“Riya, you are educated and independent. Then, why do you agree to become the victim of this constant bullying by your husband and in-laws? Why are you not taking a stand against them? Why are you not standing for yourself and your dignity!” said my friend, who just got to know how my in-laws shame me and create a world-class drama if I get late from the office. Every time, they start the same discussion on why I should quit my job just because my husband earns enough! And, how my work is stopping me from not being able to take care of my husband and in-laws!
But, rather than taking a stand for myself and my independence, what do I do? I hear all their pointed words quietly so that the peace is maintained in the house. I curse myself that if I could have left the office 5 minutes earlier, I could have saved myself from all the negativity. Rather than telling my in-laws to mind their own business or hire a cook, I would indulge in self-blaming. I would make sure that I don’t get late next time.
“Megha, you won’t understand. You are blessed to have a supportive husband and loving in-laws. You will never understand what women like me go through.”, I shamelessly justified my behaviour of not standing for myself. But, in my heart, I knew I was wrong.
Throughout my childhood, I have seen my mother suffering abuse in silence.
She wasn’t well-educated nor she was financially independent. And, I used to tell myself that I would never suffer like her; that I will answer back! But, hardly I knew that after 27 years, I would turn into my mother. I would become as good as my mother when it comes to suffering the abuse in silence; Like her, I would also choose to be silent to maintain ‘Ghar ki shanti’ (peace at home).
That day after talking to my friend, it dawned upon me that I had turned into my mother, I couldn’t sleep. I just kept tossing over the bed to realize that I had become that one thing that I hated most in my childhood. I could understand why mom suffered for so long. She was neither financial independent nor confident nor well-educated. But I was. Then why I am letting people bully me in this marriage! And, then it struck me – What’s the point of my education and career when I let myself be bullied by shameless people!
From that day, I made it a point to stand for myself; I let people understand that I wasn’t born to serve them; I was born to fulfil my dreams and aspirations! Initially, my husband and his parents were quite shocked. But with time, they have realized that I won’t let them bully me anymore. They have realized that their control over me is over.
I wish I could have stood for myself earlier; I wish someone could have told me earlier not to suffer the abuse for the sake of family happiness; I wish someone could have told me earlier to start standing up to my bullies. As I am creating a better life for myself, I just have one message for women like me: It’s useless to be educated if you let yourself be bullied in your marriage by shameless people.