​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.

“My husband would tell me to stay with my in laws for some more time and that he didn’t want any discussions.”

Here is a heart breaking example of how Patriarchy enables abuse.

What made it possible for this husband to demand that the wife lives with his parents and helps them with their business – against her wishes? How common are such expectations? 

What do you think should the email writer do?

Also – shouldn’t there be legal assurance of financial support for every child, whether or not the parents live together? 

Hi..

I am sharing my story here. I am really distressed and I wish you could post my story in your blog.

so here it is..

So I stay with my husband in South India and my in laws ( ILs) stay in Haryana. When I was pregnant, my husband forced me to stay with ILs. I was treated very badly by them, specially by my MIL. They were never very nice to me in the past, but I never, in my worst dreams, imagined the things I had to go through. I used to tell my husband everything on phone and he would just say that he’d talk to his parents and that I should also adjust. I cried/ pleaded/begged him lots of times to let me come back to him but he was like a stone. He told me once that if I only complain all the time then he would stop calling me or picking up my calls.

He promised me that when the baby is 2-3 months old I’d move back with him. But he betrayed me even then. He is doing a course which is 3 years long. Now he asked me to stay with ILs for all these years. For the sake of baby’s care and that his father needed me for family business.

All these plans and decisions were taken after discussions between my husband and my fil. I wasn’t even asked. Only when I used to ask if I could come back he would tell me to stay for some more time and that he didn’t want any discussions. Finally one evening my ILs crossed the line and my patience ran off. I couldn’t take their constant abuse so I left and went to my parents’ place in Delhi. My husband told me that this meant separation. that now I can never come back to him. I said okay. I was prepared. although I messaged him after a week or so asking if we could find a middle way.. that I would never live with his parents but may be we can live in the same building on different floors… and that he also has some responsibility towards his own 3 month old son and wife, his reply was cold and he just said that he wished I knew what I was doing while leaving his parents’ house.

We didn’t speak for one month. And I was taking all this very well. After a month he started calling. Then he and his family came to get me back and apologised.

As a fool I agreed but asked him to make a few promises. He made me resign from the job I had got in Delhi without even serving the notice period as he said that he had suffered a lot in the previous one month and now he can’t even stay away from me for one more day.

We came back to South India and started living normally. However his behaviour started changing again. He started breaking all the promises that he made. He again started taking me and my feelings for granted.

His family again started interfering and bothering us by complaining on small silly things. By bad mouthing me about me to him on phone and making issues about every small thing.

After 3 months we went back to ILs place for some function. I was again treated very badly by my MIL and just one night before we were supposed to come back my FIL said that all the things that they said when they came to get me back and their apologies etc was all a drama. They didn’t mean a thing. It was all just to get me back. and that now I should apologise for doing this bad deed of leaving the family. My husband was there when all this was going on and his dad kept on abusing me. How I wasn’t brought up properly and I had no values or I don’t know the way to be a good dil. etc etc.

I went into depression and had to take therapy after coming back. That too without letting my husband know.

Now I have developed serious trust issues with my husband. We are supposed to go back to stay with ILs coz of family business after 2 years and I feel my husband is again going to throw me under the bus when the time comes. I am scared to go back to that place. I have been harassed there very badly. Everyone gets on one side and attack me. That’s the kind of emotional abuse that I just have no tolerance for anymore. And I used to be very strong before.

I don’t know what to do.

Should I leave him right now?

Should I wait for 2 years and see what happens.. In this case my baby will become emotionally attached to his father and it’ll be difficult for me to separate them then. Also, I’ll have no savings of my own as I am spending every penny of what I am earning right now on us. My husband is still studying and it’ll be another betrayal..  I am not sure how I’ll take it then.

How foolish is it to trust a person who has always betrayed me?
He gets emotional about our relation only when he wants to. The times when I need him he is always cold and unavailable.

I feel lonely most of the time even in his presence. He hardly ever wants to spend time with me. He calls someone or the other everytime he is free.
We have a very sad sex life and I know for sure that he watches porn to satisfy himself.

He never helps out with the baby. only plays with him for sometime but doesn’t help me out for anything.
He is extremely selfish.
He says he loves me but it doesn’t show in his actions.
Should I consider divorce? Are all men like this? Are my expectations too high if I want a partner who truly is a partner and not just a person living with you without any real feelings?

I want to live my life happily. Is it possible with this person? We had a love marriage and now I can’t find the person I loved. it was all fake.

Related email:

An email: “My in laws want me to stay here with them while my husband works in another city.”

Other related posts:

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

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

Indian women and their Easy Wealth.

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

“I thought it would indeed be wonderful to live with my in-laws.”

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

An email: “You have almost saved my marriage, in a weird way.”

Sharing an email. 

EVERY PASSING DAY MAKES A LIFE. EVERYDAY ABUSE RUINS LIFE.

Hi, 

You have almost saved my marriage, in a weird way. I thought I was the only one fighting it off everyday but when I read these stories I feel at least consoled but sad too . Domestic Violence has too many traits, it always does not have to be physically abusive. It could be as bad without it .

The email continues: 

Dear IHM,

Marital issues are sometimes so tricky, there are times that we really can’t pinpoint whose mistake it is. I really don’t know if I say that to console myself or to console others. I have been married for 8 months and No it has not been a smooth ride to shift from a nuclear family in to a joint family. To shift from a family that is broad minded, to a family that thinks it is ‘broad minded’.

A very typical arranged marriage was fixed to a really nice guy, I said yes after meeting him and talking for a few minutes (mistake 1) , why I said Yes – other than him being a nice and a humble guy, what really stood out was that he gave his family a better life than they already had. He made a house with a little help from his father. The family had too many financial issues and he pulled them out of it at quite a young age. I was of the thought that if this man could do so much then may be we could be together and make a better life and a beautiful living for us (mistake 2).

In our community girls are not allowed to see the boy’s house till marriage, the parents check that out. I was told that it was not all that fancy but the family was really nice (mistake 3 ). We got engaged soon and 5 months after that we got married.

I knew that there was going to be a change but never knew that the change would be so drastic.

My husband was really sick and diagnosed with dengue a week before marriage, and a series of other major accidents and occasions (that could be avoidable with some common sense) happened. I was blamed for all this by my MIL, she would do all this only if I was alone.

Our first festival together, where traditionally the couple sits together, I was asked to sit separately in a different room with others and not with my husband. The first time I wanted to go home, I was told to get married to someone from my City if I had to go home. When my parents came home to pick me they were embarrassed in front of many people by my in laws. My FIL said that he never knew that I was going home and I had not asked him. My father was insulted in front of many people. I had, infact, spoken to everyone in the house that I was going for a few days, less than a week actually.

Anything that I prepared for my husband my MIL would say he will not like that, as its not according to his taste. My FIL is of the mentality that a woman once married is the property of the in laws family and they have more rights over her, her parents are not that important in her life anymore. All this even when his own daughter and son in law and grandson stay upstairs. I belong to a well off family compared to my in laws and I might have lived a slightly better lifestyle earlier, I was asked to forget that life and that living as I have to adjust here. This is going to be my life hereafter. A women is supposed to be like that. I was not allowed to meet my friends unless I get a permission from everyone. Infact I was asked to not make plans with my friends.

I am a spiritual person and not overly religious, I was asked to be more religious keep fasts for my husband, to keep going to temples as much as possible.

All this went on and the only reply I got from my husband was ‘IGNORE’. All this ignoring piled up when I once replied back to my FIL for yelling at me. He was screaming at me because I had not had lunch that day. He constanly calls my mother and complains to her and tells her not to inform me that. This time when he yelled at me my mountain of ignoring shook off and I replied back. It went on to a situation where I spoke to a man in a raised voice, women should not be talking like that.

I had severe panic attacks and felt suicidal after this, every time I saw my FIL I would have attacks, I am also working and while going back home I would have those attacks. Had to be taken to the psychiatrist after this. It somehow worked, he asked to speak out to my in laws and I would have to face my fear.

My husband supported me here (consoled me ), but could not let go off the fact that his parents were right and he could not let go of them. His father had shifted upstairs because I had panic attacks around him, he could not let go of that too. That was a big change my FIL did for me apparently.

My parents came down to meet me and tackle the situation.

I spoke out that day and my parents were also there. My parents clearly told them that they are very much a part of my life and not going to go away because I am married off. They don’t like my mom too because my mom spoke to my father in law in a certain ‘manner’ , even if she is a women.

The environment has changed but in a different way my MIL still finds ways to suppress me. A constant comparison is done between me and many (her amazing daughter). She has not stopped reminding me of the fact that she is the one that has to see all the pain in her son’s life. Her son’s life has become a mess and he has so much tension. The difference is that now she never directly talks to me about all this but a constant nagging.

My Husband’s take on this is to look at the positive side and well he still does not think there is much of a problem and of course his parents are well wishers. There are a few moments that are really nice too  I cant say that it’s like this 24 hours. Me and my husband if left with each other are perfectly fine.

However on an everyday basis it pulls me down I feel claustrophobic in his house, It does not feel like home. What do I do?

Please help me out here, I would like to know about what are things I need to know to deal with this.

How do I Convince my husband he is married and we need our space without interference. He has told me to be patient, but it’s frustrating everyday.

Thank You

‘It’s true that every girl has to leave her own family and get along with a new family.’

Sharing a comment by Cultural Amalgamation in response to this post – An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law.

Cultural Amalgamation: All the above replies reflect the current Young Gen society where the rate of separation with better half is more than that of bonding with love and affection as earlier times.

IHM:  Did the women in the earlier times have the option of separating without being boycotted, stigmatised or honor killed? Only if both the partners had the option of separating and they still chose to stay together, can we comment on the earlier ‘rate of separation’.

Cultural Amalgamation: Being individually separate and gardening your identities isn’t all life is about. Its just a notion begun by some liberal women and followed as a trend by the rest like the fashion sale at stores!

 

IHM: And being denied education and self reliance and being married off to live with strangers is what life is about? 

The concept of marriage is not well identified with everyone. The Love marriages husbands have no choice for they already have landed in soup. So they leave their parents behaving like cowards. Arrange marriages also have girls who have radical views. Google-ing such articles and hoping to change minds with family-dismantling views is really a disappointing and a pathetic situation for the present youth to be in.

 

IHM: Why is the children (only male children) moving out of the house (only if are married, because moving out for work is acceptable) a dismantling of family?  

Someday the gals who talk about liberty are going to be in their mother-in-laws shoes and they would realize when their Son moves out of house with some girl who he likes and doesn’t even know if he loves for the duration a quarter of the entire love and affection showered by his parents who always have been looking after his well being.

IHM: We really need to recognise that parental love for sons (And for daughters, because we seem to forget that Indian daughters have parents too.) is not the same as the love that couples have for each other. The spouse is a partner, not a parent. The spouse’s job is not to ‘look after’ the partner. 

Parents raise their children to become independent adults and teaching him (or her) to look after their own well being is a parent’s biggest responsibility. 

Somehow we seem to think that male children are required to somehow repay the love that the parents have showered on them. The girl children are expected to repay it too – with life long obedience to patriarchal rules. 

Cultural Amalgamation: Its true that every girl has to leave her own family and get along with a new family.

IHM: This idea is the reason why Indian parents pray, fast and sex-select for male children. Patrilocality favours the parens of male children.

It also keeps women and girl children in dependence, without which ‘has to get along with a new family’ would be difficult to enforce. 

Cultural Amalgamation: It is difficult to absorb but then it is equally difficult for the other side (family) too.

IHM: When it is ‘equally difficult’ for both the sides, then why do we hear misogynists fighting for Patriarchy, and Patrilocality?

Is it surprising that many women today prefer less difficult choices? 

Cultural Amalgamation: In modern days not all families have mother in laws/father in laws as showcased (cruel/orthodox) in classical drama movies.

IHM: If they are not orthodox they probably understand that modern young women (and men) should have the right to choose who they marry, where they live, what they wear, how they spend or save their money etc.

Cultural Amalgamation: Its all about beginning a new life and being absorbed and getting absorbed.

IHM: How do women benefit from being ‘absorbed’ in a new family?

They don’t.

Infact it makes them ‘paraya dhan’ in their own parents’ homes. We know the system has not worked, but many of us still wish to preserve it.

Cultural Amalgamation: It is an opportunity for every woman to help prosper her husband’s family and its also equally a responsibility that every family (parents) takes care of the daughter in law as they would do if she were their daughter.

IHM: Because daughters are viewed as those who help the husband’s family prosper, they remain unwanted by the parents. Since (traditionally) the daughters have not been permitted to prosper themselves, they remain dependent. 

“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?

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

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

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

How does this email writer achieve both?

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am scared to face any more incidents like this.

Can you suggest me ideas?

Thank you very much, IHM

Related Posts:

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

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

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

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

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

“My in-laws don’t hate me at all. But ‘love’ isn’t about all this. ‘Love’ is about letting your loved one ‘live’.”

Sharing an email.

Loved the sensible and powerful message that accompanied it. What good is ‘love’, if it does not include respect for the loved one’s happiness?

Dear IHM,

I request you to put this up in your blog, because most women think that you need to fight back only in extreme situations such as an abusive spouse or money-minded in-laws or something. Many women and men think that it is enough if their spouse has a “good character”.

With my story, I want to show that it isn’t. My in-laws don’t hate me at all. FIL has never hesitated to buy my favorite vegetables or fruits or tiny treats that he knows I like. MIL and grand MIL are actually quite affectionate. But “love” isn’t about all this. “Love” is about letting your loved one “live”. Love is supposed to be unconditional, and if you don’t have it, you shouldn’t pretend to have it.

I want readers, especially married women, to know that it is important to fight back for whatever is important for them in their life – happiness, career, hobbies etc. And this fight should be fought regardless of who snatches this away from them – parents, in-laws, spouse, why, even children.

Thanks a million!

My story- “adjustment” in Indian families.

I have been silently reading your blog for quite some time now. With your last post “In my bubble marriages are the stuff of feminist dreams!” I finally decided to comment.

I had what you’d call a “love-cum-arranged” marriage. My in-laws are very orthodox and I was brought up in a much liberal environment. As far as “adjustment” goes, mine is a long saga.

1.

I was 22 and I had just finished my PG and joined a job. Like most young women from non-conservative backgrounds, I had no clue about cooking or other complex household duties. I only used to help my housewife mom in small chores. After my honeymoon, when I joined work, my workplace was more than 20 kms away from the house. I had to live with my husband’s brother and his 70 plus paternal grandmother. I used to wake up at 5:30 a.m. (considering I was newly married), bathe, and stare at the kitchen, wondering how I should cook. MIL and FIL weren’t living with us. Grandma was too old to wake up so early. I used to feel so alone and lost in the kitchen, with no one to help me, as the entire house was sound asleep, unaware of my woes.

Grandma eventually taught me cooking and helped around a bit, considering her age, but as far as DOING it was concerned, I was totally at loss. My workplace being far away, I would come home late, cook, clean then repeat the same chores the next day. NOBODY helped me. I had no option but call my mom and pour my heart out. My husband was working from home then, and you’d be surprised how little sympathy I received from him despite having dated for 3 years.

2.

We are *** (community), famous for our orthodoxy. My in-laws were even more so. Apart from the above, I was also pelt with a huge onslaught of religiosity and mindless rituals; being isolated while menstruating, bathing before cooking, taking madi baths, performing special poojas on auspicious days, cooking complex meals for special occasions I had no clue of, trying not to touch uncooked items after touching cooked items (what they call patthu in our language) – things that were totally unheard of in my parents’ place.

You guessed it; my husband was clueless and wasn’t bothered about it as long as he wasn’t directly affected. Everyone, including my own family, told me to “adjust”.

3.

Eventually I learned managing the household and completing things on time before office. But I was still a one-woman army. Nobody even as much as picked up their used coffee cup from the table. Grandma started commenting on my incapacities in managing the household, citing examples of herself and my mother-in-law. My own mother commented on my “slowness”, “laziness” and “incapability”.

I would like to point out that by this time, all my hobbies were gone. I was a voracious reader, and totally into DIY art projects, was learning music before marriage. Now, I wasn’t even given the allowance to watch my favorite programs on TV. Everyone else hogged the TV. I had no time for ANYTHING. People said that is the sacrifice a “working woman has to gladly make”.

4.

Relatives would pop in (both sides), and would look at the house I disarray. I was blamed again, being the WOMAN of the family.

5.

It was around this time that some harsh realities clearly established themselves. My FIL, as I found, was not only extremely domineering and violent, but also used to drink and smoke in the house. He paid no attention to the fact that I had asthma and was allergic to smoke/dust. The common bathroom would reek of nicotine every time they came visiting. He is extremely finicky about food as well; a grain of salt missing and he would simply toss the plate at my MIL’s face. He also used to emotionally blackmail everyone into giving him what he wanted and used to beat up MIL if someone didn’t budge. This beating was used as leverage for his blackmailing. MIL is a total slave of this family and she is shown as the example of the ideal MIL.

6.

FIL forbade me from wearing jeans in his presence, ordered me to quit working if necessary to have a male baby to carry his line forward and told me to learn from my MIL. With several talks, my husband started intervening in this one, though he too told me to “adjust” as did several other women of “my age and status”.

7.

This went on. I finally cracked and attempted suicide several times, though not with the full conviction or courage; I barely even injured myself. This was all thanks to my sanity and courage urging me to stay back and fight, and battling against my desire to run away from all this.

It showed up on my health. I gained a lot of weight, and had to quit my well-paid and well-loved job due to attacks of migraine. Moreover, I wanted to try for higher studies, but due to some problems, that couldn’t materialize.

I was a housewife now. Day by day, as many working women would attest, I started going mad with mundane housework and being constantly bothered by lazy family members to do chores for them. I tried to re-join my old company, but they had too many formalities in re-taking ex-employees. I decided to work from home.

“Adjust” as I did, people bothered me the whole day and never let me sit at my desk in peace for more than 5 mins at a stretch. I decided that I didn’t care what happened. I went to a doctor, put the headaches in order and joined work again; this time with the conviction that I will clearly say “NO ADJUSTMENT” when I CANNOT.

By this time, my husband had warmed up to my situation a lot, as I kept sensitizing him. I understood that his apathy was not because he was sexist himself, but I discovered that he was a worse victim of this patriarchy than I was. He just didn’t share those problems with me and when I told him mine, it frustrated him even more. We started sharing our problems. I went for counseling. Our relationship improved.

8.

As fate had it, my FIL brought the house down with his mad whim once again. He took voluntary retirement and along with his second son, forced my husband to buy a house he couldn’t afford at all. FIL wanted to brag about this house as his brother too had brought a house recently. My husband and his brother paid the EMI. This house was 40 plus kms away from my workplace. People advised me to quit. I didn’t quit, but I also “adjusted”. This was just 2 months before my first anniversary, so you can imagine the financial crunch of having to cope from marriage expenses and now that of a large duplex house as well.

Husband had quit his work-from-home job and taken up work at a company close to my own, so he realized how harrowing it is to make long commutes to work everyday. He realized how shitty it feels to work at home after a long commute.

We moved to the new home in September 2013. My bro-in-law went to work abroad (escaped from this mad household I’d say). I, hubby, grandma, FIL and MIL occupied this house.

9.

FIL threw tantrums every day. The drinking and the beatings were too frustrating to watch. MIL expected us to support her when he beat her, but being the slave she was, she’d also chide us if we said anything against FIL, especially me. Those beatings were “their private business” and we had “no concerns whatsoever” with them, but we were supposed to “adjust” so that FIL would be happy.

This was the final straw. We totally stopped “adjusting”. I and hubby moved out of this house this Feb’14 and have been the butt of censure ever since, what with “budhaape ka sahaara” and the “duty of a married woman to her in-laws”.

My parents finally became supportive. I and hubby have tasted our freedom after more than 1 year of marriage. We’ve had total privacy for the first time with no one eavesdropping on us. We can finally breathe.

Yes, we still pay the EMI and live with a financial constraint that is not our fault at all (My FIL spends lavishly to appease the society, expecting my husband to pay for it as “they raised him and educated him”). But, today the man, who once didn’t lift a finger for me fearing his family’s commentary, now openly washes vessels for me and even cleans the toilet. He doesn’t hesitate to support me before his family now. We are finally a happy couple because we have stopped “adjusting”.

We have faced the music though. FIL has waged a cold war. He has declared that he will have nothing to do with me hereafter (interestingly, he is supposed to pay the mortgage for my jewellery which was pawned to pay for his exorbitance). But, then, what the hell! Good-riddance!

I guess this is a long mail, IHM. But, I just want to say that “adjustment” is a vicious cycle. The more you repress yourself, the more you want to take it out on someone. And, you eventually will- a spouse, children or even your own DIL. You can always make a few mutual sacrifices and agreements, but the word “mutual” is to be heeded here.

Everyone has their own set of negotiable and non-negotiable. Some women actually don’t mind wearing saree all the time to please their husband/in-laws. Some women don’t mind quitting working. Maybe… but, I am not one of them. The point is: Never negotiate even slightly on things that are non-negotiable for you. Also never hesitate to negotiate on things that don’t matter much in the long run.

Related Posts:

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

Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

An email: “indian daughter in-law is servant?”

An email from a Mother in law.

“Wives..well they are awesome! They will cross heavens to make you and the family’s lives happy.”

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

“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.”

“When there are guests I don’t get to talk to them because I am in the kitchen all the time …even wearing a Nighty is considered indecent.”

“Someone ate without showering, someone didn’t bring mithai! These are trivialities, not social problems.”

“I have to seek permission for visiting parents. My phone bill has to be reasonable. My expenses nominal. And my desires non-existent.”

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

“This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

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

An email: “The relatives seemed to be offering ‘condolences’ for me to my mother, having the misfortune of having an ‘unmarried’ daughter…”

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

“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.”

Sharing an email..

Dear IndianHomeMaker,

I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am to you, for your blog has been an eye opener to me and a solace in my times of sadness.

To begin my story, I am a well educated, 32 year old woman working in the software industry for the past ten years. I am doing very well for myself and consider myself to be successful as well as grounded. I come from an upper middle class family where education was of prime importance. I am the youngest of 5 siblings and as result was a very pampered kid.  My parents are traditional as well as modern. My dad has been specially very progressive, as a result, all his kids were well educated and settled well. I grew up in a very open household which was full of opinions, joys, fights, arguments etc. Everything was welcome in my house. Craziness, Bad moods, guests, friends, decisions, everything from every kid was welcomed with open arms. There was always guidance, chiding, scolding, beating, but at the same time there was freedom and acceptance.

I have been living on my own after my graduation away from my parents and my hometown (all my elder siblings were away by then owing to their careers and families). Living alone has only added to my fierce feelings of independence and equality. I have been a responsible and a conscious person also.

My parents started looking for a guy for me after I hit 25. While I worked, I never really had any relationship or looked at anyone with the intention of marriage. So a love marriage was out of question for me. And the proposals for arranged marriages were not interesting enough or I was rejected one way or other.

My parents gracefully accepted my views and kept sending me new proposals, it was a cycle of constantly meeting guys and their families and sometimes talk to a few men away from families for a while and then reach a not so positive conclusion.

Years passed and I was still unmarried and happy in my own life and my friends.

Once I hit 30, my mother was specially stressed because of my unmarried status. She is the more traditional of the two. Relatives and the rest were continuously inundating my parents with unwarranted hints , analysis and advice as to why their daughter is still unmarried. In my community, frankly even the most broad minded and educated ones would find 30 year old spinster unacceptable.

My siblings and parents wanted me to get serious about marriage and make a decision for myself in favor of marriage. So I decided to give it a try on my own and registered on a matrimonial site.

Within a few days, I got talking to a man, in whom I almost found my replica. We started meeting and interacting and liked each other. He had lived in the US and had returned to India for good. It was just a family of 2 brothers and his youngest brother was married to a housewife.

My FIL was an educated govt officer and my MIL was a housewife. From what I got to know from him, they seemed like a normal family. My husband and I shared lot of common views about religion, marriage, kids etc which totally got us into each other. We told our parents and were happily married soon.

After my marriage, when I started living with them, it was tough for me to adjust to the new surroundings. I had to wear salwars only with a dupatta on always even at home (I was mostly a chick who wore jeans and shorts but I agreed to forego it because I felt for any traditional family to accept such stuff was a bit asking for too much), wear bangles (no one in my house wears bangles other than my mom wearing some simple 2 bangles), wake up early (I was living alone and woke up at 11), cannot stay out alone after 7 (I have been out till 10, alone, sometimes), cannot watch irrational(??) TV programs, and most importantly, I realized, to my sadness, they hated vocal behavior of any kind. No one speaks up against wrong in this house. Specially the ladies are supposed to shut their mouths, no matter what they think. Elders should always be treated with respect. Husbands have the last word. My FIL ruled the roost.

My husband I are atheists by choice and we do not follow any religious rituals. The rest the family is very religious, they pray and fast… blah blah.

My in laws are very nice people. On a general note, they never interfere in our lives, they are never rude or mean and they don’t impose religious restrictions on us. They have been good to my family and appreciate me whenever applicable. They are not fake or pretentious people. But one has to abide by the unspoken rules/culture in the house that I mentioned above.

My younger BIl is someone who probably has no character or any personality. He is just going with the flow and very much aligned to his parents and their way of life. I barely ever interact with him. But more or less, on some occasions, I see my PILs (Parents in law) side with him or prefer him over my husband. I understand that to be because my husband was away from them for many prime years and they were just more closer to their younger son. My FIL feels my husband is Americanized and he hates it.

My Husband supports the finances and my BIL also contributes to the household expenses.

My BIL’s wife is a young housewife related to my MIL through her sister.

She was married before me into the household. When I initially came into the house, it was very clear that she was immensely insecure about me. She has ill treated me on several occasions which I casually ignored thinking that she is young and immature. She sees competition with me in every single thing. I find this very annoying. If anyone praises me for any reason, her face goes all black and blue. She simply cannot see me getting better attention from my PILs. Many times she even did her fake praising B***S*** to me too, which I clearly expressed (not in words) was a useless act on her part.

She does not have any god forsaken opinion of her own. She is always ass-licking my MIL. Every decision (even when she will go to take a shower) about her, she consults my MIL and then does it. I feel as if my MIL secretly enjoys the control over this chick. Her hobbies are those that my MIL’s are. She has nice things to say about my MIL/FIL every minute. She will not eat a meal if my MIL is also skipping a meal. She has even gone to the extent of impressing my PILs by saying that her life has changed into great betterment after she married into this house. Basically meaning that her married life and family is much better than her previous one. I mean, Dude, which stupid girl on earth would think/say that!

I also got to know that she got some electronics as gifts (read dowry) from her house when she was married. I was severely disappointed in them after knowing this. Had I known this earlier, probably my decision to get married into this household would have been different.

Anyway I never claim/do such things. I am on my own. I don’t come in their way and they don’t come in mine. I did not get anything as dowry.  I am polite and nice and keep myself in my room most of the time.  I never give my ideas or opinions unless asked for. I don’t ask for permissions, have my own ideas in place and make my own choices. My husband claims that my PILs really like me a lot and find me to be a genuine, honest and well balanced person.

I accepted everything because I knew my husband was on my side an he was my kind.  We shared a great relationship anyway. I found solace in the thought that my husband did not have any such views. My friends and family told me that my husband matters to me in the long run and not the others. I thought that I need to make some adjustments for his sake.

Eventually I began finding it very tough to tolerate my super buttering fake and liar co-sister and my MIL’s submissiveness. My MIl made sure her submissiveness is very well inherited by her DILs also. I am never ready for it but I do not confront or argue. I just ignore it. I was given all the cooking responsibilities. My co -sis does the other activities (sorting out groceries/crockery/vegetables, arranging the table, monitoring the maids). my MIl helps wherever needed (this is super rare, only when we are making some new dish). We have maids in our house for all house work and the cooking is not exactly tough or taxing. But waking up according to their timings (Am a chronic insomniac, they know it) and putting up a happy face and cooking whatever they want, even when I am tired after my long day in the office, while my co-sis sits in front of the TV and passes orders to me in the kitchen, really took a toll on me. While I make non stop dosas and rotis for everyone at the dining table, I am alone in the kitchen dishing it out to them, I cant stop feeling like nothing but a maid/cook. Staying in my room all the time in the house got into me. I found it completely unfair that I had more domestic work to do even though I am a working woman, while my co-sister naps all day at home and does not do much other than trying to impress people with her sugar coated senseless talks. My husband still claims that his mother has distributed the work equally among the two.

I turned sour, angry, began having mood swings and vented out at my husband. He would try to empathize initially, but after some time, I could see him getting irritated. I realized that complaining/pointing out problems to someone about their family is something no one will like.

I missed the freedom to go out whenever i wanted, eat/cook/clean whenever I wanted. I missed the freedom to just be myself, feel happy/sad/excited at my own will and at my own times.

I could see our relationship suffering too. It was clear that he thought that I was not adjusting to his house. He made it clear many times that I could have ended in a much worse situation and expecting an open house like my parents’ or a free life like my single life is simply not done. This is my secret disappointment in him.

Within a year, I am tired of the kitchen politics, of the subdued life, of the skewed morals and unspoken and unreasonable expectations. I seem to have changed myself so much now, that nothing seems to make me happy now. Am not ambitious now, put my career on a total back burner, worrying that I might have to spend a lot of time in office if I take up more responsibilities,  rarely wish to meet people now, am always grumpy and sad for no good reason with feelings of regret and depression (I signed up for all this) always looming over me. I am just unable to make myself happy and feel like my dream of a happy marriage has crashed. Now I just think of marriage as contract to go serve some stranger family. As a matter of fact, am simply over sentimental now (Totally opposite of what I was and seriously stupid) and lack clear views now.

My husband is also tired of this women issues at his place and he wants out separately.

But the problem is, I feel very guilty to do it. I just cannot see myself separating him from his family and living in the same city. Am sure he will be sad about it. I don’t feel like hurting his parents at all as they have treated me well enough.

It also scares me that I will be blamed for it and I will be seen as a villain in the family.

What should I do?

How do I get over these feelings and figure out the right thing to do in this situation.

Please help.

Thanks
– katchick

Related Posts:

“My Mother in law is very patient towards all the doings of the Males in the family.”

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

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

“This would help people realize that happy Indian families like this also exist.”

Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

An email: “indian daughter in-law is servant?”

‘His family seems a bit traditional type.I googled “how to behave with in laws after marriage in India.’

“Leaving US is a tough decision and, going back to live with in-laws has scared and shaken me.”

An email: “The relatives seemed to be offering ‘condolences’ for me to my mother, having the misfortune of having an ‘unmarried’ daughter…”

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

No Gajar Ka Halwa for an Indian Daughter in law?

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

The interference of parents in the married life of their daughters…

From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

No Jeans For Indian Daughters in Law.

Joint Family and Indian Daughters

“When there are guests I don’t get to talk to them because I am in the kitchen all the time …even wearing a Nighty is considered indecent.”

“If a girl has done MBBS or IAS, I can understand that she did not get time to learn cooking. But it’s strange how you, a mere journalism post graduate, failed to do so.”

“I have to seek permission for visiting parents. My phone bill has to be reasonable. My expenses nominal. And my desires non-existent.”

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

“I put my blood and raised my sons. Now the daughters in law are enjoying the fruit.. “

Sharing an email.
 
Doesn’t the frequency of these emails indicate how common this abuse is? How does one deal with this (and other such) interference from someone who is a part of the family without allowing bitterness and resentment to become a part of her thinking?
 
 
How likely is that eventually the victim might become equally manipulative after wasting days, months and years surviving the obvious but socially permitted intrusion into their personal space, in the name of well meant (though clearly unwelcome and unasked for and hence not really better) elderly advice, instruction and superior-guidance?
 
 
If boundaries are to be made more visible – and some ‘distance’ maintained, where does one begin without being ‘disrespectful’ or ungrateful or without cutting all ties with those who are being abusive/intrusive?
 
Why has this become such a part of our culture? Is it really because women are made to see their homes as their world and discouraged from having any interests of their own? 
 
Here’s an email I received this morning. 
 
My Mother in law finds faults with everything I cook
 
Dear IHM Readers,
 
I know what I am gonna write now is a very minor issue, or at least that’s, how I took it till now and ignored.. But I lost my patience now… let me tell you my story…
 
I got married 8 months ago and started family in The US. Ours is a love marriage and we were classmates in a boarding school.
My borther in law (my husbands elder brother) and his wife also live in the same city where we live. They recently bought a house here, so my husband and him wanted to have their parents here for the house warming ceremony. But, his father refused to come saying that he gets bored and he has to look after his mom who is very old. But my mother in law was ready to come. So these guys applied for her visa and booked her tickets. I was happy that she was coming coz we all know how lonely it gets living in a foreign country… But, my happiness did not last long. Ever since her tickets got booked she started saying, “there you go your mother in law is coming, be prepared to get dominated”…. at first I thought she was kidding, but for every 3 days whenever we call her she repeated the same sentence… i got pissed but ignored since im not a person who worries that much.. Finally the day came and she arrived, first thing in the airport, again same sentence… She repeated the same sentence every hour for 3 days. Always she says Im your “mother in law” as if its a great qualification. Then again she hates whatever I cook.. I had never cooked before wedding but Im doing fairly well since we started home.. I have been browsing for recipes and cooking… In fact my husband loves my cooking. But my mother in law finds faults in everything including rice and idli!! I dont understand how can someone cook rice differently?? Also, she cooks very unhealthy food, she puts so much oil and masalas in her food, yet, the other day she said the curry which i made was very spicy and asked my husband not to eat, it seems such spicy food causes the disease ‘piles’. I am a food technologist. I did my masters in Australia in Food Science and Technology and she says I cook unhealthy…
My rotis are not that circular but they are round enough, she comments about it. I just started cooking yaar!! how can she expect that round rotis from me?
Not just food, she always says, I put my blood and raised my sons now the daughter in laws are enjoying the fruit.. She always says, we are enjoying the American life while she was rotting in India. But, for me the feeling is reverse, India is luxury, here it is so difficult doing chores all by ourselves. Yet she thinks we are enjoying and she is suffering. She scolds my husband whenever he praises me for anything. she says husband or in laws should never appreciate the girl!! what logic is that? Why is it like this in our country, like girl’s parents should respect the guy but guy’s parents should constantly taunt the girl? who gave that right to them?? She asked me whether I know before how the life in US is and is that why I married her son? For God’s sake my husband was a student when we fell in love and decided to get married, next I already went on my own to a foreign country and lived and left my job got married and followed her son to The states. She doesn’t bother about that.. she just sees me like a normal bahu and she is the serial types saas. She never offers to help while I am cooking or doing something… one day I was folding the washed clothes in which her sarees are also there.. She did not offer help and off course I did not even expect but there were her inners in those clothes which were so damn ugly, I guess she bought them even before I was born, I was folding them in front of her she just observed but did not take them from me and folded those herself.
 
 It’s been only 2 weeks since she came and already she made life hell for me and my co sister. Can’t imagine how girls are doing in joint families. I’m just being quiet trying not to argue coz I seriously don’t want to upset my husband. He is so sweet, whenever his mother behaves like that he tells me sorry at night. So, I just dont want to upset him more by arguing with his mother. She will be here for 2 more months.. Im praying God to save me! 😦
 
Anonymous.
 
Related Posts: