Sharing an email.
I came across your blog while doing a Google search on how to deal with problems with Indian MIL. Ever since I got married a lot of my searches have been along the lines of ‘arranged marriage nightmare’, ‘possessive mother in law’, ‘dominating mother in law’, ‘cure for depression’….It is not the best state of mind to be in and I cannot tell you how much better I felt when I read about women having similar experiences on your blog.
I wanted to share my story so that someone else out there may too feel better after reading it. I am in a moral dilemma about my future so I would be very grateful if you could post it so I may receive input from others here.
I am a 25 yr old Software Engineer working in the USA. I grew up in India but moved here for my studies, so I think I am in that sweet spot wherein I respect our values but having lived independently for so many years have a fairly liberal outlook.
I had an arranged marriage last year after which I moved into the house with my in laws. They seemed nice enough in the beginning, but once I started living there the problems started.
My mother in law never graduated beyond 5th grade in India so she worked on all other areas to make up for that. She is an excellent cook, really good at stitching and knitting. I on the other hand am an average cook at best and certainly don’t see myself cooking for 10 people. (She regularly does that on every other weekend). She likes to have complete control over everyone. She repeatedly tells my husband that we should not make any decisions whatsoever without consulting her and FIL.
They were expecting a subservient docile daughter in law and although I have tried my best to be one, my initial months with them were a prison because of her constant interference. Case in point:
1. When I was taking a shower one time, she knocked on my door and said I should hurry up because in her words ‘ladies of the house should not shower for more than 10 minutes’
2. When I asked my hubby for his laptop, she told me that we do not share electronics here and that we should get a separate one for myself.
3. When she spotted my hubby making our bed one morning, she marched in our bedroom and yanked the bedsheet from him saying that ‘she should be able to do all this’
4. They have a rule that everyone has to have breakfast together on weekends so I have to be out of my bed by 9 and have tea/snacks with the whole family. (Now granted some of you may think well is this a really big deal. It is not like I want to live like a slob, but being a working woman, I think I deserve some days when I just want to relax and do things on my own time)
5. They absolutely do not like it if I talk to my parents, especially my mother. I cannot call my mother every day, even if I make a call I am supposed to talk only in front of them and only for a short while.
6. I work 40 hours a week and so I obviously cannot cook for 4 people everyday. So she will keep a mound of dough ready for me so I have to make chapattis for all of them after coming from work. (around 30). The said chapattis must be made in a timely manner and be perfect concentric circles.
7. One time me and my husband had just had a flight back from my family’s place. My husband knew I was tired so he suggested I take a nap. When my MIL heard this she said ‘No no no..It is not good to get tired so easily. Us Ladies have to face so many struggles and we have to take care of so many people in the future so this is not a good sign blah blah.’
8. I am a shy introvert person by nature, so there are times when I am quiet. Both MIL and FIL are always complaining about this. They say things like ‘She needs to be more mixing with us… she looks very lost….” The way my MIL invites people over and cooks for 10-15 people , they expect me to do the same for my husband’s friends.
9. When I went to visit my family, my FIL called me and yelled at me and my family because I had not called them for 4 days. He said that ‘when you are in trouble over here your family is not going to be there for you, we are the ones you need so you cannot forget us like that’. After that I had to make a phone call to my MIL every single day of my stay. Every evening I would call and say ‘how are you?’…..’how is everyone at home?’…
This continued for about 4 months. Luckily since their current home is small, I and my DH decided to move into an apartment. Once we made the move and had our own place, there was a remarkable change in the quality of our life. I started having fewer fights with my husband. There were no misunderstandings and we could resolve our disagreements with rational discussions and compromise. We got time to know each other. I was finally able to sleep peacefully after coping with months of insomnia.
However, my MIL was overcome with insecurity. She was afraid that we would have more autonomy of our lives and since then she has been insisting that we move into a bigger house with them.
When my hubby had to go away for a few days for work, my MIL said that I have to stay with them for that period. I was looking forward to spending some time by myself and fix things up in what I consider to be my own place. So I said that I would like to stay by myself since I sleep better here. They took it as insult and came over to our place and had a big fight. They called up my parents and told them what an insolent bahu I was. They also brought up past issues that they have with me basically that I am not behaving as a married woman should and not shouldering my responsibilities. FYI both FIL and MIL have no health issues and I have never interfered in my husband’s relation with them. I never even ask him whether he gives any money to them and on top of that I shelled out money so that they could things fixed up in their house. My MIL wants me to call her up every single day ( I do so once a week). She wants us to come over to their place twice a week. (we go there once a weekend)
They feel so insulted that I refused to go stay over there when my hubby was not here that they have now told me that I am not allowed to go see my family again this year. I understand that they are trying to derive pleasure out of exacting retribution for what they perceive to be an affront. But I am an adult and I simply can’t digest the fact that as an adult I have to ask for their permission to see my family. When I talk to my husband about this, he gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon
On top of this, they would like us to buy a bigger house and all live together like we used to before. Right now I cannot even stand to look at them let alone live with them. I have given us living together a shot in the past, but based on my experience I really don’t think I will be able to go through with it without losing my mind..
Please advise what should I do… For the sake of my sanity and in order to salvage my relationship with my husband, I want to stand my ground and stay separately ….