“I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.”

1. If a challenging situation can’t be changed, then one of the positive things to do would be to find constructive ways to deal with it. Agree?

2. At the same time, hopefully, and even more positively, never giving up and still continuing to look for ways to change the situation – because change won’t happen unless we consciously work to bring it.

How does this email writer achieve both?

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I am an avid reader of your blog. It is only because of your blog I know what feminism is and how patriarchal I was though I considered myself modern. I wish I had discovered this blog before marriage.

I have mailed you in the past and your blog has changed me and helped a lot.

I’m not sure if its okay for you that I am mailing so many times. If so, please let me know.

My issue is: we are planning to move into my laws house in few months. We had fights regarding this as their family is very orthodox. The main problem is his father doesn’t talk to me from the beginning. I feel it will be awkward when we move in there. Also silent treatment is something that hurts me the most and I have received it from many people including from my husband.

Do you think it will be fine after we move in there? I am confused. To be honest, I have no other option than to move in to in laws house. Do you think of any idea or tips I should follow to not get hurt.

One incident that happened: recently, we and his family along with his two sisters went to purchase dress for the house warming ceremony. I offered biscuits to them and when I gave it to him, he just looked away. Nobody said anything. I broke down. But no one saw me crying. Me and my husband were not in good terms so I didn’t tell him too..

I am scared to face any more incidents like this.

Can you suggest me ideas?

Thank you very much, IHM

Related Posts:

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“I will never live in a joint family, it has its roots in patriarchy and benefits only men.”

‘I am not really sure why is it the duty of a new bride to adjust no matter what you feel?’

An email from a Newly Wed Wife. “Now they don’t like me.”

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

43 thoughts on ““I have no other option than to move in with my very orthodox in laws. I need tips to not get hurt.”

  1. You are not comfortable staying with your in laws. You need to discuss this with your husband. You can discuss this with your husband only when you are in good terms with him. For me, your not being good terms with your husband is the most important problem.
    Is their any way to work on that first and then you can think of shifting/dealing with in laws ?

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  2. Although I wish I could say something other than this but I don’t see any good option(from what the LW has written) other than being adamant and not moving in.

    It is a lost cause unless like some tele-serial heroine you want to believe that they will see your goodness eventually and start behaving differently.

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  3. First, improve your relations with your husband, if it can be done. It will go worse, if you were to move in with your in laws.

    Second, I don’t believe you have no other choice other that moving in with your in laws. You can refuse to move in.

    Instead of looking for ways not to get hurt, build your confidence and set your boundaries. As long as you have a clear conscience, it is fine. There is no other way around this – there will be drama and tears whether you like it or not. Might as well do what pleases you because the drama will ensue wither way. So, just do not move in with them.

    If your potential room mates/flat mates/friends treated you like that, would you move into that house or look to rent another place? Would you even continue being friends with such a person after they treat you poorly. Then, why throw the same basic logic out of the window when it comes to in laws or husband?

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  4. Dear LW,

    Unless I have missed it somehow it is not clear to me why you feel compelled to move to your inlaws place though you are clearly not comfortable.

    It’s really not worth staying with cold and aloof people, especially if the man whom you married us cold to the passive aggressive behavior thrown your way.

    From the letter it is not too clear if you work. If you are not financially independent , it is better that you are engaged in the field of work that builds your confidence . Whether or not you decide to move in with your inlaws, build a strong support system with trusted friends and family members whom you can rely on. Please make sure you have sufficient back up plans .

    And your Fil looks like a typical passive aggressive alpha male . Looks like you wanted to be a bigger person by initiating the peace offering. But it’s not worth continuing to be nice to him, if he is giving you silent treatment for no fault of yours. Please don’t seek approval from such people, you are better off without them.

    Finally it is your decision. Is it worth living with cold egoistic people who are bent on intimidating you for your husband who doesn’t seem to be making any efforts in getting you the respect you deserve.

    Whatever you decide, good luck to you.

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  5. The key issue that stands out to me here is that you’re not on ‘good terms’ (in your own words) with your husband, so much so that you cannot even confide in him–because, it seems like to me, that he has zero respect for your feelings. Yet you’re going to move in with your in laws (none of whom seem like they like you very much, and you seem to be the type of person who really wants to be liked).

    I would advise you and your husband to see a couple’s therapist (preferably one who has returned from practising abroad) and sort out whatever issues you have–this will take months at the very least and maybe even years. Until that’s resolved, I wouldn’t recommend moving anywhere.

    Alternatively, if he desperately wants to move in with his family, perhaps you can live somewhere else (can you support yourself for rent/basics?) and you guys can still continue with therapy? If not, can you move in with any family members that live close by?

    I honestly do not know what would be an option for you–if it were me, and I was married to someone who I couldn’t even talk to, I’d say ‘see ya, loser’ and move out of there and sign divorce papers in a second. But I don’t know if that’s remotely a feasible option for you.

    Oddly enough, as much as I’ve advised people on this website to move the heck out of their in laws place, I’m moving in with my father-in-law and his wife this October. But he’s not that traditional, has always treated me with the utmost respect, and is generally a nice person who’s always gone out of his way to make me feel comfortable (I’ve known him for six years now so I’m definitely sure of this).

    Similarly, I wouldn’t think twice about moving in with my mother-in-law and step-father-in-law as well as they’re both awesome people and I’m 98% as comfortable with them as I am with my parents.

    I think the key issue comes down to respect–in your situation, LW, I don’t think your husband or his family respect you at all. This is obviously going to bother you (as it would bother anyone else) and ‘tips’ on not getting hurt aren’t going to cut it.

    Adding to the ‘tips for not getting hurt’ bit–I think all of us need to accept that there are people who like us and those who do not. I don’t see myself changing the way I am to get other people to like me. Of course, I’m going to make an effort with people who matter–but I’m also very clear on those who do not matter (it took me years to be this way, I think my husband was definitely a good influence in making this clear for me). I think you need to figure out who’s on your ‘matters’ list versus ‘doesn’t matter’ list and why.

    And next time someone deliberately ignores you when you’re speaking, saying ‘Hi, did you not hear me, I was wondering if you wanted any biscuits?’ in a loud voice is a great way to go. If no one says anything still, saying ‘great, more for me’ and loudly crunching said biscuits may be a wise consequent step.

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  6. If you have to move into their house, what about giving them the silent treatment? A cousin’s wife used to do this. She would cook hers and her husbands food and ignore everybody else. Would sit in her room, on the net all day and ignore MIL. She would keep the baby with her too, and basically the family broke down and accepted her as she was.
    I am not sure how successful this strategy will be in a family I know nothing about, but it is an option.

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    • My sister has used this strategy. Earlier, she was expected to get up at 5, load water into a tank, cook 3 course meal twice a day. One day, she just stopped doing all of this. Now, she wakes up at 7, cooks 2 dishes once a day, doesn’t load water into the tank. Her MIL yelled at her and she yelled back. Now, her MIL does everything without saying a word.

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        • Wouldn’t it better to take turns so that work gets distributed ?Why didn’t ask her husband and film or other family members to chip in? Seems like she chose to bully only the mil to get out of more work ?

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        • Cosettez or whoever you are, no, my sister did not bully anyone. She tried very hard to change things, her husband was not supportive either. After being treated like slave, she gave it back to them. Her MIL is a monster and deserves much worse treatment.

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  7. There are many loose threads hanging in your case to reach a comprehensive solution. I have no clue of who you are as a person and what your circumstances are. So, I am only giving out a list of options to you. Now, depending on whichever suits you, you can consider them.
    I won’t be pushing, or rather, advising you to choose what many people call ‘radical’ ideas. Feminism is only about providing rights to choose, not forcing someone to choose an option even if it is the better one.
    1. You mentioned that your husband has given you silent treatment in the past and also that your ties with him were not good at some point. We don’t know your current status with your husband. Now, assuming the old status of your relationship, if you can mend your relationship with your husband, you may do it. For a successful marriage, ‘love’ isn’t needed as much as trust, understanding and mutual respect are needed. If these three aren’t there, ‘love’ soon wanes into a silent hatred, resentment and frustration.
    Your marriage first consists of you and your husband. If this very foundation is weak, nothing much can come out of this marriage. I will also warn you that having kids won’t resolve your relationship issues; many women before you have tried and failed in that.
    So, try to talk to him. Make him your friend. If you see cooperation and support from your husband’s side, before the time comes to move into your in-laws place, you can proceed to the next step.
    2. If he comes round to be more understanding and shows signs of being supportive, it is up to you to decide on two things:
    a) Taking the calculated risk of moving in with his parents
    b) Talking to him about your reservations and persuading him to see why living with your in-laws is a problem for you
    For the situations herein, I am assuming that the relationship with your husband is worth keeping.
    What exactly are your problems with your in-laws? You have mentioned that they are orthodox, that your FIL doesn’t speak to you and that he refused to take the biscuit you offered him. I don’t have much perspective here. But anyway, I will give you an example of how to deal with differences:
    How different is your lifestyle from theirs? What changes are you expecting will occur in your lifestyle, owing to their orthodoxy? Are these changes too much for you? Every orthodox household is different in its own orthodoxy. Chances are, it might not be as bad as you think. So find out what exactly their lifestyle is. If you actually find that there are many such changes which you will be expected or forced to make in your lifestyle, and that those changes are not compatible with your nature and worldview, you will have to think of solutions.
    Secondly, assuming from your expressions of how you felt when ignored by people, I feel you are quite an emotional person. I mean, if it were me offering that biscuit, I’d gladly have eaten up FIL’s share; nothing to lose, I got one more biscuit! That’s me! But people can be different. If you are strong, happy-go-lucky and care a rat’s ass about things such as ‘silent treatment’, gossip and what others think of you, you shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever, living with them or not. So, you have these options:
    a) Being indifferent, viz. I mind my business, you mind yours. If they talk, you talk. Don’t get into fights. Just do your reasonable amount of duty, whatever it consists of and leave the rest. In fact, try getting a challenging job that gives you a change of environment and perspective.
    You have to be a very smart, cunning, independent and chilled-out person to pull this off; any sign of weakness, you can and will be attacked. But they will have no evidence. After all, you didn’t say/do anything on the record, did you?
    b) Try to establish a rapport with your ILs. Try talking to them. Maybe you can find a friend in SIL or MIL and turn the tables for yourself. I mean my MIL is a good friend to me and I genuinely love her. So, yeah, maybe you just need to look. If this doesn’t work, you can go to option (a) or (c)
    c) Convince your husband to move out. Present clear evidence before him. DO NOT CRY OR GET ANGRY. Present the facts in a rational, practical and matter-of-factly way and do not show your reactions to it, even if they were very emotional incidents. Nobody can actually listen to their spouse say stuff about their own parents, even if they know the truth themselves. If your husband is understanding and supportive, this option will work. It is only a matter of time.
    3. If your husband is not supportive, then the marriage itself is weak. Moving in with your in-laws will make it worse. ILs can wreck even the best of relationships, take my word, I am a survivor. Capitalizing on the differences between you and your husband, life will be made even worse for you. So, you have these options:
    a) Leave the marriage. Separation, divorce or just amicably living separately. No words said. You get your life, he gets his. It is a myth that you need companionship or a spouse to be happy. Happiness is within you.
    To do this, you have to be financially independent and mentally strong. You can seek counseling.
    b) Suck it up like many other women have before you. My MIL for example, does this. She does get beaten around at FIL’s fancy, but she firmly asserts that he is her happiness and life and love and that he is nice to her in good times. Women like this exist. I have no right to judge whether they are happy or unhappy, they have to say that themselves.
    You can read around various blogs in this site to know how it feels in a lifelong subservience in a patriarchal environment. I don’t want to comment on that. But yeah, be forewarned.
    So, good luck. Do not make a choice you will regret.

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    • Thanks vamp!

      I’m definitely taking up few options of yours..🙂

      Thank u for putting so much effort to give this incredible comment.

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    • I think when it comes to relationship s,…especially if you are trying to bridge gaps and forge alliance,…being shrewd and cunning to gain a foothold will make others wary and trust you less. in fact being honest,sincere and kind and showing genuine interest in them will work better.
      Being indifferent to ppl staying under one roof,….requires a very thick skin and not a very nice one.I won’t advise you to cultivate cunning if you are actually a nice person.In long run,it’ll harm your psyche and happiness.

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      • Hi cosettez,
        I do agree with your point on being honest, sincere and nice… and that nice people shouldn’t turn to ‘cunning’.
        But, I speak from live experience. I was the nice girl. I believed in being honest, sincere and loving. I genuinely loved my ILs when I started off.
        The only benefit I reaped was with my MIL, who is also genuine and sincere.
        My FIL and daadi-saas are big manipulators. No matter how nice I was with them, they only thought of how to control me.
        FIL would do sweet things for me, but his ultimatum was his own vested interests from the very beginning.
        I trusted my daadi-saas like my own grandma and was totally let down when I discovered to my horror that she was bitching about me behind my back to other extended relatives as in, “Don’t come here, she won’t give you even a glass of water to drink” etc. All this, when with a 9-7 office I even used to massage her feet!
        This is how reality is like! If you are nice, it doesn’t mean you have to be guileless, ignorant and gullible. You have no idea how broken and shattered I was. I went through depression. I tried to be more and more loving towards them. But, they were only nice to me on the surface.
        It was then that I realized you should be nice, but only with genuine people. Being nice to manipulators is making yourself vulnerable. How else do you think I won back my rights to wear what I like, continue working, not to have kids, not being subjected to lengthy drunk lectures from FIL? This is how… By showing them that by their own actions, they have lost my trust, I got my rightful place.
        Yes, I am still nice to them. But just like them, it is the surface. My family has brought me up to show respect and courtesy to everyone because that reflects my upbringing. Inside, I don’t trust them a bit. When I am with them, I am extremely careful of my actions and speech.
        That is what I am advising the letter writer to do. If she is simply nice, manipulators will only take her for a ride. I did mention that she must try to find friends in her ILs. You cannot win over manipulators with love. They have only one motive – control.
        The LW said she cried when her FIL didn’t accept the biscuit. She gets upset when people give her the silent treatment. For someone as emotionally vulnerable, do you still advocate ‘being nice’? She has to understand that if she really doesn’t want to be the “typical Indian DIL”, she has to learn the ropes of the world i.e. be a smart, clever person whom nobody can manipulate. No knight in shining armor is going to come and save her. She is out there all on her own. Unless she is shrewd, smart and clever, she can’t escape unscathed.
        And being thick skinned is the only way she can maintain her ‘reputation’ even while getting what she wants.
        My 2 cents, and my experience. Yes, I feel bad I couldn’t forge a bond with them. But, it’s not my fault. They got what they deserved.
        Regards,
        Vamp

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        • I am sorry you had to go through so much,…but its possible to develop a thick skin while being a nice person too,…..however not by staying together with mean manipulating people.
          Mean manipulating people change a nice person psyche therefore distancing yourself is a must.
          Frankly, I think LW is making a big mistake moving in since ppl not taking offered biscuits hurts her so much.Everyday,not talking with them,being indifferent under the same roof, is going to harm her psyche in long run…..
          You know, we are humans,….and we be nice ,keep values follow ethics for ourselves,…..not for others.When others don’t treat us nice when we have been good ,it grates.So,taking revenge,been ng shrewd ,artificial and cunning when not born that way grates and harms us not the other person.
          The best possible recourse for a nice person is to remove herself/himself from that situation, stop talking with the bad person,make firm boundaries.

          @lw
          You need a separate kitchen,….and a room whose entrance is separate if possible if you want to maintain sanity,independence and still not talk with them.

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        • Hi cosettez,

          I think we are on the same side.

          By cunning and shrewd, I meant exactly what you wanted to say. Thick skinned while being nice. I don’t mean she should go about scheming and conniving and wrecking people’s lives.

          But like I said earlier, this is one of the options she has. No reason she cannot change herself to pull this off. I never tell people they cannot do something.

          It’s really up to her. If she cannot, she better talk it out with her husband. Or if the husband too is not worth being with (in the LW’s opinion) she can separate.

          Regards,
          Vamp

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  8. Silent treatment is a form of abuse,its dehumanizing cruel.The only way you can avoid it is avoid those people who give you the silent treatment for an extended period of time.
    I was in a relationship with a person like that,…..at first I didn’t recognise the cruelty of it,silent treatment was his weapon of choice regardless of the size of problem or issue.
    Then I realised its manipulation,….. He expected me to mindread him ,otherwise silent treatment.
    I don’t know how bad your situation is,….and husband can’t be avoided.
    I stopped letting it bother me,….it took me years to get of the kind of thinking I had developed ,…..you know worrying abt my every word and action which might trigger the silent treatment.
    Stop letting it hurt you,……they do it because they know it hurts you.
    And your husband,…..if he is extreme in silent treatment,….counsellors also will not be able to help.Adults need to talk to sove problems or to even negotiate.

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  9. Is there no other option but living with the in-laws? Also, it sounds like your husband and you have to have a proper talk before the move happens. Share with him how you feel and try to work out the issues you both seem to have first.

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  10. Hello,

    I am the letter writer.

    Responding to be clear about my situation.

    Me and my husband are not talking for one month now. But I am sure we will make a good couple. I am a yelling person(I did not know yelling was abusive until I read IHM n desi dg blog), but I have realised and changing myself. My husband’s silent treatment is in response to my yelling character I guess.

    I am studying now. Will definitely work in future.

    I have explained my husband about the possible issues that we might face. And he has promised to stand up for us. But in certain critical situations, he says he did not see it wrong until I pointed that out because it has always been like that in his house it seems. He did say that he will learn to tackle situations and I believe him.

    The house that we are going to move in is a newly built one and it has always been his dream to live there. He says he has been brought up that it’s his duty to take care of his parents and he is unable to think out of it. He also said he tried thinking living separately but it doesn’t seem possible.

    Do u think it will be possible for me to ignore FIL and respond only when he talks to me? I don’t want to portray myself as a typical obedient Indian DIL. I just want live at peace.

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    • My suggestion is: ultimately build another floor, especially your own kitchen if it doesn’t already exist.the only successful joint families I’ve seen are the ones with separate kitchens. Because kitchens are symbolic of a lot of things. Especially control over routines and preferences. And serving people.

      I too hate the silent treatment. And I know how it hurts. But it also feels easy to deal with because I can reciprocate with silence which is less exhausting than trying to filter out hurtful words. But that’s my choice.

      Please understand that most Indian women have experienced disrespectful behaviour and/or mild abuse in some form or other meaning that if you write to any forum you will receive lots of perspective and advice. This in turn will keep you from feeling isolated – a very important thing. Obviously the fact that it’s common doesn’t make it right!

      Take care and do let us knhow it turns out. Living with in laws need not be all bad. But as with any relationship the boundaries need to be clear. All the best.

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    • I think people who are giving you the “obvious” advice are not really taking ground realities into account.

      It sounds to me like you were brought up in a traditional household, you personally hold some traditional views, and your personality is simply not the openly rebellious type. It is almost impossible to fight for yourself against the forces of Indian traditions unless you are the rebellious type. Fortunately this is something you can develop, and is not something you are born with necessarily (will get back to this later).

      Also it sounds like you really can’t just refuse to move in with your inlaws. Am I correct in assuming your husband is paying for your education? And of course your future ability to be employed depends on that so you can’t just leave him and expect to survive.

      I think the right thing for you to do right now is to just hold your breath, move in with your inlaws, stay with your husband, and do whatever it takes to get your education and find a good job. For now, let this be your goal.

      Before we move on, I want to tell you a few things that you may or may not agree with, but just keep it in mind and think about it.

      1. You are NOT being abusive by yelling at your husband. One of the basic criteria of abuse is that it must come from someone in a position of power, and it is very clear that you have almost no power in your household. Would you think it is abuse if a young child yells at her parents? Would you think it is abuse if a poor employee yells at her rich boss? Would you think it is abuse if a servant yells at his master? When someone without much power yells at those in power that is an act of great courage. The employee is risking losing her job, the servant is risking the loss of his livelihood, the child is risking the wrath of her more powerful parents, and you are risking your home, your education, and your place in society – by yelling. That isn’t abuse. That’s you fighting for your right to be heard, at great risk. Stop feeling guilty. You are not an abusive person.

      2. Your husband is an abusive asshole. He gives you the silent treatment for a month. He forces you to move in with his parents even though he knows you will be unhappy and he knows they treat you like shit. He questions your feelings and does not seem to think you are entitled to the same respect that he is. You may not think so now, and you may think he often says and does the right things (which he may!), and you may be grateful to him for all that he does for you (paying for your education, if he does that), and you may even be in love with him. But just keep this in mind: from what you have told us it is very clear he is abusing you. Someone who loves you and respects you would never force you to live with your inlaws when you don’t want to. Would you ever force him like this? So, just keep this in mind. I am not asking you to act on it. I am not asking you to leave him right now, or even agree with me. Just let it be in the back of your mind. See how you feel about this idea in a few weeks, months, a year. If, one day, you start to feel the same way, then I think it will help you to know you are not crazy and you are not imagining things.

      Okay. Now that this is out of the way, here are some suggestions to help you get through the ordeal of living with your inlaws.

      For now, Zen or Buddhist philosophy will help you. You pretend you are a huge rock. Rain falls on you: do you care? A dog barks loudly near you: do you care? Your mind is like water. Waves come and go on the surface but underneath you remain just as you are. Nobody can touch the core of you, the most inner part of you that knows you are amazing, beautiful, and wise. On the internet there is a saying: “Haters gonna hate”. Screw your father in law. If he does not want to talk to you, that’s his loss. You don’t need anybody’s approval, and you certainly do not care whether or not they like you. YOU don’t like THEM. So who cares what they think of you?
      When you wake up in the morning, do you pray? Whether or not you do, make sure you say this mantra five times: I am an adult. Nobody can dictate what to do, what to wear, how to sit, what to eat, where to shop, and how I spend my time. And believe it. You’re an adult. You don’t have to hang out at home with your mother-in-law. You don’t have to eat what they serve. You don’t have to do anything more than 1/4 of the household chores (assuming there are 4 adults living at home). And if you want to spend the whole day shut inside your room, studying or goofing off on the internet, that is your right. Don’t let anybody shame you for it. Remember: you are a rock. Does a rock listen to people who yell at it to be more fluid?
      Don’t fall into the trap of convincing your inlaws to let you do X or Y or Z. You do not need their permission. You are an adult, remember? You can INFORM them what you’re doing, if you like, but don’t ever try to convince them of anything. Let them live their life, and you live yours.
      Make peace with the worst that can happen. What’s the worst that can happen? Your husband divorces you? SWEET! Can’t imagine anything better for you. Nobody deserves the pleasure of your company if they cannot handle you living the way you want to live.
      Read lots and lots and lots of feminist blogs and books. Make it a goal to read a few pages or three blog posts every single day. Keep a journal of your advancing feminist thought. There is nothing better for your self confidence than knowing there is a whole huge community of your allies who know you are doing nothing wrong when you completely ignore your mother-in-law yelling at you and do whatever the fuck you like.

      I know these things are going to be hard to follow immediately. It’s hard enough for me to do, even with a lifetime of being rebellious and living as I wish. But confidence is not something you are born with: it’s a muscle that you can develop by repeatedly exercising it.

      Every little assertion of self confidence and self love is something to celebrate. Every little bit of progress you make is a good thing, and you should be proud of yourself. It will be a loong loooooong time before you can achieve everything on that list, but make sure you take one step forward every day.

      Good luck!

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      • I loved loved loved your response. If simple things such as going to the gym regularly take on an average 3 failed past attempts (read that somewhere), how can complicated decisions that go against how some of us were brought up come about in a day. Its a long painful process to become an adult who doesn’t look for approval or seek permissions. The important thing is to know what is happening and not fall victim to the martyr syndrome or stockholm syndrome or ‘its normal, happens to everyone’ syndrome.

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    • Why not live nearby. Parents are not kids you know? They need not be monitored constantly by their children.

      In this case, i would definitely not recommend moving in. Clearly tihngs are not good between you two and it will become worse if you move in.

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    • Hi letter writer,

      I understand your situation. I have been exactly there. My husband is the eldest son in an orthodox family and we just moved out of the IL’s newly built house after a huge lot of ruckus.

      And for putting my situation on the internet, I got the exact same slamming from ‘feminists’ all around. They told me the marriage isn’t worth it. They told me to walk out of it. They told me my husband sucks. They told me I am weak-minded, suppressed, submissive etc.

      I say, you are a better judge of that than they are. I am glad I did not take that radical advice. I rather had a good talk with my husband, developed more rapport with him, sought counseling and sorted our issues one by one, patiently. We are a happy couple today because of that.

      But, then, please make sure you do a realistic, rational and careful assessment of your situation. Not all cases follow my example.

      “Me and my husband are not talking for one month now. But I am sure we will make a good couple.”

      Are you sure? I would suggest you to go for marital counseling. It helped us. It will help you too. Tell your husband that this is for bettering your relationship.

      “I am a yelling person(I did not know yelling was abusive until I read IHM n desi dg blog), but I have realised and changing myself. My husband’s silent treatment is in response to my yelling character I guess.”

      Your yelling is not a disease. It is a symptom. It shows you have some deep seated issues within yourself which are still unresolved. I was, or rather still am, a highly hot-tempered person, both at work and home. If something doesn’t get done as expected, I blast away.

      People are telling you here that your ILs are evil and your husband is, pardon me, ‘an a*****e’. I would say, first look into yourself. Are you well-behaved or mature enough? By ‘well-behaved’ I am not talking about compliance (extremist advisors please note).
      I am talking about your thought process and manner of dealing with issues. A mature adult is not supposed to lose their cool, no matter how frustrating the situation is, and for good, because steps taken in a moment of emotion are hardly good. To reach a good solution, you must first become competent to think coolly and make decisions.

      Therefore, please seek professional counseling. Do not go by internet advisories. Counseling doesn’t mean you’re psyched or mad or anything. You are just finding ways to deal with life better.

      I have studied psychological counseling, so I do have a small degree of professional authority on this.

      “I am studying now. Will definitely work in future.”

      Good. All the best. Do work though, at least for some time, to learn more about the world and life. This experience will make you more independent. This experience will steer you later, whether you work or stay at home.

      Contrary to what most people think, it takes balls to be a homemaker. Submissive and weak-minded women can never be successful homemakers on their own. They may SEEM successful. But look into those homes; you’ll see the screwed-up mentalities prevalent up front. To command and make a modern, rational and happy home requires strength of will, character and mind.

      Working women can still escape reality for a couple hours. A homemaker has to fight her way to get everything; including private time for herself which most people take for granted.

      My mom is a homemaker, by her own assertion and choice. We have never dared defy her house rules, including dad. She is clearly the queen, even with a problematic MIL. I am working, and people call me a strong woman but I will admit, I am nowhere near the kind of strong she is. So, it is important to be a strong person no matter how you find your strength.

      “I have explained my husband about the possible issues that we might face. And he has promised to stand up for us.”

      So it seems he isn’t so irrational after all. Fine. Encourage him for his efforts whenever he says/does this.

      Yes, I know, ‘feminists’ will slam me for praising and encouraging someone for doing what they are supposed to do anyway. But I’ll say feminism isn’t an overnight phenomenon. It has to move brick by brick. Thousands before us have pushed us to let us be where we are. It didn’t come as a natural right.

      You have to understand that things are still in a transitory phase out here. You cannot simply look at the USA and say, “These are global standards of feminism, so there I go. If the man doesn’t match up, I ditch him.” The US was just like us not many years ago and god forbid if the women had reacted as radically, feminism would never have gained acceptance in modern society.
      Of course, ABUSERS need to be dealt with. But, at least put up a fight before you ditch the cause.

      “But in certain critical situations, he says he did not see it wrong until I pointed that out because it has always been like that in his house it seems. He did say that he will learn to tackle situations and I believe him.”

      Yes, people often find it difficult to quit habits. People don’t see abuse because it is so normalized in our society.

      Expose him to more content written by IHM here. GGTS by Desi Girl is also one site you can go to; she is one of those few rational feminists out there. Most importantly, deal with your yelling thing. He won’t listen if you yell. You have to drive sense into him calmly and patiently.

      From your comments, it looks like he isn’t all that irrational. So, there is still hope. But, that doesn’t mean you put your legs up and stop your effort. Like I said earlier, seek both marital and personal counseling. If you feel you’ve tried enough and it is not working, do consider separation. IF.

      “The house that we are going to move in is a newly built one and it has always been his dream to live there.”

      Understandable. Most people will be excited. Can you insist on having a separate kitchen? If yes, do it. Half your troubles will be over.

      “He says he has been brought up that it’s his duty to take care of his parents and he is unable to think out of it.”

      Tell him that you also care for his parents, just like you do for yours. But, living together is not the solution. If your parents can do without your physical presence in the house, so can his. So, the issue is more social than practical.

      Tell him that you will fully support him for caring for his parents, and for your own parents. Also mention that your personal space is necessary for you to be happy, so that this marriage can work. Tell him that you will not be happy in a setup like that and if you are not happy, it will cause more problems living together than living apart.

      In fact, tell him that you clearly do not have a good equation with ILs so it will be more problematic for him to see issues cropping up every day between you and them. Tell him that it is he who will be caught up between his parents and his spouse. Obviously, no man wants to be caught up in these problems. Does he? Will he be able to face it? Most people buy others’ point easily if there is also a personal benefit for them in it.

      If he is still insistent, tell him that you’d even prefer a setup where his parents are your neighbors. Tell him that you’d also want to live close to your own parents/relatives if he wants his parents nearby.

      Try it. If it doesn’t work… you always have the option of leaving the marriage.

      “Do u think it will be possible for me to ignore FIL and respond only when he talks to me?”

      It is perfectly possible. I have done it. In fact I did it with all my ILs (MIL, daadi-saas and FIL for more than a month. This was to protest against FIL beating MIL, daadi-saas keeping quiet and MIL insisting even when we supported her that this was her personal life.) You won’t believe how it changed things. My FIL double checks himself now when I am around. He knows what I am capable of.

      He is a tyrant who has terrorized three generations of women. A bully is a bully only until he meets a bigger bully.

      You just have to believe. Some of my tips are:
      • Immerse yourself in your studies
      • Do not speak ANYTHING in front of your ILs, even with your husband. Speak to him only in the bedroom. Apart from affecting them, this also gives clear signals to your husband
      • Do not, under any circumstances, keep a surly face. No non-verbal gestures at all. Poker face for everything. Try practicing in front of a mirror
      • Do not even laugh too much, even if something really hilarious happens
      • Talk to all other guests except the offenders. Talk to offenders only when vital
      • No loose/small talk
      • Try installing games in your phone or reading books or doing whatever interests you to suppress the need for having conversations
      • Be cheerful otherwise. If you sulk, you show signs of weakness
      • Unwind only in your bedroom or when the offending persons are not around
      • Try joining some classes like gym, dance, music etc. Get a social circle

      I have many more but this post is getting too long. It worked for me. I am a typical emotional Cancerian and the utterly spoilt last child of a family. If I could pull this off, no reason you cannot.

      “I don’t want to portray myself as a typical obedient Indian DIL. I just want live at peace.”

      See don’t worry about this part.

      Feminism started off as a support system for women to obtain equality. Unfortunately, today, it has so many pushy people who harangue that only working women are good, that cooking means you are submissive etc.

      Feminism is all about having the right to do what you are HAPPY DOING. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t match with the lifestyle of some ‘feminists’. Don’t compare yourself with others.

      Don’t worry about the portrayal part. Many of these ‘typical obedient Indian DILs’ weren’t as unhappy as they were portrayed to be, although most of them did it only under pressure. I know a ‘typical obedient Indian DIL’ who is just 20, B.Com. but CHOSE to be so even when she actually had the freedom not to. She is pregnant now and she follows all the norms of the yesteryears. She is a typical DIL by CHOICE.

      It’s all about CHOICE. You don’t have to be Sushmita Sen to be happy. So the ultimatum is: BE HAPPY and FIND A WAY IN WHICH YOU ARE HAPPY. Do not care what others (traditionalists or feminists) think about you.

      Regards,
      Vamp

      Like

      • And also, if possible, convince your husband to seek counseling himself. His thinking is clearly meddled up. He could do with help.

        If fact, you both go together.

        Like

      • Hey Vamp,

        The whole “homemaking is anti-feminist” was a big part of American feminism in the 60s and 70s, a big part of the Indian urban middle classes today, and only a very small part of American society or feminism today.

        The idea that everyone has the right to choose their own occupation – be it work outside the home or work within the home – has come to be accepted in mainstream American societiey and I think a lot of Indian feminists as well.

        A lot of feminists, including myself and IHM, go further than that, identifying the fact that work is not considered work when it is “women’s work”, and challenging this bias. Society cannot function without all the essential, but unpaid, work that women do. Women do almost all domestic labor, ALL the reproductive work, most of the caregiving work… and capitalism would literally collapse overnight if we did not do it. It is real work. There is no “just” about being a homemaker.

        Some feminists go even further, demanding payment for all the unpaid women’s work that goes on in our society. For example, they suggest government stipends and pension contributions for those who do caregiving work at home – such as raising children or taking care of sick elders.

        In your comment, I thought I detected a note of criticism for mainstream feminism on the basis of devaluing traditional women’s work, and telling women we aren’t real feminists if we are homemakers. I just thought I’d let you know that feminism has long since moved past that brief misguided stage, and has spent the last 20 years at least arguing the exact opposite.

        Like

    • Yes, you can certainly ignore your father-in-law as long as he ignores you. You don’t need anyone’s permission to maintain your own dignity as a person. Also, people learn fast when they are subjected to the same behaviour they inflict on others. If you stand up for yourself, you will see a big change in how your father-in-law and other members of the family treat you.

      Like

  11. marriage is trust,love, companionship, sharing and passion between 2 people. Not silent treatment, turnig your face away and trying to mind read the others. There will be ups and down, fights and tears and lots of joy and sharing. but if it consists of unhappiness on one end mostly , fear of isolation, being treated badly etc., then it’s time to talk it over and failing that move on.
    Really what is the point of living together with someone who makes you unhappy. is it for food and a roof over your head? if so then live like that but actively find means to be independent.
    compromise is good in a marriage only when it beings both people together, doesn’t make any one unevenly unhappy.
    Like i say always, god has given you one life, live it well, live it with happiness and live it usefully.

    Like

  12. You seem like a very sweet person, and I assume you would have already tried your best to have good relations with in-laws. If it hasn’t worked before, I doubt things will work out now, especially given the close proximity. See if there is anyway you can avoid living with them. If you have to live with in-laws, your relationship with your hubby has to be good, so that he always backs you up, and offers emotional support. Once with them, keep trying, hopefully you will get the opportunity to move out. If nothing works out and you continue to get hurt and unhappy, maybe you shouldn’t continue the relationship.

    Like

  13. You need to stop caring so much about silent treatment from people. They’re clearly using it to hurt you.
    If it doesn’t bother you, they will stop doing it.
    And try and move out of there as quickly as possible.

    Like

    • I really disagree with this advice.

      It’s very easy to say “just stop caring”, and very hard to do. I would even say it’s impossible. If someone you love ever gave you the silent treatment, you’d know this.

      Second, it’s totally not true that “If it doesn’t bother you, they will stop doing it.” In fact, people who give the silent treatment necessarily DON’T CARE about the emotional state of their victims. They are simply weilding their power in order to get their victims to change behavior or give an apology or whatever. They will happily continue to give the silent treatment *forever*. How do I know? I’ve spent a lifetime dealing with silent treaters. My own parents didn’t speak to me for two years because they found out I had a boyfriend. I didn’t give a shit, I cared ZERO, but that didn’t make them stop giving me the silent treatment.

      To tell this OP to stop caring puts the responsibility of this situation on her. You’re blaming her for her husband’s abusive behavior. This is really not okay because it’s factually and morally wrong. It’s factually wrong because OP stopping to care is not going to fix the problem in the least, the abuse will continue regardless. It’s morally wrong because focusing on changing victims’ behavior is always wrong.

      Like

      • I’m sorry, I never meant to suggest that the silent treatment from her husband needs to be ignored. That is something she definitely needs to deal with.

        I was only responding to her query regarding her in-laws. I really don’t think she needs to give them more attention than they deserve.
        If she has to start crying because her FIL ignored her offer of biscuits, I think she really does need to re-think some stuff.
        Her husband’s behaviour is a whole different topic, which I didn’t think she wanted to get into right now.

        Like

  14. Hey LW,

    First of all, it seems to me that you are not on good terms with your husband at present because of this issue of having to move into your in-laws house, yes? Without sounding too intrusive, is this a common thing, for you to not be on good terms with him, or is it simply because you two have arguments and need some time to think before you speak to one another again? If not being on good terms is a hallmark of your marriage, that is much worse than the other option.

    Secondly, there was a comment that mentioned the fact that you could, in turn, do the silent treatment back to your father in law. Which, I think is sound. I don’t know the exact reasons for why your FIL would give you the silent treatment, but it is NOT a healthy way to deal with whatever he disagrees with about you. It’s a childish thing to do. But you cannot force a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to have one with you. So why bother? Choosing not to forge a relationship with someone because of how they treat you is different from ill-treating them because you don’t like the way they are. One is childish. The other is more of an act of self-preservation.

    Sometimes, inevitable situations arise. I don’t know the exact reasons for why you have to move in with your in-laws, and it really doesn’t matter, because nothing is an excuse to be treated like a nobody in a place you will be calling home for the forseeable future.

    Like

  15. I think the silent treatment being meted out to the letter writer by her husband is because he has no intention of letting her communicate her fears or express her doubts. He is trying to force her hand in moving in with his people (whom he must be sacred of) and hoping all will be well with time. I can already see big red flags. My advice..don’t agree to move in with them. Then see what happens.

    Like

  16. Thank u readers for your comments. Thank u for putting in effort to suggest ideas..

    Many have said that I should not move in.

    This was the idea I had in mind right from the beginning. Two years of marriage and I was very firm on this. I received a lot of silent treatment from him(we were never together for one month without silent treatment!). But he says when hurt, he is not able to communicate. And he has promised to change. I believe him. He lost his job because he couldn’t concentrate in it and is still without a job for over an year. He is suffering a lot mentally and then I couldn’t help but told him we can move in with his parents if that’s his only happiness. I am expecting a lot of disappointments and hurt after moving in and hoping that I would be strong enough to face all that.

    I was a drama queen, which I realised through reading articles online and now battling to become a normal mature person.

    Few suggested we have a separate kitchen and entrance.

    The house is a apartment structure and the plan is fixed by the builder. No luck for me there too..

    I am trying to make a peaceful relationship between us to face stuff there.

    Like

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