Counselling

Am suffocated in my marital home

Irritated Girl Crying

Question:

I don’t know where to begin. I feel completely broken. From a joint Gujarati family in Delhi I got married into a Kutchi Jain family (nuclear) in Mumbai. Just feel like running away and never looking back. Here’s what happened.

I’ve never done any house chores in my single life as I was born and brought up in a joint family in Delhi where we had full staff. 

After getting married in 2015 my husband and I moved to U.S.A for a year. I had no help there but managed to run a rented apartment by myself. As I was on the dependant visa I couldn’t go out to work so I came from U.S.A. to spend 1 month with my in laws first in Mumbai and then 1 month in Delhi with my family.

On landing in Mumbai, I was immediately asked to take up house work. So I tried my best to do what I could ignoring my Jet lag. But I didn’t know anything- not even basics like how to switch on the gas burner here or what is the kapur (the thing used for prayer) and mixed up cotton for kapur). My mother in law was out of the house and my father in law gave me a huge yelling for not knowing anything. I replied that I mixed up cotton and kapur because we have never used it in my family (as my grandfather is allergic to it). This angered my father in law. He told me to not back answer and then he hit me.

Living up to in-laws’ expectations can be very tough, if you don’t allow yourself to relax sometimes, and grin at things that bug you, as Ashwina Garg discovered.

My husband is himself scared of his father so he cannot stand up for me. He told me he has enough tensions of his own. My in-laws don’t keep domestic help, it is against the family rules. Everything has to be done by my mother in law and me. I put in two hours each in morning and evening to help my mother in law, but my father in law is always screaming about something or the other. It is very disturbing. He was three times fresh meals and it can never be reheated and given. His work is such that sometimes he works from home and then he screams at the workers all the time. My father in law and husband only know how to yell, judge, criticise, analyse & compare each and every one and small-small things. They jump to conclusions without thinking are brutally honest on everyone’s face without thinking how the other person maybe feeling/thinking. That’s why till date, my husband is not even my best friend. I miss living with my easy going family.

My husband is back in Mumbai. I want to work now. I’m a fine arts, artist (painter), a musician and a horse rider by profession. I used to travel doing various art exhibitions all over India after my graduation from Singapore in 2011. 

My question now is, what should I do? I do them but I don’t enjoy doing house chores nor can I handle house chores and work together –I am not that type at all. I still have no support from my husband. In-laws and my husband want me to work too but with strange conditions. They want me to work from just 10 or 11am to 3pm. Who offers jobs with such timings?

It’s hard to find & rent an art studio space for myself in this city. I’ve applied for jobs but haven’t got any responses from anyone except for an internship. I don’t know how to go ahead. Please help.

Answer:

Things will always be different after marriage and in Indian traditional families daughters-in-law are expected to fit into the system. Everyone has to contribute to the family. Cooking and running home is a crucial contribution.

Since your husband isn’t supporting you and you aren’t getting a job as of now, your stay with your in laws will be extended. So you should have a clear picture on what you will do for the family and then do it wholeheartedly.

Hitting a daughter-in-law is not allowed. There you must take a stern stand that you won’t tolerate physical and emotional torture. This would depend upon how strong you are emotionally and how much you can withstand on your own.

As for your professional front, keep looking. You are educated, qualified and young; eventually you will find a job and get your own life. Things will be better then.

My advice to you would be to stand your ground where it is crucial and let go off the trivial issues.

Good luck,

Jaseena Backer

Psychologist

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