How many times, we tend to blame men for being patriarchal, for controlling women and their life choices? But, the reality is many times it is a woman herself who becomes the torchbearer of patriarchy and tends to shame and blame another woman. She is so insecure about herself that she feels threatened by another woman and leaves no effort to manipulate people to make this harmless woman – a villain of the story.
When I got married, I thought a strong and independent woman like my mother-in-law would understand my challenges better. Even though no one would stand by me, she would. My divorced sister-in-law who herself has been the victim of patriarchy would understand how it is not easy for a woman to lead a life of dignity! But, I was so wrong. After marriage, it wasn’t men of the house but these women who constantly kept attacking me and my dignity. They left no chance to blame me for being a careless wife and not so good enough daughter-in-law & sister-in-law.
In the beginning, I took their pointed comments and utilized them to make myself a better person. But, later on I realized those comments were actually made to hurt me; those comments were made to make me feel small, incompetent and not good enough. Every time my husband makes it a point to celebrate my victories or successes, they would say things that would suck all the happiness out of the moment and leave us hurt. In those moments, while my husband would make an effort to take a stand for me, I would wonder how these women, who fought against patriarchy at every moment in their lives, became torchbearers of patriarchy themselves. They became the very same monster that they were once victims of!
While many may curse my husband for not leaving his mother and sister for ill-treating me, but I know it’s never easy to leave a family behind. He stood for me; he fought for me. But, I don’t want him to leave his mother and sister, who need him as much as I need him. I don’t want him to give up on being a son to become a husband. Because I know that will break him from inside.
While my husband and I are trying our best to make things work, we have a plan if they don’t. If things won’t work out, we won’t have any other choice but to live in a separate house in the same locality. I wish we won’t have to execute this alternate plan and things would get better soon.
I wish one day, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would realize that I am not a threat to them; that I never wanted to take their place in my husband’s life; I just wanted to create mine. I hope one day, they will realize they don’t have any reason to feel insecure or feel threatened by me. I wish they would realize soon that by shaming and insulting me, they are not just failing me but the whole women tribe. And, I wish, we soon realize that it’s not just men but also women whose support we need to build an equal society!