“Let me give you the reason I asked for advise here instead of talking with my family.”

If there is a disagreement, or if the matter concerns only the couple and the husband’s family, should women be hearing only their husbands’ opinion?

If she feels the situation is unfair but the husband doesn’t agree (like here), what should a woman do?

Is seeking an opinion (anonymously) where the opinion giver is less likely to have personal interest (and is more likely to see the situation objectively) a betrayal to the husband (and his family)? Does it indicate that the relationship cannot be saved?

Don’t such discussions also help the email writer and readers understand that these are not isolated cases but Social issues?

I agree with this comment by sarkywoman.

“Let me give you the reason I asked for advise here instead of talking with my family.”

At times people ask advice on public forums as a last resort. Being an advise taker on this very forum a couple of months ago, let me give you the reason I asked advise here instead of talking with my family – I wanted to leave my husband and they were dead set against it. No matter what I told them, the reasons I gave them, they wouldn’t listen to me – it ensued in them calling me arrogant, having adjustment problems, making me feel guilty for NOT BEING happy – Ya, it was MY fault that I was not happy with my husband, etc etc.

I was OVERWHELMED. It came to the point where self-doubt set in. Was I really wrong? Were all the things he was doing to me not really wrong?

But, my gut told me I was right. And I came to this forum hoping to meet some like-minded people – people who didn’t have a hidden agenda (like my parents did – their “prestige” in society – it still saddens me that their love for me was second to their prestige in society). But, that incident made me realize that in real life, no matter how much some one loves you, they and their own agenda’s will be more important than you to them.

And they confirmed what I already knew…. It just gave me the courage to be stronger with my parents.

In my opinion most people who ask for advise aren’t really looking for advise – they have already made up their minds, but because their decisions are usually against our societies “rules” – wanting divorce/not wanting to stay with in-laws, etc . they are just looking for some moral support from some like-minded people.

I can’t speak for others, but I for one would never meet people like the one’s on this blog in real life.

PS: I think DFI KNOWS that in the end she HAS to discuss with her husband only, so in a way, you were just pointing out the obvious.

1. Married Indian women are not encouraged to seek advice from their own families, traditionally that is seen as  ‘interference by the girl’s family’.

2. Punjab Women’s commission wanted to restrict mobiles for brides to control their communication with their families (while their newly wed husbands don’t just communicate, but eat, drink, go out, live etc with their families and friends – often isolating the wives even more).

3. This sort of controls don’t just isolate a woman but also deprive them of any Support System, and Indian women today are amongst the most stressed women in the world. (will link)
Related Posts:

Letting an outsider see or comment upon our imperfections is washing dirty linen in public?

Indian brides told to reduce mobile phone use.

The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

85 thoughts on ““Let me give you the reason I asked for advise here instead of talking with my family.”

  1. I agree with Sarkywoman.

    I have been through a similar mind-boggling phase very recently where no matter how much true concern the people in your life hold for you, in times of emotional crisis their own bias and hurt always raises it’s head.

    While finding answers for situations as tough as walking out of a marriage (of over 6 years) with an infant definitely needs talking and more importantly listening to the objective advise of people who have no personal issues with us. I do not say the advises so sought can be followed blindly, but they sure do help us see many blind sides of the issue and also come up with solutions we never knew existed.

    Another important point here is when discussing personal problems on an open forum, people are giving advise guided by their own personal experiences and knowledge but are not blinded by the bias many times our loved ones are in the given situation.

    Seeking a second, third or even thousandth opinion if helps one overcome self-doubt and see things clearer in a different light, is in my opinion not wrong but advisable. It’s not about validation of our beliefs but seeing both sides of the coin from the third umpires view.

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    • While finding answers for situations as tough as walking out of a marriage (of over 6 years) with an infant

      The OP in the previous blog post insists that she and her spouse won’t get to divorce. But it’s possible that she’ll change her mind in a few months’ time. Her replies did indicate that walking out of the marriage would be the last thing she wants to do,

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  2. >Is seeking an opinion (anonymously) where the opinion giver is less likely to have personal interest (and is more likely to see the situation objectively) a betrayal to the husband (and his family)?<
    I was quite taken aback with the comments given by some commentators on the previous post. DFI clearly spoke with her husband and felt she was not heading anywhere with the issue in hand. She did what she could do the best. She simply asked opinion from outsiders (in a venue known to tackle similar issues). So why would anyone throw the 'don't wash your dirty linen in public, talk to your husband' tag on her? isn't it obvious she did?

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    • Me too. It is clear the people writing in emails know deep in their hearts the truth of their situation but are looking for confirmation from neutral parties because they are scared and need support

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  3. There is nothing wrong in getting a second or a third opinion. Sometimes, outsiders and strangers see what we are unable to. Sometimes, they provide a viewpoint that has never occured to us.
    Also, people read all kinds of self help books all the time. That again is taking advice from a stranger, isn’t it?

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  4. Being questioned about WHY ask for advice, in a forum like this, of all places, is ludicrous.

    *Of course* you ask advice, cos you’re alone in your struggles, cos you don’t have anyone else to seek help from, cos the person who is meant to be your best friend and team member (her husband) has openly declared that they are only part of HIS family and not a team unto themselves, so clearly, asking the husband for advice when the husband is part of the problem is useless.

    You don’t want to ask people you know, cos you don’t want their pity. And if and when things work out between you and the husband, the relationship with the Adviser will be awkward, cos you’re worried that you or the husband will be judged by them based on the info that was shared at the time.

    SO. Many. Reasons.

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  5. I agree.

    For a woman to seek help from her family she should first be assured that everyone(or anyone) has her best interests in their mind…

    A woman is never taught to make herself important. She can never choose her happiness over her husband’s, her family over in-laws, career over children.. without being made feel guilty..
    I think DFI is also feeling guilty somewhere..

    Like I commented in the previous thread – As long as she is the only one adjusting, no one else will have a problem, why would they?
    is her MIL the one being asked to change her eating habits? is her MIL worrying about hearing taunts from her DIL? is the husband the one worrying about adjusting to new house or new set of “rules”?

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    • Absolutely. It’s hard to trust family- extended or otherwise- once you realise that they are not really acting in your best interest. Harder when they actually believe that they are doing the right thing by you- because the only you know better.
      Either way, that’s the point when you realise that only you can look out for yourself with absolute unambiguity – and once you do so, it is natural to seek validation- so what if it is online?

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  6. I myself have asked for advice on IHM’s blog (some minor gen-gap issues with parents). I was kinda apprehensive… like im so cheap, bitching/ranting about my parents in public… But people here (95% of them) sympathised & gv good advice. And it has helped me a lot…
    Thanks Again IHM and her sensible readers

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  7. Dude, if it hadn’t been for the advice I got from the readers of this blog, I would have still been in a miserable marriage. I might have had a band-aid baby too, cos THAT was the “advice” I got from my ex-husband’s parents. That kid would have known from an early age that he/she had an unhappy parent whose emotional well-being was the kid’s responsibility. That kid would have grown up to make a spouse exactly like my ex-husband. And so the cycle would go on <—- EXACTLY what happens when the only people who know about the problem are the ones causing it.

    I don't owe it to ANYONE to protect sexist/misogynist/unfair/entitled a$$holes. How about they don't DO things that they can't shout about from rooftops (or wouldn't want me to)?!

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  8. What could be wrong in taking more opinions and advice? It always helps to look at the situation from more angles. It could be considered betrayal if you talk to somebody whom your husband is related in someway and would not like them to hear about his problems. Taking anonymous advice can not be considered betrayal by any stretch of imagination.

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  9. Sorry to sound so judgmental, but don’t you think people in India give way too importance to eating habits. Who the hell cares what someone likes to eat? Who gives a damn what is being cooked in what part of ones home? All the time I hear about these eating habits to be a major concern in people’s lives. Is it because people have nothing else to keep them busy that they poke noses in these trivial matters. Also, it seems to me that Indians give way too much importance to home cooked meals. I thought fast food is the way to go for corporate slaves, but does not seem like so for Indians. Next thing I will hear people losing their mind on others bathroom habits ( oh wait I actually did read hear people trying to control their DIL’s bathroom habits, ridiculous). Sorry for sounding judgmental again.

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    • I don’t think it’s an Indian thing at all. I know of a lot of people who don’t eat what they think is strange food (I live in a very multi-cultural community).

      But that is not the point here. Being asked to not cook a certain way is basically just another form of restriction. Girls are restricted from dressing, talking … etc and eating is just another nail on the coffin.
      I knew this one girl who was forced to pierce her nose on the second day of her marriage by her MIL cos apparently all the women in their family must wear a diamond nose-ring. How is that fair to someone who does not want a piercing?

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    • That is a bit judgemental. I think a couple that moves in together anywhere in the world goes through the same period of adjusting to each other’s eating/cooking/bathroom habits. It’s when someone (or their family) tries to impose their way completely on their partner that there are problems. Nothing about being Indian, it’s just basic human nature. The problems are not about the food habits per se, they are about having to accept restrictions on personal decisions.

      What if I forbade you from eating whatever it is you like and demanded that you only ate whatever I like from then on? Like maybe you are non-vegetarian and you like your chicken and I am vegetarian who doesn’t even eat eggs. Or vice versa. It’s a small thing but would you be happy to give in to my demands there?

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      • This was precisely my point. Most people would leave it to the person to chose what they want to eat. I myself have a large set of foods that I don’t eat. My trouble was when people get offended by other people eating their kind of food in their proximity, like the MIL here.

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        • Well B, how many women’s blogs from different countries do you read? I live in the UK and the MIL is commonly referred to as the ‘mother out-law’ here. In a traditional patriarchal setup, there is a need to make the DIL give up her previous preferences and be ‘moulded’ as per the ILs lifestyle. It’s the DIL’s last name (and traditionally sometimes the first name) that is changed. Similarly if food habits are different in the same household, it’s the DIL who is traditionally expected to change. I would be highly surprised if you say that nothing about the DIL is expected to change after marriage in your country.

          Obviously, the more clear boundaries and independence you have, the lesser the issues.

          In OP’s case, this is not about being Indian or about food. If the food habits are the same but there is a power struggle, people will find other things to put restrictions on. It just so happens that Indians have very different food habits, depending on where in India they are from, so it’s an easy target if you are asking someone to conform. It’s not about food, it’s just about establishing a status quo. It could be done through imposing language, lifestyle, sleeping hours, bathroom hours, whatever.

          As it happens, I am vegetarian and my husband’s family is not. I have not been made to change any eating habits, not that I would have agreed anyway. My husband very happily cooks for himself so he hasn’t changed any eating habits either. Not all Indians have issues over food and the OP’s issues are not actually about food, as I have explained. That is a superficial observation, and yes, judgemental.

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    • Why don’t you google ‘how eating habits affect our lives” and how important are they… I don’t want to jot down the importance of it, for once I know how important it is to eat home cooked food ! anyways this isnt the right forum to discuss it. (google it and study a little about its importance – a genuine advice)

      P.s – No wonder these days ppl in their early 40-50s get all sorts of diseases like diabetes, bp, heart attacks /)

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      • Wanting to eat home-cooked food is fine, but you must also be willing to cook it yourself if it is so important to you! And I think the issue is more about regional differences in eating habits, like the mil doesn’t want the dil to eat food from the dil’s region…

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  10. I agree with what Sarkywoman has to say 100% , in totality.

    I am the one who said in the previous article why ask in public, when one needs to discuss it with the partner , I would still stand for that

    BUT the people who are giving advice —

    1. Should they Not at least know Both sides of the Story .. Or

    2. is it fair to listen to one side , make up your mind and give advice ..

    3. don’t the ones who are giving advice have any responsibility of their own

    Ps. Please these are questions I have asked for an answer .. Not some counter question

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    • I can see where you are coming from, since I usually prefer to hear both sides of the story too. However, I do think that when you reach a dead end with your partner and start to feel uncertain about your gut feelings, it is perfectly legitimate to unburden to someone and ask for their opinion, if only to find out what the strange gut feeling could be about. As for your three questions:

      1. This would only be possible if the husband voluntarily shared his part of the story here. This is entirely his decision, however. If he chooses not to – which is perfectly legitimate – of course everyone will focus on the known part of the story.

      2. Advice can only be given on the information available. It will never be perfect or tailor-made for every situation a couple faces, especially not if one part of the story is missing. This would be the job of a couple therapist and I’m sure the email writers here know most of us are no professional therapists.

      3. I think people’s responsibility here is to be non-judgemental and supportive when asked for help. I don’t think anybody here expects people to rigidly follow their advice correctly to the dot, without looking whether it actually fits their situation. It is more about exchanging experience and giving inspiration. What the reader actually does with the advice, is his or her own choice and responsibility.

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    • Since all three of your points essentially boil down to the same thing, I will respond to one.

      Should they Not at least know Both sides of the Story

      Not necessarily. At least, they don’t need to necessarily know how the other person perceives the situation to be. This is not a courtroom, and we aren’t judging anyone here. What we’re trying to do is help someone find a solution to their problem.

      That’s an important distinction. Think of it in the form of two scenarios:

      Scenario A:
      You are a manager at your firm and an employee ‘X’ walks up to you, saying that she has a certain problem with employee ‘Y’, who is on her team. As the boss, it is you job to sort out conflicts of this nature. You must find out who is ‘in the wrong’ here, and you must come up with a solution, which can range from reprimanding either X or Y (or both), to shifting one of them to a different team, to simply having a chat with both of them. In short, the responsibility for action lies on you, and therefore, it is absolutely essential to understand how each person sees this situation, what their motivations are, and so on and so forth.

      Scenario B:
      You are the bartender at a pub near X’s office, and after a long day at work, she walks in for some cold beer and relaxation. You notice that she looks down in the dumps, so you ask her what’s wrong. She tells you she has a problem with ‘Y’, who works in the same office, and asks you for some sane advice on what to do. You don’t know either X or Y, but you’d like to help out this woman, so you simply get all the details of the problem from X, try to sort out the facts from her personal perceptions and let her know what you’d do if you were in a situation like that. You do not (cannot) go to Y and ask her what’s up. You don’t even have to. All you need to do is leverage your empathy, use your head and suggest what to do. As simple as that.

      Our situation here is much closer to scenario B than A. We are not responsible for sorting this out. That is the E-Mail writer’s job. We are not managers or judges, or even real friends for that matter, but rather the bartenders, the strangers, to whom a person just opened up about her problems as a last resort and asked for advice. All we can do is offer some good, unbiased advice to a person who’s asked for it, and make sure it is as helpful as possible. Knowing both sides of the story might help us come up with better suggestions, but it is certainly not absolutely essential

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      • Agree.

        “This is not a courtroom, and we aren’t judging anyone here. What we’re trying to do is help someone find a solution to their problem.”

        I wanted to say the same thing!

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      • Respected Parveen :-

        What you have given in scenario B.. If I do that I will lose my job..🙂 I know it is not a courtroom but as a adult and as someone who is helping a individual One needs to take up the responsibility.

        If X is coming up to you, Then how are you sure X is telling the truth🙂 ..
        you see the problem is I live in a Realistic world where , day in and day out I meet a lot of people like “X” who have a problem with “Y”.. they make all sorts of stories some true , some by adding 2+2 = 5.. because someone at another bar had given them this advice , which they took for granted ..

        so the problem comes when you actually meet “Y” and know the whole story there is a “Z” and a “B” and a “C” who then elaborate on the story to show that it was “X” all along who was in the WRONG..

        So.. In all honesty I as a adult and maybe one who takes responsibility said what I thought was right , that she needs to discuss it with her husband and make sure all is understood and each knows what is going to happen ..

        Hence my comment on the previous which was without any prejudice to anyone and which made many a people bite their own tail and cry foul..

        Again finding a solution , how can one find it when we dont know the REAL Story🙂

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        • What you have given in scenario B.. If I do that I will lose my job

          I sincerely doubt that. I was poking fun at the ‘friendly bartender’ stereotype there, but I assure you I’ve had very insightful conversations with bartenders during slow moments at pubs (even though I don’t usually take any alcohol at all).They tend to be a cheery lot.🙂

          If X is coming up to you, Then how are you sure X is telling the truth

          I am not sure of that at all. Moreover, I do not care. It is immaterial to me.

          If X is lying, or misrepresenting the situation with deliberate intent, it is her loss, not mine. Why should I waste my time worrying about whether or not this person is speaking the absolute gospel truth? I don’t know her. I’ll likely never hear from her again. For all I know, she might be an alien from Mars, due to return the next night, never to return.

          However, I proceed assuming that she is speaking in good faith, and as long as I don’t see any obvious signs to the contrary, I do not deviate from that assumption.

          We’re all responsible adults here – including the E-Mail writer. She is not an infant who has to be protected from herself. I’m sure she can decide whether or not she wants to take heed of my suggestions, and I’m also sure that she understands that whatever decisions she takes, it is her life, and therefore her responsibility.

          Again finding a solution , how can one find it when we dont know the REAL Story

          We assume that what we are being told is indeed the real story.

          This is a reasonable assumption to make, in my experience, and it is often (but not always) correct. More to the point, it is the ONLY assumption that allows us to make some headway.

          There is a time and place for being skeptical. Considering that it is next to impossible to verify such a story (and also somewhat pointless), it makes sense to proceed as though it were correct.

          There are always multiple interpretations of events, but the key is to rely on the facts (not perceptions) to come up with a somewhat complete picture of the situation. Again, people can outright lie about facts too, but that is something I’m not really concerned with, am I?

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        • Again, loved your comment Bikram. Laughed a lot too. I for one didn’t find any of your comments in the previous post offensive or prejudiced. Rather they were heartfelt and honest to the core.

          I also agree with what Sarkywoman said : “In my opinion most people who ask for advise aren’t really looking for advise – they have already made up their minds, but because their decisions are usually against our societies “rules” – wanting divorce/not wanting to stay with in-laws, etc . they are just looking for some moral support from some like-minded people.”

          It is this moral support, this sanction from a section of the society, however small or insignificant, distant or strange it maybe… that we seek. There is nothing wrong in reaching out for help. Do what you can to help decide your course of action. We may not get it right the first time, but we got to keep trying…anyhow, anyway.

          Having said that, I wholeheartedly support Bikram’s viewpoint, I strongly recommend anyone going through similar problems to talk and voice their concerns directly to/with the people involved. Fight, fight and fight for your rights fearlessly. Let everyone in your family (old or new) feel your passion for the things you believe in. Allow these people to know you. But the question here is, do you really know yourself? Regardless of the answer, do take some time to know you. When you are sure of yourself…people will take you seriously. You know why? ‘Cuz either you will make them or you will leave them.

          All the best to all..

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        • The point everyone is making is that people giving advice on this blog are not the final arbiters. They are just giving their own view in the hope of helping the advice-seeker.

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        • Respected Parveen :- believe me I will lose my job.. I had to go and sit for a 3 week full time course, where we are taught how to assess and what to do , I would not like to go into the details.. I am sure if you ask IHM or any other they will tell you what I do..

          So yeah I will lose my job..

          But anyway I don’t want to carry on with this discussion, I know in MY heart that if anyone who I know came to ask , I will still give the same advice.. But what about people who have given advice will they give the same , I have my doubts on that.. because some of the people have ACTUALLY said different things at different places .. I hope god gives me the strength to stand by what I say or do..🙂

          and Assumption is the first word that need to be thrown out of the dictionary, as to me it stands for making a ASS of U and ME..

          as you yourself mentions the key is to rely on FACT.. and sorry sir FACT can only be realised once you know the whole scenario..

          Moreover As I have realised not just this time but other times too, here a lot of people come who have got a SET mind and that is only what they want to see, which I find FUNNY🙂

          funny because here you and me are having a discussion , yet there are people who have this habit of interfering, they still think that way, as you can see the reactions🙂

          If you want to reply please do email on mannbik@gmail.com .. Because It is a waste of time coming back here to reply.

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    • Yes, ideally we should know both sides of the story. But just because we haven’t heard the robber’s side, the police don’t stop citizens from registering a case of theft. Here we are not even doing that, just doling out advice for a particular situation IF that is how it exists..
      It is not fair to listen to one side and make up your mind. But then nobody here has made up their minds. They are just saying, if x, y and z are in the said places, this can be the solution. If x.y and z change positions, answers automatically become invalid and cannot be used as a solution. So why worry about that?
      The ones who give advice are responsible people here. That is why they don’t make claims to be professionals, but answer as laymen from their heart, their experiences, their gut feeling, except those who ARE qualified to answer.

      I’d like to quote an example. if someone comes to this forum and complains, “my husband is forcing me to eat non veg food,” people would naturally give her advice on how to face that or how to get out of it. In case what she said is true, some of the advice may help her, I repeat it “MAY” help her.
      BUT
      In case in real life her husband is NOT forcing her to eat non veg food (which is the other side of the story which you are talking about) HOW will this advice harm anyone? The advice given here becomes valid ONLY if the conditions outlined are true. If they aren’t it automatically becomes INVALID to the situation It then remains just a HYPOTHETICAL discussion for anyone who MAY encounter such a problem and happens to read this.

      I don’t know how you take these answers of mine. But I felt I had to try. Telling women not to go outside the home with their problem is an old old ploy that has been used by society. I have been a victim, i should know. An anonymous discussion is the next best thing to help people how have problems. Why deny people who need help even that outlet?

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        • Too much coincidence that only girl children are unwanted and aborted?

          Too much coincidence that generally it’s only the surviving girl children who are expected to be trained to relocate, adjust, obey and serve in the much-wanted sons’ homes?

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        • It does not even have to be a matter or right or wrong. It can be the case of two people who cannot get along. And each of them has a right to live their life in their way. It does not make them wrong. There may be a MIL who is very religious. Nothing wrong with that. Her DIL may be an atheist and there is nothing wrong with that either. But when the DIL writes in the forum that she does not want to participate in religious activities, we as readers offer some suggestions through which she can live her life her way.

          Oh, btw, there is a very good reason why you don’t hear from the husbands about their ILs. Its because 99.9% of Indian husbands don’t live with their ILs. And even for the minuscule percent that do, the power dynamics is completely different. While a DIL has to adjust to the husband’s family, the husband’s ILs will most likely adjust to him so that he faces minimum disturbance.

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        • Too much of a co-incidence also that men/women who cannot face the truth prefer to post anonymously!

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      • @ Joyee, not able to reply to your comment directly

        That’s the point I was trying to make in the first place. We all have to talk to the relevant people in our lives to resolve the issues, but we come to this blog when we feel hopeless and that we are not getting through to the people in our lives.

        No one is asking anyone to make a decision for them OR venting on this blog INSTEAD OF TALKING WITH the people in their lives.They are doing it to find the moral support/courage/whatever be the letter writer needs…. in order TO TALK TO THOSE PEOPLE. Writing to this blog is not mutually exclusive with talking to the people in your life. It helps us to fight, fight and fight for our rights.

        So, again, saying “talk to the people in your lives” is irrelevant. Because it is something that we WILL DO, ARE PLANNING TO DO and are seeking advise on this blog IN ORDER TO DO.

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        • @Sarkywoman : One of the reasons I read this blog is I find the author’s intention behind what she writes to be genuine and worthy…I find her sincere in her opinions and admire the fact that someone is trying her best to reach out and help others.

          Why I wanted to stand by Bikram’s comment was that I found him to be genuinely wanting to help out as well and everything he said seemed sincere to me.

          Helpful advice may come in many forms…some may sting, or even seem biting…others come sugarcoated. I try to look beyond the surface and see the intention with which it is given.

          That said, one must always do what they feel comfortable doing. If talking to a stranger at a bar, going to a therapist, reading a self-help book, writing on a blog or writing to a blog for advice helps, do it. I say do whatever it takes to help yourself find a way. When a person is drowning, it is immaterial that the straw he/she is reaching for won’t help…he/she will still go for it.

          I think it is not a bad idea to accept a genuine advice even when it seems like the most obvious.

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        • “They are doing it to find the moral support/courage/whatever be the letter writer needs…. in order TO TALK TO THOSE PEOPLE. ”
          Absolutely! It is absurd to expect to find moral support/courage/acceptance from family only when the root cause of the issue are the family members themselves.
          And talking is not always as easy as some wanna-be-happy-go-lucky people make it sound. One needs loads of self-confidence and assurance to do some talking in intense problem situations. It is absurd to source those from within without help too.

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      • I would love to have replied to that police-theft – registration etc case .. But Shail mam I am sorry .. I am really not gonna say anything .. because I have no idea which line will be picked up for another discussion..

        You are absolutely right. I am sorry to have given the advice that I gave to the dear lady.

        Thank you for the reply

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      • “Telling women not to go outside the home with their problem is an old old ploy that has been used by society.”- so true Shail. “An anonymous discussion is the next best thing to help people how have problems. Why deny people who need help even that outlet?” – just what i thought. you have expressed it so well!

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    • If this was a court of law and the commenters here were a jury, then you are right – it doesn’t make sense to pass judgment based on just one person’s version. IHM’s blog is not a court of law, and so if someone wants additional convincing regarding some decisions she’s making or made, it doesn’t matter if what she posts here as the base story is inaccurate, biased, or completely false. From the perspective of the blog commenter, the core assumption is that whatever the OP posted is fact, and any opinion is also based on that assumption.

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    • Some things are clear from the story, no matter whose side you listen to.
      In this case, the woman is asked to move back to India to live with her in-laws and she does not want to.
      That much is clear, whether you ask the husband or the wife.

      Maybe there is a sub-plot where the woman is having a torrid affair with her co-worker and the husband thinks that going back to India is the only way to stop it. I doubt it though. 99% of the cases we see here reflect a particular type of scenario that people go through in Indian society.
      We have to take each story at face-value and if we choose to, give our opinion of them. The person asking for advise is obviously free to do as he or she chooses. But by asking a general population, they gets to see things from an third perspective, gets to see options that he or she probably didn’t know existed.
      But we can only give answers to the questions that are asked, we cannot assume what the other side of the story is.

      And frankly, a man wanting to stay with his parents for no reason other than the fact that his parents miss him, is just unnatural, according to me. And if I were the girl, it would be a deal breaker for me. Just saying.

      Like

    • Since your points 1 & 2 are essentially the same, let me answer them together. Yes, “ideally” we need to know both sides of the story. Even “more ideally”, we need to know the neutral balanced outsider view of the story – because both sides of the story are going to be colored very vibrantly by each person’s ego, misunderstandings, immaturity, upbringing, narrow-mindedness etc. This being a non-ideal, unfair world, the former is seldom available and the latter is never available, unless of course, God exists and comes down to stand in the witness box.

      That being the case, even in court cases, it is up to the “judge” to “judge” which parts of the story/stories are colored and which parts stand-out on their own strength, irrespective of what colors they are painted in. We all grow up learning to size up situations and trying to form solutions in spite of the lack of “ideal” information – and the more we live life, the more we think, the more we read and learn, the better we get at it. And the outsider-with-nothing-to-lose-or-gain lets us do it in MUCH better ways than the family members involved.

      I wonder what makes people think that the people involved in the problem themselves know all or more about the situation – most often than not, they don’t, and they refuse to see or listen. Ego, unhappiness and self-defense colors perspectives. Forget listening to, knowing and empathizing with the other person’s perspective, we barely know the real depth of our own sides of the story until much later – when we have come past the issue. Hindsight is powerful.

      That being the case, I would even argue that giving strangers one’s side of the story in the least colored way as one possibly can and taking their suggestions with a big pinch of salt IS the best way to go – brainstorming. After taking suggestions, it anyway boils down to discussing the chosen stand with one’s partner/whoever the issue is with – either with more conviction, or with an opened up mind. Nobody is going to go Iisten-to-strangers-kick-husband-out – not without discussing even that with said husband. THAT, is the responsibility of the advice-seeker.

      As to the responsibilities that the ones doling out advice have, they only need to remember these :
      a) Be non-judgemental – not to the one seeking advice, not to the ppl in the “other side”.
      b) Do not draw heavily from or promote stereotypes. Be very VERY careful while reading between the lines.
      c) If you are biased on the issue – if it touches a raw nerve – refrain from giving advice. Stay neutral to the extent possible.
      d) Do not put extreme ideas into the person’s head – “your husband is evil”, “you are weak to be thinking like this”, “your in-laws are worse than you think – this is the real meaning of that action of theirs”. The issue is NOT what attributes should be given to the people involved or their actions. The issue is only to say “This is what makes you or others unhappy. You might want to consider this line of thought or action to resolve the situation”. Treat the situation, not the people involved, as the issue to be resolved.

      And I must say, a good percentage of people who give advice at IHM’s, if not a 100%, are quite responsible in giving advice! If such hypothetical outsider-point-of-view discussions were considered “unfair” and refrained from, I do not think much of philosophy, psychology and human rights concepts would have evolved.

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      • theconjecturegirl :- hi I liked your points and agree to them too

        b..” Do not draw heavily from or promote stereotypes. Be very VERY careful while reading between the lines.
        c) If you are biased on the issue – if it touches a raw nerve – refrain from giving advice. Stay neutral to the extent possible.”

        Kindly go and read the first comment on the previous post , and please do explain to me How is that comment a stereotype or biased or any thing remotely associated.

        I am not having a go or anything at you , I just want your opinion on that ..
        and then check the reaction to that comment ..🙂

        Please do have a look .. thank you

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        • These points had nothing to do with the first comment of yours on the previous post. You asked what the responsibilities of a person giving advice in such situations are, and I answered that. I was not referring to you particularly.

          But *since you asked for it*, I do think that in general, you tend to mix up how you would react with skepticism while on your “realistic world” job with the basic trust that normal interactions in normal life demands. Your stereotyping/bias comes from treating people/situations as “cases” – which I guess is why you are so skeptical and also want to take so much responsibility – as if you are going to pass judgement and send someone to jail and don’t want to send an innocent to jail.

          Note : I wrote the previous paragraph ONLY cos you asked. I am not “having a go or anything at you” either😉

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    • The answer to your questions three for me is, no, yes and irrelevant.

      This is advice, not judgement. You don’t need to know both sides. Most people looking for advice here are actually looking for support or full of self doubt and need reassurance. Do you know the best way to brainwash someone and stop them form revolting? Isolation. It’s what the iron curtain countries practised when things were starting to go a bit wrong. Sometimes all someone needs to hear is ‘I went through the same thing, you have the right to xyz’. No one is obligated to follow anyone’s advice blindly and no one does.

      Let’s say someone’s partner is verbally or physically abusive. Their family says ‘that’s normal, adjust’. If this person is then not allowed to seek support outside, they will probably think it is normal. That’s what isolation does. If seeking support/ advice on a forum helps them stand up for themselves, that’s good! Why do we need to know the husband’s side? That’s unrealistic and unnecessary. If my friend says she has a terrible boss and is thinking of quitting but not sure if she’ll find another job, I can say ‘you should try’ without checking with her boss for his/her side of the story. It is unnecessary.

      There is nothing wrong in seeking support and advice on a forum. The people giving advice are in a neutral position, not involved in the actual situation. They can be objective. More importantly, the advice seeker is free to ignore advice. It’s not a court ruling, it’s just some support. They can just leave it.

      Do the advice givers have some responsibility? Well they only have the responsibility to not be trolls and give honest advice. Any responsibility other than that is irrelevant as the OP is free to walk away from anything you tell them. As long what you say is in good faith, there is no other relevant responsibility here.

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  11. Briefly:
    Agree with PT, Shail and Nish.

    As long as family members are not named and identified directly, there is nothing wrong in anonymously seeking advice here and other forums like IHM”s blog.
    Hearing both sides is not practical, but that does not mean we should not hear at least one side. Readers will do their best after assuming that the facts are as stated.

    It would be a great day, when a couple, both readers of IHM’s blog, anonymously present their respective sides of the same issue that troubles them!

    Regards
    GV

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  12. I won’t go into details (because they’re not my stories to share), but I can tell you that I have at least a few friends who’s been in iffy situations of the great Indian society’s making, and escaped from undue harm thanks to reading many, many relevant posts on IHM. And these are not even regular readers, they just read the relevant posts and the wealth of comments following the posts.

    To make it clear, they weren’t “influenced” by what they read, they just received some much needed validation of their opinions/choices – “moral support” as we call it. It helps, even if it is from people we can’t put a face to on the internet.

    Like

  13. Sometimes validation f your sense by others who don’t have n hidden agenda is just what you need.
    I value the help my friends and acquaintances gave me when I decided to marry against my parents wishes. It validates the choices you made and makes you feel less alone. That’s all. Of course I would have still married the way I did but it feels nice and secur when people trust your choice.

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  14. A little late here… but I want to add…
    I have never posted my story on IHM… but then its because I didn’t need to. The stories here could easily be mine.. plus or minus a few details…. and I received the much needed validation and moral support to make a difficult decision, validation that wasn’t coming from friend and family I knew in real life…. .

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  15. As DG says .. we Indians really value our relationships less , so we seek advice from everyone .

    when your tooth is aching – you visit a qualified dentist
    when your car is broken – you go to car mechanic
    when you feel cold – you buy woolens

    You head to specialist in the area to get best service . why not give your relationship that value .

    I agree in India , there are very less professional relationship advisers , but in US ? Can you and your husband acknowledge first that there is a problem , then seek advise from some qualified professional .

    I am not against asking advises from random strangers in public forums , as some one said , its just getting affirmation that your fears are real, as in this case . If Husband had decided to post his views in certain forum it would have been very different from this blog . It would have been some blog where saviors of great Indian culture would be writing hate posts against evil DILs who lead to nuclear families . I am sure he would have got advises like , leave her in US and come and serve your parents . Tell her when she will serve your parents will bring in good karma and her DIL ( of course you will have a son ) will serve her in future .

    Here is the view from another set of people , very different from the views presented here . So you chose a forum where you have like minded people who will just confirm your fears . Nothing wrong in it if that’s all you seek.

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  16. Well one of my comments is still held in moderation, so I will try again…

    It is sad that a comment or advice that doesn’t confirm to a specific line of thought favored by the majority instinctively receives a barrage of criticism and are not tolerated with vehemence.

    It is sad that a place I love to visit because I relate so well with the issues discussed is now strictly being considered/called a feminist blog. So if I am a woman but not a feminist, am I not welcome? So if I have a slightly different view or opinion than the rest, I don’t belong? So if I relate with every women’s issue that is there on earth and I stand by each of them with equal passion as any feminist, it makes me different?… So I get to be classified differently?

    Why can’t people be befriended and acknowledged for being trustworthy, reliable, compassionate, fair-minded (I mean isn’t that enough?)…and not judged by gender, and/or personal preferences?

    When I think of women’s liberation…I think of a fair world without any prejudice. Sadly, that is not what I see in reality. I find advocates of women’s lib to be just as prejudiced, intolerant, narrow-minded, and they get just as defensive/aggressive about their views and opinions as advocates of patriarchy and any other oppressive social system they claim to oppose.

    What is the difference?
    You get liberated from one system to get caught and wired into another – all in the name of independence and equality.

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    • Joyee what do you mean by intolerance, prejudice, narrow mindedness and gender bias here, in this discussion?

      Do you a woman (or anybody) seeking opinion from anybody other than their spouse (on issues that directly concern them) is wrong?

      Do you think the email writer should give up her personal freedom, like her husband and his family wants her to?

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      • No, not at all. I am reacting to the reaction of the readers to a comment/advice that was intended to be as helpful and genuine as the rest. I am not at all talking about the email writer or the problem she discussed.

        I never for once said, what you are claiming I said🙂
        Please read my comment. I am saying if there is the same kind of intolerance in feminism just like any other social system, how is it liberating?

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        • Disagreement is not intolerance. We can agree to disagree, and peacefully coexist. Intolerance is when I cannot even countenance/abide by/see you practice your beliefs.

          Like

        • Joyee, the intolerance in feminism is for gender inequality…and isnt that what feminism is about in the first place?

          Like

    • “You get liberated from one system to get caught and wired into another – all in the name of independence and equality”

      I suspect you have not understood the meaning of independence. If you are on the feminist side, the main thing you have is choice. It means that if you want to go back into a patriarchial setup for your family – it is your CHOICE. If you are done with it and want to do something else , you can do so.

      I cannot understand how you can be trapped in a system whose main advocacy is CHOICE

      Like

    • I’m really sorry you feel that way. In my opinion, I only disagreed with your and Bikram’s point of view. In fact, that’s one of the things I love about this blog – how I can completely agree with someone on a particular topic and yet totally disagree with them on another topic.

      The point is, none of this criticism is personal. None made any personal attacks on anyone. The entire discussion was on “Is pouring your heart out on a Public Forum the right thing to do?”

      And regarding your previous comment – no one said Bikram was insincere or dishonest. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that I (or anyone else) cannot disagree with him.

      By the logic of your comment, If I like someone, I will never disagree with them. It really doesn’t work that way. Liking or disliking someone has no relation whatsoever to agreeing or disagreeing with them about something.

      GVjee is one of the most respected members on this blog and yet many times his comments get thumbs downs and buckets of criticism.

      Hey, it happened to me once too… some comment I made got a lot of negative responses… thumbs downs and criticism came my way and I admit I went into a few days hibernation after that…. I admit it can feel bad when so many people disagree with you, but it’s not fair to call people close minded and what-not simply because they disagreed with you.

      Like

    • A lot of what you said is actually what everyone is saying. Like: stand your ground, speak to people in your life to get what makes you happy. You are treating yourself as different, no one else is.

      The point of differentiation that you are presenting, from what I can understand, is this: ‘Having said that, I wholeheartedly support Bikram’s viewpoint, I strongly recommend anyone going through similar problems to talk and voice their concerns directly to/with the people involved. Fight, fight and fight for your rights fearlessly.’

      So I actually found that confusing. You kind of said you agree with not asking for advice on a public forum.. but continued to give advice yourself after that (‘ I strongly recommend…’). Very good advice too that I personally fully agree with. If the OP had never shared her situation, she might never have heard this from anyone. It could be that bit of reassurance and support that she needed to confidently stand her ground. So I don’t actually see what you are saying or doing that’s different. Or how anyone treated you as ‘different’.

      In a discussion, we must be tolerant of people not agreeing with us. There is nothing personal about that and I do not see how you are being made to feel unwelcome. I don’t think that’s anyone’s intention. We should not just agree with each other to be polite. Open discussion is good (and is well moderated here so there is nothing offensive being said).

      Also, you said ‘I relate so well with the issues discussed is now strictly being considered/called a feminist blog’. What is so wrong about a blog being called feminist? It’s not a negative thing. Anyone who believes in men and women being equal (not same, equal) is being feminist. That’s all it means.

      Finally, you said ‘Why can’t people be befriended and acknowledged for being trustworthy, reliable, compassionate, fair-minded (I mean isn’t that enough?)…and not judged by gender, and/or personal preferences?’. And so they are. I don’t see anyone judging someone, just disagreeing. I do not think disagreeing with someone should be seen as offensive. It’s just a part of natural discussion.

      Like

      • @Carvaka, Cluelesschick, Sarkywoman, IHM,

        Thank you girlfriends for responding to my laments…I won’t take up your comments line by line. I shall remain confused about feminism but IHM is right, I shouldn’t bring that up here in this discussion.

        I have said it before, one should do whatever helps them feel confident about themselves, or the decision they are about to take. Talking, writing has personally helped me.
        But I will say again, nothing tops talking to the people directly concerned. I understand that to talk to our family with a level of confidence that will get the point across, we sometimes need validation. What makes me confused and somewhat sad, is :

        theconjecturegirl said in her comment somewhere that ‘talking is not always as easy as some wanna-be-happy-go-lucky people make it sound’

        No one is trying to make it sound easy…it is what it is. To stand your ground and voice your opinion in front of a room full of people (your own family, that is) who are dead against your ideas/philosophy/beliefs…is not and will never be a piece of cake even if half the world you have talked to in a public forum stand by you or support you. When you stand in that room with your hubby or in-laws, it is YOU who is speaking…it is YOU whose heart is thumping and it is your thoughts at that very moment that shape your words, it is your emotions that are at play.

        So whether you talk to one person or half the world in a public forum…what you really need is faith and self-confidence to present your opinion/s firmly to the people concerned and earn their faith and confidence in you.

        Like

  17. I probably should stop commenting but I really would like to present my dilemma before I go. I stand baffled between two sets of friends (women mostly, very few men). One set is strictly feminist. The other is strictly anti-feminist. I am learning to refrain from making any comment while talking to both sets of friends on sensitive women’s issues. It is just like I refrain from talking politics or religion with my Pakistani friends. There is a barrier. And it is volatile. And it is sad that it should exist.
    Liberation to me means – voice your opinion, listen to all opinions, tolerate, accept and respect all differences in opinions…and then, firmly hold onto your own.
    What does it mean to you?

    Like

    • //I am learning to refrain from making any comment while talking to both sets of friends on sensitive women’s issues.//
      Joyee I think you should be able to voice your opinions, honestly, though perhaps tactfully, so as not to hurt someone. Sometimes not sharing an opinion also works (if it doesn’t directly affect you, though I find this difficult) – but being liberal would mean being willing to hear an opinion we disagree with, and maybe responding, maybe disagreeing, maybe ignoring, but genrally not attempting to silence it.

      Like

  18. i m really surprised that a question like this is even being asked. this is like the english version of “beti, doli mein jaa rahi ho, arthi mein nikalna. aur ghar ki baat ghar mein hi rakhna.” god knows a lot of arthis owe their existence to this “not washing dirty linen in public” principle. why did we never think of stopping ppl when they were soiling the linen?

    interestingly, Ms. Sudha Murthy, in one of her books, mentions that traditional indian society was better bcs everyone interfered in everyone’s lives. she mentions a real example of a neighbo shouting at a family that used to ill treat its dil. the ill treatment stopped bcause of the shaming by the neighbor. And i remember that this used to happen.. so really, which of these is bhartiya sanskriti?

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