An email from Pakistan: “There is a feeling among my parents that I don’t want to spend on them.”

Patriarchy‘s control on men is more difficult to identify and fight against because the control permits what many view as privilege, and because patriarchy is largely viewed as favourable to men.

The fact is, Patriarchy permits some men and some women – and only when certain conditions are met, – to control the lives of others – in many big and small ways. 

The way women are raised to see Get Married and Stay Married as their only purpose in life, men are raised to become Providers and Protectors.

This enables further abuse. Becoming Protectors involves being Controllers (egos and honours are a part of that) and being Providers is made possible or easier by keeping the Provided For in dependence. This makes it seem that Patriarchy benefits men – but not having control over their lives is not a privilege.

Please note, sons in patriarchal societies are mainly valued when, 1.)  they are Providers, and 2.) they can provide obedient daughters in laws who provide male heirs. 

An unemployed male child is still valued if he is obedient, or provides an obedient dulhan hi dahej hai, and male heirs. This is also why Patriarchy is homophobic. 

Sharing an email from a young man in Karachi.


Subject: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on patriarchy at your IHM blog

I am from Karachi Pakistan and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts on your blog especially the posts related to patriarchy. An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

Last night I was really feeling depressed after going through an emotional abuse session from one of my parents. I was confused and was not able to sleep. After reading your blog post, I became aware that this is common in our part of the world as well. I can relate to every world of your blog post with my life. Kudos to you for sharing your thoughts  and reducing the overall anxiety of your audience.
After reading your blog, I have decided to challenge the status quo and start introducing change that could get me out from the constant emotional abuse and allow me to save for my future.

Also, I would appreciate if you can ask your readers to suggest practical and realistic steps that could be taken, especially for saving for the future and for convincing our parents so that they can understand why it is important to save now. Most of the comments shared their set of problems but very few actually discussed some steps that could be taken keeping in view the highly emotional nature of the problem.

I have tried working with fixed budgets for monthly expenses and for savings, but in this case, there is a feeling among my parents that I don’t want to spend on them. I find it very difficult to convince them as to why it is important to save now.


Related Posts:

Of girly men who fail to convert irresponsible women from liabilities to assets.

An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.

The Men in Our Lives – Priya

An email: Is it fair for parents to say that their happiness depends on who their kids marry?

“For every woman who is tired of being a sex object, there is a man who must worry about his potency.”

‘How can we change the socialization of boys and the definitions of manhood that lead to these current outcomes?’

Of how men’s masculinities are connected to their wives taking their names.

27 ways in which Patriarchy harms men.

So why do some men compare and compete with other men?

What do men need liberation from?

Emotions, Masculinity and Hierarchies in Relationships: Or making men walk alone in the journey of life.

MIP: Men In Pink

Boys don’t cry. – Starry Eyed


13 thoughts on “An email from Pakistan: “There is a feeling among my parents that I don’t want to spend on them.”

  1. IHM, time to rebrand as South Asian Homemaker? 🙂

    Raheel, welcome to the forum. I have no advise for you but nice to hear from the other side of the border. We shared a culture for thousands of years. 60+ years of politics is not going to wipe that out. I think you’ll find a lot of empathy and wise words here. Hope you’ll stick around and comment too!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There are people with very bad money management skills, and I think that perhaps your parents are those who live in the moment? You have not provided any details as such, but I would advise you to continue saving. You can’t depend on others in case of emergencies or after retirement. Those who don’t earn find it very easy to spend and don’t understand why you can’t have everything in life.

    – Are your parents dependent on you for roti, kapda, makaan, or do they just want more luxuries? – If they lack basic necessities, then I know I would help out my parents. If you can, try to help to the extent you can.

    – Are you living with them or separately? If so, move out?

    – Are you earning enough to spend on a few luxuries? Do you have a secure job?

    – Are you married? Do you have children? If not, do you plan to have children in the near future? – Kids are / will be your responsibility and they don’t grow up on air and love alone.

    – How is the general health of the family? – If you want to spend on your family, help them out with some medical insurance and stuff rather than buying the latest car or expensive clothes.

    The truth is that if your parents feel that they are entitled to your earnings, there is not much you can do. The best you can do is set a limit to how much you are willing to spend on them, if any.


  3. Seeing that your parents are so emotional about such things, what I would suggest is setting aside fixed expenses budgets for the month & put the rest in savings like you’ve already tried.
    Now from the amount that you’ve fixed for expenditure, to show them that you are spending on them & to get that emotional part fulfilled, what I would suggest is doing small things like taking them out for dinner or movies every week or two, buying them small things (like a mixer – something that makes their life a little easy), involving them in your 5 year plans like telling them that only if you save this much you’ll be able to buy a house & they would be able to live with you (if you want that, that is) or that you’ll be able to afford a car & take them around etc., show them that you are taking care of the bills by involving them or saying see I paid so and so for the electricity & phone bill online today etc.

    Most importantly you’ll need to set boundaries & be firm on the fact that you need to save money. Tell them it’s best for the future if you do so.

    Many would say to cut them out & to make them live alone & you’d pay the expenses but because of the way people like us have been raised it’s very difficult to do that. You feel too guilty & it would affect you mentally.

    So try some small things this way & see if it satisfies their emotional hunger that their son has finally grown up & spending on them

    If they aren’t still satisfied then drastic measures like moving out etc need to be considered instead of submitting to emotional blackmail.

    Haven’t tried this so I can’t be sure if it works but hoping it does help!


  4. Welcome Raheel. I am very plesantly surprised that IHM’s blog resonated with you. 🙂

    As I see it, you have a problem not so much to do with money, but more about issues around control and entitlement.

    You haven’t provided any information about why your parents want to control your financial decisions — do they have an independent source of income? Is their control rooted in anxiety for their future?

    Are you the family’s sole breadwinner? Also, how were decisions about money taken when you were growing up?

    If your parents are completely dependent on you financially, I’d suggest that you discuss giving them a fixed sum of money for personal expenses every month.

    I am afraid that there is no quick and easy way to convey your point of view to your parents. They seem to view you as an extension of themselves. You will have to do the painful work of establishing boundaries, enforcing them and not giving in to emotional manipulation.

    Its difficult to remain immune to emotional manipulation when it is coming from people you love and trust.

    I don’t know whether your circumstances will permit it or not, but moving out and living by yourself may help put some distance between them and you. You can always be at hand to help you, but not so near that they can control you.

    In addition, open a recurring deposit and set some money aside every month through automatic debits. This will help you become a disciplined investor and saver. Start with small sums and keep either six months or 12 months as an investment horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Raheel,

    I was reading through your problem and I could so much relate to the issue.

    Actually India and Pak shares the same culture, though there are political differences. I am sorry to hear about your state, actually many men go through the same scenario here. I also don’t know how you can best handle the situation. There is a lot of emotions involved. If you have any trusted relatives (uncle, aunt) or whoever who can understand the scenario and have a firm grip over your family, get them to speak to your parents.

    Also please don’t give up on saving money and focusing on your life. I am not telling you shouldn’t take care of your family, but don’t forget yourself in the process. That is my humble request. I have done that mistake and paying for it with my sweat and blood. If you have to get professional help, don’t hesitate to do it.

    Wish you all the best. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Raheel, just to know the background. Is your father retired? Does he get a pension or does he have any other regular source of income? Why is he dependent on you financially? Do you have other siblings?


  7. My father is retired. He is on pension. Yes my brothers are also earning, but my family expects me to contribute more for their expenses. I am earning well and can save easily if we have some kind of agreement.
    I was the sole supporter of my family while growing up as my father took early retirement but his income was insufficient.
    I feel that their control rooted in anxiety for their future, not sure why this is gradually increasing.


    • As you were the sole supporter of your family for a while, they feel entitled to your income – most of it. That is wrong. Your parents raised you. It was their duty. Your life is not theirs to control for ever.

      Keep doing what you are doing – making a budget, supporting them for essential expenses and emergencies – but when they start their verbal and emotional abuse, leave the room or hang up the phone. Tell them upfront:
      “I will not put up with this abuse.” This is important – calling them out on their abuse every time. Do not let them erode your sense of self-worth and wellbeing.

      My husband was in a situation like yours. His parents are very entitled and pushy
      (not saying yours are like that), demanding foreign vacations, a jet-setting lifestyle and a home when they already owned one and he was renting. He gave them everything they asked for. When we got married and he gradually cut down how much money he would send them, they started getting verbally and emotionally abusive.

      Six years after our wedding, when my husband took his parents to the bank to close the joint account he had with them and withdraw some money (every penny there was his), his father threw a storming tantrum.

      For his own sanity, he had to curtail his communications with them. He still pays for repairs to their home and medical bills, but when the abuse starts, he hangs up.

      And please don’t get married until you

      1. Move out to your own place.
      2. Separate your finances from your parents’.

      Good luck.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Raheel, a warm welcome to the forum here. Yes, though you are from across the border, our issues are very similar in nature. Some of the comments above may offer a good solution to your issue. Cheers!!


  9. Hello Raheel,

    Financial insecurity is a major source of anxiety for people who don’t earn, especially retired older folks. I would like to focus my comments on practical suggestions. Maybe it won’t make sense in your circumstances, but here are ideas anyway:

    1, make a separate account for your parents. Put money into it each month. Let this not be a fixed amount, but indexed to how much you earn, say 5% or such, so when you do well, they do well, when you do bad, they also know this. That’s their spending money. It might help with the insecurity if they know there is something of their own. Don’t be a joint account holder. This money should be for them to decide how to spend, not on necessities like medicine , veggies etc.
    2. Get them good health insurance.
    3. If they are not reasonable about how you spend your money, don’t tell them how much you earn. Do your savings from what you don’t declare. Not nice, but you can’t talk to a deaf person.
    4.learn to say no politely but firmly.
    5. If possible make some fixed assets in their name like a house, fixed deposits etc.

    Good luck


  10. Pingback: An email from the Accused Guy: ‘I would request all to respond once again after reading the other side of it.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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