“I have so much to tell about this one man who is “almost” a representation of every Indian middle-class husband.”

Let me share an email received in response to the picture posted in the last post, as my first contribution to VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AWARENESS MONTH October 2011,

Do you think this man is a representation of every Indian middle-class husband? To me he seems to be an example of an emotional abuser.

I saw that image shared by Hrishikesh Bawa. My hubby and my MIL say wearing pants, wearing sleeveless is bad, you will be the one giving chances for men to comment on you.

And you won’t believe this, I said I wanted a bicycle and he says, “People stare at girls going to school on bicycles, think what would happen if you started cycling.”

He says, women who think liberally and wear jeans and top, even after they are married, are not respected in the society. And when I try to talk about it he says, “In marriages, the rule is, that women have to do as their husbands ask them to do.”

And if I want to change any of it, then I am a fool.
In fact he gave me an example. There is couple living in my locality, socially a little upscale, and that woman always wore chic clothes. Very nice actually and just is very pretty. So some local gundas commented on her and misbehaved with her. Is it her fault that she is pretty and dressed nicely? She was compelled to wrap herself in a sari or wear lousy large sized kurtis.

Maryada kapdo mein nahi, maryada manushya ke drishtkon mein honi chahiye. (Modesty should be in the mindset, not in a woman’s clothing).

Let me tell you that mine is a love marriage and the moment he tied that knot, things changed and from the very next day of my marriage he has tried and tried to change me.. and he says I am not trying hard enough.   Sometimes I wish I had given it a second thought and stayed single life would have been less complicated..
The most integral part of the changing part was to make me stop talking,  stop giving opinion. (He says no one cares for your opinion..so just keep quite. And be the good bahu by keeping your mouth shut. I am just loosing respect for men ..but all of them are not like that but most them are..!!!

I do think that the way he thinks should change but I can’t help it…

I would like to mention one more instance. His younger cousins are a little rebellious, not to blame them its the age typical teenagers (not too outrageous) ..their mom is supportive, saying, “We had so many restrictions growing up, I’ll let my girls live the way they want.”

One fine day my BIL called his Aunt and started giving updeshas (moral lectures), “Ladkiyaan haath se chali jayeingi (your girls will go out of control).. they are socializing online and most of her friends are male..” 

I took her side and said, “Its rude that you’re stalking your own cousin. You should help them use these social networks securely and you have been doing such stuff too..” I didn’t mention the porn he is been downloading using my lappy… but he is been seeing a girl. So, he says “So what? I am a boy I can do anything. …if something happens to them?” ..like they are  gonna get raped by making friends online…

And in my case, my husband complaints that I spend time on Facebook or web surfing. I do interact with people.. Had he known that I need a life…!!  “utho khaan banao..khao..fir khana banao aur khao office ka kaam aur so jao..kabhi kabhi T.V dekho aur wahi dekho jo mujhe dekhna chahiye.

(Translates to: Wake up, cook, eat, again cook and eat, do office work and go to sleep, Occasionally watch TV and then, only those channels which he wants me to watch”)

I watched the English channels. Since my teenage I used to watch Star World …’Friends’ and all that stuff. He says it’s vulgar. English movies are vulgar. He says I am indecent to be watching this stuff. I stopped watching them.

I work night shifts so I used to watch my favorite shows repeat telecast when everyone sleeps… so he started saying that I have a filthy mind..and all these English shows are full of sex… (OMG..I didn’t know how to react.. ) So I started spending time online..he says you are busy chatting you are more concerned about what a stranger is doing than being with me... I can’t say out loud that when I am with you its all about you. Even if we talk, and I give my opinion it is called back talking… oh Dear IHM…I have so much to tell about this one man who is “almost” a representation of every **** indian middle-class husband…I can go on and on, but I will stop here…

I would like to know how people react ..and please ask your readers if they can help me come out of this situation.. it is an emotionally torturing situation..help me change my husband..and let me tell you one more thing.. during one small discussions ..He was in a happy mood and asked me something… and then I said..“tum meri kahaan sunte ho to mera opinion kyun chahiye” (When you don’t listen to me, why do you want my opinion) and he said thank god finally tumhe yeh to samajh mein aaya ki main sunne waalon mein se nahi hoon..main jo bhi bolu woh tumhe sunna hoga, (So you have understood that I am not amongst those who listen. You will have to listen to what I say.) Don’t expect me to listen to you at any point...which left me hopeless that I will ever be able to change him..but anyways…Thanks for letting me pour out my feelings …!!!

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94 thoughts on ““I have so much to tell about this one man who is “almost” a representation of every Indian middle-class husband.”

  1. Aaargh! I couldn’t help seething after reading your past few posts and this one. I want to round off jerks like the ‘protagonist’ in this post and the signboard writer in the previous post and observe ‘Violence against male chauvinists and sexists’ month.

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  2. I don’t understand why this lady wants to make a mess of her life, clearly she has every reason to walk off. In every other situation I would have given an a fair chance to her husband, but in this case, if i even have a iota of remorse for the guy its unfair to this woman. The era of men behaving like Lordships and dictators have long passed. But if one refuses to raise a voice and let someone suppress you, little can be done. You have a job, you have stability and while (i am assuming) you have no children run away from this guy. Someone who has no respect for your opinion will never care enough for your feelings. Looks like he only wanted a nice wife to parade around and a trump card in his hands to show off how much you are in his control. Some sadistic pleasure he gets out of it. And believe me in such cases where the hurt and humiliation is mental and not physical people will always find you in the wrong, but if you think you are correct in feeling offended then raise your voice or walk out but don’t back out

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    • Dear if walk off was the solution to every marital problem, every second person would be a divorcee. Marriage is two separate individuals trying find space and life with each other

      Husband and wife are one family and should stand for each other just the way our parents stood for us….if you disappointed your parents ever, did they too walk off?

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      • Maybe the husband will acknowledge that he’s married a person, and not a toy, if she shows some gumption and leaves. If theirs was a love marriage, then he may be less of an arrogant berk if he’s scared he’ll lose her – and maybe not take her for granted (as much).

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      • Dear, if walk out were not a solution, this woman’s life would be more hell. If he doesn’t even listen to her and is proud of that fact, what’s wrong with walk out?

        I would prefer to have a parent who cares enough about herself and walk out in a situation where he/she is not respected that deal with stuff that is not worthy of them.

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      • I would ANY day take a million happy people (even if divorced) than half a million unhappy marriages that suck the life force out of the people involved.

        Our parents don’t leave us when we misbehave as kids, because they’re the adults in the relationship and legally responsible for their kids’ well-being. As adults, PLENTY of people have strained relationship with their parents (and yes, marrying the “wrong” person is a very common cause of this).

        But when you marry a f***ing ADULT, you’re not supposed to do for him what you’d do for your CHILD. If he expects or demands or NEEDS that kind of time and attention and effort from you, he clearly needs to grow the f*** up because guess what, you’re not his mommy.

        IHM: I’m sorry about all the swearing but this argument of “divorce is bad, everything else is good” nearly KILLS me.

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  3. This man is emotionally abusive. Yes, I have seen such men. They are so scared of women that they have to dominate the ones in their lives. That is the only way they feel that they are in control. What they don’t realize is that such restrictions make the woman feel downright rebellious and … it is only a matter of time that she will start living her life on the sly, while presenting an outwardly lackluster and docile image.

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  4. This person is definitely an emotional abuser. If I may ask the letter writer something: how long were you in this relationship before you decided to tie the knot? did you date? did you share your hopes and dreams for the future? did you meet and spend time with his family? did you ask him what his opinions were on politics, issues such as female foeticide, religious fundamentalism? Perhaps in a changing culture such as India, one should understand that a marriage of choice isn’t about liking a guy for a few months and getting married. You can’t get to know someone in a few months and you should be clear about what your own opinions before tying the legal knot. This highlights the importance of dating, getting into a steady relationship [sharing your emotions and being there for someone…NOT going out to dinner once a week], assessing your compatibility, and then getting married.

    Advice–get out of this relationship. It seems to be a toxic family with irrational beliefs [like the TV show friends being all about sex]. You cannot change someone like this so leave while you are still ahead.

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    • My thoughts precisely! Divorce rates are increasing due to this type of the so called ‘love marriages’. Girls jump into wedlock with the first man they court, before sorting out what they want in life, and we cant really blame them since they are bred with the ‘get married stay married’ mantra.

      I feel sorry for the woman here, but alas have no advice to offer, because it is depressing to think about her problem.

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  5. Echoing those above that he seems like an emotional abuser. I would say try talking to him when he seems in the mood to listen – but you already did that! You could try sitting him down alone one more time and telling him that you can’t live like this, and he needs to change because he knew you before you were married and although you’ve tried to adjust you can’t turn into someone else altogether or live under his thumb. Don’t give him ultimatums – like “or else I will leave” – because that makes most people defensive but imply it, that you’re serious and that something has to change.

    If that doesn’t work, is there anyone sympathetic in his family who could talk to him? (first sound off such a person to see if they are sympathetic). Or suggest counselling – put it like … a neutral person to listen to both you and him. I doubt he will go for counselling, even the most liberal Indian men seem allergic to it. If he refuses to listen to you – and I expect that he won’t listen to you and will probably get angry also – you need to think about separating. I’d say make your arrangements, speak to your family/friends and see if they will support you, maybe even consult a lawyer before because I suspect people like this guy and his family can turn very nasty.

    Do whatever it takes to make sure you don’t get pregnant.

    By the way, most men – yes, Indian men – I have come across are not like this. They may hold some degree of chauvinistic views but this is way too much to let slide. So it’s only natural that you’ll feel suffocated and there’s no reason you should put up with it. Being divorced – even if your family is not supportive – is better than living the way you currently are; it will only get worse.

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  6. Bringing Up issues. Growing Up issues. It is like the Indian Reservation System, you give reservation, life becomes easy, then you become habitual and then it becomes very difficult to give up. Similarly, parents(educated ones I am talking about) ask girls to do the household chores. Do the dishes, serve the food, bring water to guests and all that shit. Boys do not work that way, they play, they sit with the guests, have fun. And then they get married. And then they fuck up.
    आज हमारे पड़ोस में अष्टमी की पूजा थी, कन्या पूजन हुआ, कन्याओं के पाँव छूए गए, और कारण था की एक लड़का हो जाए घर में .
    As long as we are no mature enough, I sincerely believe, we should not give birth to kids. None of us. This is outrageous. I am so sad after reading all this.

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  7. This is abuse of the mind. Expecting someone to play by your rules and likes is what we do in a game. If we wanted a pawn to play with, why marry a woman. They have brains, and would certainly like to use them. It is really depressing to see how men expect women to change after marriage, but everything is cool during the time they are dating!

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  8. Oh MY GOD!!! the whole family seems to be the same.. except for the aunt… the hubby, MIL and BIL are all chauvinists trying to control what this woman wears/watches/says!!!
    anyway… lets take a step back and try and sort out this mess…
    1. how long has this girl been married? is there a chance she can walk out/ stay somewhere else with just the husband so that atleast there is no positive reinforcement of his MCP behaviour?
    2. what was this guy’s behaviour while they were dating? is it in any way possible to remind him of it/ get away for a little while and talk about things?
    3. Can this woman leave and get a divorce?
    4. is there any way of counselling the family and getting them to see how messed up their restrictive point of view is??

    i do have a suggestion to straighten out the BIL and hubby though… next time you find that they’ve been looking at porn, specially if its on your laptop.. make an issue out of it.. make sure you let them know that you dont approve of such behaviour and its is “against a married woman’s dignity to have to see/come across such vulgar things”
    in effect, use their own prejudices against them
    try using their own lines whenever they do something that they “disapprove”.. like if he’s talking to his girlfriend, or hubby s on one of his lectures about morality…
    oh and make sure MIL is there when you’re chewing out her precious sons for their misbehaviour… and use this line: “i am a decent married woman trying to live according to your family’s culture”
    lets see how they deal with that 😉

    on a more serious note though.. see if you can get a couple counsellor.. or walk out while you sti can.

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  9. It is sad but true that many resort to this kind of abuse and get away with it all the time. The injury and pain this form of abuse inflicts on a woman’s psyche is much worse than physical abuse where you can hold it as proof! While I don’t see how the man’s attitude can be changed (happens only in movies) because it involves a huge amount of unlearning before he learns a lesson or two, but as a wife, you can put your foot down and refuse to be a doormat. Every time he reminds you that you must not have opinions of your own, you must tell him that you ‘unfortunately’ have intelligence and hence opinions, and that you think he is the biggest dimwit around! It need not mean that she have to walk out of the marriage (which is a good choice by the way!), but can gather yourself up and speak for yourself! There is no need to be scared because he is powerless. I think it is very important to trust your ability and respect yourself for that. Developing confidence and courage are the two things that can pull you out of this mess.. Cheer up..

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  10. Most of the men are brought up this way. Very few change according to their own thinking level. Its a pity you didn’t understand his mentality b4 marriage. Your mistake was your marriage. It wud reccommend women never marry till the find the right person. Marriage is not a necessity. You can survive without it.

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  11. I agree with Sagar above. Most men are indeed brought up this way. Since no one is encouraged to think for themselves, they just continue life as if what they have imbibed is some holy writ, never questioning any of it.
    This woman should just pack up and leave. Not worth staying with someone who does not respect you.

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  12. The moment I read this post I wondered why f*** did she marry this retard. But then that is beyond the point since she has already married the loser!
    PLEASE leave this guy ASAP! The longer you prolong not only will it be more difficult for you to get out (we all know of the we have a child syndrome) also this constant nagging will affect you psychologically

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  13. Once upon a time, this was my story!
    Word to word!
    There’s no way u can change such men and their mentality! bcoz they dont believe there’s anything wrong with them. A person changes when he feels sumthing is wrong with him.

    Leave him!
    Don’t waste ur life listening to that fool!

    I left him, I’m super happy today!
    It’s easier said than done they say, but trust me sweetheart, in this case, it’s easier to leave him than live with him…..so just flee…..find some support from friends, make arrangements for yourself to live with a friend for a year or 2, you will need ppl who emotionally support u.

    I was young, and did not even have a job.
    I left him, completed my education and am pursuing a CS today!

    Things turn fine after a while…..

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  14. Perhaps I should explain more, to be of more use to the letter-writer.

    If not yourself, think of your (future) children. Do you want your children’s lives to begin in an abusive home like yours? Do you want your children to have to fight for the smallest of freedoms choosing their own books, movies, TV shows, and music? Do you want your daughters to grow up as if it is 1915 instead of 2015? Even in the BEST case scenario, if your children don’t mind your husband’s restrictions… well, that would actually be the WORST case scenario, don’t you see? You and your husband will have passed this madness along to the next generation also, and *their* kids and wives and husbands will suffer the same fate!

    You are in the best position you will ever be to leave this abusive man. You may never get this chance again. Once this insane family decides that you should stop working, leaving will be very difficult. Once you have kids, it will become impossible. Leave NOW.

    There is nothing to be afraid of in leaving your husband. You are financially independent. Even if your entire community shuns you, who cares! Contact your old college friends, and reconnect with them. Join them for social events so you can make more new friends easily. You will not be alone. India is a huge country with lots of people, and I guarantee you that you will find LOTS of people – yes, even lots of eligible bachelors ;D – who are not abusive a**holes like your husband, and share your ideas about gender roles, your hopes, and your dreams.

    Leave your husband NOW, and don’t overthink it. You do NOT need to have a plan before you leave. You do NOT need to make any arrangements (you can make arrangements after you leave, there are phones in the outside world!), or find somebody to stay with (stay in a hotel if necessary!), or pack up your clothes in suitcases without anybody noticing (screw your old clothes, buy yourself a whole new wardrobe as a reward for leaving him!), or anything. Just put your valuables into your purse and GO. The hardest part is stepping out of that door. The rest is easy, the rest is FUN.

    (On this note, I must tell you that the first few chapters of Stephen King’s book “Rose Madder” contain the best formula for success in leaving an abusive husband. Email me if you want a copy of that book. I can send it to you – or anybody else who is interested – electronically.)

    tl;dr: Leave him NOW.

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  15. Desi Girl’s comment on Buzz
    Girl Desi – If DG’s guess is right the writer of this email has been in touch with DG and gone over the drill number of times. The only solution to this situation is to get out alive and with sanity before she kills herself or the man one fine day.
    But she’ll take her time seeking validation from strangers instead of getting her ducks in row and set an exit date and plan for it.

    An abused makes 8-9 attempts before they can successfully leave the abuser for good.
    An abused leaves an abuser when they believe they have tried in their power to change the situation.
    They leave when they are sure they cannot do anything more to make the abuse stop.
    They leave when their children or their life is in danger.
    They leave when they know where they are headed to, they have a safe place to go to.

    Good luck lady, it has to come from you none can give you a road map.
    Get your ducks in row, set an exit date and plan your next move.
    Peace,

    Desi Girl

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  16. // help me change my husband..//

    This is where the problem starts. If the lady is thinking she can change her husband (or anyone for that matter), she is fooling herself.

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  17. let me tell u whats been on my mind for the last 3 days. i just realied that i cant hold a normal conversation that is not work related.. no, u dont understand I CAN’T TALK.. put me in a room and i can ask questions abt another person, i can ask “what do u think?” or “what happened?” but ask me my opinion, or what happened with me, or what i think, on the SMALLEST thing… and i cant talk.. and i was wondering why.. then i realised.. it comes from 8 years of being told “shut up. i am not interested in what u did, or what you think.” It comes from 8 years of sitting in ur room alone – EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Do you want to end up like me? I dont think so.

    net net, what i m saying is, ventilate, but if u dont have kids, get out. There ARE nice guys out there.. and even if u dont find one of them.. it will still be worth it to at least LIVE ur life..trust me on this.. really.. dont make the mistake that i made..

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    • Now that you have realized it, you can move on and start enjoying life and pursuing various interests. It is never too late to start having fun! Good luck!

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  18. I have a single piece of advice that might sound very trite but actually comes from bitter personal experience. Get out of that relationship before it’s too late. DON’T THINK. Just leave. As soon as humanly possible.

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  19. I would echo what everyone else above is saying to leave the man. However, I do recognize that it would be difficult to make a clean break. How about taking a break from the relationship and leave the house? Take a transfer at work, go visit your parents, anything. Once you are out of the stifling atmosphere of your husband’s house, you can pick up strength from your friends, family, work and other sources and inform him you will not be coming back.

    There are only two things you have to recognize:

    1) The first step is going to be the hardest. After that, things sort themselves out.

    2) Your husband is NEVER going to change, because he does not need to. There is no incentive for him to behave better, so he will continue to be this kind of person. You cannot change him. Period.

    Good luck!

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  20. If she is not ready to leave him yet, can she take a break and live somewhere else ? Maybe a friend’s house, maybe as a PG close to work. That way she can see what life can be and should be. She would also be able to evaluate her situation then, away from the day to day disappointments and hopefully come up with a solution that works best for her

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  21. OH MY GOD!!!! and shes still with him? I need to ask her a question – Does she STILL LOVE him? And if the answer is yes. My next question is – Does she love herself?

    She should have left a long time ago. I dont know what shes doing with that Ignorant MCP.

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  22. Sad are the men who think women have been put on this planet to serve them and kiss their egos….

    Sad are women who think they can change such men…

    Woman – get out while you have things going for you… you will probably have to fight a million battles, but it will be worth it.. am sure it cant get worse than this!!

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  23. I think that men like the one in this case never change. Either the woman has to walk out of the marriage or change and become like the man and his family. In the latter case, it will be a never ending saga. The more she changes, the more they keep imposing newer diktats.

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  24. I feel very bad for the woman who has to spend her life, shackled like this to a man who doesn’t care the least bit about her.

    I have a friend who went through a similar kind of mental torture with her husband and in-laws. She spent a couple of years trying to manage, but finally she chucked it all and divorced him. She had to go through a lot of trauma during the divorce, she had to endure some of the consequences like social stigma and the need to regain her financial security. But she is far, far more mentally peaceful now than she was at any time during the marriage. She is in control of her own life.

    What the woman in the post needs right now is for her family and friends to stand firmly by her. They need to know that she is very unhappy and that she needs their support. Their support is what will give her confidence.

    The abuser needs to know that she has this support network and his actions are being closely watched. This is the only thing that will make him tone it down.

    Normally, I’m an advocate of the fact that the abuse victim needs to react to the situation at their own pace and not be pushed towards a divorce. However this case seems to be too extreme. The woman needs to understand that the abuser is not going to change…ever! If she stays married, the rest of her life is all downhill from here. This understanding is the only thing that will trigger the separation process.

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  25. Enough has been said by others.
    Let me not repeat.
    What is not clear is if she has the support of her parents or friends or close relatives.
    My suugestions:
    1) show this blog post and the comments to this husband and ensure he reads it.
    2) tell him she has had enough of his behaviour and demand an explanation and defense if he is capable of it.
    3) insist that he change his behaviour
    4) make a threat to leave him if he continues his present behavior and attitude towards her. Mean it, let it not be an empty threat.
    5) seek the support of a marriage counselor or an elder in the family who can sympathise with her and reason with the husband.
    6) Set a firm time limit for him to come around, and when that deadline expires, walk out, bag and baggage, never to return even if he comes to her on bended knees and implores her to return. 
    7) Don’t get pregnant.
    8) Under no circumstances, resign your job even if they insist you do.

    Husbands like these need shock treatment. 
    I don’t have much hope this fellow will come around, but she will feel better and less regretful in future if she makes this last ditch effort before taking any irreversible steps.

    May God be with this young woman, and may she find happiness and peace at least in future.

    Regards
    GV

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    • GV sir
      i went thru this “last chance” thingie with my husband. Things improved – for exactly 18 months. the minute he realised i don’t have have moral strength to walk out any more, he made it too good to leave, and too bad to stay. Its the basic nature of people. You should never try to fight or change it. It doesn’t change. Just my 2 penny.

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    • 1) show this blog post and the comments to this husband and ensure he reads it.

      Research shows confronting an intimate abuser is detrimental to abused’s safety. The abuser realizes the abused is trying to control her life and trying to seek validation outside the dyad (abuser and abused) thus use more stringenet measures of control and often violent.

      2) tell him she has had enough of his behaviour and demand an explanation and defense if he is capable of it.

      You think she hasn’t already said it. Abuser knows her circumstances intimately and he knows how break her resistence, sex by manipulation- sweet talk and sex by rape are very common instruments of breaking resistence.

      3) insist that he change his behaviour

      Or else what? People do not change because you want them to change, they change because they want to change as their said behavior is no longer serving them.

      4) make a threat to leave him if he continues his present behavior and attitude towards her. Mean it, let it not be an empty threat.

      Leave him and go where? Abuser is very well aware of her resources. A threat should have teeth not just a bark.

      5) seek the support of a marriage counselor or an elder in the family who can sympathise with her and reason with the husband.

      Everybody in the family knows what is going on behind the doors and they also know they have to side with their son no matter how wrong he may be. Who will pay for the counselor? Research shows abusers actively refute suggestions of seeking help.

      6) Set a firm time limit for him to come around, and when that deadline expires, walk out, bag and baggage, never to return even if he comes to her on bended knees and implores her to return.
      Seting date is a good idea but making a safe exit plan is more important.

      7) Don’t get pregnant. Under no circumstances, resign your job even if they insist you do.

      Very good suggestion. What if she already has a child?

      Husbands like these need shock treatment.
      I don’t have much hope this fellow will come around, but she will feel better and less regretful in future if she makes this last ditch effort before taking any irreversible steps.

      She’ll leave in her own time when she’ll exhaust all her hope.

      @IHM could you please color code my response.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

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      • DG,

        No need for colour coding.
        Your comments are loud and clear!
        Thanks.

        Anonymous
        Thanks for responding.
        Frankly I am at a loss to suggest anything else.
        As long as she doesn’t get pregnant, and keeps her job, she has some hope.
        The day she is saddled with a baby or becomes economically dependent on him she has no hope.

        DG and Anonymous,

        Unfortunately we don’t know enough details (eg, does she have a baby already, do her parents support her?) to be able to give more suggestions on how to cope.
        I am surprised she landed in this situation in a love marriage
        Such tragedies are more easily understandable in arranged marriages.
        But here she walked with her eyes open into this tragic trap.

        I hope and pray this lady somehow finally solves her problem.
        Regards
        GV

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  26. Here’s the thing — I could ask you to run, but I know you’ll do it when YOU are ready for it.

    I remember sending an email to IHM, going through the 100+ comments, trying to argue with everyone who asked me to stick it out and convince them that there was no way I could, and STILL trying to stick it out for another 6 months before finally giving up. I remember my ex saying, “I know it’s xyz problems that you can’t stand…..I’ll work on them…..WE’LL work on them TOGETHER.”

    Me: “That’s not my job. That’s between you and your shrink. I’m out of this.”

    I wish I could I’d figure out a way to enter your dreams and make inception of this thought happen, because this is what made me move out:

    Do you want to spend your time trying to change another person, so that his new version will just about let you be who you are right now, if even that? Or do you want to spend your life learning and growing and developing yourself, and become the person you want to be? Think of everything you could do with the time and energy you’re planning to spend on changing him. Think about it. THINK, woman!

    And remember, you can’t change him unless HE wants to change. So regardless of how long you wait and how hard you try, at SOME POINT you’ll end up realizing the futility of this exercise. And then you’ll want to cut your losses and move on.

    Like

  27. RUN.Like, NOW!

    Please. Your life is worth so much more than having your spirit crushed little by little. And one day you’ll give up – Leave before that day comes. Leaving, starting afresh, comments from the world ARE nothing compared to having the core of you changed forcefully – it’s not emotional abuse, murder is more like it. Get out, please.

    Like

  28. This sent shivers down my spine, reading this email..This email proves that emotional abuse is just as bad as physical abuse, if not more. I skimmed through the comments above, and saw that all of them recommend leaving the husband, and with good reasons! overcoming the fear of repeating what others have said, I will nevertheless put forth my view on this:

    Please, leave him!! leave him, and dont turn back. You might think that it is your responsibility to change him (because you love him, perhaps), but I do not see why it is your responsibility! You married an adult. And not a child. He is responsible for his own crappy thoughts, he is responsible for treating you like nothing. And it is not the responsibility of the wife to change the thought process of the husband. It is not just a bad habit, and not as simple as making him give up smoking!! Hence, I doubt if trying to change him, before you leave is gonna help.

    Under any circumstances do not leave your job. Howmuchever he says, that is a pre-requisite to be a good wife/bahu, do not buckle under pressure. Find help in your family. Have you talked to your parents regarding this? Are they willing to back up your decision? If not them, your sibling? your friends? Find some support. And if nothing else, take this step alone. I do realise it is easier said than done, but I have seen women do it. One of them, in my own family.

    Try hard in not adding any other factors that would make leaving him difficult: like having kids, leaving your job, letting him emotionally blackmail you, financial dependence.

    And yes, please make sure you read the comments. Unfortunately, many women face this, and quite a few do find the strength to stand up for themselves and to change things for a better and happier life.
    PS: IHM, does she read this blog? if not, sending her a link to the post will help her boost her confidence and finding strength to do something to change the situation.

    Like

  29. Forget drawing rangoli or interior decoration. Little girls must be taught how to stand up for themselves and not let anybody show them down as they grow up. That is the conditioning this society needs right now.

    As for that Neanderthal man who has challenged Darwin’s theory, I think he is a lost cause. I don’t see hope.

    Like

  30. I don’t believe this is ‘almost’ every middle class husband. This is an extreme case.

    I also can see the irony in trying to change someone when it is clear that someone changing me is not acceptable. Only people can change themselves, it requires personal will and realization that change is the only way forward.

    Echo what everyone says about walking out, changing him is not your job. Changing yourself to get your life to be closer to what you might like (of freedom as described by you in the post) is a tough enough job on your hands. There’s no need to feel guilty for what you like to do – so long as one does not harm another, watching ‘Friends’ or straight acknowledged porn is a personal choice!

    There are strong women like The Wild Child who have turned their lives around and seem much happier. You have great role models ahead of you. Do remember to post when you are happier – you are worth happiness. Good luck – please do let me know if there is anything I can help with.

    Like

  31. Hi. Part of me wants to react like most of the readers here, but I’m holding that part about this being ridiculous, outrageous..etc. Most of the middle class husbands are indeed like that what varies is the extent of it. I often find it unacceptable that there are actually very educated, nicely placed independent girls who continue to be OK with it despite knowing that they are taken for a ride? IHM, do you think “girls” by nature (as in biological design) are emotionally prone to live a dependent life? I see a lot of it in my parents and shocked at the way how my father blatantly controls my mom. (even now at retiriing age.- but we try our best to help see my Mom, but she mildly continues- finds her own ways to beat my father’s restrictions but can’t help and continue still as a devoted wife. My father is a nice person, but in this respect he is not acceptable and often outrageous.

    That is given so I will focus on providing a semi-spiritual solution and I hope the protagonist can change her life.

    Dear You-were-created-to-live-a-wonderful-life,

    The following is not rhetoric and not I wish-it was that easy. I have a broken wrist and mild hernia and I’m out proving all my doctors, etc wrong saying I ‘m curing my hernia without a surgery.

    Yes, it is as simple as that. You decide this moment that you are responsible for your present state of affairs and take charge of your life. Start believing and affirming that you deserve a better life, you are slowly but surely weaning out this nonsense and it is happening. See this movie- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yXQ7blZPm8 (The secret full movie on youtube) or buy the book and read it- or similar ones like ‘Ask an its given’. Heal your life- Louise Hay. They are spiritual self-help ideas which I have experimented and works like miracle. The net effect of the approach will be that either your husband will change, but some accident or something he sees at a point what he has been doing to you or you will come out it and live a really fulfilled life. Amen.

    You are under no illusion that you are being abused and your husband supposedly isn’t going to change. That is the best part. You have to understand that by blaming on him or on your circumstances you will never ever make your spiritual evolution our grow out of it. Since you can spend the rest of your life, saying Ya, I can’t do much, my fate, etc. But the fact is that we are responsible for our own state of affairs. The moment you don’t see yourself as a victim and creator of your life will change.. this moment.. it is said that a pure thought to the universe for just 42 seconds starts manifesting immediately. It is possible that what I’m talking doesn’t make lot of sense but slowly you will get that too.

    Big decision you have to make is- are you willing to change your life and write in this forum in just 2 months from now ( I can bet on that) that – wow! I’m out of it? or you want to continue reading a hundred posts here and feel good being empathize by so many of us. You will only be reinforcing your present state if you see yourself as a victim.

    Trust me, I ‘m not talking idealism or spiritualism or whatever -ism which common man cannot understand or duplicate. I’m an ordinary person like you and have experimented lots of stuff what I’m talking about and I can bet my life on it being successful.

    In a not a recent thing, I had helped my sister come out of a difficult to-be-surgery for fibroids in her womb! Believe it or not, she never had a surgery and she is a proud mother of a 1 year old son.

    In love and peace, and I really pray that you get the strength and quickly come out of it. I can interact more if you so wish on this forum or otherwise. But you have to take the first step!

    Help will come from the universe. The fact that you wrote to IHM, is your first step to liberation- and take the second one now.

    take care- anil.

    Like

    • @Anil Singhal,

      That was a very thoughtful and encouraging comment. Wishing you good health.
      About being adult children of spouse abusers:

      It is a conscious effort not to turn out like one. DG knows you have already done everything you could but here are few things you can do if you haven’t:

      1. Talk to your father directly up in the face, firmly, “You are aging so is mother, she is no longer a 16yr old bride who’ll run around and do everything to your specifications. She is aging too.” As a son and as a human being you do not endorse his behavior towards her.
      It is often shocking for abusers when they are confronted by 3rd person in firm and non accusatory words. This also gives the abused parent confidence. Tell him how his abusing your mother impacted your life growing up. How it robbed you of feeling secure and safe in your own home. No one can deny abuse in home does impact children.
      He is a parent that does not give him right to abuse anyone in the family. This straight talk should be a good initiator. As we follow generational reverence we don’t speak up that gives the abuser absolute power and they thinks none can challenge him/her.

      2. Your mother is from a generation where woman’s existence was considered to serve the man the one who gave her birth, one she grew up with, one she married and the one she birthed. Tell her it is her God given right to live in peace. It is okay to stand up for herself and you are there to support her. Even if you offer to take her away with you she’ll resist it coz’ her loyalty lies with her spouse and also he has more control in this home than in the house you share with your wife. She feels ownership in this house but she is also alienated.
      In such circumstance aging abused women learn to not only resist abuse but also selectively inflict abuse on the abuser when ever they have a chance.

      Yes, “The Secret” is a good moving but the key as you said is in taking the first step.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

      • DG, point well made. We have done that. All that happens is that when we are around it is in control and when we are away. It is back there. As school going kids I used to revolt about lot of stuff and I had start crying without any result. . On the contrary my Mom will shut me up saying you shouldn’t talk to your father like that. Sadly I also therefore grew up with morbid fear of my father.. and deep subconsciously that stay too but ofcourse a lot of it has changed and yet it is not enough.

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  32. If divorce is not something she is contemplating right now, then she can practice assertiveness. If her husband is biased about her spending time on laptop, watching TV shows she likes, then let him be. I think she can take control of her situation by not letting herself be bothered by his biases. If he thinks they are bad, then so be it! Let her continue to do what she wants to do. She should stop giving excuses or explanations for her actions.. If her in-laws don’t care for her opinion, then let her not give any in first place. As long as it has got nothing to do with her, let them do whatever they think is right for them. If it is something that concerns her then she should just put her foot down and have her way, period. I know its easier said than done, but by practice one can become assertive. The good part is she is working and has a life outside the house. She should really try and make some friends outside her family who she can talk to about these things.

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  33. i know a lot of men like that. initially what attracts them to a girl is her boldness, vivaciousness, her outspokenness, her intelligence, her smart clothes and looks, her overall desirableness. they flirt and talk and tease and start a relationship. that’s when all those things become so very undesirable in the girl. that’s when they want her to morph into a bharatiya naari (whatever that means). that’s when they want her to stop talking to boys forgetting that if she was the type who doesn’t talk to boys, they wouldn’t be in a relationship at all. that’s when her clothes are too short, too tight, to transparent. that’s when boys ‘stare’ at her because she is so skimpily dressed. that’s when she’s told that boys talk vulgar things about her behind her back because she talks to them with a smile. that’s when she’s too much of a feminist. that’s when it’s ok if his parents would demand dowry because that’s the way their society is. i know. my ex-boyfriend was like that. i shudder to think what would have happened if i’d married him. i would most probably been writing a similar letter to you IHM.
    you can’t change a guy like that. you can’t be happy with a guy like that because the woman he married and the woman he wants you to be are totally different people. if you try to change you”’ only lose yourself. you’ll lose the very essence of what makes you – you.

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  34. Pingback: one man who is “almost” a representation of every Indian middle-class husband by IHM | Violence Against Women 2011

  35. Changing someone is not an option.. That doesn’t work and will never work in this case especially.
    The best you can do for your own good is to have a talk and then walk out. When you know it is ‘enough’, you should start taking the rightful measures to get out of that situation.

    Peace and strength..

    Like

  36. The person she is with has a serious inferiority complex that is manifesting itself in his desire to control her. That said, it is not her problem- but his. She needs to get away from him while he gets some help.
    The problem is this is a common scenario. So much so that it is accepted as normal or routine. Women are expected to conform and stifle themselves in the name of respectability or convention. Oh and of keeping their “izzat”. Honestly,if you look at it , the “bad girl” seems to have a pretty decent time- she does not have this pesky “izzat” to bother about- for the rest the “good girl’s” life suspiciously sounds like a jail sentence. The sad thing is the emphasis on being “good” or “decent” as if being happy is not desirable.
    By the way the same reasoning goes for parenting ( you must be a super mom, else no one will be happy) being a “good” daughter or daughter-in-law (sacrifice) etc – they suck the joy out of the relationship and that is considered desirable or aspirational.

    Back here, RUN young lady run. “Love marriage” or not, I think you made a mistake- get out of it as soon as you can. Don’t make it worse by sticking to your man, because he sure is not worth it.

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  37. This is a terribly sad story. Emotional abuse is sometimes worse than physical abuse, because it is so hard to pin-point and it can easily be swept under the carpet by people as ‘normal’ behaviour by ‘most’ Indian men.

    She does need to get out of the situation. What most people don’t realize is that it is not her responsibility to change him. He is not a child who she has to teach the right values to. She is responsible only to herself, to change her own situation.

    I hope she gathers the courage and the means to do so, to make her life a happier one.

    Like

  38. I genuinely feel sad for this woman. While I do see a lot of this in the Indian society I also see a lot of the men more receptive to listening to their wives. I don’t believe they are all this callous and stupid, though unfortunately some are. I too entered a love marriage with a middle class man. I am not Indian, I am American and it was somewhat expected I would be different. However, many times I hear comments about how “an Indian wife/woman would…” and I remind him I’m not Indian and that not even an Indian woman would put up with that crap. I have been told by many Indian women that I put up with more crap (and have for longer) than they ever would. So don’t let anyone tell you that you have to deal with this.

    An Indian woman, though expected to be somewhat submissive, is also expected to be strong and a leader in the house. So while you may have to listen to him, you can protest by not doing what he says. Let him run his mouth all he wants and use his own words against him. When he says you have to do as he says, then just don’t do it. You are not his property, his slave or his dog so don’t act like it. I think far too many men decide they like the aspect of having someone listen to them (their wife) so they can take out all the frustration caused by their parents always shoving orders at them. That doesn’t make it right. Men don’t get married to have someone to abuse in return for what they have received. I don’t see anything wrong with two people compromising and agreeing to give in to each others desires. But those desires should never be for one to dominate the other or control every aspect.

    Nowhere in Indian culture does it specifically say that women are to be treated the way your husband is telling you he’s going to treat you. The whole system is designed so that both parties work together. He’s not working with you. Maybe he doesn’t realize how vital you are to his household. IF you go by Indian culture and you are responsible for cooking and cleaning and such, then he HAS to listen to you on the things needed for the house. Otherwise you can’t manage the house the way Indian culture says you are supposed to. That’s just one example. He has obligations to you under Indian culture and telling you he’s not listening and doesn’t care is not one of them, nor does it fit with any of them. Your situation sounds more like he’s decided he wanted a trainable puppy and his heart liked you, not that he wanted a partner in life. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE THAT WAY!

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  39. i think most men like to boss over their wives but are very insecure when she speaks up for her rights. This girl ought to put her foot down and make it clear that she has an identity apart from the one her marriage to him gave her and she means to hold on to it come what may. There is no need to even actually divorce him. The fear that she may take the extreme step of opting for separation may make him change for the better.

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  40. Pingback: Domestic Violence « A journey called life…

  41. I wouldn’t say that the husband of the woman in this post is a representation of ‘every’ middle-class Indian husband but yes, many of them, lets say three out of every five, do appear to harbour morbidly chauvinistic views. Certainly the desire to control the way one’s wife dresses is very ,very common. Actually, they’d like to control how others’ wives dress too–the fact that they can’t only adds to their chagrin.

    I think it has a lot to do with the background–a small-town upbringing (low exposure to independent, successful women), the parents attitudes to gender roles (Shravan Kumar, Sati-Savitri), working in a male-dominated sector…all these are pre-disposing factors.

    Is it possible to ‘change ‘ such men? It is very difficult to say–some do, some don’t. I think this depends on a host of factors, like, in this case,how early in the marriage is it?. Do they have children? How supportive are her parents? How well does she earn–is it enough for her rent a place and stay on her own comfortably? (If not, his controlling behaviour is probably aggravated by the fact that he thinks he can get away with it, that she has nowhere to go.)

    I too think that it is unlikely that this man will come around –he appears to be too far gone to be able to come back.

    Like

  42. One of my ex-roommates too used to treat her wife very badly. He even used to at her on phone in front of us.

    I believe it’s almost impossible that they can ‘change’. No one changes. Nobody likes to change, esp when the newer habits give less comforts. If these males were to change, they would have been better human beings long back. To get him realize what he is doing, we don’t have to tell him that he isn’t doing it right. It comes from within. Period.

    And, those who advocate suffering of the injustice and extreme pain probably forget that ‘saving’ of a marriage is a process that involves two person. One can only bear a marriage, but can’t save it alone 🙂

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  43. No matter what is said about people changing for the better, I think that a leopard never changes its spots. Such a man is aptly described as being a douchebag of a husband and he should be trashcanned by his wife without delay.

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  44. I came across these blog from one of my friends, because I am almost undergoing the similar situation,so she just pinged me this blog to read it and know its not only me, there are many girls who are struggling in married life with a partner( I would say wrong partner).
    My life story is bit different and very strange, the harrasment started from the Day 16th of wedding, we are separate from the day 16th of our wedding and the reason is, he thinks I am independent and as per him it is a big sin and the demand was, leave my Job and stay with his mother and learn how to live with husband….. I will write the entire story and post it soon….

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  45. Pingback: What goes on in the mind of an ‘Eve Teaser’? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  46. You know IHM, when I show such articles to my wife, she starts loving me more. 🙂
    On a serious note, this man needs medical help and the woman needs to leave him. Now.

    Me – 🙂 Good to see you back in the blogosphere!!!

    Like

  47. Pingback: An email: This is the life Mr Shravan Kumar and Mr Scaredy Cat offer to their life partners. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  48. Pingback: ‘Last month, my sister’s husband picked a fight with her as he felt she was not doing enough for his parents.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  49. Pingback: ” My mom (a doctor) left her MD midway because my dad and his parents wanted her to ‘come and be their bahu’. “ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  50. Pingback: ‘When husbands are jealous, they look so cute, no!?’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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