ‘British Asian’ sounds far to progressive for the kinds of views you hold.. :P (I expect defenses in the form of ‘it’s our culture’ statements)

    • BAB,

      Nice rant.

      If you’re done, let’s examine what you really said. One step at a time.

      Not long ago, I was reading a post on this very blog of similar nature, the victim, as always was the girl, a women – today I read this post, and although in my view the victim (to the shock of many) is the husband, the post author and commentators here have failed to recognise the issues, pressures, responsibility, family value the husband is under, and simply brush over this by talking along the lines of ‘brainwash’, ‘Mentality’, conditioning, ‘money’.

      Correction: The victims are the husband AND the wife.

      The post author has not made any points at all. She has simply shared an email. So let’s get rid of that line of hooey, eh.

      The email was written by the WOMAN. It would hardly be nice if we simply ignored her and went on raving about how bad the husband has it.

      Nobody is denying that the husband is suffering, but he isn’t the one who is upset about the whole thing.

      As well, please feel free to present your own views on the “issues, pressures, responsibilities and the family values that the husband is under”.

      People have failed to comment on the habit of the women in the post, the wife (who is constantly screaming me, me, me, me, me, me, my, my, my, my and my),

      …as opposed to meekly looking on as her husband throws away their joint savings.

      the Mother in Law

      …who almost every comment has mentioned, in addition to her spouse, the father-in-law

      and the daughter

      …whose behavior is the subject of half the posts on this thread.

      yet here on this blog, I’m led to believe and constantly reminded that women are ill-treated.

      You are free to disbelieve it, free to close your eyes to reality, free to drown in kool-aid. Up to you.

      Everyone has a fear inside them of failure, everyone will do what is in their power to prevent failure. People create comfort zones as a measure to protect them and those around them

      Indeed. Completely true and completely irrelevant to the topic.

      Let’s all turn a blind eye on the suffering of the husband in the hands of these women, and let’s talk about his brainwashing so that the (me, me, me, me) wife can get what SHE WANTS so that the mother-in-law envy’s her daughter-in-law and is forced to inflict more harsh mental and emotional punishment on the son, and when the daughter realises she can’t get what she lays her finger on, she too will join in with her mother in the torment at the son.

      I think I’ll pass on that; please provide an example of a comment that says what you claim the majority of people here are saying.

      So ladies, what were talking about here, oppressed women – please do continue.

      I’d thank you not to make silly assumptions about gender. It’s okay if the first time, but it just gets a bit weird if I have to say this twice in two days.

      • @ Praveen (PT)
        Brilliant – exactly the response I’d anticipated. You examination of my original comment fails at the first stage. your examination – deliberately ignores my very first sentence – which for convenience I will quote here “I know I will get heavily criticized on this blog”. Because of this, I feel no need to read the rest of your best efforts. You may need to ponder over my first sentence, as it was written as the first sentence for a reason.

        • “I know I will get heavily criticized on this blog” is a subjective statement of opinion.
          Why should I ponder over it? Why should I even mention it? What bearing does it have on your arguments? What amazing points does it raise?

          If you know the general pulse of the blog, that’s a good thing. But so what? Saying that you know you’ll get criticized is not a legitimate argument. You’re just telling us what you think might happen, which is fine by me. I feel no need to contradict you there.

          You might as well say “I will not read what you wrote because my house is made of bricks”.

  26. To the email writer
    There is no need to be frustrated. Its better to have a good son as a husband than a vile irresponsible one /selfish one. The son stays with the parents ,marries and brings the DIL and since he stays he has to take care of his parents. In muslim sharia, married daughters get a pittance share out of her maternal property and the son lion’s share. That is also no good .Why do you want to usurp your SIL’s property share …just because she has been given a few more clothes/jewelry than you ?

    Why don’t you work and spend on ‘your family ‘? Why don’t you decide with your husband to put limits on spending on gifts and why not pay a certain amount as your share to the in laws ? This is not even a serious situation its just an unfair one. Whether its son or daughter ,they have to take care of parents when they can’t take care of themselves anymore !
    There are worst things happening these days, ..in majority case bros don’t even bother about what condition their sister is living in..forget helping her. Sisters don’t bother about sisters. I mean , your husband is a positive example for your children. I am sure you do not want your own children to be indifferent when you grow old !

    • Zahra,

      This is called the “genocide in Darfur” argument.

      It goes like this:
      “Yes, perhaps you have a point, but doesn’t it seem petty compared to the [genocide in Darfur]?”

      The part within the square brackets can be replaced with any major disaster of your choosing.

      It’s obviously not a trivial situation for the email writer. Let’s not try to make it out
      to be one.

      The fact that there are worse things in the world has no bearing on the seriousness of her issues whatsoever.

        • Thanks PT.
          Learned something new today.
          The Darfur argument!
          The Noida and Gurgaon cops can certainly use this when they meet their next rape victim.
          Regards
          GV

        • Isn’t that a reality ?Even in our lives, do we choose to dwell and waste time on less important and or serious things or do we choose to rectify the serious problems and devote more time to those. ‘Darfur argument’ seems to be just a fancy way of saying….my problem is more serious than yours !

        • Zahra,

          The point is, “Important” is a relative term.

          Darfur argument is a fancy of way of saying, “My problem is more important TO ME than yours.”

          Which is very true.

          Just because there are lots of worse things happening doesn’t mean the problem at hand should be ignored.

          We can do many things in parallel; it’s not a zero-sum game.

    • “There is no need to be frustrated. Its better to have a good son as a husband than a vile irresponsible one /selfish one. The son stays with the parents ,marries and brings the DIL and since he stays he has to take care of his parents.”
      — Not against taking care of parents, only against them misusing that care , or demanding extra care with extra expenses.

      “.Why do you want to usurp your SIL’s property share …just because she has been given a few more clothes/jewelry than you ?”
      —- I do not want to take anyone’s share of property, I only want to keep what is rightfully mine for my future. Not so petty as to count jewelry & clothes(if only it were only that much)…but yes, since you ask those things have been denied to me and bought to her from my husband’s earnings.

      “Why don’t you work and spend on ‘your family ‘? Why don’t you decide with your husband to put limits on spending on gifts and why not pay a certain amount as your share to the in laws ?”
      —- Do you want me to also give what I earn to my PIL/SIL in addition to what my husband does? And how does that solve my problem?

      “Whether its son or daughter ,they have to take care of parents when they can’t take care of themselves anymore !”
      — Agree, but what is taking care for you? To me it is letting them lead a comfortable life, a worry free life and not an extravagant one which the son cannot afford.

      “There are worst things happening these days, ..”
      – To each, her own :)

      “in majority case bros don’t even bother about what condition their sister is living in..forget helping her. Sisters don’t bother about sisters.”
      — Helping siblings is very different from misusing siblings.

      “I mean , your husband is a positive example for your children.”
      — He is a positive example in many ways yes, but as someone willing to be part of patriarchy, no.

      “I am sure you do not want your own children to be indifferent when you grow old !”
      — More than that I know that I wouldn’t want to become indifferent to their problems just because I am old. Hence the struggle to set it right now.

  27. somehow what you have said seems to be common in every house.. but the way i look at it is different.

    me and my husband look at our in-laws just as our kids. we dont bother about their nagging , but just take care of their needs. we don’t have have any expectation on their property also. i am lucky not to have any SIL.

    i think, if you consider your in-laws to be just another set of parents, you will have a different approach.

    first i think you need to talk to your husband, if consider money is an issue. he can always explain his crisis to his parents. after all he is their son too. no parent will want to bother their son.

    as far as the property is concerned, its equal share to both the kids, irrespective of age or gender.

    just read tow post of mine.. my MIl too expects gifts, but we handle it smoothly and it doeskin disturb our daily life.
    http://ashreyamom.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/in-laws/
    also, how much pain they have taken to be with me, and so was my adjustment with them.
    http://ashreyamom.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/family-life-partner/

    hope you soon settle down. i have a feeling if your financial crisis comes to end, you might bother so much. things will fall in place.

    • This is a late comment, but I don’t think it’s right for everyone to down vote you like this. Not every woman/man is in a position to deal with their in-laws in the ideal way, that is, live separately from them, ignore any harassment, etc. Sometimes in order to survive and maintain our sanity, we have to give a foot where others only give an inch. I hope to never have to deal with the outdated crap of someone’s parents but you sound like you have a handle on it (and I also read some of your blog). Good luck to you!!

  28. Thanks for all the feedback, I have been reading them and will reply.

    Just to clarify, I am NOT against my in-laws, I am not against providing for them. In fact I consider both our parents our responsibility and we always put aside some amount for ‘their need’, just as a proper planning. We take care of all household expenses, and I have no complaints about it. But what has frustrated me is that there is no value for son’s earnings, it is just easy money to spend without a second thought. And no, I do NOT take anything from my father, not even from my in-laws, I am the happiest if we are able to save enough with our OWN earnings for our retirement! I really DO NOT WANT to depend on MY KIDS the same way!! And that is the FEAR in me.

    More later.

  29. lady please note that it is OK to maintain in laws under Indian law as the same section of crpc talks about maintenance of wife and child. this section is applicable for parents. although the bare act does not specify how much but it can be deciphered that equal importance must be paid to parents as well as wife and children. therefore if your in-laws are being maintained by husband then legally it is all-right.

    • Nelly, I am not against taking care of my in-laws. You got me all wrong there. It is about unfair demands from the son who works hard to provide. I do believe that everyone in the family has to be mindful of how the money is spent. We do teach even the kids to be careful about money, why can’t elders too understand without being over-sensitive about it? Correct me if I am wrong.

    • the same law doesn’t require her husband to maintain his sister The same law also requires her sister to maintain her parents.

      • fyi applicable to MALE children only .. no law built in india for females to maintain parents.

        indian females can do out of kindness but non-enforceable.

        Me – I think all children are required to take care of their parents.

        “Legal right to maintenance: The Act entitles a senior citizen or a parent9, who is unable to maintain himself from his own sources, to claim for legal maintenance. A parent or a grand parent can claim maintenance from one or more of his children. A childless senior citizen can claim against his relatives10, who inherits his property. However the Act exempts minors from liability[S.4].

        The Act widened scope of the term ‘children’ by adding grand son and grand daughter including children of daughter, with an object to extend security even to grand parents[S.2 (a)]. The Act also explicitly provides protection to adoptive parents or step father or step mother which is absent in earlier legislations.” [ http://airwebworld.com/articles/index.php?article=1247 ]

        • Excellent response IHM…I think people like Nelly must get their facts right before commenting as these comments can mislead a lot of readers.

  30. The thing about moral obligation – that sons are more obliged to provide for their parents than their wife and kids – doesn’t that fly in the face of family values? In this case itself, due to the parents’ insistence that the son should provide for expensive gifts to his sister, has probably created bad blood b/w the email writer and her SIL. Without these obligations, who knows, the email writer and her SIL would have shared a wonderful and healthy relationship and the bond between the SIL and her brother would have been stronger and deeper. By making the relationship an obligation, the email writer’s in-laws have probably ruined what could have been a very strong relationship between siblings. People here talk of family values – what kind of family values is it that a son will be judged by the amount of money he pays for his sister and his parents’ upkeep ignoring his wife and kids’ needs? Isnt family all about accepting each other as they are, irrespective of the lack of gifts or otherwise? People use the word family as per their convenience. First they demand that they are paid for child rearing and if that demand is met with resistance, they use the family word.

  31. Dear Email Writer,

    I am in a very similar position to yours, only his sister isn’t married yet. He has sent tons of money to his parents in the order atleast 15 lakhs. Yet , they seemed to have spent all of it , and don’t have any savings to show. They even sent him a bank balance statement which said 0 Rs! And there are two earning members there. I don’t understand how his parents could have shown a 0 bank balance with no planning at all . They now expect him to pay up at least another 10 lakhs so they can buy an apartment in their name and all this despite knowing that he hasn’t saved at all coz he sends them whatever remains off his monthly expenses. I have tried to tell him to plan financially for himself, for his parents , so when they really retire , there is a fund for them. The sense of duty is drilled so much into him that he doesn’t even tell them to save up a bit, or ask why and how they have a 0 bank balance and how much to put away for savings on a rainy day. He then borrowed something like 2 lakhs from his friends when a pre-planned expense had come up( of course he wouldn’t tell me this , these situations are exactly what I have been asking him to plan for). I feel your pain and I would love to know if you come up with a way to work all this out.

    IHM will have my email id and if you do come up with solutions please do share.

    • It is really surprising how the generation that survived on a few thousand rupees suddenly feels the need to spend in lakhs without a second thought. The situation here is no different, money is just gone in a matter of days and there is always nothing in the bank. Inspite of being surprised, my husband too refuses to ask in case he ‘hurts’ them. And I know his fears are valid because Indian parents become extra-senstive especially if the son is married, and it is hard for them to make a sensible conversation without becoming over-emotional.

  32. Here is what I would do if I were you.

    1) Get a job (a reliable, well to do income is the first step towards freedom).
    2) Give yourself a deadline & your husband a deadline to get his act together. It’s upto you how you do this, it does not have to be ‘gun over the head’ thing, something in casual talk ‘by 6 months I would like to see this change’ ……
    3) If it happens superb.
    4) If it does not happen- get a divorce & move. Whatever time frame you decide should give you enough time to acquire funds to exert your independence decisively.
    5) I have not read your entire post, be smart and do NOT produce children.

    Life is too short to waste. Act decisively & with conviction that you did what you could. Don’t sacrifice yourself for anyone no matter what happens.

  33. It is a topic after my own heart. I think a couples earning is their’s to spend it on their wishes .. whetehr it is on kid’s education, retirement list or a trip to Bahamas whatever… No one not parents not sisters not kids have the right to continously keep on asking money for this and that and if someone is doing so one is well within their right to say NO as many times as needed to get the message across.

    Most Indian parents encourage their sons to show love to the family by asking them to cough up ridiculous sums of money as gift without asking their end use. It And son’s when they put their foot down suddenly realizes that they are alienated from their own loved ones. And the sad thing is even otherwise sensible people are hell bent on following these ridiculous things.

    I had seen my inlaws too trying to do the same but thankfully the husband and his brothers are made of sterner stuff and have very clearly told the parents that while they love the parents and the sister , the finances would be decided by them alone and no requests of these kinds( eg the dolls clothes etc) nor criticisms (” how could you spend 2 lakhs vacationing in new zealand when i asked you to give just a lakh to your sister”) would be entertained. The sister , bless her, is of the same nature as the brothers and is often kept in the dark about these requests by my inlaws as she has many a times shouted at them for these attitudes and interference. Unfortunately the do not change and continue to have a very very strained relationships with all their sons .

    • Indu. You are immensely lucky to have married a man who cannot be sent off on lifelong guilt-trips.

      It takes courage for men to stand up to their parents in a society like ours which has such twisted notions of filial piety.

      • @ Biwo,

        You are right. But i guess it is a personality trait. Seen my dad also standing up to his mom when demands became obnoxious . But then the two men in my life are hardly the conventional sort. But i believe it is never too late to start saying the golden word “NO”. i think the problem stems from childhood when we are just taught to follow what is being told without using a bit of your brains to analyze the situation or to ask counter questions.

  34. Pingback: An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  35. My SIL asked my MIL and my MIL us, if we could order a huge beautiful cake online (We are in the US) for SIL’s son’s birthday the coming week.

    I love my nephew and we have sent in some amount for his first birthday. We are excited but also upset we cannot be there. Anyway, we are fine with the cake and we got enthusiastic when we heard and started searching online for various options. We called SIL for her inputs too.

    And imagine my surprise when she told me she got the idea of the cake when she heard some brother in Australia had ordered a cake for his nephew’s birthday similarly among her far relatives, and the invitees (read sister’s inlaws) went gaga over it. So she thought her inlaws would love it too.

    My SIL is just the same age as me, well educated, working, but still seems to belong to the group who think their inlaws’ praises are their only goal in life. I got sad and wanted to put it down here immediately. I really hope girls do not do this.

    • //My SIL is just the same age as me, well educated, working, but still seems to belong to the group who think their inlaws’ praises are their only goal in life.//

      – –This is what bothers me too. My SIL too tries these things to be in the good books of her in-laws and my in-laws too think it increases their status and reputation in their daughter’s home.
      All of them seem to strongly believe that since the daughter has been ‘given away’ , she should only be showered with increasing amount of love by spending more & more on her. And all of this has to come out of son’s pocket because it is his duty to do to his sister in the place of the father. This kind of pampering seems ridiculous to me. There is so much differentiation & discrimination shown in our family between the son & the daughter. And every other family around is the same way, a daughter born is rarely scoffed at ( relatively) in the south as long as there is a son to bear all the burdens that ensues …

  36. Pingback: My wife will inherit my family’s property, her brothers too will share their property with their respective wives. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  44. Pingback: “Although my in laws maintain a facade of being content with what they have and never asking the girl’s side for anything…” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  45. Pingback: “…being his mom’s support in ways his sisters were not…. He borrowed money off me to pay for his mom’s car.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  47. Pingback: “Everyone knows, when she decides not to keep relation, she will do that. But I don’t want to go far away from my mother, I want her to be with me.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  50. Pingback: “About household financial status… his parents have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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