“Mummy, how could you tell me not to go to the office? How could you call me characterless for coming late from the meetings? Your son also comes late from the meeting, but you hardly called your son characterless! I didn’t work so hard throughout my life so that you can call me names and treat me like a doormat!”
“Riya, stop showing off your education or job! Remember, you are nothing without my son! The day my son decides to leave you, the whole society will talk ill about you and your family! Stop ruining my son’s and our family’s name. If you can’t return home in time, then either change your job or leave your job! Anyway, we are not middle class like your parents so our daughter-in-law doesn’t have to go out and work! Your pay hardly matters to us!”
At that moment, I realized that how my marriage was the biggest mistake of my life. My husband and I met at one of India’s prestigious MBA colleges. While my husband, belongs to a rich South Bombay family, I belong to a middle-class North-Indian family. While I was aware of the huge gap in our upbringing, I couldn’t resist falling in love with the man, who made me feel like the most important person on this earth. But, hardly, I knew that it’s not just the love of your husband that defines the success of your marriage; it’s also the love and respect of his parents that matters!
Because of the cultural and financial differences, his family never accepted me wholeheartedly. But as they were well educated, I assumed that even if they won’t be able to love me, at least they would respect me and my education. But, sadly, I was so wrong.
My in-laws would never leave a chance to let my parents know how they have done a huge favour to me by letting their son marry me! They would never leave a chance to let my parents that how their middle-class roots fail them to understand my in-laws high-end complicated luxurious lifestyle.
And, being a fool, I ignored all their toxicity for the sake of my marriage. I thought marriage is about husband and wife and if my in-laws have a problem with me who cares? But, with time, these matters became more and more prevalent and their toxicity started sucking the life out of me and my marriage.
But, the day, my mother-in-law called me characterless for working late hours at the office, I lost it. I realized I had enough. I can’t live with these toxic people under the same roof. I realized that it’s high time that I put my foot down and stop letting them use me as a doormat. My parents raise me to be strong and independent; not to be used as a doormat or punching bag! And, what’s the point of my education if I let myself be bullied in my marriage.
While I have started setting up the boundaries with my in-laws, I hope every woman who is being tortured and harassed in the name of values take a stand for herself. I hope every woman realize her value and don’t let others bully her! And, finally, three words for the in-laws who couldn’t accept a strong and independent girl: SHAME ON YOU!