My Marriage Is Suffering Because I Am Tired Of Following My Mother-In-Law's Footsteps

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 12 June, 2018

I am a housewife, and my life has always been simple, not very complicated. I quickly completed my master’s in physics, and I also did my B.Ed, as I was always interested in teaching. I worked for a while, but unfortunately, I decided to take a break while my parents were searching for a groom as I was 26 years old, which is considered to be quite late in a middle-class family like mine. I got a good variety of proposals which irritated me a lot, and at 27, I got married. I had to make so many adjustments as my parents had kind of spoiled my sisters and me. We had every kind of comfort at our home, and much love from our parents. Now it's been four years since I’m married, and everything is going well. So, what is the story here, then? Well, everything is going good because I am a very sensitive person and I can't tolerate my mother-in-law's backhanded comments and regular comparisons between her daughters and me and other bahus of the family. So, I decided to become a puppet of my mother-in-law. I do whatever she likes, like waking up early.

At whatever time I would have slept, does not matter because she always has done this even when her children were infants.

I started cooking like her because my husband likes the way his mother cooks and even when she was newlywed she adopted the cooking style of her mother-in-law, and so did I. I started washing clothes by hand even after having a washing machine because my mother-in-law used to wash the clothes three times after removing them from machine. She wants everything to be perfect as she believes that whatever she does is done with perfection. I do numerous other things which I cannot write over here. The puppet shows continue. My mother-in-law is a good human being. Everybody who visits my in-laws’ place has told me that I am the lucky one, but they don't understand that she is good, in fact very good to me only because I’m doing what she wants.

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She knows that whatever she tells me to do in her sweet tone I will reciprocate. She is manipulative in most of her talks, but she knows how to maintain her image of a good mother-in-law. She is a woman of rules and regulations, she is very dominating by nature. She wants that everything should be done in the house the same way as she used to do when she was the bahu of the house. She is very good to me when I behave like a puppet and do all the house chores according to her wishes but if sometimes I forget the role of a puppet and frequently visit my parents’ home, her mood changes. It starts showing on her face, and her indirect comments are always there. She has become a little lenient since last year when I found out that I have damage in my kidneys, and they are not functioning properly due to which there are certain problems like hypertension and weakness etc. But as time passed, this is also taken for granted in my family. In all these years I have not thought much about all these things, but these days it has become difficult for me to digest all this. I am not able to understand as to why I’m doing this to myself.

Why have I become a puppet to make everyone happy? Where is my life? Where is my happiness? No I’m not getting it by giving it to others, my pot is full now. I have lost my identity. I have become a different person because of which my parents, my siblings, all feel insecure.

Most of the culture at my in-laws’ place is like that of a village. Sometimes I feel that I am living the life of a village woman. Even my siblings often tease me that I have started living in a village after marriage and became like a villager. I have completely changed myself. From a joyful, charming girl I have become the female version of Angry Young Man. I am now only an ideal bahu, and between all this, my husband likes the fact that I’m giving so much to our relationship and to make everyone happy.

But my husband is still the same person he was before marriage, he still has a carefree attitude.
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He lives life for his friends and family, but his wife is not his priority. He thinks that because he is taking me to the doctor (as I am a CKD patient) and to my mother's place regularly because it's near to my in-laws’ place, he is doing his duty as a husband. He never cares for me much, but I always dreamt of a husband who would care for me. He never spends time with me when he is at home because everyone is around us. We live in a joint family, and he feels uncomfortable to sit and talk with me alone as he is always thinking about other members of the family, what they will think we are doing in our room etc. He is caring, and it's not that he doesn't love me, but other people in his life so engross him that he forgets that his wife belongs to a different house and is here just because of him. He forgets that I need his time and attention, along with my own space. He does not appreciate me even after doing so much for his family. It seems like he has forgotten that I have married him and not other members of the house. I don't want him to change himself completely, but I expect a little more effort. I want a little more time of his. I wish that he gives his attention to me when he comes back from office as I wait for him the whole day. But he just wants me to sit amongst all family members; I expect that on the weekend he would spend some quality time with me. Even if not on every weekend but at least sometimes, but even that time goes to his friends, family, relatives and frequently visiting guests.

I always discuss this with him, but his reply is always the same, that we live in a joint family and I have to accept this fact.

He always asks me to expect less from him even when I’m already expecting less. But he doesn't understand and will never know as this has become the topic of our fights daily. Trying to talk to him is of no use. When he gets up in the morning, he is still the same person who hears everything from one side and throws it out from the other side. He asks me to change myself and become carefree and hard as a rock just like him, which is not possible.

Author's Note:

I would love to remain the puppet of my very manipulative and authoritative mother-in-law but in return I expect time and appreciation from my husband which I do not get even after four years of marriage. My married life is losing its color due to all this. If this continues, then maybe I will not be the same ideal bahu. Because of my frustration, I may evolve anytime.

Editor's Note:

Share this story because we have had enough of patriarchy.