Sharing an email.
Doesn’t the frequency of these emails indicate how common this abuse is? How does one deal with this (and other such) interference from someone who is a part of the family without allowing bitterness and resentment to become a part of her thinking?
How likely is that eventually the victim might become equally manipulative after wasting days, months and years surviving the obvious but socially permitted intrusion into their personal space, in the name of well meant (though clearly unwelcome and unasked for and hence not really better) elderly advice, instruction and superior-guidance?
If boundaries are to be made more visible – and some ‘distance’ maintained, where does one begin without being ‘disrespectful’ or ungrateful or without cutting all ties with those who are being abusive/intrusive?
Why has this become such a part of our culture? Is it really because women are made to see their homes as their world and discouraged from having any interests of their own?
Here’s an email I received this morning.
My Mother in law finds faults with everything I cook
Dear IHM Readers,
I know what I am gonna write now is a very minor issue, or at least that’s, how I took it till now and ignored.. But I lost my patience now… let me tell you my story…
I got married 8 months ago and started family in The US. Ours is a love marriage and we were classmates in a boarding school.
My borther in law (my husbands elder brother) and his wife also live in the same city where we live. They recently bought a house here, so my husband and him wanted to have their parents here for the house warming ceremony. But, his father refused to come saying that he gets bored and he has to look after his mom who is very old. But my mother in law was ready to come. So these guys applied for her visa and booked her tickets. I was happy that she was coming coz we all know how lonely it gets living in a foreign country… But, my happiness did not last long. Ever since her tickets got booked she started saying, “there you go your mother in law is coming, be prepared to get dominated”…. at first I thought she was kidding, but for every 3 days whenever we call her she repeated the same sentence… i got pissed but ignored since im not a person who worries that much.. Finally the day came and she arrived, first thing in the airport, again same sentence… She repeated the same sentence every hour for 3 days. Always she says Im your “mother in law” as if its a great qualification. Then again she hates whatever I cook.. I had never cooked before wedding but Im doing fairly well since we started home.. I have been browsing for recipes and cooking… In fact my husband loves my cooking. But my mother in law finds faults in everything including rice and idli!! I dont understand how can someone cook rice differently?? Also, she cooks very unhealthy food, she puts so much oil and masalas in her food, yet, the other day she said the curry which i made was very spicy and asked my husband not to eat, it seems such spicy food causes the disease ‘piles’. I am a food technologist. I did my masters in Australia in Food Science and Technology and she says I cook unhealthy…
My rotis are not that circular but they are round enough, she comments about it. I just started cooking yaar!! how can she expect that round rotis from me?
Not just food, she always says, I put my blood and raised my sons now the daughter in laws are enjoying the fruit.. She always says, we are enjoying the American life while she was rotting in India. But, for me the feeling is reverse, India is luxury, here it is so difficult doing chores all by ourselves. Yet she thinks we are enjoying and she is suffering. She scolds my husband whenever he praises me for anything. she says husband or in laws should never appreciate the girl!! what logic is that? Why is it like this in our country, like girl’s parents should respect the guy but guy’s parents should constantly taunt the girl? who gave that right to them?? She asked me whether I know before how the life in US is and is that why I married her son? For God’s sake my husband was a student when we fell in love and decided to get married, next I already went on my own to a foreign country and lived and left my job got married and followed her son to The states. She doesn’t bother about that.. she just sees me like a normal bahu and she is the serial types saas. She never offers to help while I am cooking or doing something… one day I was folding the washed clothes in which her sarees are also there.. She did not offer help and off course I did not even expect but there were her inners in those clothes which were so damn ugly, I guess she bought them even before I was born, I was folding them in front of her she just observed but did not take them from me and folded those herself.
It’s been only 2 weeks since she came and already she made life hell for me and my co sister. Can’t imagine how girls are doing in joint families. I’m just being quiet trying not to argue coz I seriously don’t want to upset my husband. He is so sweet, whenever his mother behaves like that he tells me sorry at night. So, I just dont want to upset him more by arguing with his mother. She will be here for 2 more months.. Im praying God to save me! 😦