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

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Simple methods, recommended to anybody else, coping with any other kind of abuse, are forbidden to Indian daughters in law. Forbidden by whom?

While I agree with everything in the video shared below, I hesitated in sharing it because the discussion leaves out the one person without whom such abuse would not ever be possible.

I believe Indian women would not have to deal with most of the in laws issues if they were permitted (or just left alone) – mainly by their spouse, to cope with them in their own ways.

Some of the methods (simple, common sense) that are recommended to anybody and everybody else coping with any other kind of abusive relationships (or healthy relationships), are forbidden to Indian daughters in law – by whom? Mainly by their husbands.

Most women who do not face abuse by in laws are those where the husbands do not demand that they get along, impress, compromise, display ‘respect’ or obey their parents/extended families. (Such men risk being labelled Joru Ka Gulaam) The parents and extended families realise that abuse would not be silently supported by the JKG. [link]

That’s all it really takes. Letting adults deal with each other as equals.

What kind of coping methods are forbidden to Indian daughters in law?

What would you do to anybody else who attempts to control, bully, harass, demean or humiliate you? Avoid them, at the least? Ignore them? Create a distance? Have nothing to do with them?

Some of us might choose to tell them why we find the abuse offensive? This might require asking questions and giving opinions?

But most women – married Indian women, are denied even validation.

Not only must they not complain or question, they must actually attempt to ‘win over the heart’ of someone who is being manipulative or blatantly abusive. And who empowers these abusers? Who has the most power to end such abuse? What would Indian daughters in law do if they were not restricted by someone they believe loves them – the only person they are actually married to? (no matter what he claims)

What if these Indian Shravan Kumars were not given the option of enforcing obedience and displays of ‘respect’ on their spouse?

Or if Indian women did not view Getting Married and Staying Married as the only goal in their lives? If a successful divorce was seen as a new beginning. If staying single was acknowledged as an option.

It would, eventually create a fairer society where everybody who wishes to get  along with anybody would have the option of being decent to them.  There would be no entitlement to enforced displays of respect.

So basically there would be no Saas Bahu issues if there were more Joru Ke Gulaam who married their wives, and not their parents’ daughters in law.

Video shared by Sangitha and Mansi.

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An email from an anonymous Confused Wife.

To an Anonymous Daughter in law.

No jeans for an Indian Daughter in law.

“My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.”

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

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

“When wives become too possesive of her husbands and do not want the affection to be shared with their near and dear…”

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

Skewed sex ratio is not caused by sex selective abortions.

My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

Shravan Kumar takes his wife to London to bring back her smile…

From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

The JKG: Joru Ka Gulaam

‘Unbelievable? Believe it. This isn’t your usual Ekta Kapoor serial.’

You’re going to be with your in-laws for only a few days in a year so why can’t you live the way they want and keep every one happy?

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

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

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

‘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.”

No Gajar Ka Halwa for an Indian Daughter in law?

From an Anonymous DIL, Wife and Daughter.

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

Because of my initial submissiveness, my husband and his family volunteer to take care of my chores, to let me resume my career.

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

An email: ‘He made it clear to them he will not marry me without their support. He will not leave them behind… ever.’

 

 

“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.”

Does Patriarchy combined with Patrilocality (the wife relocating to the husband’s parents’/ancestors’ home) and Patrilineal-ity (women not being permitted to have, or to pass on, names or identity of their own) create a happy society?

Would such a society survive if its members were permitted to reject its norms? What prevents the members from rejecting these norms or diktats? Indoctrination, risk to life, violence, boycott or stigma. Or maybe they believe they benefit from the system? 

Sharing an email.

Hello indian homemaker,

I am not writing an email about my troubles right now – it’s just that I have been thinking VERY DEEPLY about something for many years now.

Having been born and brought up in India and having observed how Indian families behave, the gender stereotype, social hierarchy, gender based discrimination (in the name of culture and ‘sanskaar’) and everything that goes on in india …………… I think we are all too familiar about what goes on in India even before a girl child is born and after her birth and later when she gets married in majority of households (thankfully not all households) :- so I do not need to write much about that.

My parents were very liberal /modern/progressive in their outlook, so I guess that made me question things that others just considered to be a norm.

My mother is a gynaecologist :- so I have seen how indian families react when a girl child is born and how they react when a guy child is born. I mean to say I got the front row seat thousands of times to what I call extreme injustice bestowed upon the girl child even before she is born.

How the faces of the parents and in laws would drop the minute they hear its a girl child as if they have come to a funeral.

And their reaction when told a guy child is born :- they would be as joyous as if someone handed them Diwali, Holi, Lohdi, Eid, Christmas everything in one package on the same day.

Tonnes of sweets would be distributed, and what not.

I have lived in the West for several years. Two years in the USA and approximately 3 years in the UK.

I have observed the life of the Americans and the British up close.

It has seriously made me wonder :- how much BETTER it is, for a girl, to be born in a WESTERN family.

I feel they have their own demons they fight.

Their culture is imperfect too.

But then again, possibly sooooo much better than ours.

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.

There would be tooooo many things that I may forget to write, so readers help me out! Please add what I forgot.

Indian Homemaker and other readers please give me your opinion on what you feel on this topic :-

1) Parents are as joyous if not more on getting the news that a girl is about to be born as joyous they would be on knowing that a boy child is about to be born. even the in laws without any stigma would genuinely be delighted and start buying gifts for the little princess who’s yet to arrive in this world.

2) Of course nobody would even think about female infanticide after she is born. She would be welcome in this world with tonnes of gifts and showered with love and blessings from both parents and both sets of grandparents.

3) Her upbringing would not be sacrificed for preferential treatment of her brothers. Equal amount of effort would be put into her education, all round development (soccer practice, gym classes, swimming lessons), equal nutrition, medical care. Basically not raised with any bias:- born an equal, raised an equal :- in my opinion that leads to a well balanced healthy self respecting adult with good self esteem.

4) No pressure to move in with in laws. Let’s face it we have all heard /seen stories where the daughter in law is crying her eyes out cause of whatever dynamics that go on in indian joint families.

5) If she reports sexual crimes:- its not a matter of bringing shame to the family.

6) No honor killing.

7) It is a generally accepted idea that she has a life of her own, mind of her own. She does not need to do X, Y, Z to please third cousins’ uncles’ nieces’ somebody.

The log kya kahenge crap is not the fuel that destroys her happiness.

8) She is not confined/ forced to do all the household chores if she chooses to rather all her focus and energy on her education/ career/ hobby/ anything that makes her happy and feel fulfilled in life.

9) Most partners (boyfriends/ husbands) help with household chores.

10) Most partners help with child upbringing responsibilities.

11) She is not told by her in laws after marriage, whether or not she can go to her maika, or for how long.

12) Her parents do not have to feel pressurised about dowry or marriage expenses.

13) If she is stuck in an unhappy marriage, she does not have to think about log kya kahenge when making a decision in favour of her happiness and sanity .

14) A Second Marriage is not a taboo, and she does not have to wonder about society thinking doosri shaadi ho payegi ki nahin / baatein banegi/ etc .

15) She is under no pressure to bear male offspring.

16) She can help her parents in any and every manner that she desires after her marriage (with no in laws telling her they are more important than her own parents).

I think the list goes on n on …….

Basically I am getting drawn to the western culture even with the flaws of the western culture. I am getting more and more convinced that it is million times better than our Indian culture IF YOU ARE A FEMALE.

If you are a guy, then it would not come as a shock to me that you admire/love Indian culture.

One thing I used to notice in the matrimonial ads :- most of the biodatas would say the guy and his family love Indian traditions, culture, blah blah .

It also makes me wonder, was this what Indian culture was from the beginning…….or slowly the people for whom it was advantageous to mould it to be in their favour (ladke wale)…. slowly they kept twisting things in their favour and on n on and on n on and it has come to become a very difficult culture for women to live in.

Yes, Indian Homemaker, me and other readers of this blog are working everyday to change it.

But how much mental energy is drained fighting everyday for our rights. how much peace of mind is lost everyday fighting for our rights.

How many sleepless nights feeling furious, troubled by in laws issues, blah blah blah .

I too am fighting just like indian homemaker regarding the injustice.

But nevertheless it makes me wonder:- how much easier/ better life could be if one is just born in an equal society!!

Readers and indian home maker: do tell me your thoughts and please add more points to the list I started making. I am sure there are wayyyy too many points that belong in that list!

god bless
peace

– Mansi

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Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

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

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.

India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study

The father threw the baby on the ground and tried to strangle her with his legs: No case registered.

If she was born somewhere else.

Why do Indian women like to wear western clothes?

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.

Shadi ke baad ladki ki PRIORITY sasuraal ki taraf ho jaati hai?

‘I have grown up and gotten used to the fact that my parents are considered less fortunate since they did not have a son.’

‘And if you are unlucky, you will get an American daughter-in-law.’Why is it misogynistic to promise wives from Bihar to Haryana men who are not able to find wives?

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

An email: If I am around people who think that having or giving birth to sons is everything in life how should I behave?

Do you think this video can make Indian parents want to have daughters?

Our culture doesn’t back smoking by ladies: govt tells SC

Girls retaliate this time. But will the lectures on culture ever stop?

Boys and Girls Holding Hands …

‘My question is, what do you do? What do you say when the majority thinks this way…’

Oprah, Indian Family Values and Widows of Vrindavan.

Why I Love the Western Culture.

“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?

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

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

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

Dear IHM,

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

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

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

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

 

“Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?”

What if romance and marriage were seen as options, and self reliance was considered an unavoidable goal – for women too? 

Sharing an email. 

“His mother has been very clear that she wants me to come home soon because she cannot work. I know, I need to do household work, at least not burden them with my responsibility.”

 

The email: 

I need your advice.

I liked someone enough to introduce him to my parents, so I did, our parents met and decided last year that we would get married this year.

In the beginning guy’s parents told me they do not need anything and they would be really happy even if it is a simple marriage and I was more than happy about it. However, as this year came by and our parents met again, they had apparently changed their mind about it, and I was fine with it.

However, they said that they would be bringing 200 people whereas my father had requested them to bring 100 people or so, so that the marriage could be organised in an upscale venue. They remained adamant about it and finally my parents gave in and said it is okay  if baraat is between 100-150.

Before this I had tried in vain to convince my bf about our limitations but he did not seem to consider and thinking it is not a big deal I did not think much into it.

I thought it was all fine now, but the date which was fixed after consulting the pandit needed to be reshuffled again as pandit had made a mistake and said that this date was not suitable. He gave two other dates, we all thought it will be fine, but his parents again became adamant that they did not want those dates and said that the wedding needed to be postponed for next year. And IHM, I had already booked the venue by paying the advance since I wanted to help my parents by bearing the cost of the wedding. Since my salary is not much, I had to save for 5 months to pay the advance.

Again my bf did not say anything I understand that he must have pressure from his parents, but should he not consider my family at one point? I understand they must give a lot of importance to traditions and ceremonies, and I was ready to do it happily too. Is it too much of inconvenience to shift the wedding 7 days back? I understand it could be their limitation, so I asked my father to let it be and give them time and shift it.

But right now, I have serious doubts. Marriage is about supporting each other. On one side I feel that bf is not supporting me, on the other I feel even more scared as to how will I be treated by his parents. His mother has been very clear that she wants me to come home soon because she cannot work. I know, I need to do household work, at least not burden them with my responsibility. I feel caught up between so many things. My heart says, yes he is a nice person, but at the same time I don’t feel loved the way I wish to be. Do I read too many books and I am confusing the bookish kind of love with reality?

I am very confused.

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She doesn’t feel any attraction or liking or even friendliness for the guy. No ‘Connection’.

The danger signs and what’s non negotiable.

What would you not change for love?

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

My husband gives me the usual ‘you have not just married me, you have married my family..’ sermon

An email: “When I met my husband, the first impression I had was that he was a male-chauvinist”

An email: I was a person who thought Indian husbands will (and can) dominate their wives and there is nothing unnatural in that.

“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

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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.’

How many women would dare to say this?

How many women would dare to express their displeasure like this young woman did? Or even think about it? Why or why not?

Not many, I think. Because the idea of a young Indian woman (and that too a Prospective Bride!) forgetting her place and disagreeing (with anybody, but most specially with the Ladke Wale) is more horrifying for most, than the idea of women being seen as objects or appliances (whose sole purpose in life is to Get Married and ensure that the lives of their spouse and his family are made comfortable).

Also, because traditionally the young, specially young women, have less right to respect than everybody else. (Although they are expected to earn, live and die for it)

But I wonder if maybe the Prospective Mother in law and the Prospective Groom (with their sense of entitlement) are victims too. Maybe they have never really wondered if they really want a partner/ family member, or a Devoted Coffee Maker with Dowry, Degrees and a dispensable career, eager to provide them with male heirs?

Do you think the young woman could have handled it any other way? (Here her reaction served the purpose of the commercial ofcourse)

Do you think it is possible to change a system without criticising it and without offending those who directly benefit from the status quo?

Anyway, I liked this ad. Thanks for sharing Sikander.

And here is another one,

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Three blatantly misogynistic TV ads.

Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

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

“If we have people of your ilk in Bharat we do not need external enemies at all!”

‘This ‘I, Me, Myself’ culture that most of you on this forum are propagating itself is hypocrisy.’

“10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says.”

As 2013 comes to an end – an email with a positive story.

One of the many ways patriarchal societies maintain social, gender, class, age, wealth  and family hierarchies is by allowing (even encouraging) some members to ‘attempt to improve’ the personal lives and choices (etc) of those who can be coerced to ‘display respect’ by tolerating this unasked for guidance/help.

And who has the permission to ensure that those ‘lower’ in social/family hierarchy stop being their ordinary imperfect selves and come up to their better expectations?

Generally anybody who is older; or who earns or inherits more; or who holds more degrees; or is a ‘ladke wala. Or simply those who others are advised to see as ‘more successful’ – basically most of those who fall in this category.

It seems more of us are, finally, beginning to see the Emotional Abuse in obvious control that the one who is being allowed to ‘improve’ is being given over the life of the one being persuaded to ‘display respect’ by trying to become someone they are not, and probably can never be. 

Hopefully, as time goes, we will hear less of, “It’s for their own benefit.” 

Hi IHM,

I am writing to share a very positive story that I heard on my visit home this year. never thought this will happen, but its in these small ways that the change is happening.
A family friend got engaged to a boy. I heard that within 3 months, the engagement was called off.
I asked my mother for the reason, and she told me this really heartwarming story:
The boy apparently criticised the girl on her dress sense. He made her feel inadequate against his expectations. The girl came home and the marriage was called off, because we don’t want our girl to live with constant criticism. She has to be accepted for who she is.
10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says. I was soo zapped to hear this – asking that our girl should be accepted for who she is.. Yahoo!
From,
 Anonymous
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“She went on and complained to my father in law that this gal cooks non veg at her home.”

Sharing an email.

“… the minor issue of male attitudes against women at home.” 

Hi IHM

It’s been 8 months of marriage “Lou Marriage”
My husband is a real sweetheart and supports me in every way.

He is Brahmin and I am Not. He is an occasional non veg and I am a hard core non veg. That’s the upbringing.

Since we both are into jobs so we do not stay with my in laws plus this was something mutually agreed 7 years ago into relationship.

Now the worst part.

My husband has not got issues with me eating non veg he knows all my stuff since we know each other for long.

I do not  get along with my younger sister in law very well, worst thing – she hates me and I do to her. She went on and complained to my father in law that this gal cooks non veg at her home.

So my husband and my FIL had a serious argument over it. They have a problem with my cooking non veg.

I do avoid it when they come over to our place for 4 or 5 days, but me and my husband had serious fighting over these things. I can manage not to cook non veg when they are here for few days but what about the time when they plan to stay with us forever?

Plus i think me being non veg should not be any problem since they knew this long before.

Should i confront the issue as when they keep on dropping me hints regarding this issue?

Oh I Forgot  when we go over to their place I eat whatever has been cooked no tantrums or issues on it. My MIL puts hell of a chilly powder which is not digestible for me at all.

Please help.

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

An email from a DIL living in a Joint Family: Should I adjust or should I leave?

An email from a Happily Married Indian Daughter in law…

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

Say it Loud, Say it Clear – Dew Drops

It’s not about hot hot chappaties.

No Gajar Ka Halwa for an Indian Daughter in law?

Joint Family and Indian Daughters

In-Law Advice: What Husbands Should Do – Unmana

How to be a Sanskari Bahu – Careless Chronicles