An email: ‘My MIL called up my aunt and my mother and told them that our family has raised horrible daughters.’

Sharing an email. Is it possible for something like this to happen without atleast some amount of social and cultural sanction? 

Also, do you think such Patriarchal controls could survive without women being pressurised to Get Married and Stay Married?

Dear IHM,

I wrote to you a couple of months ago [July 4, 2014] about how my in laws were not talking to me, because I wanted to visit my mother for my father’s death ceremony. Since then, my MIL called up my aunt and my mother and told them that our family has raised horrible daughters and that we are arrogant girls who think we are “birlas”. She pulled in my sister too, claiming that she had had an abortion (probably a miscarriage… I do not know… she never wanted to share). I do not have a biological child, and I wonder what she was hinting at. I am really hurt and am at odds. How do I react/ what do I do? Can you please publish this on the forum?

And, this message in a comment from July 4, 2014,

My story is similar… I had emailed IHM, but I guess I could not wait. I have been married to a very nice guy for the past seven years. We recently adopted a nine-month old baby and life has been just awesome. I lost my father quite some time ago and was really attached to him. A couple of days ago, my mother told me his death ceremony was coming up. So I planned to go to my place ( in another city, where my in-laws live too ). My in-laws stay on another end of the city, so I would not be able to visit them this time, with the baby in tow. They created a huge scene, saying I was disrespectful and that I was not following the “rites”. I really want to spend time with my mother this time, especially on a day that makes her sad, but my in-laws are acting as if I am committing a crime. Even earlier, my MIL has complained about the one or two days I would spend with my mother when we visited them. She has threatened suicide now and has even told my husband that he’s going to my mother’s place (he’s there only to drop me off, after that, he’s back for he’s busy with work) because my mother lent us money towards construction of our new home. The husband is very angry at this accusation (we have supported them through their joblessness/ money crises) and refuses to speak to them. I don’t want to either, for I really want to be with my family this time and that too after nearly 4 years.

Am I justified in not wanting to apologise (I wasn’t rude to them, I just told them plainly what I wanted to do)



31 thoughts on “An email: ‘My MIL called up my aunt and my mother and told them that our family has raised horrible daughters.’

  1. Hi! I’m doing a project in school, here in Sweden, about the lifestyle in India and I need to contact some people who lives there/have lived their since I want to have some points of views . So I was wondering if you could help me, maybe answer my questions. It’s like about 4 questions and they are short! 😀


  2. I don’t see what is the issue. Everyone has some annoying relative. If your husband himself is not talking, and not really forcing you to talk, why are you bothered?

    Stop over analysing and over functioning. The blanket of your entire family does not rest on you and you are not in control of your MIL’s actions. Move on and be free.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You should ask your mum/aunt to call her up and tell her that her son has a horrible mother! I mean, if she can, why can’t you? :/

    Seriously, though, give her a talking to. Tell her that you will not have her speak to your family like this again. She had better display some courtesy. Be very firm, and if it happens again, be prepared to give it back to her in full.

    The sad part is that women and their families silently put up with this shit. I think it’s time to start giving it back.


  4. If I were you, I wouldn’t dignify your MIL’s stupidity with a response. She’s not going to apologize or even acknowledge that she did something wrong, so that’s just not worth the effort or the heartache.

    I’d just talk to the husband, and have him set ground rules with his mother – she needs to see her own son react to her excesses. If it comes from you, she isn’t going to take it seriously. If he can get her to see sense, half the battle is won.

    Also, how did your mother take it? Did she react? I’m hoping, for your sake, that she did; while that would surprise me. Moms usually believe the whole “ladke wale/ladki wale” set up where the groom’s party is larger than life, and the girl’s parents have to just remain meek and submissive.
    You (and your husband) need to tell her that it is okay to talk back to the MIL and pay her back in the same coin. Your MIL will stop after a few pushbacks.

    And no, you were not wrong in not apologizing. Who apologizes for doing the right thing anyway?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ignore their tantrums…ur in laws r just bullying you….put in an earplug n do whatever u wish…they will rant for a while then become quite.No need to apologise…you hav married their son not sold into slavery….


  6. Why you even need to ask why you feel your behaviour is right or wrong ?
    You want to spend time with your mom ,…..these are not right /wrong decisions !
    I am surprised that you are even bothering about what your MIL says,feels etc after so much bad blood !


  7. Being ridiculed for wanting to go to your own parents home.. that to on your father’s death anniversary. Shocking. This is why things like ‘kanyadaan’ are not just harmless traditions, they are degrading and dehumanising concepts that people are more than happy to use an excuse to abuse and control young women.

    Let the MIL commit suicide if she thinks her life is cheap enough to give up over a tantrum.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I was threatened and repeatedly told by my mom that she would commit suicide if I got married to my husband. It’s Been 25+years, she’s still alive . she and my aunts just lost the power to blackmail future gen of siblings , cousins and kids 🙂
    No one can stop another peron from behaving like an idiot and spewing venom. Just ignore, go about your work and do you feel is right.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Always follow my personal golden rule: When people know that they have ceased to have control over your lives and that you will do as you please without keeping them in consideration, generally, their venom overspills.

    I don’t think you should pay ANY heed at all. From your earlier message, it seems you and your husband are on the same page about sanity/sensibilities of your mother in law. Good for you. You can go ahead and tell your mom (and your aunt, depending on what kind of relationships you share) that the next time your MIL talks something like this, they should abruptly cut the call and not answer for the next one week. Replying back will do no good since she will get the fuel she needs and will only make things worse.

    And know what? When they talk rubbish like this, they expect you to retaliate so that they can get something to be busy with for the next few days. Don’t give them this pleasure. Carry on as if nothing as happened. That irks them most!

    Also, overthinking only serves their purpose – to stress you or manage to take away your peace of mind. Don’t give her that. All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear LW, maybe you should thank your MIL for raising such a wonderful son… maybe hinting that sometimes in families good character jumps a generation lol 🙂


  11. There are no prizes for taking c*** from anyone quietly. All the talk about upbringing, complaints to parents about daughter’s “bad behaviour” are nothing more than patriarchally sanctioned bullying tactics. Succumb to those and you’ll have sold your soul to the devils.

    Believe me, been there, done that. I found it very hard the first few months after marriage when I was forced to do things I did not want to. If I opened my mouth, I was bad, there would be cold wars in the house. Worst of all I was living under their roof. If I did not open my mouth, I was miserable inside and started feeling as if I did not know myself.

    I stood up for myself, but even so things took a very bad turn. She went to my parents’ place to complain about me, but then she was thrown off guard by my parents being very nice to her. She enjoyed all the hospitality and came back quietly.

    Nothing changed for me though. Goes to show that some people don’t understand good behaviour and take it as their birthright. When things went to an extreme my dad (who otherwise was a very calm and traditional person who would never say “shoo” to a fly), actually told my mil a few hard facts and slammed the phone down. Not that anything changed. But at least she would think twice before she complained about me. Eventually we moved out of her house.

    I stopped talking to her unless absolutely unavoidable. A few months ago, she told me that my mother who was lodged at that time in a “home” in the city for treatment should be kept in her own city. She tried to say it was affecting my health, running around to take care of my mom. I lost it and wrote an email to her putting her in place and sent a copy of it to her son. I clearly told her that it was a democratic country and my mother had the liberty to be in whichever city she wanted to, and since she was not living in her (mil’s) son’s house, neither she nor her son had any say in the matter. That put her in place. She wanted to come and explain (probably because the son had also seen the mail), but both of us told her there was no requirement. After that I still don’t talk to her unnecessarily. She is shameless enough to come and stay with us when she is unwell. Not that I take care of her. This is not how I was brought up. I am sure my parents would not support this. They would tell me not to go down to her level. But when people do not know how to behave, they lose the right to be respected by others. She comes, stays, goes when she likes. I have not visited her house more than a handful of times after leaving many years ago.

    What i am saying is I am not going to win any accolades for this. I will always be the “bad dil who talks too much” (which is another way of saying does not stand injustice and gives back as good as she gets), but do I have any other choice? Like I said, there are no prizes for suffering and none for standing up for yourself. You have to decide what you want to do and how you want to live.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Wish DG could do all this. She didn’t open her mouth and still remained a bad DIL, it would have been to retaliate and earn that tittle. DG did not visit her parents for 8 months after her wedding coz’ she hand now that God forsaken ex lived in another city and she was commuting to hostel for studies, while she went to hostel he went to see his parents. For the 1st time on Rakhi she was to visit her parents he had agreed to that and then hours before travel the MIL created a racket that it was custom for DIL to visit for 1st rakhi her in-laws so he flipped. She would not let us go visit DG’s parents on one pretext or the other. It is 1st and last time her mild dad told her on the phone, What law in the country prevents me from seeing my daughter after marriage? “I gave you guys my daughter considering you guys were the best, and now prove it.”

      You are right it did not change a thing for DG, she let us visit but then they made sure we traveled back to her place and then took off to where we lived. She would not let go of the control, we could have traveled from DG’s parents place and saved on time, energy and money. She always had some ready ritual that prevented any of our plans, everything had to be according to her.

      You are very right nothing works with this kind of bullies than cutting them off. Ignoring and isolating them is the only way to deal with them, it is difficult when your spouse is against you. Learned it hard way.



    • There are genuinely bad Dils too !
      Same games,politics,control,taking away all husbands money,drama like Mils !
      There are bad dils and bad mils !
      Bad dils make life hell for in laws,….sons leave their parents all alone in old age !


      • It’s funny that if sons leave their parents alone in old age, then the dil becomes a bad dil.. but if daughters leave their parents alone in old age, their husbands aren’t seen as ‘bad’.. it’s seen as perfectly normal. Funny.


        • Oh ,that’s because women leave parents and join the husband’s family, take up husband’s surname etc! Even now ,husband is the provider especially in cases where wife is a housewife !
          If the Jamai is actively prohibiting his wife to not take care of her parents that is frowned upon too !


  12. Very nice Durga !
    There is no point in suffering silently….You get only one life to live , why to suffer in it. Just break off with people who trouble us or who are pain in our asses. Be with good people who are nice to us and who are not causing any trouble. Dont give shit to what people would say….. Mu MIL called up my mom and said your daughter has no sanskaars …lol now I say proudly I am not sanskari and i dont evengive a shit !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The fact that the LW is bothered and even in self doubt over her correct decision to stay with her mom just because of te MIL’s psycho behavior is a sad reminder that women are still not fully confident being the bad bahu.

    Have been a bad bahu for a coupe of months now and I am loving it.

    Just 5 words- Never negotiate with a terrorist.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Pingback: Monster-in-Law vs Bad Bahu | Feministindian!!

  15. “How do I react/ what do I do?”
    Actually, you m-i-l spoke disparagingly to your mom. Your mom is the primary person who should respond to this. No human being deserves to be talked to, like this. Tell your mom, next time this happens, to hang up the phone on your m-i-l in mid-sentence. That is the phone equivalent of ‘walking away’ and refusing to engage. There is no reason for your mom to continue listening when she’s being insulted so blatantly.

    As for you, what would you do, if someone at work or one of your neighbors or friends did this? You would refuse to speak to them until they mended their ways and genuinely apologized. Almost the same applies with m-i-l. You may need to speak to her minimally to exchange basic information, but keep your conversations to the bare essentials. There is no way to have a relationship (in the true sense of the word) with someone who doesn’t respect the basic rules of a relationship. Ignore her rants. If she gets obnoxious, leave the room and refuse to engage in battles. In every situation, do exactly what you intend to do.


  16. IHM, to answer your question, yes there is plenty of social sanctioning for this behavior. A girl’s parents are the first ones who tell the girl to “adjust” (meaning give up your dignity, self-respect and basic human rights such as being talked to without being humiliated and being treated like an adult capable of making one’s own decisions). If a m-i-l does not overtly interfere and instead passes snide remarks, a girl is told to be “thankful” that she is “married into such a wonderful family.” She is also told to put up with unnecessary advice regarding career, when to have children and how many, how to cook for her husband, etc. in exchange for the lack of blatant abuse. General disrespect, disparaging remarks, sarcasm, unsolicited advice, mild pressure to perform certain rituals, uphold “family practices”, dress a certain way, convey respect to relatives in a certain way, etc. etc. …. these are all the things that are mandated with a sense of absolute entitlement and d-i-l is expected to accept these things with a smile, because, once again, she must never forget how grateful she is for not being abused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t understand how its only Mil related,..plenty of dils interfere how MILs and SIls live,eat even when its not coming out of their pocket !
      Now this is too much,…we live in a society ! I have friends giving me un solicited advice sometimes, comment directly on how fat I have become,how I need to get married soon all it will be too late !
      If I stop talking to them over all this with friends and others,I ‘ll be all alone !
      How is it possible to live like this : taking umbrage over all small stupid things !How can anyone have any relationship like this !
      Are we perfect little DILs, daughters,wives 24/7 ? Who doesn’t poke her nose in what her husband is doing for his mother ,siblings !
      I mean sometimes in this forum people talk about things in isolation, and in extremes !
      Mils,dils both can be controlling ,jealous ,petty !I don’t understand ,.…can’t Dils brainwash her husband ! We talk about in laws doing that all the time !
      Let’s not forget we are people at the end of the day !

      Liked by 2 people

      • Cossette, we are talking about2 different things. I’m talking about expectations and roles within the patriarchal structure, not the people themselves. How people actually play out these roles varies. Some d-i-ls are nice people, other dils are mean. That depends on her nature. Of course, there’s always going to be that variation and not people are the same. But I’m talking about patriarchal expectations that most people accept and those expectations/resulting roles are dead wrong and unfair. I’m talking about the script that is handed to women when they get married. You are talking about how each woman chooses to play out this script, and yes, of course, it’s going to be different for each one of us, depending our own nature, our family situation, how we’ve been raised/conditioned, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. @Cosettez:

    I am sure there would be plenty of wives who would be poking and wont be nice to her MIL and her family. But the lady in question , has issues with her MIL over not basic things like cooking or cleaning, its Suicide threat that her MIL is giving for not visiting her. Just because she want to be with her mother on her dad’s death anniversary. If you had heart and right sane head, you wouldn’t have compared LW to all other DILs who do not treat their in-laws right !
    How would you feel if you are forced to not to meet your own mother in sad times when she actuly need her kids? If you are human, you’d feel bad ! Please dont compare mango with apple.


    • I was not replying in context to LW at all !
      It was a general comment in response to another commentator statement !
      It would help you to read in context to subthreads !
      I have a sane head ,thank god ! Have not compared LW to any other Dil !
      Please read carefully in context before calling me insane and heartless !


  18. @Cosettz:

    I have read sub-threads…but you commented on Wordssetmefree post. If your post was for some other sub-thread, you should have poster there to avoid confusion.


  19. Pingback: “I remember how tensed my family was at the time of my marriage 2 years back. Every time they were forced to do ‘Milnis and Teekas with heavy envelopes’.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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