​Sharing an email I received. Please help and advise.

Sharing an email I received. Please help and advise.

I’m not asking if I’m right or wrong. I know this might not be as bad as what some of you have experienced.
I just ask for support. Please do not judge me. I can’t find that kind of support here because Americans don’t know what it is like to be an Indian DIL.
Am I crazy? Am I really self-serving? Is name calling verbal abuse?
Why do I constantly feel like I’m a horrible person for not being able to forgive?

 

Hi IHM,

I’m 30 yrs old working as a Software Engineer in USA. I’m an only child and my parents have gone out of their way for my education and dreams. They raised me with great pride. Growing up I figured I wouldn’t get married because most guys only want to look after their own parents. And if I did get married, I wouldn’t live with my in-laws. I got married about 5 months ago to someone from different cultural background and broke all my rules. And I had never dreamt in my life that that would be the undoing of my life.

My husband is born and raised in USA. When I met him he came across like a level headed, calm, liberal, and progressive. What I did not realize or chose to ignore until I couldn’t anymore that he is a complete mama’s boy. His dad is a recovering alcoholic and growing up his family was dysfunctional. He had told me that we would be living with his family from the beginning, and even though I didn’t want to, I agreed thinking that’s what you do for people you love. His father is sick and they need financial support. I did tell him that that’s not what I want long term, so maybe few years down the line we should get our own place. He agreed at that time. This is before marriage. Initially, everything was great. I used to think that I lucked out with the in-laws if I marry this guy. Things changed quickly.

His parents, as I’m realizing since the wedding, are the typical patriarchal type. Neither completed school. MIL won’t live in jamai‘s house; a bahu is solely responsible for the entire family’s happiness; bahu is also at the bottom of the ladder in the family and has to prove herself; bahu has to respect no matter what; after marriage sasural is where the bahu belongs etc. etc. My MIL made sure to tell me that she’s not like typical Indian MIL because she doesn’t expect me to cook for the whole family or give her foot massage (what decade is she from?!)

There was a LOT of drama from his mother, sister, brother-in-law even before our engagement. This led to huge fights with by husband (boyfriend at the time) because he saw just their point of view. Fights that involved name-calling, yelling and basically making me feel like I’m a horrible person. His family never tried to even ask what the matter was, nothing. Assumption and judgment. And everything was my fault.

I tried to break up, but I was weak to not stand by that decision when he begged me to not break up. Red flag ignored.

Anyway, we ended up getting through and getting engaged. I had already started resenting his family but kept thinking that if he stands by me, then I’ll be ok. I need my partner to be my rock.

The drama didn’t end there. Things like my MIL getting angry that I texted her about my mum’s birthday outing just a day before (and she couldn’t make it. Her opinion is that if I respected her then I would have let her know a week ahead on the phone) leading her to yell at my mom (who was visiting at that time for our Roka ceremony) on the phone, and us having a show down at my place. My husband supported me during that time, somewhat. He still validated his mom’s opinion and actions, which is where it started to go downhill. I agree that I should have been more mindful, maybe I should have called her as soon as the plan was made. I apologized for it. But how is it ok for a MIL to yell over the phone at my mother and tell her that she hadn’t taught her daughter anything? Who gave her the right to yell? And she left telling my mom that I had “issues” and that she has none. So, her actions were justified and it was because of my behavior that she acted that way. See the trend here?

You must be thinking why I didn’t break it up? Indecision. Thinking it would get better after marriage. The many stories from my mother about how much crap she had to deal with. I just figured I could deal with it and I’m strong. My parents basically left it to me. I wish they had put their feet down, but they didn’t. I try not to put any blame on them. Ultimately, it was my decision making or lack thereof.

My husband isn’t a bad person. He helps around the house, kitchen, around the home. He is supportive of my career up to a point, he doesn’t think I should move away if I got a good job offer because he might not be able to shift (because of his family) and he should be my first priority always.  I found this out post-marriage. Different things were assured before.  Name calling and yelling has always been an issue with him during arguments. I have given him many chances thinking don’t abandon the ship just because there is choppy water. But I think I’ve had enough.

Fast forward to wedding planning, his mother hardly contacted my parents for any wedding discussion. Even getting back on dates was an issue, and my husband would just let it be saying “My mom is like that only”. Red flag ignored.

They wanted us to show them “respect” by giving the close relatives tokens of welcome. And, I’m sad to say my parents did. Even when I tried my best to stop them. In return, there was no show of respect for us. We don’t expect gifts, but my MIL’s behavior throughout the wedding was that of her attending the destruction of her world (son). No appreciation for the effort my parents put in to find a place for them to live in, checking in on them when we could, sending them homecooked food etc. etc. All we heard all the time were complaints. They didn’t show much respect for our culture but expected 110% so that they wouldn’t have to hear anything from their relatives! They expected the ladki wale to be at their feet, serving them because they are ladkewale?

On the day of the wedding, immediately after the pheras, my MIL forced me to put on the lehenga she had picked out for me (mind you, didn’t even pack the chunni). When my mom asked her if it was necessary since she had bought my benarasi with great love and would like me to keep it on, she snapped at my mom in front of her relatives saying “Do what you want! No respect for us”. Everyone in the hall noticed it. She made my mom cry, on my wedding day for a stupid lehenga. Rest of the night my MIL acted as if it was the saddest day of her life. My parents had also bought our traditional groom wear for my husband, but his mom didn’t let him wear all of it. Just the kurta under the “designer” sherwani they had got made. So is that not disrespectful towards us? My mom then has full rights to create a scene too like my MIL? But she didn’t. Were my parents sad about it, yes; did they lash out? No.

And what I’m about to write about is probably the day it solidified in my mind that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. My parents, husband and I had gone to visit my dadi since she could not attend the wedding. My dad developed a fever on the way back, so we dropped off my husband at his maasi’s house (he didn’t even want to come to his “sasural” because his parents weren’t with him) and we came back to my house. My dad went to the doctor to get medicine. Within the hour, my MIL calls yelling at my mom that I had disrespected her, I had hurt her by not stopping by (ok, I agree maybe I could have taken 2 minutes to do that and that’s my mistake), how embarrassing it was to find her “married” son come home without bahu, that people have been talking about how I’m not very bahu like, my mom had not taught me anything, and on and on she went. And then she also dared to ask my mom why she was so attached to me especially since I had been living abroad for the last 12 years. What mother asks that of another mother?? Do you love your child less because she lives somewhere else? Or is my mother to prepare mentally that I’m to go away and serve another’s family so she shouldn’t be attached to her child?

I called my husband and demanded to know why his mother thought she could yell at my mother, and he simply defended her.
Later I came to find out he was there the entire time that his mother was yelling at my mother and he lied to me saying he wasn’t there. He justified her behavior, he defended her act. They both blamed it on me and my parents.

No apologies, nothing. And, now I’m living with them. To see them every day is a reminder of everything my parents and I have tolerated. My parents don’t even want to come visit anymore because of my MIL’s actions. I have been called names during fights with my husband, labeled as “selfish”, that I don’t like his family etc. etc.

I have tried to forgive and forget, but I have been unable to. I’m still hurt and my parents are too. I keep thinking that something is wrong with me that I can’t forgive yet. I have been made to feel bad that I can’t forgive, by my husband, who says it’s a mental choice, if one really wants to forgive then they can in a snap. I don’t think so, but I have no one to back me up.

My parents still try to maintain good relations with my husband, and he thinks it’s because he is a great son-in-law. In his family, I have realized that they believe they are wonderful people with perfect manners, and if they act rudely then it’s another’s fault. His mother and sister make decisions for him and don’t even communicate with me. He lets them and if I protest, then he doesn’t understand why it’s wrong because it’s his family. I literally feel like he’s married to his family.

I have ruined my life. The person I thought I was marrying turned out be another family puppet. He has no backbone to call out the wrong when his family does wrong. He will defend them for everything. And sadly I got to see the worst after the wedding not before.

Now I’m at a point where I want to take the control of my life back. I want live by myself, with or without the husband, I don’t want to serve his family or even call them my family. I used to take pride in being a feminist, always fighting for equal treatment. I’m not sure who I am anymore. Every point I feel selfish because it’s not aligned with what my husband/in-laws might want.

Mentally I have decided to separate in a year’s time (my parents are supportive of this decision) and do my best until then. I don’t see myself ever fitting into their mentality, lifestyle etc. I don’t want to have kids and have them grow around my husband’s family. And I don’t want to stay in this family because of kids.

I’m not asking if I’m right or wrong. I know this might not be as bad as what some of you have experienced. I simply ask for support. I don’t think it’s right for my parents and me to have to tolerate and put up this kind of family for the rest of my life. There is no point in counseling because (1) I don’t want to waste my energy and time and time (2) he had made it clear, it’s him and his family together or nothing.

I think I have chosen, but not acted upon it yet.

Like I’ve said, I just ask for support. Please do not judge me. I can’t find that kind of support here because Americans don’t know what it is like to be an Indian DIL.

Am I crazy? Am I really self-serving? Is name calling verbal abuse?
Why do I constantly feel like I’m a horrible person for not being able to forgive?

Just wanted to clarify/add some things.

– I wasn’t fully aware of the extents of the traditional mentality my in-laws have until and after the wedding. I’m sure I must have had seen signs that I ignored, but it didn’t hit home until those words were spoken.

– After coming from the wedding, I had told my husband that I could not live with in-laws who disrespected my family. It really upset him and he called me “selfish” and walked out of the apartment where we were living (moved in with my in-laws after a few months). We had a huge fight where he involved his family and threatened me that if I did not come and settle the matter with his family, then we will end it. I regret not having the guts to end it then. I regret that I let him treat me like that and I went to apologize. I regret sitting and listening to their patriarchal view. I have so many regrets and I feel helpless. 

They complained about my parents not being attentive to them post the pheras (even though it’s not true and I have witnesses), about the bloody lehenga, how in general we didn’t show them sufficient respect etc. etc. I just sat there listening like a coward and did not do anything. I did not stand up for myself or my family. I am so ashamed of myself. All through this my husband just sat there. In his silence, he showed whose side he was on. I did not tell my parents about this until months later after keeping it to myself. I blamed myself for all of it and still do.

– I wonder if I’m in an abusive marriage. It’s not explicit with physical/verbal abuse so it’s so hard to gauge for me. But there is always an undercurrent of tension I feel at all times. Fights almost always involve name calling and yelling especially if it’s about his family. I don’t respond well to yelling at all, so I shut down which makes him further angry. I’m not an angel, I have yelled back too when I reached my limits. Almost anything I say where I don’t want to do something with his family, results in “you just don’t like my family”, “you never want to do… for my family”, “are you telling your mother how depressed you are here?” “if you love me unconditionally, then you should do/accept/act…” “you’re selfish” etc.

And, then comes a honeymoon phase, where I have given into his/their thoughts/opinions, and he showers me with hugs, kisses, and care.

Is it somewhat bipolar in nature?

He doesn’t expect me to cook, clean or wash for him. I can dress as I want, go where I want, meet whoever I want. Yet I have to conform to how he and his family wants to live.

– Even though I said I will wait for a year. I’m not sure why I would do that. I tend to dilly dally a lot. Sometimes I think this year, before the 1 yr anniversary. This is significant because it will bring me no joy. I don’t even want to look at my wedding photos/videos. They only bring back bad memories. Why would I celebrate, esp with his family, 1 yr of the day I wish never took place

Am I beyond help? I’m scared of what his family will do… make me pay for things/rent (since we are renting a house right now) / insult my family and me some more.

From,

Your blog is my support group.

Advertisements

“She stayed with her parents for thirty years, now she is married so it’s an end to her relationship with her parents.”

That this email writer needs to justify her wish to visit her parents, is the reason why Indian families continue to prefer, sex-select, abandon, pray, fast and bless for male children.

What do you think should the email writer do?

Hello IHM,

Back again, today I am very depressed and that is why writing to you.

I feel bad about my self because I can’t confront or give back to my in-laws whenever they say something bad or throw a taunt at me and hurt me with their words.

This happens most of the times and I just hurt myself because of this.

Today when we all family members were together, my husband just said while general talking that I should go and meet my family and should stay there for a day or two. Before I could speak my MIL started and said a lot of things which were intolerable to me and I wanted to give back to her but I couldn’t. (I am so angry with myself now).

She said, “Ye nahi jayegi, hum nahi jaane denge, Unke sath 30 saal reh liya hai. or ab shaadi ko do saal ho gaye hai, ab unse rishta khatam ab idhar rishta hai. Or rehne to jana hi nahi chahiye 3-4 dino ke liye. Jyada se jyada subah milne jao shaam ko aajao.”

(No, she will not go. We won’t allow her to go. She stayed with them for 30 years and she is married from past two years so it’s an end to the relationship with their parents. And she should not go to stay for 3-4 days, she should go in the morning and come back by evening.)

I can’t tell you how I felt that time I really wanted to give back to her that time. But as we say kadwa ghut pee ke reh gayi and she spoiled my whole day.

If i should end my relation with my parents as I stayed with them for 30 years then same should be applicable on my husband as well. He also stayed with his parents for 30 years and now he is married and so he should end his relation with his parents and we should move out.

I don’t talk much to my in-laws often, I just do normal duties at home and general talk related to household daily stuff. As whenever I talk to them and try to become friendly with them, they try to control me. They say such things or throw taunts then I don’t feel like talking to them or sitting with them.

My husband doesn’t like this at all and asks me to sit with them, talk to them be as friendly with them as I am with my parents. Today we were on a small one day trip and it was going good, but while coming back this incident happened which spoiled my mood to the core.

I feel like they always try to pull me away from my parents, my family. Why so?

They don’t like me going and staying for a day or two with my parents. By doing this they are not pulling me away from my parents, instead I am going away from them and I don’t feel like staying with them anymore. I wanna run away from them.

When they do or say such things I crave more for my parents.

How can anybody think that getting married means end of your relationship with your parents, who gave you birth, who did everything for you, and because of whom you are and you have whether it’s professional or personal achievements. Shame on this thought. They don’t have a daughter and they can’t understand the feeling, how it feels when you can’t see or meet your daughter whenever you want to or whenever she wants to.

They don’t understand the pain I feel as a daughter when I can’t see my parents for more than a week or two, I have seen my parents too have the same feelings when they cannot meet me for long.

I never raised my voice against them and never said anything to them ever. I just discussed my problem and frustration with my husband every time. But I think I should raise my voice now as I can’t take this any more.

I don’t know what should I do at this stage, as my MIL is a spoilt brat being the only female at home having two sons and had been pampered by her husband and sons. She is such a dominating person that she doesn’t listen to anyone, does whatever she wants, says whatever she wants to. Even if someone at home says she is doing this wrong she never listens to anyone and just does what she wants to.

She wants to control everything at home, her husband, her sons and tries the same, every time, on me. I am frustrated now.

I don’t know what should I do. She is creating a mess for me every other day.

A second email in response to my email – IHM

I have stayed at my parents place for 3-4 days in general but I have seen their faces and can easily see they don’t like it. But yes my husband never stopped me from going and staying.
She said this all of a sudden and I think she wanted to let me know that they don’t like it and now I should not go.

My husband is supportive but he also keeps mum in front of his mother. Though he confronts but only sometimes.  He knows she was wrong at this point. I was sad the whole day and he surprised me by taking me to my parents that too chupke se. My in laws don’t know about this.

Related Posts:

A married woman does not have the freedom to spend on her parents and will have to request and hope for her husband’s permission to do so.

“I am trying to make a list of soooooooo many advantages a girl can have if she is born in a Western family as compared to being born in india.”

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

These lines sum up the biggest reason for male child preference and skewed gender ratio in India.

Another email. When an Indian daughter-in-law has no brothers.

Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?

Indian brides told to reduce mobile phone use.

हमारी बेटी संस्कारवान है और मंत्री बनने के बावजूद पति के पांव की जूती ही है।

“I don’t see the point of forcing parents to give birth to unwanted girl children.”

Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions.

An email: My principal fear is my wife is not going to be able to love my parents as much as I do.

“I just don’t understand how girls like me (independent, modern) then agree to get married and live with someone and his family.”

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

An email: “I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say.”

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I’m writing this letter mainly to pour my heart out. I’m broken and I don’t know who to speak to.

I’m on the verge of filing for a divorce. I got married in 2012, when I wasn’t even 23. I’ve given more than three years of my life to this relationship and I have nothing left.

I’m tired of taunts, insults and indirect demands by my in laws. My husband does not support me. He does not earn anything as he is involved in his dad’s business, and we depend upon his father financially. Their business is not doing well at all and at the time of marriage, they lied to my family about their income.

My FIL taunts me all the time and my husband has the audacity to say that taunting suits his dad’s personality. My FIL has asked my dad for money a few times but I never let my dad help.

I’m tired. My husband is a spineless fool and I cannot stay in this marriage for society anymore. But I’m so so scared of what people will say. Please help me.

Related Posts:

Is it possible that the ones whose disapproval is dreaded the most are those who are most likely to express disapproval (and occasional approval)?

Is your relationship healthy?

How much does your neighbours’ third cousin’s uncle’s opinion matter to you?

A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are the same as her husband’s rights. Whatever is his, is hers.

“Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. He made it clear that I could have ended in a much worse situation.”

Should women be given a share in residential property of the husband, including inherited and inheritable property?

When a newly married Indian woman gives up her career, what else does she give up?

Can dowry ensure happiness and security for a girl?

Can dowry be compared to inheritance?

“He became more distant and sometime would verbally abuse me, call me names and then slapping and wrist twisting started happening.”

Can violence begin and exist without disrespect and disregard for the person being abused?  Is happiness in a relationship possible where there is disrespect and lack of regard? 

Sharing an email, what do you think should the email writer do? 

Hi,

I came across your blog on the internet and was highly moved by the stories and the work you are doing. I want to say thank you from all the women out there who are in such terrible situations and who are seeking out help from people like you. I am going to tell my story here and want you to post this on your blog anonymously.

I have been married to my boyfriend for a little more than an year now. We had a long courtship before marriage. There were ups and downs but we had a good dependable relationship overall. So we got married. It has all been downhill since then. After 3 months into marriage I found out that he liked some girl in his office and they used to chat and call each other. She reciprocated his feelings. I was taken aback as I had heard about such things but never thought it would happen to me. I confronted him over it, but he said she was just a friend and he hadn’t crossed any line with her. But he did admit he had some kind of attraction towards her. After sometime his behavior started changing towards me. He became more distant and sometime would verbally abuse me, call me names and then slapping and wrist twisting started happening. I got sick 5-6 months into marriage and used to perpetually tired. My in-laws used to visit us and due to sickness I could not do “seva” to them. We visited 2-3 doctors but they could not diagnose my disease, they said it could be some general fatigue due to working too much at office and at home.

But our relationship kept deteriorating. My husband fought with me more frequently and would slap me in anger. I felt horrible and then he was joined by my in laws saying I was not doing bahu duty and I was a bad person. And my sickness was a drama just to get out of work. So when they used to visit us( for one month or longer). All three of them would say horrible things to me. I was devastated. I hated going home from office and my health kept deteriorating.

Finally my husband was transferred to south India and I thought may be we would get some respite as he would be away from the girl and in laws visits would become less frequent which would give us more time to understand each other. So it was decided that my husband would goto south and I would follow him when I get relieved from office(15 days later). One day before he left, we again fought for some reason and he caught me by the neck and I fell down. So I called his mother and told her about how he gets physical with me during fights and asked her for help to make him understand not to hit me. After sometime I confronted him that he has to promise never to hit me again or I would leave. His response was that he tries to control but has no control over his anger and can’t promise he would never do it again. And the next day he shifted to the south. In the meanwhile my health kept deteriorating. My mother came to visit me saw my condition and said lets see a doctor. And by chance my disease was diagnosed and doctor suggested full bed rest for 2 months and some antibiotics, it was some rare kind of infection. So I informed my husband about it and his response was just “ok”. Do you need my help? I responded with not yet as we were at a relative’s place and didn’t want to burden them further. So I informed my husband that I am going to hometown as doctor suggested bed rest and my mother is going to take care of me. His response was “OK”.

I had told my mother about the verbal abuse and slapping and wrist twisting incidents. So everybody suggested since I was so unhappy. I should wait for my husband to miss me and let him call me. He has not called me since, to even ask about my health. And I have not contacted him either. I do not want to go back to him if he continues getting physical with me during fights. I suggested marriage  counseling or anger management. But he says nobody can solve our problems better than us and does not agree to counselling. I am currently living at my parent’s house. It has been a month. What do you think I should do? I don’t understand whether this marriage is worth saving or there is no hope.

Related Posts:

What advice would you give to a woman whose husband beats her when she does not give him lunch on time?

‘Last month, my sister’s husband picked a fight with her as he felt she was not doing enough for his parents.’

A good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

Why do women stand by erring husbands?

An email: ‘My subconscious mind keeps reminding me of the initial nastiness, and fears that he is capable of that kind of behaviour.’

“A message is required to be sent, loud and clear that wife bashing has no place in a civilised society and violent husbands deserve no mercy,”

More than half of young Indians believe it’s okay for a husband to beat his wife.

“I remember the first time I got slapped was when I bought some pasta home for $2.00 when the similar thing could be bought for 40cents.”

Recognizing Emotional Abuse – Priya

Feminism has gone to women’s head. Divorce has become like selling onions.

If you had to to say something to inspire a victim of domestic violence to walk out, what would you say?

‘She believes that her husband has got into job troubles since marrying her (he tells her this) and that she has been unlucky for their entire family.’

Sixty. And nowhere to go.

Changing Someone (or oneself) – Priya

Is your relationship healthy?

An email: “He got very aggressive and even started pulling the loosened muscles of my abdomen (post preg) very hard”

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.

Hi IHM,

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.

Thanks,
Raheel

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

“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’.”

Sharing an email from an anonymous Indian daughter in law.

I am writing this email with a very heavy heart. I am sad, disappointed, trapped and moreover frustrated. It’s not that I am a victim of physical abuse or something – but Yes. I am a victim of mental abuse…. A regular mental abuse which makes me more dry socially and disappointed.

On the first glimpse, it may look like another MIL – DIL disagreement. People may feel that DILs always cribbing about similar issues… But before I proceed I would like to make a polite request that – Peeps, it’s not that DILs always crib or want to crib… They are forced to be the victim of frequent unsocial issues at their in-laws place.

It’s not that the so called ‘Sasural waale’ are always wrong but considering the age old Indian traditions and mindsets, there is always a huge difference in the mindsets of both the families.

It’s not that I am less attached with my sasural and more with my maayeka… both are my families and I love both of them but yes I agree there is a difference which is born due to continuous disturbing issues.

My heart cries and my mind goes blank. I am born in a well-educated Indian family who focus the most on moral values, education and independence. I am a girl but my parents never treated me less than a boy… I was always supported, understood and respected. Fortunately after completing my higher studies and after I grabbed a decent job, my parents got me married to a guy of my choice. I was happy and was in a dream world, when I was thrown back on the ground of reality – The reality of being married to an orthodox ***** family!

In India what I feel is, that once you get married, your in laws treat you as their private property. You have no rights on your desires, your likes, dislikes, thoughts, and decisions. Even, you can’t go to your parents, who stay just 2 Kms away, on your own. Ladki ko maayeke jaana hai to bhai yaa papa lene aayein sasural (Translation: if a married girl wants to go from her sasuraal to her parents’ house, her brother or father should come to take her) and then wapas aana ho to pati lene jaaye (Translation: and then when she has to come back from her parents’ home to her marital home, her husband should go and bring her). But being an independent and financially stable girl with clear thoughts and mindset, obviously I can’t tolerate this.

Both my husband and I belong to the same city and I have grown up there, then why the hell do I require any one to accompany me to my sasural or maayeka?

What I feel bad about most is that be it any any any occasion, it is always a question that ‘Maayeke se kya aaya’? (Translates to: What has (gifts, dowry etc) come from her parents’ home) And this is one question which always leaves me feeling violent. Whenever I hear this question my heart shouts out loud – Why?? Don’t you have enough money to meet your expenses or desires?

Whenever there is any kind of occasion, the most common thing which I hear in my ‘sasural ka khandaan’ is ‘Bahu k maayeke se kya aaya? ’And my MIL, being a typical old fashioned, closed mindset woman she always wants to show off, that too without appreciating, the items received from girl’s parents. But most of the time she is like ‘Kahan kuch aata hi hai.. yaa unke yahan ( DIL’s home) kuch nahi hota) despite of the fact that my parents do their best.

Be it festival or any occasion – My in laws always expect a call from my parents but never ever they will take pain to call them. Diwali hai to mere parents call karein, (my parents should call them) New Year hai to mere parents call karein (my parents should call them) – But why? Is it a one sided relationship? Can’t you call? My parents are tired of inviting them on dinner past 2 years and till date they didn’t bothered to turn up even for once and still my MIL expects them to invite them every time. – Why? Till date, I don’t remember a single time when they felt comfortable at my sasural. I hate myself for that – Being parents of a daughter, can’t they come to my sasural without even a single line of tension on their mind?

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’. Kisi ke kaka… kisi ke chacha… Unke dada… unke par dada – Sabki milni teeka… (Translation: somebody’s uncle, somebody’s grand uncle, each had to be given envelopes filled with cash) Which is itself a huge financial burden on girl’s family? And, trust me, till date, after marriage, I have never seen those kakas, mama’s taus etc upon whom my parents were forced to spend huge sums of money in the name of marriage ritual. Lakhs of rupees wasted in the so called ceremony and now when I think of purchasing anything of my choice I am always asked to compromise as money is ought not to be wasted. – Why saasu ma? Aapke blind faiths mei jo mere parents ke paise waste hue wo aashirwad tha aur meri ek demand fulfil karne k liye if your son has to spend money – it’s a sheer wastage? (Translation: Why mother in law? My parents’ money wasted on your blind faith was ‘blessings money’ and if your son has to spend money to fulfil my one demand, that is sheer wastage?)

Every time my parents visit they are expected to bring big gifts and envelopes… They are expected to be very polite and always nod ‘Yes’ to their every point of view. And it’s not a cry of only mine; it’s a cry of thousands of DILs across India.

Just like any other girl, I also want a family of my own: my husband and my kids. But, trust me, I feel scared of being a mother. Scared of not the pain and responsible upbringing of my future kids but scared of those unsocial beliefs of my in laws which will make my parents suffer once again.

In my husband’s khandaan – once a child is conceived till he is born there are many rituals associated. These rituals demands huge financial expenses on ‘to-be-mother’ parents. Chauk, Chatthi and one more thing, I don’t remember the name.

During chauk, which happens in the ninth month – A huge list of items is given to girl’s parents and they have to bear it and gift it to sasural waale for the sake of the upcoming grandchild. Again the same shit of sabki milni and teeka.

After the child is born, there is chathi – in which again the same old shit of milni, teeka and gifts. In the sixth month, the girls’ parents have to send sweets for MIL and her relatives and they eat only those things – and I am like – Kyu bhai. Ladki k maayeke se khaane ka saamaan nahi aayega to bhuke rahoge kya? (Rough translation: Why so? If there are no freebies/eatables from the girl’s family would you remain hungry or what?)

There is no point in such rituals which are making me scared of even think of motherhood. Tell me. Do you think it’s good? Ek ladki sirf in unsocietal norms ke chakkar mei maa banne mei darti… ki kahin uske parents ko suffer na karna pade? (Translation: A girl is terrified of motherhood just because of these un-social norms, because she fears what her parents would have to go through.)

I am just fed up with all this. It’s not that only my MIL do this to us (we are 2 DILs)… At the time of her daughter’s (my nanad) child birth –  she spent almost 10 Lakhs rupees just to meet the demands of her daughter’s in-laws. And that was the day I realized that it’s not that only I suffer… It’s the case of thousands of Indian families all across. It’s just that some speak and some don’t.

If someone wants to disobey these so called MILs, they come up with the same dialogue – hamare zamane mei to ye hota tha wo hota tha… aajkal ki bahuein to aisi. (Translation: In our days this used to happen and that used to happen, but the daughters in law’s these days are such… ) Ohhhh godddddddd…. When I listen to these dialogues I am like man kill me.

Every time my mother in law comes with some or other crap in mind… And it’s my bad that both my Jethani’s family and my nanad’s family ( i.e my MIL) are comfortable with each and every huge ritual and they never feel irritated.. They are like – Bhai ladki ka sasural hai karna to padega hi… ( Translation: It’s a girl’s sasuraal, we have to do all this)

They are also tied with these age old rituals – but my family is like – humne apni ladki ko padhaya likhaya and kamane layak banaya (we have educated our daughter and made her capable of earning) then why the hell are we supposed to follow these non-sense rituals.

And ya – before I forget to mention, I also belong to ***** (same community) family but yes there is huge difference between the mindsets.

Dear MIL, I agree that you gave birth to a son. I agree that he is your world and you have every right on his life, his choices, his likes and dislikes. But wait!!! Daughter is also born with the same process. She is the world for her parents and they have the same rights on her life just like you have on your son – Then why such a huge difference between your son’s parents & his wife’s parents? — Just for the reason that the girl left her home and came to your house to light up your son’s life?

Madam, you are wrong!

My husband always tries his best to support me… but since he has seen all this huge rituals since the childhood and his mom being damn superstitious, even he feels helpless most of the time. He has 5 brothers (including first cousins) and all of them and their wives parents are following these superstitions blindly and when I rebel that why my parents are supposed to follow these illogical customs, I land nowhere more than arguing with my mother-in-law and spoiling my whole mood with tears.

And the saga continues ……………….

Related Posts:

Can dowry ensure happiness and security for a girl?

Can Dowry be compared to Inheritance?

“My story is not an extreme case of abuse or discrimination unlike some stories shared on your blog, but it makes me deeply angry and resentful nonetheless.”

Marriage Vs Live in Relationships : Twelve points to note.

Instead of eyeing their husbands’ ancestral property, why don’t Indian daughters in law make their own homes?

Some basic questions on joint family finances and daughters in law.

A daughter in law’s legal rights in her in law’s house are the same as her husband’s rights. Whatever is his, is hers.

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

“Is it possible that some women secretly want a dowry – perhaps to enhance their social standing?”

How many women would dare to say this?

How can forced marriages be prevented when the person being married off is dependent on the people forcing them to be married off?

How can forced marriages be prevented when the person being married off is dependent on the people forcing them to be ‘married off’?

What can make it easier for those who are being forced to get married, to fight back these pressures? 

Sharing an email.

‘But I am scared that I would be forced to marry and by force. I mean it.’

Hi,

I just turned 26 last week. I worked for three years in an IT company. I have my GMAT scheduled in a week. I am being pestered for marriage at my home. The whole day I hear my mother cribbing about me to relatives. They have got this whole squad behind my ass. My only aim right now is to get admitted to a reputed college in us for MBA. Its got so ugly at home that there is no emotional support for my career. That’s fine I never needed that but there is so much of negativity at this time. I have postponed my exam twice already. This time I know I am going to give it and apply soon. But I am scared that I would be forced to marry and by force I mean it. I have no clue how far the emotional blackmail would go it has already crossed most of its limits. They keep saying stuff that they paid for my education brought me up etc etc but if I had known that the cost would be living my whole life their way even if you don’t like it I would have never grown up lol. Times like this … I really feel like giving up. But I had so many dreams and I try so hard to fill myself with positivity. I try too hard. I can’t find words to pen down that would explain how troubled n lonely I feel right now. I don’t even believe in arranged marriage.

Should I start meeting guys so that at least I land in US?

Related Posts:

“Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

“I am betraying my parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage, people are talking, younger sisters not getting married.”

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

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

Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?

“My story is not an extreme case of abuse or discrimination unlike some stories shared on your blog, but it makes me deeply angry and resentful nonetheless.”

Sharing an email.

Hi IHM,

I have admired your blog posts for over 2 years now and the fact that you have taken up the issue of gender discrimination especially post marriage which is a very under talked, under debated, swept under the carpet kind of issue.

I wanted to share my story which is not an extreme case of abuse or discrimination unlike some stories shared on your blog, but it makes me deeply angry and resentful nonetheless. I am fed up of being told that I have a perfect life compared to many others, that I am making a mountain of a molehill and fed up of the low expectations from the boy and his parents.

Mine is a love marriage and we met 5 years back and tied the knot this year. My husband is a really great guy who was always respectful and and had great regard for a person’s private space and agency. But,like most indian guys he’s devoted to his parents in an illogical manner i.e. everything they say must be carried out and he cannot make them unhappy by arguing, debating even if they are wrong.

I was aware that his parents are a lot more conservative than mine, but was not bothered that much as we are staying in a different city from them. But, what happened during the 3 days we stayed after marriage with them makes me very resentful and incapable of having a decent relationship with them.

For innocuous comments like ‘I don’t know the tv in your house, I am only familiar with the tv in my house’, I was given 18th century replies like ‘This is your house now, you have to sit, eat and drink here’. It made me feel like a bought slave whereas I am as educated as my husband and doing very well in life financially and otherwise. I consider myself strong, confident and independent and was not used to this kind of humiliation.

I went outside their house to bid goodbye to their relatives and was shooed inside by my MIL like cattle because I was not wearing the customary wedding bangles(chooda) and so what will the neighbours say!

I chose to ignore all this ,but the breaking point came when I was going to go to my parents house the last night(they live in the same city) and my MIL demanded that I return to their house the next day and go the airport for my honeymoon from their place as supposedly this is my place now. I just nodded and made an excuse the next day that I am not feeling well and hence going to airport from my place only. Usually, I do not take this kind of approach and I am direct and frank, but decided not to take any chances of any fight erupting.But it still did. Not giving a damn that their son is going on his honeymoon and that it is the best time of our lives, they scolded,cursed him on the way to the airport and for the first time in our relationship he used abusive language with me and behaved like a typical MCP, momma’s boy that I never dreamed he could be. I fought back and asserted that this is not the person I married and if he continues like this, our marriage will be in serious trouble. Since then, he has not behaved like that again. He actively participates in all household chores, in fact does a bit more than me,he’s being the model husband. But, his parents will not get off my back. His dad started talking aggressively to me on that the phone, dictating when and on what occasions i ‘have to’ come to visit them. They have the typical boy’s parents attitude that what they say, I have to do, no choice and it makes me crazy angry and determined not to do listen to even the basic requests.

My parents were planning to visit us this month. When they came to know, they started a crazy race out of the blue to book their tickets for a week prior to my parents’ visit as they are the boy’s parents, they have to come first to our place.

All this has made me disgusted and my husband knows this. Even though he doesn’t say anything, I wonder if resents my attitude to his parents. Also, I have no idea how to deal with his parents when they visit us. Normally people who I don’t like, I totally ignore and feel no obligation to interact with them. But I can’t do it in this case. I also have a very short temper and very less tolerance towards medieval attitudes like women must change their name, personality, parents blah blah blah after marriage. Please advice me on how to deal with such regressive people who are supposed to be your family but do not treat you like a human being but like an acquired property. I do not want to hurt my husband too and I am getting sucked into a web of resentment and anger day by day.

Thanks for caring about the lives of anonymous people.

Regards,

A

Related Posts:

So, what makes forgiving, forgetting and moving on difficult sometimes?

“I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

Response from the 25 yr old Software Engineer, ‘I cannot tell you how much better I feel after seeing my concerns/outrage echoed in everyone’s reactions.’

“I want to take my own time, get a job, then think whether or not to get married. But, I can’t tell my parents all this.”

Even today, in most Indian families, self reliance for daughters is only an option – and Getting and Staying Married remains the goal. The challenge becomes tougher if a daughter is not an over achiever – has not found what she would like to do, or needs time (from her own life). 

Sharing an email.

I just cannot handle it anymore,,, i feel stuffed and it just so suffocating. I would like you to share this mail with you other readers so that i can get some honest suggestions from you and them.

I am 26 yrs old. but still unemployed. I wanted to achieve a hell lot in my life but see where i have landed that I dont even have a single financial support for myself, I have to beg my parents. I did a lot of blunders in my life topping them all was that when everybody was busy planning their careers I was way too busy maintaining my friendship.

I did b.com but from correspondence from Delhi later I did a Computer course and an Italian language course… none could help me find a “Decent job” as I wanted. So, I shifted my ways towards Government sector. I managed to clear certain levels of certain jobs but still couldn’t clear all the levels as a result I’m back to square once again.

My parents have always been supporting as I am the only girl they have. And I have a young brother… but he’s way to young. They have been encouraging all through… but its high time I know, now they also often tell me that you are our only daughter we had high dreams for you, but see where you are, you haven’t done well in anything in my life.

The issue now is, that my biggest mistake is that I am born In India as a GIRL… all my relatives are forcing my parents always as to why aren’t they getting me married till now?? What if i don’t have a job, why don’t they find a  business man… I feel like a trash. 😦

This is not the life i wanted to live, all my friends are well settled in good jobs. But, I have nothing in my hand.

And now my biggest support even my parents have said they can’t take it anymore, they are really tensed because of me, they say society and relatives are not gonna leave us. And how long should we wait.

Honestly, trust me i am putting my 100% to my studies now to secure a position in Government job. But I just can’t concentrate anymore since they have discussed all this. I honestly want to prove myself to the world now, and not only that I also want to sit for I A S exams (it’s been my dad’s dream forever).

I don’t know what to do but I feel suffocated, somehow I am so so afraid of marriage that I don’t even want to hear about it. The moment someone says anything like this I get all tensed and my pulse rises. I really don’t want to end up like this. I have thought to suicide even but I don’t want to  die like a loser and prove my parents wrong that they supported me. But I really want to get out of here. If at all i want to get married, I want that feeling to come to me naturally when I find someone with whom I want to spend the rest of my life. I can’t share this with anybody else but you.

Please tell what shall I do?? Is it such a big crime to be born in India as Girl?? I dont’ feel happy like other girls when they are all excited to be married. I really feel like doing something. But I just need escape. Please tell me what to do. Please! I want to take my own time, to get into a job, get out of this rut, go out, explore and then on my own I want to think whether to get married or not. But, I can’t tell my parents all this. Yes, they are supportive (rather they were, now they are not) but they are not open enough to understand all this. Please tell me what to do.

– A Loser

Related Posts:

‘Daughters growing older, their egos becoming bigger, their attitudes and behavior becoming more boorish..’

Response from the email writer accused of betraying her “parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage”

“I have reached 26 and my parents have started pressurizing me. My BF is the same age. But my BF is youngest in family!”

Indian Shaadi Logic – by Prateek Shah

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

“Only thing I can can think of now is to take a spoon of boiling oil and put on my cheeks. I will see then who marries a girl with a burnt face”

18 questions for young women (and men) of ‘marriageable age’.

Early and arranged marriages within the community prevent social ills.

How important is it for an Indian girl to get married?

Response from the 25 yr old Software Engineer, ‘I cannot tell you how much better I feel after seeing my concerns/outrage echoed in everyone’s reactions.’

Response from the 25 yr old Software Engineer who wrote this email: My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

Dear Indian Homemaker,

 Thank you very much for publishing my email. I read the comments and found them very insightful. If it is possible I would like to have the following published as a reply to my earlier post.

First of all I want to thank everyone for their comments!!… I cannot tell you how much better I feel after seeing my concerns/outrage echoed in everyone’s reactions.

Yes, like a lot of you have mentioned previously my so called sweet spot is actually a very difficult one because I am getting the worst of both worlds i.e deal with the challenges of a modern working woman & be treated like a bahu of the 1950s.  (It looks like a mighty sweet deal for them though L )

And although I have let my DH go scott free in most of the drama and he has taken on the role of a silent spectator, he is a different personality with me and an entirely different one in front of his folks (From what I have read on these blogs this is not an isolated case).

If I were unhappy with him even when we were alone it would be an entirely different matter, but since the problems only occur when his family meddles I was hoping that getting distance from them will help us forge a strong bond … Besides I wasn’t realistically expecting to change years of upbringing immediately.

Some of you have raised questions about why on earth would an independent person agree to such a set up in the first place… Alas, to this I don’t have any easy answers…. I guess I in my naivete imagined that people living abroad for such a long time would have changed with the times as well….. And while I wasn’t expecting a bed of roses, I never thought that inherent freedoms like when I wake up/how I dress would ever be under scrutiny. I like some of the comments about asking the right questions before getting betrothed and I guess we need to create more awareness about this… Its too late for me now, all I want now is to try my best to not ruin my marriage especially not for people who given the laws governing mortality will not factor in the rest of our lives.

I am a non confrontational person and I have no desire to change my MIL/FIL. I think that time could be better spent doing more productive things. I think the best course is to insist on staying separately and see what happens next.

Again, thanks a million for the virtual hugs!!!!

Related Posts:

Response from the email writer accused of betraying her “parents, country and culture by not having an arranged marriage”

The Young Indian Woman’s response.

Remember the Anonymous Confused Wife?

“I had written an email about being a DIL in the joint family, I am happy to share my current state …”

Response and a Question from the Anonymous Indian Liberated Wife