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Thread: How to Deal with In-laws

  1. #1

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    Oct 2007
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    I am 8 months pregnant and currently at my mother's place, relaxed and comfortable at last!!!! Thats why i chose to write about my innermost feelings of frustration to some unknown readers, who are well facing or have faced similar situations in life.

    It is quite long... so please read patiently.

    I live in a joint family set up with both ILs and a younger unmarried SIL. Its been 2 years since we've been married. Ours was a love marriage. My husband and I love each other dearly. We appreciate and respect each others feelings and we always believe in working things out on our own. My husband is a Tamil Iyengar and I am a Tamil Iyer.

    My In-Laws in brief :

    But, unlinke my hubby, my FIL is retired and acc to me has no opinion of his own. He is a timid, yet extremely traditional and a rigid person. Hates to spend an extra penny for any repair to be done a home (mebbe because of his backgrnd of struggle - 'the middle-class' mentality, or whatever...) He is extremely disorganised and lacks any sort of 'class' in him.

    MIL was always a homemaker, very fat (almost 110kg!!) , highly authoratative, possessive (of her son, her most precious obsession almost) and an active lady involved in many cultural & religious (or so she calls) activities in a womans' group ( where she is the self-acclaimed leader!). Keeps on complaining to every person that she is in menopause and that she is suffering.

    They have a more of 'taken for granted' relationship. They keep excessively spending on religious pujas and rites in various temples. They watch programmes on some 3rd quality health channels about diseases and cures. Ramdevs and Ayurvedas and Feng Shui etc, which is absolute nonsense and gets them more worried. Moreover, they mismanage the groceries and ration that is bought on a monthly basis. They overdo when it comes to vegetables and grocery. It is highly frustrating for my husband and me to see our money got his way ( as we contribute mainly to the house account which they 'handle') But we dont want to interfere and we want to wait for later when we can do things our way as we feel it will hurt their feelings if we tell them anything.

    My sister in law, though 24, is still considered the 'darling' of the house. She has never been given much duties to perform at the household level.She hardly knows a vegetable, but it is a matter of pride for everyone when she makes good tea!!!! :) She goes and comes home very late frm work these days because she sometimes volunteers to do late night shifts... which is a convenient excuse for her not doing ANY work at home. She goes off on important functions to meet her gang of friends and hardly likes to stay home to help out, even knowing I am pregnant. She doesnt even move an inch during weekends unless asked to do something by her parents -- which is very rare!!!!! My husband has told her often to help out MIL ad me , but she half-heartedly does it and that too not regularly.

    I dont bother telling her anything as there is too much support for her in the house. So she continues to sit in front of the TV and honestly watches WHOLE DAY!!!! so much that she doesnt allow anyone else to watch much!!! She grumbles when given any small work to do while watching TV. I volunteer to do that job then, beacuse i get
    fed up waiting for that work to be done. In the end it will come up on me, at a time when I need to devote attention to my class preparation, as I am a high school teacher.

    My ILs expect me to be traditional, wear a bindi always, etc, they care a damn about how their daughter dresses. Doesnt wear a bindi or even a proper outfit when we go to a temple!!! Imagine! She is quite good to look at and fashionaable. Watches all English movies with loud volume or Western music channels. Infact when she is forced to make something in the kitchen, she wears her earphones of her latest Nokia N Series, while doing the work!!!! and sings in the most awful tune loudly.

    On the other hand she is toooo immature and almost irritatingly without a capability to make her opinion. She will always look out for her brother to tell her what to do.
    She is making all sorts of excuses to get married. She is soooooo selective. Makes a fuss for eveyrthing and is therefore creating hell as till she gets married, I dont think MY problem with all this will be sorted out.

    I work as a teacher in a reputed school. I leave home at 7 and return at 5 only (which i am very happy to do now) But I am on maternity leave now and I am dreading the days i will spend at home seeing the way they function and staying full time with them. I really want to move out desparately, and I am trying hard to convince my husband to find a job somewhere else so we can move out asap. But he is happy with his current job and I feel bad that this will make him lose out.

    My problem in detail:

    1. Now, the problem started immediately after marriage, when the word " They have to stay with us for the first 2 years" was told by my ILaws. They said that i needed to understand their way of functioning, cooking, religious beliefs etc, which I didnt think would cause much harm. I was a little apprehensive, but everything seemed 'manageable'.

    Time moved on and due to distance of my workplace as well as my husbands and SILs, we moved to a place closer to our work areas, which meant away from 'their social circuit'. Initially it was very difficult to make them change their minds. They were infact ready to even convince me to leave my job and my husband take a job near their area. But, thankfully, I talked my husband out of it and said, I love my job & cannot leave it, which he readily respected.

    2. Meanwhile, at the personal front, my MIL never allowed me to cook much. She said " she would make ____ because my husband liked it... etc', which would make me give in to her conditions and authoratative sarcastic comments when i made something. I was not the type to speak up and say much, so it just kept going on, but heart of
    hearts, it would hurt me that I could not make what I wanted. I dont consider her a great cook and I still dont think we are eating balanced meals.

    Even after we moved to this new place, been a year nw and life is better only because I have given up on trying to cook, or involve myself in the kitchen, because my MIL (who is not great at anything else) RULES the kitchen & household dominion. That leaves me with doing all the "assisting her". So mch that i land up doing most of the dog work when she gets the credit in the end!
    For example: She'll make a statement saying: the rotis are good because she MADE it (if she tossed it on the pan) and its good because she made the dough (if I tossed it on the pan). Clearly, she has this big ego hassle with me, as she thinks I am a threat to her popularity at home. I try and ignore most of this, but when it gets ugly, I really get upset and hurt. I land up crying to my husband at night, which makes him realise and want to do something, but cant as well beacuse they are very dominating. But i never tell it to her, as i feel i would betray my emotions and lash out rudely to her.

    3. Earlier for every small thing my husband would consult her. How to wash his clothes, how to iron his clothes etc, which made me a rather 'useless' person there!!! Yes, for what use was I in such a household? But thankfully, after reasoning it out with my husband, he realises that he too is giving in to a lot to their whims and fancies by
    depending on them. I've made him change and take his own decisions. After all we need to live our life through our decisions. How long will we depend on them for all this??
    Seeing all this, I tried making all my thoughts very clear to my husband, usually at nites when we would speak frankly. He would tell me where I am going wrong, and I would tell hm abt his family and accept my family's faults too. When things started to get worse with his parents at home, we decided to tell them that we wished to move out. The day we told them.... my GOD!!!! it was HELL. They over-reacted ... they became emotional. His mother over did the whole thing. In all, the WHOLE problem blew out of proportion. My FIL complained of palpitations and that was the time my husband recoiled and said he didnt want something to happen because of us. Even i thgt if it is going so bad, then we better not land up hurting them so badly. I started thinking I was the cause of all this. Infact, i started regretting the marriage in all respects. Even now i sometimes do.

    So they managed to say in the end... that they would like to stay with us till my SIL gets married, after that they will go on their own. So, what was earlier ' a 2 year' staying with us has become an unconditional clause now... as i dont see my spoilt, arrogant and immature SIL getting married so soon.

    So my hubby and I planned a baby thinking things will move on for the better. But the situation even after the discussion hasnt changed. Now that I am pregnant, with a baby to come, I feel i wont be allowd to do things my way. They will always say something or the other.

    I am tired of giving in. I really want things to be done my way. But, the person that I am, I dont think I can counter my MIL. She will be the way she is and dominate everything.

    I want my freedom. I really desparately want to MOVE OUT. I AM SO TIRED OF RETURNING TO THAT HOUSE WHERE I HAVE NO SAY IN ANYTHING.

    WHERE THE WOMAN OF THE HOUSEHOLD IS THE MIL AND THE DIL IS JUST A PIECE OF EXISTENCE , AN ASSISTANT!!!!

    I WANT A LIFE!

    I have told my husband that i cannot wait for my SIL to get married for us to move out and I want something done right away. Since I am now in my moms house, its a relief. But, hopefully I have asked my husband to do somthing by March/April. To apply abroad or whatever. I dont mind quitting my job for this.
    Btu after the first time we told them, I hope they dont again emotionally blackmail us into staying till their daughter gets married. I will be very frustrated if that happens.

    I want some inner peace and of all things, I dont want to start HATING the inlaws for all they are doing. They have been good to me, are kind-hearted... but I cant stand this dependence on us. I really have lost all sensitivity towards them and i am dying to stay just with my husband and a cosy family that i bring up on my own. After all they have had their chance of bringing up their kids. Lets have ours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Please PRAY FOR ME . and tell me what more I can do......



  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    119
    hats off to you... such a long post.. What i think ur case is not as difficult as u have made it.. In every second home, you can see such problems. I know u r independent and thats what make u feel this way.. It is not about you or me, it is for everyone. It is said that a child and an old person is not different.. And in this case, your MIL is not different.. If you re thinkin about ur freedom, she does think about her social circle. Doesnt matter she works or not.. If she used to work, then she cud understrand ur problem or what u desire.. For every mother, i think it becomes difficult to cope up with her daughter in law..

    Try to avoid facing her.. Let her do what she wants coz if you will speak against her, the problem will become more severe.. Regarding ur SIL, she will understand the things when she would get married hopefully.. Take care of urself and ur baby..

    Be happy and avoid speaking with them..

    Ask ur husband, make him understand and if nothing substantial comes out, stay away from ur In Laws.

  3. #3

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    Nov 2007
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    Bilaspur
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    Hi, I hate to burst your bubble, but things are only going to go downhill after the baby is born. Your MIL will want to have a say in everything from feeding the baby to bathing it and teaching you the "right" way to do it. Honestly..the only way you are going to make any headway is by putting your foot down. Easier said than done, right?...When my in-laws came to stay with us after my baby was born, they wanted to spend every minute with her. They wanted to feed her herbal stuff to help her digestion problems, when she had no digestion problems wo begin with..etc..
    So, I started telling them politely yet firmly to back off. Trust me, it does not work everytime...but unless you assert yourself early on..you are going to be stuck with resentment in the future. Your husband may be the nicest guy, but with your in-laws it is your battle..
    Also stop doing things for your SIL..you are only making matters worse. she will never respect you and expect you to pick up her slack every single time. Make your family respect you..every time you feel fear disallowing you from confronting your in-laws, you are giving them the permission to treat you badly. I really feel touched by your story and wish you the very best to overcome your difficulties.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    64
    I agree with Aruna. The more you ignore, the more will they try to pressure you. And the arrival of the baby is going to give them more opportunities to give advice, whether you like it or not. Put your feet down now, tell them you appreciate their concern but you would like to live the way you want. Tell this politely, but be firm. Make it sound like a final decision. The tone in which you speak makes a lot of difference. All the best to you and congrats in advance for the baby!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Bhubaneswar
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    As all have told u ignore ur in laws i agree but make sure that ur are independent to handle ur baby all by ur self before ur back learn from ur mum abt the baby things or consult ur mum only . once ur husband knowns thwt u can handle all ur responsibleity by ur self .them u can think abt staying alone . what happens they ask u to give the baby to mil to take care and u will be doing the house old work all day as maid.
    anything goes wrong with baby any time u trusrt ur instict and consult doctor ,if any advice given by ur mil s think twice if make sense do or else tell her i will take of dont to worry

    keep ur self busy with baby and take rest with ur baby be in ur room have privacy when with ur babyfeeding or bathing keep ur room locked (so that they will understand that ur r avoiding them

    hope this help (same as u i have undergone )

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bangalore
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    Hi,
    I am of your age so,i can understand your problem.But as an only son your husband has to take care of them.If you go out for now it is ok they both can lead their life but if some thing happens to one of them then you are the person to take care.so,why should you be the villain by going out.You stay with them.Spend your time with your baby and do your job correctly.Coming to the remaining things like oversmartness of your MIL now the ball is in their court later the turn comes to u.so be with patience.but never try to be rude.Finally they will be realized.
    all the best

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
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    What is more important to you? Your husband, your baby and your happiness or theirs? Obviously, they don't care about hurting YOUR feelings, why should you loose sleep about hurting theirs? You don't have to be rude- just be assertive. Smile while telling them, "no, no...This is who I am doing this. This is my house too." If they have issues with it, let them speak to your husband. You're paying the bills- it's your house...They are walking on thin ice.

  8. #8

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    Aug 2008
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    NJ
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    Hi,
    I hope all is well with you and your baby ... Its been a long time since your last post .. whats happening at your end now?

  9. #9

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    Jan 1970
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    Hi,
    I am in the exact same situation as you are. Want to discuss my situation with you if you can drop me a line on my email. My situation is a bit more pathetic even though i am in USA.
    Eagerly waiting to hear from you.

  10. #10

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    Jan 1970
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    [email]ladki7777@yahoo.com[/email] is my email

  11. #11

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    Jan 2009
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    chennai
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    dear..even i am going through such situations.let me tell u smething mine is 10 times more serious..i know its easy to tell tht urs is a simple pblm.but only wen u go thru u come to knw the seriousness...

  12. #12

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    Jan 2009
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    Madras
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    Rags,You lucky girl, you are complaining even after getting such a wonderfull husband! sorry to say this but when i had a problem with mi in laws my husband kept quiet or stand with them, which hurt me deeply, even today i live with that hurt.

  13. #13

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    Jan 1970
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    thats really sad to hear.....its a very tough situation..i guess you have to set a deadline...maybe 6 months and keep telling ur hubby that u cannot take it anymore...even after 6 months if ur hubby does not make any change then....leave him....yes leave him....he has chosen to love his parents more than you...to allow you to suffer so they can be happy...just saying yes in words means nothing he has to take action...and if he doesnt... it means "you mean nothing to him" and all he cares about is his family...so go and look for a decent guy who knows how to treat the most important woman in his life...you.

  14. #14

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    Jan 1970
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    Hi Rags

    If it's any consolation to u. It's just the same amongst Indians all over. I live in lodon in my seperate house but other than that everything is the same. Their daughters are made of gold and do nothing wrong despite the fact that one is divorced and has since remarried and the other ran off with a black man. On the other hand I'm constantly told how bad i am with the chores etc and am constantly given examples of their golden girls. Unlike you I had an arranged marriage with my parents in India. With no support with my 11 months old very sick child and constant nagging, I think i'm loosing the plot......... Look at me moaning to a complete stranger. But GOD..I HATE MY MILjavascript:void(0)

  15. #15

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    Jan 1970
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    I never had seen or heard of such experiences in my immediate relatives or friends homes before my marriage. After my marriage to a very good person in US, we were very happy with life in general until my in laws came to visit us few months after our marriage. Then I saw the real face of my in-laws.

    My mother in law created such a strife in our life (it seems they have quarreled with my husband when they visited him even before our marriage). First she had problems with my cooking but would never help herself. Then was the problem of "getting bored" and nothing could solve that. They refused to go and visit places as it would result in wastage of money but just kept getting irritated sitting at home. Day after day I was an instrument of taunting and bickering (they even abused my parents regularly), telling me things what I didn't do right(come on, this is US and many things are done differently here), and gossiping about other peoples lives (this was their source of entertainment the whole day). My husband did not face them directly as all this was going on and just choose to remain silent thinking that they were here only for a few months. Finally they fought with me and then my husband and went back to India. Since then they emotionally blackmail my husband by seldom talking to us. Now they tell him they want a grand child and they will come here to look after it. I have already told my husband that we are not emotionally prepared to have a child and have them here full time. They will just take the child and say they are looking after it the whole day and I will have to do all the house work for 5 people (imagine how much work needs to be done on a daily basis as we don't have maids here..) and also look after the baby.

    When I discuss this with other Indian women around here I see that most of the in laws who visit US create such kind of problems. They feel that their daughter in laws are leading very nice life in US and they were deprived of so many things in life. But imagine the fate of the daughter in laws who come from good families and cannot work here because of visa issues having to suffer all this, sitting at home with the in-laws all day for months together. So it is just not in India where there are in law problems, they create problems everywhere in the world. The best solution is to take your husband into confidence and stay away from your in-laws.

  16. #16

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    May 2009
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    New Delhi
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    girl... when i read ur story.. i almost cried.. i am in the same shit situation.. even worse with my SIL.. she s ruining my life :( dont know what to do....

  17. #17

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    May 2009
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    mumbai
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    My Dear r2rags and share_123, a suggestion for you, of all people your SILs cannot ruin your life.Period.
    If your husbands do not understand the mental strain you are undergoing, there are fools. They are ignoring, make them understand.
    Take life into your own hands. Move out. If Ils start getting heart attacks over such issues, let them have it, they are manipulating you.
    Stay away until your husbands agree. If you are educated enough find a job and live independently. Having a kid will not take away the problem. It won't. Believe me. What world are you living in. Stop being submissive. If mom and dad never taught learn how to fend for youself. NOW
    Give your money to ils only so much as they need and rest of hte household manage on your own.
    Come one rags you are a teacher. IS this the role model you are giving to you future generations.
    They are wrong not you. Who is that bullshit SIL, doesn't she know how to do her taks, if they don't get done leave it dont bother to do it.
    Try this seriously, just dont do it. Either they do or it wont get done. Trun off the TV. Tell them you make rules in the house. Be firm but polite.
    Please girls, dont live in an extended Sas bahu drama. Unlike TV, no one's gonna help you. Help yourslef. See if your husbands help, if they don't defend yourself. Show your husband you love him respect his relaitons but they cannot disrespect you.
    PLEASE dont habituated to this shit behaviur, we can do much better in INDIA, we too have laws............

  18. #18

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    durham
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    Dear r2rgs,

    I hope u r reading my msg, I registered on this website in order to give u advice after reading ur sad story. Though I am in US now living happily with my hubby, I had faced same torturous time with my in-laws. Your MIL sound like a monster in law and ur story sounds so similar to me, although the stages may be different. Listen sweety, YOU MUST BE ASSERTIVE AND SHOW AUTHORITY IN UR ACTIONS AS WELL AS YOUR TONE. IF U DONT DO THAT, U WILL LOSE REMAINING DIGNITY IN THIS R'SHIP.

    My hubby is still very close to his folks and I don't come in between, but I want my space and I no longer give the right to anyone to decide wht's good for me. You are the only one who can help you.

    AND ur post is old, but I am sure, ur in-laws must ve found another way to stop u from leaving them. They would and will keep doing that, it's on you how you create a place for ur self. My monster-in-law treated me badly when I used to take her torture. She treated me worse when I kept tolerating. Now, she doesn't dare to say a silly thing in front of me because I have shown her place in a very dignified way----BY STAYING AWAY, TALKING LESS AND STILL CARING FOR THEM. You don't have to go overboard and care for them like kids, u will always be taken for granted...coz they know u r always at the taking side, they KNOW...
    It's only you who can earn ur own respect by ur own actions...feel free to write to me for any further advice. Good luck!! Keep me posted!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2009
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    Delhi
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    simi, u hv given very clear and strong msg...... i really appreciate that but pls. do let me know how to draw a line when ILs are too interfering and ur husband in totally on their side, to be more precise, Mumma's boy?? How to deal and fight with the situation when no one gives an ear to what u hv to say - even if it is ur very own matter.... forget about family matters where most of the times we keep quiet as we have no say....... ILs are always there to support their own blood and make u feel outsider still after years of marriage !!

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
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    0
    Dear r2rags ,

    So where r u now?are u still with inlaws?



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