Indian mothers are known for being doting, involved (sometimes overly involved), loving, hard working, nurturing, resourceful. But we also know that if they feel threatened by their daughter in law, they can get passive aggressive, over bearing and can play the sacrificial martyr role to the T.
Before finding out why Indian mother in laws abuse their daughter in law, you have to find out if you are a victim.
Are you being emotionally or verbally abused by your Indian mother in law?
If you answer yes to many of the following situations, you are most probably being abused by your mother in law.
- You are always walking on eggshells fearing this person might go ballistic.
- It is never their fault. If they make a mistake, it is an accident. But if you make one, you intended to hurt them and any amount of apology is not enough.
- You feel the need to make this person happy and get on their good side.
- Compares you with others in your circle and constantly criticizes you.
- They lack accountability and can always explain their way out of the hurt they caused you. You end up believing that you misjudged them.
- Belittles you in the presence of others and portrays you in a negative way. All done in a sarcastic condescending tone.
- They take control of every sphere of your life and barge into your personal space.
- The world adores them. They are the life of the party and no one has the slightest hint that this person is a mean hurtful person.
- Lacks empathy and can be cool as a cucumber when you are crying. At the most, they will tell you to stop being overly sensitive.
- They can shed a tear or two in an instant.
- She uses praise as a bait to make you believe that things are improving only to disappoint you.
- Tells you that you instigated them to hurt you.
- They label the people from their past with vicious cruelty while at the same time try to make you feel that those were the golden times and how you have spoiled it for them.
- They are good listeners with accurate memory. Then they will toy with your emotions because they are aware of your fears.
- They will deny incidents even if you prove it with facts and will ask innocent questions about this incident.
- They have to be praised 24*7 or you ignored them. They have to be praised even if they boiled water for tea but they will not be caught dead praising someone unless it is a fake praise with a hidden insult.
- They comment about your appearance a lot and make you feel undesirable to yourself and others.
- They always threaten to end the relationship if you don’t fall in line.
- They are always the victims.
- And they always have to win be it an insignificant argument or board game.
Sounds familiar? Read on.
Why are Indian Mother in laws so cunning?
Their passive aggressive behavior could stem from the cultural conditioning that being ‘feminine’ / ‘woman like’ / ‘fragile and delicate’ innocent as a dove is a virtue whereas being straightforward or disagreeing is a vice. So they seem to rely heavily on their feminine charms (viles?). No wonder most Indians irrespective of their gender, financial standing, educational qualification, age or language believe that their mother is the most fragile and innocent person who needs to be protected.
There is a person who watches women abuse each other.
Why are Indian husbands Momma’s boys?
The kids are raised with the notion that mom is a perfect angel and It is very hard to break them out of this maya and this is why many Indian daughter in laws fail miserably to convince the husband that his mother is fully capable of doing evil things. In most cases, children especially sons are repeatedly fed the sacrifices the mother made to raise them.
Indian culture respects age more than character so no one will dare to question a MIL who ill-treats her DIL . The mother repeatedly narrates the bad treatment she received at the hands of her own mil. So when a complaint is raised against his poor mother, the son will make every attempt to defeat your crusade against his victim mother.
The son sees the entire history of his mom – how much she says she suffered and how much she says she sacrificed rather than seeing it as a stand alone incident that his wife is complaining about. So each time a wife complains about her mil, she is competing against 25 years of brainwashing.
The fault lies with a parent who brainwashes her child and loads his mind with guilt rather than setting him free to enjoy his life.
How to deal with verbally abusive Indian Mother in law
If you find that your mil is verbally abusive and taunts you, without involving your husband, stop her right there and question her why she did what she did in a non-accusatory tone. Ask her as if you are sincerely trying to clarify. Passive aggressive Indian mother in laws will get scared and back off. An aggressive MIL will start a drama. Wait patiently for it to end. Those dramas should bother you only if you care for her. Why should you care for someone who verbally abuses you? Let her cry, shout, accuse you, shed buckets of tears and act sick. The drama will end sooner if you learn to ignore the drama. She is an adult and when she stops behaving like toddler and stops throwing temper tantrums, you can communicate with her. It is not the job of the daughter in law to be her punching bag or to babysit her emotions neither are you a garbage bin where she can dump all her frustrations.
What will a frustrated mother in law do? Gossip!
My mother in law gossiped about me
If you hear that she has gossiped about you, look her in the face and calmly tell her that you heard that she said some things about you and wait patiently for her explanation. Of course, she will lie through her teeth. The aim is not to prove to her that she gossiped about you because she already knows what she said about you. It is to tell her that you are aware of her behavior and that you will confront her if you hear anything. You really can never prove anything to any Indian mother in law or even mother for that matter. They are sneaky and will enjoy the drama and attention as they have the most powerful weapon, their age aka their failing health and their tears. After you confront, the drama artist will weep and complain about you to your husband. Ignore the drama and wait for the storm to pass.
Keep ignoring the drama and you will get better at it. If an adult does not have the decency to talk to you if she has a problem with you but instead roams around gossiping about you, her drama and tears deserve to be ignored.
Don’t worry about the people who believe the gossips she spreads. If they believe a lie about you, they are not your friends.
What is the most common excuse for bad behavior? Insecurity!
Why are Indian MILs so insecure?
The battle tactics of the MILs can often put a seasoned war veteran to shame.
They can come up with brilliant strategies on the fly to punish the girl who took their son away. So you are not dealing with an insecure frail lady. That is how she wants to portray herself because this image will come in handy if she gets caught. They can easily escape by telling her son, “I was only insecure and I really meant no harm”. A person who enjoys seeing another human suffer, a person who knowingly causes a rift between spouses can never be just a harmless insecure person. They know what they are doing and unless they are stopped forcibly, they wont stop by themselves.
Nothing can spoil the happiness of a family more than a sulking family member.
My MIL is always unhappy and sulking
The thing that bothers most daughter in laws is the sulking and complaining. If you allow this to bother you, you will always be dancing to their tunes because to get what they want, they only have to sulk. Let them have their pity party. From day one, ignore all passive aggressive behaviors and carry on your cheerful life. They are adults and if they have anything to say, let them say it using proper words and respectful tone. Ignore all kinds of childish behavior. Completely ignore her sulking and weepy sad face and live your life. If your husband asks you why his mom is sad, tell him you didn’t notice. Repeat this reply till she gets it that you will not be pampering her like a toddler.
Why are mother in laws nasty only to their daughter in laws but nicer to others?
Why do Indian MILs harass their daughter in laws?
Very few women of the previous generation in India consider themselves worthy of equal treatment. Men made all the decisions and the only person who will ever listen to them and obey them is the new girl who enters the house. So they wait eagerly for this submissive dil and they get disappointed and feel as if a great injustice has happened to them if they don’t get to rule over her. Didn’t they sacrifice and work as a slave all their life for this?. Their jealousy will rear its ugly head when they see you the modern woman who is unwilling to follow their orders. Their own son for whom they sacrificed so much will rarely obey her. Have you seen a son obeying everything his mom says? Then how can they expect you to obey their every command? You are neither their slave nor a robot. Obey only your conscience. People are very capable of adapting. They will be shocked and fight that you don’t fit their image of ‘perfect Indian bahu’ but they will get used to it eventually.
Though she has the energy to fight, she rarely has the energy to work.
My Indian mother in law won’t help me
Many mother-in-laws look forward to their son’s wedding for one main reason. They can dump all the chores on the daughter in law. They manage the entire household but the very next day of their son’s marriage, they age instantly and become old ladies who cannot lift their finger.
Don’t encourage this laziness for two reasons. You will not be able to keep up with your work pressure and household chores. A lazy mind is the devil’s workshop and by allowing this laziness, you will be giving them free time to scheme and plot against you. Every person in the house has to do their duties.
If they can walk, they can monitor the maid, serve food for themselves, help in the kitchen.
If they can move their hands, they can cut veggies, fold laundry.
If they can read, they can help the grandkid with homework.
Just because the son is married, it does not mean that the only work they have to do is sleep, grumble and watch mega-serials.
Most daughter-in-laws do this mistake of taking on too much work and then they suffer. Don’t make people around you lazy. Don’t do things that they should be able to do by themselves. This applies to your children, husband, and in-laws.
Do you feel like you are always in a tug of war with your mother in law?
Unhappy MIL steals my husband
If your Indian MIL is happy with her own husband, you have higher chances that she will not bother you much. Before marriage, try to find out if she has any grudge against her husband and mil. This will help predict how much she is going to cling to your husband.
A mother in law who clings to her son will also try to cling to her grand kid.
Will my mother in law take my baby away from me?
This is a fear many pregnant/ new mothers have. I don’t know if other societies have this problem but this seems to be very common in India. No matter how much hatred the MIL has for her DIL and treats her like an outsider, the kid born to the DIL is given automatic citizenship into the family and a tug of war ensues to own the baby.
In most cases, this cruel behavior is exhibited not because the grand kid is loved. But it is yet another ploy to mentally harass the DIL. The young inexperienced mother gets all panicky and clutches on to her baby in fear that someday the baby will desert her and join hands with her nemesis.
Like all young mothers, she is already battling with self doubt about her parenting abilities and it is nothing but mental harassment when a mil certifies that the DIL is a bad mother.
Let me state this proven fact at the very outset. There is no reason to panic.
Unless you abuse or neglect your kid, all babies and kids adore their mothers. As long as you are making time to take care of the baby instead of delegating child rearing entirely to your maid or mil, no amount of brainwashing will work against you.
Working mothers have to leave their kids with someone during the day. But unfortunately, most of them also spend their entire evening making dinner which should be time spent with the child. Don’t sacrifice your baby bonding time to make elaborate dinners.
Hire help or enroll family members to pitch in. It is no longer the responsibility of the lady to be the sole chef in the family. If family members refuse to pitch, they will have to eat what you can manage to cook without any grumbling. If they grumble, tune off their grumbling and go and enjoy your baby’s cooing sound. We cannot make everyone happy.
There is another kind of mils who are hell bent on proving that every so called ‘good trait’ that the baby possessed is from her side of the family and every so called ‘undesirable trait’ is from the dil’s side. There are no undesirable traits in any baby. Period.
One can only mock at this stupidity. These are all nothing but attempts to irritate you. Getting angry about this or complaining to your husband about this will only expose your vulnerability thus positioning you for more taunts.
If your mil plays that broken record that your baby is pretty exactly like her ‘prettiest in the world’ daughter (your sil), give a blank disinterested stare or if you are bold enough yawn or hum some song and walk away. Even if the kid resembles her aunt, it is rude and inappropriate to be reiterating that fact to a new mother especially with the intention to prove to the young mother that her child does not resemble her. Ignore such comments as it is not worth picking a fight though most of us find it highly repulsive.
Children don’t come with instruction manuals. A new mother will not be as confident as a second time mother. Read websites, talk to your doctor and get yourself informed. But most importantly, your God given instincts should be your best guide to decide what is best for your baby. Not all ‘experienced’ mothers are right always.
Don’t allow anyone to over rule your decisions about your baby. Draw these boundaries early on and it will be unpleasant in the beginning but others will learn slowly.
There was a mother who was not allowed to breast feed her baby because the mil was insecure that the baby might bond with the mother. This is just a criminal offense if you ask me. Don’t ignore such nonsense. Refuse to even consider suggestions that are detrimental to your baby’s well being.
Allow your baby to have fun time with his grand parents. However some grand parents attempt to alienate children from their parents (mostly mothers) by bad mouthing about the mom to the kid. Relax and ignore this till your baby learns to process complicated sentences. Till then you have more than enough time to settle down in your role as a mom.
If even after all your attempts to be a good mom, you see that your in-laws are trying to slander you incessantly to your kids, cut them out of your kid’s life. As brutal as my suggestion might seem, it is for the benefit of your child that you have to protect his/her childhood and innocence and remove all toxic family politics from his life.
There are children who are cruelly caught in the cross fire between warring family members. It is not fair to them if they are pulled from multiple sides and made to prove their loyalties to opposing entities. In such extreme situations, take the unpopular decision. You owe it to your children.
When a child is made to believe that his mother is a bad mother, it makes the child feel unsafe. If a petty minded mil is not willing to think beyond her negative feelings towards her DIL and is even prepared to hurt an innocent kid just for some mean spirited vendetta, she doesn’t deserve access to that grand kid. Period. Of course your spouse will resist this. Don’t get emotional or dramatic that your spouse cares more for his parents than for the well being of his kid.
Use tact and cut toxic people out of your kid’s life. There is no need for unnecessary guilt because if the grand parents genuinely love the grand kid, they will behave and won’t find themselves in this situation in the first place.
Ignore what you have to ignore, be tactful if possible but don’t hesitate to take action when it is necessary. That is what makes you a good mother. Your baby adores you and thinks you are the prettiest person in the whole wide world. He will love you as long as you don’t abuse him or neglect him. No one can snatch him away from you.
Who else is to be blamed for a daughter in law’s plight?
Is it right to blame the mother in law alone?
Many people have tried to understand what makes a mother turn into a bad mother in law after her son’s or daughter’s marriage. Why is the Indian mother unable to let the children live their lives in peace?
To some extent, men are responsible for this. The general trend that existed in our society is, the first 15 to 20 years of married life is spent keeping parents in laws (PIL) happy, getting sister-in-law married and brother-in-law settled. During all this, women also gave birth to few kids while the entire control of family was in her MIL’s hands.
In most cases she was pretty much an outsider when it came to decision making but when it comes to chores, it was her sole responsibility. This continues till her PILs pass away.
In this circumstance, the lady checks out emotionally and is more like a robot fulfilling her social obligation. Her only source of a sense of belonging are her children. She latches on to her children emotionally and begins to live for them. The blame is to be placed on the husband who fails in the art of balancing his relationship with his parents and his wife. After his parents pass away and he has fulfilled his duty as an obedient son, he decides to come back and get closer to the wife. But she is in no mood to start any kind of bonding with him now. She is busy with her children’s activities and her entire life revolves around them.
If a lady is satisfied in her own marriage and if she has real bonding with her own husband (unlike the usual facade put up for the sake of society), there is no need for her to be holding on to her children for emotional support. That is why when the new daughter-in-law arrives in the picture, she is immediately seen as a threat.
Sometimes daughter in laws are fond of their father in law who spends the whole day on the sofa reading news paper. Though he doesn’t trouble her much, he is to some extent responsible for her plight today. If he had treated his wife better, his wife won’t be clinging to her son so much.
Even today there are some ladies who lack the emotional connection with their husband. I am greatly pained when they proclaim that they are going to ignore their abusive / loveless husband and focus on their children only. We all know how this is going to end. Either she is going to get hurt or end up hurting someone.
Any attempt to convince her of this would be fruitless. Because no loving mother can ever imagine herself turning into a manipulative/ abusive mother in law. Don’t I know the pain of this? How will I do this to another girl? she will ask.
Unhealthy relationships breed unhealthy relationships. It is better to be bold and mend relationship or demand the spouse to do their part rather than giving up on the spouse and becoming emotionally too attached to children.
What about mother in law’s minion?
Dealing with greedy Indian mother in law and sister in law
Dowry is a big menace in our Indian society. A girl’s parents sacrifice a lot to buy jewels for her. But the sad truth is, most of this jewelry is in the control of her husband or mother in law.
When you get married, you are an adult. You are not a child who needs to be taken care or told how to take care of your things. If your parents gave you gifts during wedding, it is your duty to take care of them. They worked for it. They sacrificed for it and gave it with lots of love. It has sentimental value. Being careless with it is a crime.
Handing over jewelry to mother in law or sister in law may earn a few temporary brownie points. But it will break your heart in the long run. Money corrupts anyone. They will use your jewelry. Some have even given it to their daughters or melted it into another item. Once given, getting it back is almost impossible. Asking for it may sometimes be misunderstood. They might accuse you of suspecting their honesty. It is better to avoid all this unnecessary drama.
If your mil asks you to hand your gold over to her, refuse it calmly, politely and immediately. There is no need to discuss with your parents or husband. He will never suspect her. Discussing with him will act against you. Just answer with a
Thank you for the offer. But I am an adult and should be able to keep it safe myself.
Don’t give lame excuses like, “I don’t want to trouble you”. What will you do if they say it is not a trouble at all. If a mother in law or sister in law ask for your jewels, that itself is a big red flag.
If you are going to live in India, after engagement and before marriage, open a safe deposit locker in your name in the city you will be living after your marriage. If your in laws show too much interest in jewellery before wedding, there are high chances that they will ask you to give it to them post wedding. In many cases if marriage goes sour, men refuse to part with the wife’s jewels and some even sell it or melt so there is no evidence.
In my opinion, parents are not obligated to give gold or any other expensive gifts to their children. But if you insist on giving gifts to your children and if you can afford them, the best suggestion that I have for parents is that parents should not hand over everything to their daughter on her wedding day. It is not easy for a young and new bride to go against her husband and inlaws since she will be outnumbered. The safe method is give her jewels that will match her wedding attire and hold on to the rest. Slowly give in increments during special occasions over the next few years. Not very long ago young women were killed by inlaws for jewels. Parents in the name of showing off to society, have put their daughters in serious danger.
A family that counts the number of grams of gold their DIL brings can never be a good one. Ever. Even some girls want to show off to their friends and demand from parents only to place it all in the hands of greedy in-laws.
This is a serious menace in our society. Parents should teach their children the following right from their young age well before the wedding
1. Value of money
2. How to protect their assets
3. How to say no diplomatically
4. How to plan and think outside the box if they realize that their inlaws are eyeing their jewels.
If the inlaws are good and decent people, well and good. If they are not, then it will be too late to prepare the child mentally to stand up for herself after she is married.
If you have already given your jewels to your mother in law and there is a high chance that she will get offended if you ask for them, get them back little by little. Ask for a few pieces when you are getting ready for a wedding or some function and don’t give it back.
We women can help each other if we really want. You can stop your mother from controlling your brother’s wife’s assets.
A real life story: A couple I know got a gift of 25 lakhs as gift from her dad (late 90s). They bought a house and it appreciated 6 times its original value. After 10 years of marriage, the husband had an affair and he claimed that the house belonged to his parents. Only then she understood how stupid she was when she decided to keep quiet when her name was not included as the owner of the property. She was so scared of upsetting her mil that she kept quite when the house was bought in her mil’s name. Now she works for a very low salary in a foreign country.
Protect your assets. Once you lose it, it is very difficult to get it back.
Mother in law destroyed marital peace. Why it is necessary to fix a broken marriage?
Marriage, one of the oldest institutions known to man, has been a much discussed topic probably because of the effects it can have on us. The effects of a bad marriage does not stop with just the two people involved. In fact, it affects more people in ways that we can never measure. The effects sometimes are felt decades later.
Are Indian marriages really happy?
I grew up believing that a happy marriage is bound to happen just because I happen to be an Indian. But when I became an adult, I began to ponder whether those so called strong marriages cemented for eternity (or 7 reincarnations) really existed or was it all a facade.
Effects of a bad marriage on children
A bad marriage does not end with just the miserable couple. Many fail to see the domino effect of a bad marriage. Children who grew up in hostile environments deal with those demons even decades later sometimes even years after the abusive parent is dead.
I was stunned recently when a woman blogged about how she used to try to disrupt the happy marriages of her friends just because she was going through a rough patch in her marriage. She confessed to having instigated the husbands of her friends by hurting their ego and questioning their manliness because they were sensitive to their wife’s needs.
A marriage they say (at least in the context of our Indian society) is a union of two families and not two individuals. A union that requires a lot of hard work and tact. If you are in a happy marriage, thank God for this blessing. If you are not in a happy marriage, analyze the toll it is taking on you and your loved ones and see if the situation can be rectified.
The biggest loss caused in a loveless marriage is the feeling of loneliness, worthlessness and loss of hope that things will improve. Some couples check out of the relationship emotionally and exist under the same roof for the sake of various reasons like society, children, aging parents and even finances. Don’t give up and lose hope. Try to fix issues that can be fixed and ignore issues that can be ignored. But walk away if you have tried everything and find that it is futile.
A bad marriage always has a domino effect whether we recognize it or not.
Fixing a broken marriage
‘Couples time’ where husband and wife sit together at the end of the day and chat and laugh about their day, eat dinner and watch some TV together is, in my opinion, mandatory. With stress levels increasing day by day, winding down as a family is a must. Then a bad mother in law will not be able to disrupt marital peace. I still miss those pre gadget days when after dinner we used to sit in the open air and chit chat. There were no cellphones ringing or TVs holding their tear-fests.
Nowadays the entire family is glued to the idiot box eagerly gulping all the junk that is being dished out. Did we forget that junk in means junk out?Some kids are allowed to stay late since these soaps run till midnight which means chaotic mornings. In some houses the mom and kids go to bed early while the dad stays back to watch TV with his parents to give them company. Spending time with his parents is not a crime. But many seem to ignore the fact that these late night family meetings also mean that his wife and children are not getting to spend time with him. This is the oldest trick in the book to separate son and DIL.
A couple should have some alone time to talk everyday after the kids are in bed. In my opinion, the couple should have bonded and become best friends by the time they have kids. Once kids come, late night feedings and diaper changes and sleepless nights will disrupt this bonding time for a few years. And that is the time disruptive external forces will enter the spoil the marriage.
One MIL suggested that the new mom and baby sleep alone while the dad gets some uninterrupted sleep in another room. After all, the dad had to go to work the next morning and the mom was on maternity leave. Little did the DIL know that it was not a temporary solution and the husband began to enjoy his night life watching TV and chitchatting with his mom while his wife tended to the baby all night. She was conveniently made to believe that she was a good wife and DIL only when she takes care of the baby entirely by herself at night while her husband relaxed with his mom watching TV till late at night and then slept in the guest room. When someone defines and dictates what would make you a good wife and DIL, that would be the time to wake up and become alert.
If you have a mil who wants her son around her till she is too sleepy to hold on to him any longer, raise hell and end it even before it becomes a habit. Bad habits like this slowly creep in. Don’t assume that it will go away. It will only get worse. Do what it takes before it becomes an unhealthy habit. Sometimes, being called a bad DIL is not a bad thing at all. There is no use complaining to husband that he is ignoring you.
I strongly disagree with the voices that tell the woman to “ignore” the husband who is too busy with his parents, career and laptop. Will her husband ignore it if she spends her entire evening with her parents and comes back only after her husband and kids are asleep? A husband or a wife expecting their spouse to spend evening with them is not unreasonable.
I wish men would learn to balance their relationships better. And I also wish that women would stop playing tug of war with men. The husband belongs to the wife and his mom. It isn’t a normal family when one woman wants monopoly over him. Sacrificing family time to watch TV or to satisfy an insecure mother will make the family drift apart. When we start taking our family members for granted and assume that it is okay not to spend time with them, we are the ones who will be sorely disappointed.
Fighting for peace
Pursue peace the wise say. There are a multitude of things that can spoil the peace in a family. Modern day stress doesn’t make it any easier. It can be safely said that when they get married, almost all couples want to have a harmonious life with their spouse. But life gets in the way and many times they drift apart. To me drifting apart is worse that fighting. When couples fight, there is some hope that they are holding on to the relationship and hoping for a change. Indifference is the last nail on the coffin.
Like a dog marks its territory, sometimes we have to mark our territory and defend it and refuse entry to forces that may destroy the peace in our family. It is a couple’s duty to make sure that they don’t allow anyone or anything to come in between them be it ego/ an insecure mil/ work/ hobbies or just about anything else. Fighting for peace of the family is not optional.
Relationships rarely break in a day. There is slow erosion and corrosion under the surface. Like tiny termites eating up the core of the huge tree’s trunk making it hollow, the relationship rots.
Though some allow external forces to run amok carelessly, many watch helplessly in pain. In our Indian marriages, some grownups refuse to cut the umbilical chord. The very chord that fed nourishment to the child is now used to drain all happiness out of the child’s life. What parents fail to understand is that after their sojourn on this earth is over, their child still has to live with his/ her spouse. Parents who truly loves their child will do everything in their power to ensure that their child has a happy married life. A person who doesn’t know/ want to establish boundaries shouldn’t get married in the first place.
Defend your garden lest you end up with a termite infested patch with overgrown weeds and broken fences. Someday it might be too late and the spouse might never want to come close to you again.
Fight for the peace of your family even if it makes you the bad guy. Fighting is never a pleasant experience. But it is mandatory to establish peace.
You don’t have to share everything with your inlaws
Some folks love to hear their own voice. They love to talk and talk and talk ignoring how their frivolous tongue can someday cause a FOOT IN THE MOUTH situation. Too much information (TMI) is dangerous. Period.
More caution should be used when it comes to communicating with in-laws. In most cases, in-laws are constantly judging the daughter in law. Most girls assume that they don’t have to change after getting married. Ideally, this should be the case but in Indian scenario, reality is far from this. It is better to curtail information flow especially when it comes to matters about parents and siblings. So if you love to prattle, be certain that at some point of time, it will be a snare that binds you.
There are women who in moments of weaknesses, have yapped about conflicts between her parents and some relatives only to later discover that her in-laws have suddenly developed affinity towards those problematic relatives. An enemy’s enemy is a friend right? So if you or your family are not in good terms with any relative, this information need not be shared with your in-laws or husband. You are not obligated to be an open book in this matter because this does not concern them.
Though I do not encourage secrets between spouses, there should be some wisdom to know the difference between data that can be shared and data that should be kept private especially if you have a blabbermouth spouse who cannot stop relaying the information to his/ her parents.
This habit takes on dangerous proportions if your mother also had in-law issues. It will be all the more easy for them to brand you as a bad daughter in law. Like mother like daughter they would say. Why invite such trouble?
Loose lips sink ships. TMI can never ever be a good thing especially when it comes to inlaws. If you love to hear your voice, try bathroom singing.
Don’t trust blindly
What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger.
But if it doesn’t make you smarter, you can be sure that you will go through the same thing again.
Life has a unique way of teaching us some lessons. Sometimes we never learn the lessons and end up wailing in frustration that the same issues crop up in our life again and again.
My colleague, in her desperation to form an alliance against her mil, shared some things that shouldn’t have escaped her mouth with her co-sister (the other DIL in the same family).
They even pinky swore to keep this a secret. The insanity continued for a while and the other DIL was milking her for family gossip and relaying them to her mil.
When there are two DILs competing for the approval of a mil, it is foolish to consider the other DIL as an ally.
Information will be passed on faster and with greater precision than a relay race baton. And this colleague was in tears frequently during lunch breaks telling us that her mil hates her and loves the other daughter in law. Shouldn’t this be a clue that the other DIL is playing some game?
Her mil waited for the right opportunity and one day took her to task in the presence of a family gathering and the co-sister was only too happy to turn into a hostile witness. Her husband was very angry with her and this spoiled her marital peace.
“Once a betrayer always a betrayer”.
If a family members betrays your trust and plays politics, distance yourself from them. If we face a relationship problem and don’t take any remedial measures to prevent this from happening again in future, we are bound to face the same thing again and again.
Don’t get played by manipulative people.
Don’t forget the famous saying
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Lack of support from parents and siblings
There is a saying that when one door closes, another opens up. But that is not the case for many Indian women who want to escape out of bad marriages as they have no place to go after divorce. The society is not very kind to divorced women and even parents are unwilling or unable to help her.
Not many ladies get parental support. It could be because they are not financially sound or because they themselves are dependent on their sons and daughter in laws and don’t want to inconvenience them.
Instead of getting emotional or depressed, it is better to look at this problem in a practical manner and deal with it boldly. Even if parents are willing to take back a divorced daughter, how long can they support her and her children?. There are high chances that her presence there will cause friction between her sibling and their spouses. Cost of living is high.
If life throws a curve ball like divorce or death of a spouse etc, it is better to expect only temporary help from parents and siblings. This way we can live our life independently and with self respect. People might pity us for a short while but they will not want to carry our burden for life. Get help from loved ones till you get back on your feet but don’t over stay your invitation.
When one door closes, another door may or may not open. But it is better to be independent and deal with what life has given us. Being independent, though hard at first, will allow us to live with self respect and freedom. We have to open a door with our own hands instead of waiting for someone else to open doors for us.
It is easier said that done. But this is more desirable than being at the mercy of family members. I sincerely hope that our Indian parents would stop worrying about society and start caring more about their own children. Many girls are made to believe that “sacrifice” is the root element for a successful marriage in our country. Our society thrusts this ‘sacrifice’ on us.
Dear mother in law, don’t be meddle
A quick search online will show that the Indian mother in law is one of the most hated and ridiculed species on this earth. However an Indian mother is elevated to the level of a goddess who deserves to be worshiped. Contradicting isn’t it?
The common complaints about the Indian mother or mother in law (MIL) is that she never ever cuts the umbilical cord and is meddling in her child’s life.
Is it love or is it insecurity or is she just a control maniac? Most of us grew up adoring our mom sometimes much more than our dads. Did we elevate her to the level of a goddess that she simply refuses to get down from the pedestal and demands that she be allowed to rule over her subjects aka children. What turns our nice mom into a meddlesome mother in law?.
No doubt children are indebted to love, honor and take care of their parents. But sometimes it is not the children who break away from the parents. They are sometimes pushed away by the constant nagging, criticism and drama. In the name of being loving or caring, parents sometimes meddle too much in their kid’s lives thus spoiling their peace. With stress levels increasing dramatically these days, children return home drained of all energy. There is little or no energy to baby sit another codependent adult.
I can think of a reason for this. While raising kids, parents put their life on hold and focused entirely on their kids.
In some Indian families there is an unhealthy trend where couples rarely spend time with each other. Their entire life revolves around their kids. And when the kids grow up and are no longer dependent, parents start experiencing feelings ranging from insecurity to loss of purpose in life. It is better to make up our mind that kids will someday fly the nest. Mothers who were stay-at-home moms have it the hardest. At least a working dad had a life outside the home.
My suggestions to avoid this,
- Have your own circle of like minded friends in addition to the usual friends like wives of your husband’s colleagues or moms of your children’s friends.
- Have hobbies and activities that you enjoy. Keep yourself active.
- Get out. Get out of the house and volunteer, meet new people, learn new skills. Have a life.
- Keep yourself fit. Healthy mind and healthy body will make you less dependent emotionally on your family members.
- Avoid volunteering advise or help to adult kids unless they ask for it. You have spent a major chunk of your life raising them. Pat yourself on your back for the good job. Now allow them to make their own mistakes and learn.
There is some wisdom in the saying
“When mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.
Is it fair to blame our mothers for every failed marriage? They love us a lot.
They love us a lot. The problem is do they love our spouse? Under the pretense of defending their child, they meddle too much. Most of the trouble in marriages in our Indian society is because of a meddling mother in law. Have we not seen loving compatible couples suddenly start to fight like cats and dogs the minute the mil comes into picture? A very good mother can also be a bad mother in law. All of us behave differently with different people. But for a child who has always seen his or her parent as nothing but a loving soul, it is very difficult to see them in different light.
If you are a child of a meddling parent, it is your job to enforce a boundary. It is not fair watch mutely while you allow your spouse to face your parent’s meddling.
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