​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.

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

Sharing an email.

Dear readers and IHM,

I am sure EVERYONE will be able to relate to my story. (at least some part of it). I will keep it as short as possible . I got married like any other girl with lot of dreams in her eyes : NOT of materialistic wealth in her married life, but dreams if being treated lovingly by her husband (mine was a love marriage, why wouldn’t I expect the same love that made us choose each other to continue and keep building exponentially in our married life ).

May be I was naive .

Got married.

Mother in law came in the picture .

She single handedly DESTROYED our relation .

I do not feel the need to go into much details about what all drama happened, cause my question and the advice I seek is not about how to handle that drama.

So mother in law/ monster in law had a two step process.

One: she was brainwashing/ putting words in my husband s mouth : and he would constantly fight with me in the first three months of our marriage.

It’s worth mentioning that the first three months we were apart ( hubby and me) cause of visa issues. So I was in sasuraal without hubby.

Second trick that my monster in law used was : she would never tell my hubby about anything good I do, but she would twist and manipulate the tiniest thing that can be used against me into a huge melodrama .

My hubby used to call his parents twice daily and talk about every minor and major thing going on.

Like I said may be I was v naive and thought he knew everything that is going on in his house. ( he knew the twisted manipulated version and not the truth)

It was after one and a half years of marriage that we had a huge fight and everything came out in the open ( this was at a time when just him n me were living together in uk away from the monster in law):- he was totally BLANK. He had no clue about the events that transpired at his parents’ house.

And only then I got to know the BIGGEST game monster in law had played all this time.

After that our relation improved tremendously.

He never asked me to call his mother, ask her how she is; never asked me to visit her when we travel to India, basically never expected anything from me in regard to his mother cause he saw through the EVIL game she played.

So things are realllly goooood.

But it took one and a half years for the truth to come out.

Which led to two damages :- before he knew the truth we used to fight a lot cause he knew a twisted version of events ( LIES ABSOLUTE LIES) : which would make him feel d need to call me and yell at me and fight with me and say super nasty things . He would also call my mom and my Masi ( mom’s sister ): and say super nasty things about me every other day and complain about me.

All this was mainly happening when I was in sasuraal without him, in other words the first three months of marriage.

Now my question dear readers is :- how to move on. Move on from the bitterness that remains somewhere in my subconscious for the NASTY things he said about me specially in the initial three months.

I know as of today he supports me immensely and would never let his mother treat me in a nasty way.

But I feel that the initial three months have caused a irreversible damage to our relation and now things can never be as lovey dovey as they were to begin with. I struggle with that daily . There is kind of a tug of war going on. A part of my brain says he is super nice now and has been ever since he saw through the games that were being played. So I also try to be extra loving towards him In action : but my subconscious mind keeps reminding me of the initial nastiness: n fears that he is capable of that kind of behaviour. What if he turns into the emotionally abusive husband that he was in the first three months of marriage again? What if his family/ monster in law manage to brain wash him again …. You know the kind of partly rational partly irrational fears remain. So does the anger and the negativity from those memories and the resentment .

I have a second question: which is again related to my first question : and on similar lines:- I have a lot of bitterness and anger towards my monster in law too. LOADS. I do not want a relation with her. I do not want to see her ever again in my life. I want to be at peace with the past. I do not want to keep feeling hurt over the things she did. She said innumerous nasty things to me too. And it’s not just bout saying nasty things, it’s also about her super nasty actions.

Our marriage came soooooo close to divorce because of the games she was playing . Me and my widow mother went through emotional hell cause of the broken dreams and heartache associated with loving  someone and them breaking your heart over and over again. I want to move on . By move on I do not mean forgive her and try to have a loving relation with her. By moving on I mean just letting go of the traumatic memories of the past and not let that interfere with me living a life of peace / inner peace !

But I do not know how to move on !

Kindly advise if you readers feel you have been in similar situations and from experience you have learnt ways to move on !

Related Posts:

Because we can still be honest WITHOUT saying, “Gosh woman what is wrong with you?”

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.’

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

Sharing an email. For all those who think women, as adults, should be able to fight back and walk out and live lives of their choices – please give some practical, workable suggestions here.

How do young victims survive in families where everything that concerns women’s happiness (wishes, freedoms, lives, dreams, self reliance and rights) is not taken seriously?

What do you think would her FIL, father and husband say if we were to question their control over her life? 

What are the chances that she would give up? 

What could help keep her going?

Can this be legally challenged? Is this cruelty (legally)? 

In a culture that sees control as tradition, would these family members be seen as wrong?

Do we need a law against Semi Forced Marriages? And another law against women being denied education till the age of 21?

What kind of family values permit families that survive because some of the members see no way to get out? Why do some of us feel that keeping spouse/family members in dependence earns their respect 😦 

Here’s the email:

I am all alone. Nobody understands me. I want to study. My FIL says, today she is talking about studying, tomorrow she will ask to work. I will not give permission. My husband says he can’t go against his family, he cannot revolt. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission. Nobody supports me. I have become totally alone/isolated. Somebody understand me. I want to be somebody. I want to be happy. Somebody listen to me. Atleast you listen. I don’t like it in my marital home. I don’t like to wear sari… I want to wear suit. FIL says he has no problem but what would the people in the samaj/society say. Husband also does not support. I have to follow (nibhana) so many rites and customs which have no meaning. Husband says if you start earning I will be ashamed of my being a man. … and when his OPD is not enough and pay for the rent of the clinic from my savings, then he is not ashamed. I have been saving from my childhood. When my mood is good my husband loves me very much, but when my mood is not good, then instead of pacifying/consoling me he starts getting angry with me. I have to forget my own unhappiness and pacify him. Then he tells me when you cry then I do not like it, you should always smile…   Arre bhai, when I am not happy then how can I force myself to smile? … I will cry no? I am not able to understand anything. I think I will find peace if I die.   But I don’t want to die, I want to live happily.   What should I do, I don’t understand.   Please talk to me.   Somebody understand me.

 

UPDATED TO ADD:

In response to my email:

I am 24. I am from a very small town in Rajasthan. My marital home is in a small village. I have done BA and M Sc in Computer Science. In a small village there is no career with a Computer Science…. that’s why I want to do a B Ed…. I want to go in teaching line.
I can understand English, but just not comfortable in writing or speaking in English.
My husband is not a bad person… but he has been raised in a village so he is not so broad minded… he is afraid of he society…. so fare as I have understood him… I feel he is afraid of bing labelled a JKG. But he can do anything to be labelled a SHRAVAN KUMAR.

You will be surprised to know that the dream of doing the B Ed was shown to me by my husband… I am at my parents’ home at the moment… Just two days ago I have filled the form for PTET… before filling the form I had spoken to my husband… then he had said no problem, you fill the form… then he spoke to my FIL about this and he blew up… he started saying that, “This is not possible… today she is talking about studying, tomorrow will talk about working… if I wanted to bring a job wali bahu then there was the proposal (rishta) of Bank Manager… I might as well have finalised that rishta for you.”

Then my husband called me and said, “Where was the hurry to fill the form? Now Papa is saying no… atleast you should have asked him once. …now I don’t know, I can’t do anything in this matter… ”

When I went home and told my parents, then they started saying, “When he (FIL) is saying no then this is not possible… not possible without his permission…” After that my dad started convincing me that I should not be stubborn … he started giving me examples of other women …my sisters in law (brothers’ wives’) examples…. take a look at her, she is so educated but still manages house hold… ..blah blah blah…
O god!!
I don’t understand why are people so afraid of the society… I had learnt in school that samaaj (society) is a support system… but my samaaj has made living difficult for me…

 

I don’t want to lose my husband… because he is good at heart… his only weakness is he does not have a mind of his own …he doesn’t have any views of his own, just the FIL’s opinions are his opinion. … what should I do, I am in a dilemma….

* * *

Here’s the original email in Hindi:

Me akeli hu. Mujhe koi nahi samajhta. Me padhna chahti hu. Mere FIL kahte h ye aaj padhayi krne ka bol rahi h…kal job karne ka bolegi..me to izazat nahi doonga. Pati bolte h ghar walo k khilaf nahi ja sakta…bagaawat nahi kar sakta. Papa bolte h padho lekin FIL ki permission k bina nahi. Koi mujhe support nahi karta h. Me bilkul akeli ho gayi hu. Koi to mujhe samjho . Me kuch banana chahti hu. Me khush rahna chahti hu. Koi to meri baat suno. Aap to suno. Mujhe sasural me kuch bhi accha nahi lagta. Mujhe saari pahanana accha nahi lagta…me suit pahana chahti hu FIL kahte h mujhe dikkat nahi h samaz k log kya kahenge. Pati bhi support nahi karte. Mujhe itne ulte seedhe riti riwaz nibhane padte h zinka koi matalab bhi nahi hota h. Pati ese to bolte h ki agar tum kamane jaogi to mere mard hone p sharm aayegi mujhe…aur jab kabhi inki OPD kam hoti h to clinic ka kiraya me apni savings me se deti hu tab inko sharm nahi aati. Me to bachapan se saving karti aayi hu. Jab mera mood accha hota h tab to pati mujhe bahut pyar karte h. Lekin jab mera mood kharab hota h to mujhe khush karne ki zagah ulta khud gussa karne lag jaate h…mujhe khud hi apna dhukh bhool k unko manana padta h…phir mujhe kahte h k tum roti ho to mujhe accha nahi lagta h …tum hamesha hasti raha karo… Are bhai me khush hu hi nahi to zabardasti kaise hass sakti hu…rona to mujhe aayega hi na. Mujhe kuch samajh nahi aa raha h. Sochti hu mar jati hu to shaanti mil jayegi. Per me marna nahi chahti me khushi khushi jeena chahti hu. Me kya karoo mujhe samajh nahi aa raha h. Plz mujhse baat karo na. Koi to mujhe samajho na.

UPDATED TO ADD THE SECOND PART:

Me 24 saal ki hu.
Me rajasthan k bahut chote se shahar se hu.
Mera sasural ek chote se village me h.
Mene B.A. Kiya h…aur computer sciense me M.Sc. kiya h…chote village me computer sciense me koi career nahi h….isliye me B.ed. karna chahti hu…teaching line me jaana chahti hu.
I can understand english but just not comfertable in writing or speaking in english.
Mere pati bure insaan nahi h..lekin gaon m pale bade h isliye itne broad minded nahi h…wo samaz se bahut darte h..jahan tak me unhe samajh payi hu..mujhe lagta h k unhe dar h k kahi unhe JKG ka khitab nahi mil jaye…ye unki nazar me bahut hi sharm ki baat hogi…lekin wo SHRAVAN KUMAR ka khitab paane k liye kuch bhi kar sakte h.
Aap ko ye jaan k aashcharya hoga k B.ed. karne ka sapna bhi mujhe mere pati ne dikhaya…me abhi apne mayake me hu…abhi do din pahle mene PTET ka form bhara h…form bharne se pahle pati se baat bhi ki thi..tab vo bole k koi dikkat nahi h tum form bhar do…fir unhone mere FIL se is baare me baat ki to wo bhadak gaye…kahne lage k “ye to sambhav nahi h..aaj padayi ka bol rahi h..kal ko job k liye bolegi…agar mujhe job wali bahu hi laani thi to tumhare liye to bank manager ka rishta aaya tha..me wo hi kar leta”…uske baad pati ne mujhe phone karke kaha k “tumhe itni kya jaldi thi form bharne ki…abhi papa mana kar rahe h ..unse pooch to leti ek baar..ab mujhe nahi pata…me is maamle me kuch nahi kar sakta”.
Ghar jaake mene apne mummy papa ko bataya to vo kahne lage k “jab vo (FIL) mana kar rahe h to ye sambhav nahi..unki permission k bina to nahi ho sakta…”..uske baad se mere papa mujhe hi covince karne me lage huye h ki me apni zid chod du..mujhe doosro k example dete h …meri bhabhiyo k example dete h…use dekho itti padhi likhi hoke bhi ghar sambhalti h…blah blah blah…
O god!!
Mujhe ye nahi samajh m aata k log samaz se itna kyu darte h…mene to school me seekha tha k samaz ek support system hota h…lekin mere samaz ne to mera jeena mushkil kar diya h…
Me mere pati ko khona nahi chahti …kyu ki vo dil k bahut acche h…bus kami yehi h k unki khud ki koi soch nahi h…unke khud k koi vichar nahi..bus jo FIL k vichar vahi unke vichar…kya karu badi duvidha me hu.

 

Related Posts:
“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.”

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

“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?”

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

From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

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

Sharing an email. Do you think these are trivial issues?

Hi IHM,

I am educated , well read and independent working woman. We  (I and my husband ) stay in a city A and have an almost normal happy marriage. We visit our in laws during Diwali every year to city B. My Mother in law is very patient towards all the doings of the Males in the family. She keeps on doing all the household work along with extra works like washing all clothes (I mean everything), cooking according  everyone’s taste, extra cooking for people who work for us (we have a shop with few workers) until night 12.30 am (yes I mean it, she sleeps around 2 am and gets up at 6 doing all this) without any complains at all. So when I am with my in laws even I just follow her around and do all the work which she does without any complain as I know that there is no way that situation can every improve. I feel sorry for her and help her as much as possible. She is strictly against using washing machines/maids etc ….!! ( We are in a situation where in we can afford all this plus extra)
So this one incident caused a big turmoil at home. Almost a big fight which resulted in me shedding tears along with my Mother In Law.
 The incident is as follows, my husband was washing his inner wear after taking bath (Which his practice since ages). My mother in law suddenly commented “Men should not wash inner wear after Marriage according to Sampradayam (meaning Traditions)”. I was very angry hearing that and I retorted saying that that’s not correct. If someone was capable of washing inner wears before marriage then he is completely capable of doing so after marriage and I won’t do it. Then my husband being the dutiful son stopped washing his inner-wear and left it on bathroom floor. I was even more angry I felt it all wrong so I said the same thing to my Mother in law, she started saying about some very great sanathan dharma orator saying about this. She said that he (The great Person) said that
a “Man should not washing his inner wear after Marriage as that brings lot of misfortunes to home and family”. I just do not get the logic of it at all. I argued but she didn’t try to understand me at all. I tried explaining her many things, I told her that all this is to oppress woman to make them lowly. I tried a lottttttttt……!!! She didn’t relent at all, she was continuously arguing saying woman is very great she is Laxmi of the home she should do all this. I just couldn’t convince her at all. The fight grew big and bigger and I suddenly reminded her of an incidence in which she had told that its OK to beat a wife then telling her bad words (later she told that it was just an analogy which I failed to understand and she didn’t mean it), which caused even more tiff. I tried a lot by telling her that we women have to ask questions and we should try to follow things which we feel correct not only because some so called great person has said.
I have no anger or hatred towards her (MIL) I just feel very sorry for the sorry state of woman at our home. I am obviously angry with my husband who didn’t take a second to agree to his mom and do as she wishes. (Later on my husband said that suddenly he (on hearing what his Mom said) felt that a woman does washing of clothes better than himself so its better they do the washing of inner wear, in which I am still searching the logic). I am trying to solve this issue with my Husband (who is otherwise very adorable) and I believe that I can convince my husband but I will never be able to convince my MIL
-A worried daughter in law of a traditional family.
Related Posts:

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

This is how we trivialise, invalidate and sometimes even silence the voices that attempt to share the ‘mundane everyday quarrels’ that control women’s choices (or worse). The reason why these ‘trivialities’ are a social problem is that these issues are expected to solve without being questioned, challenged, discussed or ignored, by Please adjusting of less than 50% of the population. These ‘complaints’ will stop being too trivial or petty when women can afford to ignore them or deal with them the way the rest of the population does – without risking allegations of disrespect, and without being asked to rise above them by those who are not expected to share the task of dealing with the same issues (except by asking the women to Please Adjust)

IHM, I think you are being dragged these days into the absolutely most mundane, everyday quarrels people get into in their families. Someone ate without showering, someone didn’t bring mithai. Tomorrow someone will complain about who got to watch their favorite TV show and that one time someone put too much salt in the food…

These are trivialities, not social problems.

I think you are better than this and your blog is better than this. Indian feminists deserve better.

When filial devotion proves useful, it becomes hard to control.’

From Rabindranath Tagore’s Gora, here’s what the father of a daughter experienced: 

“This (proposal) is my good fortune, my glory!” he (the prospective groom) cried.

I asked him about money (dowry). He at once covered his ears and said: “Forgive me, but please don’t mention such things.”

“Very well,” I said, “I shall discuss these matters with your father.” I went to his father as well, and found a big difference between father and son. The father didn’t block his ears at the mention of money, not at all. Rather, he started saying such things, I almost had to stop my own ears.

The son, too, I found to be extremely devoted to his father in these matters—regards his father as absolute divinity—so it will be no use asking him to mediate. This time liquidating my company assets will not suffice. Anyway, you too must discuss a few things with Abinash. A word of encouragement from you …’ ‘That will not reduce the sum of money to be paid,’ Gora interrupted. ‘I know that. When filial devotion proves useful, it becomes hard to control.’

The same rule applies to some of these ‘mundane, everyday quarrels’.