I’d like to thank you immensely for your blog which has truly been the guiding force for the women oppressed by the Indian Patriarchy. I read it daily and I believe you and the contributors can help me with issues pertaining to my married life.
I have been married since last 2 years. It was an arranged marriage and we had met through an internet matrimonial website. The engagement period was 8 months long. Things were really good initially. He was loving, caring and kind. He had mentioned that his family was “traditional”. After two years, I now understand what Traditional means i.e. backward and oppressive. But at that time, I was naïve and had these expectations of happy married life.
My in-laws consist of his parents and a (elder) sister-in-law who is married with two kids. After our marriage ceremony and honeymoon got over, his parents started living with us and the worst nightmare of my life started.
They are really backward with religious superstitions about menstruation, bathing etc. I was forced to take early morning baths and then only to enter kitchen, of course, to cook for all of them. I’m an IT professional and I’m working, so my workload increased drastically. I had to cook twice, daily. His mother is extremely rigid and dumb and it’s impossible to have any rational conversation with her. She is so fixated in her beliefs and rituals that she doesn’t even seem like human, she is rather a patriarchal animal. I was isolated during my menstruation and I found it very humiliating. But for my husband, it was all “normal”. Letting “everyone” know about what is occurring in your privates for few days is apparently “normal” for them! I come from a liberated, well-educated family, so all this non-sense was extremely hard to cope with. I tried to adjust for few months but later, my parents had to intervene. My parents spoke to my in-laws and they finally left to live at their house, which is in another town.
I thought the situation will improve but now my husband started behaving like a remote-controlled device of his mother. He forced me to adhere to the rituals which his mother had designed for our house. I cooked daily, kept the house and I’m working as well but if he got annoyed because of arguments, my failing to call his mother/sister, he started giving silent treatment to me. Sometimes, this silent-treatment used to last for 10-20 days. During this period, he’d cut-off all the contact with me, despite living in the same house. He even refuses to eat meals prepared by me and behaves like a stranger.
The sister in law stays in another town but when she comes to stay at my place or when we need to visit their place, things get really nasty. My husband is very “attached” with his sister, so she brainwashes him over petty matters which result in fights between the two of us and again, the silent treatment starts. After each stay with his mother/sister, I have to tolerate this mental torture for months. Once, their effects fade, he is really nice and caring person but I never know, when his mood might change because of a petty matter.
It’s been 2 years since I have been dealing with this emotional abuse/silent treatment. I’m fed up and I now know that chances of him or his family changing are nil. I’m 33 years old and I have a desire to start my family in future. But considering the sorry state of situation, it seems like a distant dream. Is there anyone out there who is subjected to this sort of emotional abuse? Can anyone guide me? What should I do?
An emotionally abused wife