Sharing an email.
“I am very frustrated and need some independence for my own. Be it financial or decision making. I don’t like anyone micro-managing my life at each stage.”
First of all, thanks for all the efforts that you do in your blog. At least, one solace that the likes of us find is that we are not alone. What we are going through is not completely unheard of. Would it be selfish of me to wish that others also go through this?? I don’t know. But as they say, a known devil is better and bla bla bla.
Before you draw any conclusions, I am not some abla bechari naari of yester years troubled by in-laws for either dowry or physical abuse. But does that mean my life is easy? No.
Adjusting in a new environment is always difficult. Given that, is why is that adjustment demanded like they have a birth-right over me coz they gave birth to a male off spring??
Ok. Without further confusion. I am a lawyer, married to a lawyer. Both working for reputed law firms. We love each other. But we are completely different in out thoughts, opinions and preferences, which I failed to evaluate before commiting a “yes” to his proposal. (Which, I later came to know, was only after approval from his mom. In my mind, that proposal lost some value after knowing that if his mom had denied, he would have gladly moved on)
I grew up in an atmosphere where my mom had the then-usual MIL troubles and since dad supported my mother big time, always being a shoulder for tears and a spokesperson for her benefits, I never understood a situation where a husband can be a mommas boy. My dad was opposite. He would support my mom always. Having a daughter made him so, I guess. Dad never interfered in household expenses. Mom had a free reign, except the big spendings, the decisions for which were taken jointly, by all of us. My opinion also mattered. Something that I took for granted until marriage happened. I had a say in what car to buy, what new property to invest in, what color should be the curtains and whether we need a new washing machine or not.
As I grew up, I was given some authority over my pocket money. I could spend as I want, as long as I reported what I spent for. Once I completed college and took up job, I was only advised. Never forced. I could spend however I want, without informing my parents, except for big expenses, which was still a joint decision.
My husband grew up in a atmosphere which was the same, except that he was taught to agree to what his parents decide. He could spend only after asking permission, whether eating out with friends or buying a shirt or going for a movie. If the answer is no, no further arguments. Somewhat (?!) autocratic, which continues till today. He doesnt eat out before calling his mommy and seeking her permission. Doesnt plan a outing with friends without seeking permission. If denied, no further arguments. He is proud of the fact that he does not have friends, or he does not need friends. That he is the shravan kumar of modern India.
I read a question put up by a MIL in your blog and the response she gave later [link], where they accepted that their DIL should have a choice on what to spend, on whom to spend. After all, its her salary. I must accept that I was green with envy that the MIL understood and accepted her DIL, and was in fact proud of her DIL.
In our case, we both surrender our full salaries to FIL. He takes care of them, invests them, gives to MIL for household expenses. And we are left with some “pocket money” to spend on fuel and stuff. I thought it was initial insecurity which will iron itself out with time, but I was wrong.
I have to seek permission for visiting parents. My phone bill has to be reasonable. My expenses nominal. And my desires non-existant. The decision maker for the home is MIL. The decision maker for big spendings is FIL. I am a non-party to any discussions, only a spectator at times. I cannot buy one book for myself without going through the approval route. I have to “inform” them that I talk to my parents regularly because apparently, and to my surprise / shock, a good DIL gradually decreases her contact with her parents and considers them distant relatives. A good DIL knows how dangerous it is to be in constant touch with her mother, because girls mothers know very well how to fuel her brain and cause tensions in the house of in-laws. A good DIL does not spend on her parents / siblings.
In time, I am expected to be a clone of MIL. I should cook as she cooks, I should live as she lives, I should not spend on clothes / parlours / hobbies (hobbies for a girl is a taboo). I should not desire to eat at good restaurants. I should preserve the gifts that I get for my children to use. I should live on clothes gifted by others. And if my parents express a desire to give me something, I should consult MIL on what gift should I ask for. I should not buy anything for the house, without opinion of MIL, for she knows best.
Once we have kid, I should hand my kid over to MIL for upbringing because she has this complete flawless way of bringing up. Since I love my DH, it means I am fine with her uprbinging. My parents should not have any say in the upbringing of their grand-child. They should fall at the feet of my PIL for giving their daughter a good husband, good home, best PIL in the world.
No rights. No responsibilities. And be happy with it.
How is one supposed to deal with this autocratic, almost Hitlerish, behavior? Please help.
P.S. Oh did I mention that if I have a preference for girl child, I am a gender biased person. Whereas if my in-laws are planning a ceremony for birth of a grandson, they are just dreaming??? Or that any reference to yet unborn child is always made by the term “our grandson” or “your son”??? Or that my mother in law was very gracious on occasion of birth of a girl child to her SIL by telling her “its ok.” and supporting her???
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Can you also add that I am damn scared. I dont know why that should be but I was brought up to be a non-confrontational, especially with elders. I hate conflicts and friction within families. But the fact that neither the MIL who was once a DIL (and who does not live with her aging MIL) does not understand the stupidity of heaving these so-called traditional values on another woman nor the fact that my husband is completely smitten by his mom’s sacrifices in bringing him up all alone without the support of her own MIL, whereas she is so gracious as to allow me her constant support (read: constant presence).
He does not look at it as double standards. But in fact is proud that his mother is with us all the time to support us and help us.
Yes, she is a big help. (She cooks for us and I have to merely help her and go to work. She keeps the kitchen stocked.) But no, I do not need the help. Because with that help comes a heap of conditions which I am not prepared to fulfill. With each passing day, the resentment in me increases manifolds. And everytime, I attempt to take over the responsibility of managing the kitchen, I am subtly made aware that it is her kitchen, so her way. Since I am not a bargain queen and cannot manage to bring 80 Rs. onions at 65 Rs., I am not good enough to run the house, yet.
I cannot turn down this help without a big, really big conflict in the home, because she is used to doing things her way since she got married. She has never stayed with her MIL and hence, it has always been a “territorial” matter for her, if I may put so. She gets very insecure due to reasons best known to her and though, not even once, I have either dis-obeyed her or raised my voice or talked back or voiced my opinions and accepted everything without a word, I am being labelled “under the influence of my mom”. WHY? What has my mom got to do with anything?
There have been instances where my parents have been pulled in discussions (in their absence) and have been called ‘asanskari’ for several reasons ranging from lesser gifts for the damaad or “interrupting” the normal way of life of their home by trying to advise the damaad. Husband also does not like my parents advising him on any matters and I have become a sort of prize of the game. The players being my parents and my husband, with complete disregard for my wishes whatsoever.
I dont want to question her intentions. But I am very frustrated and need some independence for my own. Be it financial or decision making. I dont like anyone micro-managing my life at each stage.
Thanks a lot.