A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Hope is all we have

Posted by Pepper on October 11, 2011

Dear Mother in law,

I am writing a letter to you that you will never read. I hope I am able to translate all my emotions and feelings for you in words.

You are a nice person. I’ve said that before and I will say that again. When I hear other girls talk about the wretched things their moms in law have said or done, I realise how trivial my problems are. You are not evil or wicked, you are simply too self righteous and rigid. It makes it harder for me to deal with it because I know you have good intentions. But this attitude of yours is destroying the peace, both yours and mine. Maybe you should try and stop viewing things as right and wrong. No, you are not always right. Neither am I. We are just different. Please respect that difference instead of trying to change me? That will only be possible if you step down from your throne of self righteousness.

I want to reach out to you. I promise I do. You just make it very hard for me to do that. Because you are constantly judging me. Every word, every thought, every action of mine is assessed and evaluated by you and then marked as either “Right” or “Wrong”. I feel like I am constantly put to test. That makes me stress over my performance and worry about my scores. I can’t ever be myself because I constantly try to give you my best performance. Sometimes I actually think you’ve come here just to test me, not to spend time with us. It’s tiring. I wish you would be open enough to accept me the way I am.

Everybody keeps telling me to not bother. They tell me not to try so hard to please you. But you know what? My heart goes out to you when I see you unhappy. I want you to be a happy person. But the key is in your hands, not mine. I can do my best to please you and you can still feel sorry for yourself because of the choice your son made. Or you can join us in our celebration, realise how happy we are and participate in our joy.

Let’s try to fix the barriers that stand tall between us? To start with, please understand that a home can be run by both a man and a woman. I know I am your daughter in law and you can’t view me any other way. I carry the burden of your expectations . But I cannot be responsible for every single task at home. I get tired. And at times I just don’t want to do it. Please accept that. Your son is a terrific partner. Instead of appreciating that, you consider your son to be “too nice”, you think he is someone who indulges me all the time. Well, that might be true to an extent. But you think I am someone who takes advantage of his niceness. Please trust me some more? He is most precious to me and I ensure nothing causes him harm. If he is tired, I don’t expect him to move a finger. If I am tired, he takes over. We’ve a great partnership going. If you can’t get yourself to trust me, maybe you should try trusting him? Trust him to have some brains. Trust him to not be a puppet in my hands.

You are of course welcome to express your opinions, even if they don’t sound too pleasant to me. But that is where you should stop. Do not question me. Say what you have to and then let go instead of demanding explanations for choices that we make. I see you are particularly disturbed by our spending pattern and believe we blow a lot of money. Perhaps we do. I know you mean well and want us to save more at this stage, but please understand that what we do is ultimately our choice. Your son is an adult. I know he will always be your child, but do not forget he is an adult. Have more faith in his choices. Trust him, even if you can’t trust me. You never force us to do what you want, you only demand a million explanations. That bothers me. You know we have different priorities? Having a few thousand dollars in your account might be yours. Having fun at this stage in life might be ours. Again, there is no right or wrong here. It is all “different”. The word is “different”. Stop believing we are in the wrong. Stop expecting us to change.

I can see how unhappy and miserable you are. You consider yourself to be an unsuccessful mother. You believe your sons don’t have the right values and are not close to their roots. Why? Because one of them chose his own partner? Because one doesn’t wake up in good time every morning? Because they do things you don’t approve of? Going to a club to dance and party is marked as “wrong” in your book of records. Alcohol is a very “wrong” word, underlined in red ink. You refuse to see the other point of view. As a result, your children choose to keep their lives secret from you. They don’t want to battle it out with you all the time.

Don’t you want to be close to them? That can happen only if you let go of your rigid views. I know how hard it is for you. I know the background you come from, and the way you are conditioned to think. But just try. It’s not impossible. Maybe you can use logic to judge our actions instead of using self created morals. For example,  alcohol might be harmful, but it is not morally wrong. Trust your son enough to know he won’t exceed his limits or abuse his body. Allow him to make his own decisions. You cannot control their lives forever. Just trust people around you.

Why do you have so many trust issues? Nobody has broken your trust so far. Both your sons are amazing people. Believe me. Why do you distrust them so much then? You impose so many restrictions on them because you always fear their actions. You give them no freedom because you are worried they will do “wrong” things. You don’t trust me an inch. You don’t think I care enough about your son. What is all this leading to? Just more distance between you and your children. And more sadness and anxiety for you.

I really hope one day you stop bothering about the society, and all these socially constructed norms that rule your life. I hope one day you stop labeling everything as right and wrong and learn to respect differences. I hope one day you let go of all your doubts and fears. They are termites. They are eating you up. Learn to trust people. Build your faith. Free yourself!

Love and hope,

Your daughter in law


95 Responses to “Hope is all we have”

  1. Seema said

    Hi Pepper,

    Have been lurking in this space for some time. I had to de-lurk and comment on this post. I saw myself nodding through the whole letter as though I had written it, but fortunately/unfortunately in my context it’s my FIL. My MIL is the coolest lady ever and her partner is absolutely a contradiction. She tries to make him understand to let go of “termites” (as you said), but with age he goes on accumulating them! Sigh…

    Hugs to you.

    • Pepper said

      Thanks for delurking Seema.
      The older you get, the more resistant you are to change. So I doubt your FIL will change, just like I doubt my MIL will. Hugs to you too.

  2. chandni said

    that is a lovely thought and a lovelier wish. Your sincerity came through like never before…..I do hope you both can take steps towards each other and reach a place of trust, enough to make peace. Love and hugs.

  3. R's Mom said

    Hugs darling…often its difficult for people to realise how different they are from others….and just to let you know I have a proper arranged marriage married to a tambram and my MIL often views me as ‘different’ so for you it will be all the more tough…hugs and nothing else

  4. DI said

    Oh ho! 🙂 If only she could read the post!
    In any case, the older generation does have a few beliefs and ways of life of their own, which they find impossible to let go of. And it is quite an expectation from us if we want them to change that, or even tone it down, but imagine years of conditioning changing in an instant? Also, accepting their ‘kids’ as ‘adults’, God only knows if thats ever possible!
    However hope you get your wish 🙂 I do hope she stops making herself unhappy, and in turn all of you anxious! it will work out eventually 🙂

    • Pepper said

      No I am certainly not expecting her to change in an instant. Let it take however long. I just want her to take the first step. That is in her hands, and is not impossible. All it takes is the will to change, which is missing now. 🙂
      Thanks babe!

  5. S said

    After so long I logged into blogger.. and this is the first post I read! 🙂

    This is not just trust issues, it is the entire fear of ‘o what will the society say / think’ which makes parents act like this. The solution formulated by the younger generation is to lie / hide the truth. Lying is convenient. This is so much scarier and unhealthy for people- than doing things that you want and the society despises.

  6. Hugs! This is why Amma does not know a lot of things about my life. I have no will to hurt her and make her miserable nor the energy to battle or justify every choice I make. But there is a silver lining. They can be changed slowly and with more exposure to people like you(not her kids as kids are always little children for some). In many cases the problem is that they have only been with people who think like them.

    Have faith and try to talk a gist of this letter to them if you can… I know its tough, but somebody ought to do it…

    • Pepper said

      Precisely! The problem is that my MIL knows people who are exactly like her. Even their kids are what she calls “ideal” kids. They are so different from us. It makes her feel more sorry for herself and she believes she is the only unlucky one. I wish she knew more people like us. Now we are the only bad ones in her eyes.

  7. Bikram said

    Amen to that.. Hope os it happens

    We are all so involved in our own versions and how we look at a sceanrio.. But i guess old are rigid in their ways .. and Pepper Its so nice ot know that you are trying and the letter .. God bless you .. I am sure all will be fine
    and I am sure you M-i-L loves you too in her own way …

    Take care and keep smiling…

  8. As heartfelt as can be. I feel for you babe!

    I love the line “I want to reach out to you. I promise I do.” and so get you.

    I remember i once a blog where someone said that “they wanted to make it up to their in-laws just coz they made such a fantastic son”

    I hope one day – u will all reach some equilibrium 🙂

    • Pepper said

      That is true, everytime I think they are being too unreasonable, I remind myself of their most perfect creation – their son. If they made him, they can’t really be bad.

  9. Ashwathy said

    You have my sympathies. The lady means well but she is so caught with her own thoughts, misconceptions and false ideas that she is not willing to see the world as it is. Very difficult.
    There is very little you can do about such people, except go on living your own life and hope that one day she will get convinced you are equipped to deal with your own issues.

    Oh by the way, I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. It would help if you spoke up, y’know. Maybe not greatly. But just that little bit. Nicely but firmly.

  10. Jack Point said

    Beautiful letter, very moving.

    Only three more weeks to go?

  11. stuti said

    one powerpack outburst! but one that unlike any other melodrama is genuine.
    i understand and support your take on this,coz this is not alone a matter that children deal with their inlaws but also sometimes with their parents…the rigidity makes things all the more awkward and difficult.

  12. Anusha said

    I hope your MIL understands all this, but even if she does not…its nice to read that you do not put the blame fully on her….you also understand that the environment she has stayed in has forced her to think the way she does….
    I hope things start getting better soon and really wish that your relationship with her gets better as time goes by……Take care 🙂

  13. RS said

    “Or you can join us in our celebration, realise how happy we are and participate in our joy.” – Sometimes I wonder why it is so difficult to understand and enjoy the fact that their child is in a good relationship…Sad…

    “Trust him to not be a puppet in my hands.” – This is something I’ve wondered too-why dont they trust their own upbringing and never feel confident that their child can lead a happy life even if they are not a part of it on a daily basis and they dont take their decisions…

    It is all “different” – always there is a comparision of how they do things and how we do it – it even happens with my parents sometimes…

    Hang in there pepper. Sometimes there isnt much you can do but ignore or speak out and express these to her directly… Take care!

  14. I doubt if there is a single daughter in law who doesn’t go through some sort of a judgment test. In the beginning, many of my arguments with Vijesh used to be on certain things that were said/done which were hurtful etc etc, and it was never ending. Add to it the insecurity of the parents many females who are married to men who don’t have siblings(only child to their parents) face, I was forever seething. And one day the Godzilla, (who is a very patient listener and who speaks honestly to me) asked me if instead of listing the 100 things I wished they changed about themselves, would it be freaking possible for me to change ONE thing – which was not to bank my happiness on their actions? I wouldn’t say everything became alright after that life-altering question or something, but it gave me something to think about.

    Yes, it bugs me sometimes – their insecurity and constant need to know everything the most – but I can see how much I had let that affect me and our relationship earlier. I wouldn’t say I’m in a zen place now, and I still have many “I can’t believe someone could be so that/this/blah/x/y/etc” moments, but it’s more like a mosquito bite, in a fleeting sense of way, not the terrible anguish and my-day-is-SO-ruined kind of way I used to feel earlier. And im slowly getting to a place where I have realized that if someone is insecure/x/y/z, they’ll continue to be so UNLESS they choose to act on it. Don’t our parents have that one annoying trait we wish they changed? Don’t we have that one bugging thing we wished we changed in ourselves? But the fact is that it can change only if the individual chooses to act on it.(okay, i’ll stop the sermon, dont kill me now)

    You two are made for each other. You have a marriage/partnership many people can only dream of. And as much as you want her to be happy, it’s impossible to ensure one’s own happiness today, forget someone else’s happiness. The day will come when it doesn’t bother you much, I won’t say “don’t bother!”, but i’d definitely wish that you see that you are not responsible in the least bit for anyone else’s happiness how much ever you try.

    Until that day comes, vent it out, count days, gulp alcohol, imagine that the person annoying you has sprouted a tail(worked for me one time :|), anything that works.

    • Pepper said

      No man, there are daughters in law who don’t go through judgment tests. All the DILs in my family for example. They love my aunts (their mils to death, and are best pals with them). I feel jealous when I see such relationships. Oh well, I have thought about the question Godzi asked you too. That is what keeps me sane. I don’t count on them for my happiness. I only feel sorry for her when i see her so unhappy.But I can’t do much like you say

      I hope I reach the stage you are in. Mosquito bites are not that hard to deal with 🙂

      LOL at the tail! .

  15. eep said

    Wow, You’re incredibly understanding! Hats off and good luck!!

  16. Deepa said

    That was a lovely letter P, I don’t think, I would ever write such a nice letter to my MIL if she was acting like the way you have described.
    I have a great MIL, she is more a mom than an in-law :), my sister’s is however a different story altogether, she has a Monster-In-Law and lives with her under the same roof! You are very mature, I am sure your MIL will realize how lucky she is to have you. Hang in there girl!


  17. stuti said

    a blog award for you!


  18. Nitya said

    Maybe some letters are meant for the intended person to read and reflect upon Pepper.

    One day it WILL change, just know it will. Till then, also know that I think you are an absolute rock. A loving, warm, beautiful person. A good person. I know it and one day they will too.


  19. Sigh…it’s hard work, isn’t it?

    Unless parents aren’t ready to believe that their kids are adults and can make their own decisions, this tug and pull will remain. I wish your inlaws had more fun and happy memories during their stay here instead of making it hard on you and themselves.

  20. Wow. She is one lucky MIL with such caring DIL and son, but unfortunately seems to think right the opposite.

    I sincerely hope at least part of this letter is conveyed to her..and * crossing fingers* she gets it.

    I saw “trust” mentioned so many times and ran a search – there were 14 !
    {{Hugs}}} Pepper, I can only imagine what you are going through.

    May there be peace soon.

    • Pepper said

      Don’t think this letter or its contents will be conveyed to her ever 🙂
      Lol. You actually ran a search to see the number of times the word has been used? Its true though, it all boils down to her lack of trust in us ultimately.

  21. hugs peppy! hang in there 🙂
    You are right..all it takes is to know and accept the differences. The issues you mention are at a very core level..depends on the life she has lead, the upbringing she has had, the experiences she has had. I doubt she (or anyone) can change these things so easily and in such a short time. Even accepting the differences and letting you (or the children) be, is something that depends on the past history, like the type of life she has lead etc. So I doubt even accepting the differences part will come easily. It does require a lot of introspection and a will to change views. So I say, there is nothing much you can do. Apart from making yourself hardened to the fact that she is suffering. Apart from accepting that there is not much you can do. And whatever you could do, you have done! This will ensure you at least some piece of mind.
    Pardon me if I sound too preachy, giving unasked for advice 😉

  22. SK said

    Awwww, things will get better, I can promise you. I know some oldies are very resistant to change. We just have to remember they are from a different generation.
    Btw keep a strong stand, be reasonable, stand up to your views at the same time be understanding as to where they come from.
    I dont think and I hope, she does not want to pick you or make your life miserable, We are different people from different generations trying to live under the same roof.
    One thing that helps is – feel pity, towards her for not understanding the way relationships work nowadays. Dont get worked up.
    Good luck! :–)

  23. AT said

    Pepper, my heart goes out to you…I would pray that your MIL understands what you two have to say…. Hugs

    And by the way, here is something funny I realized few days back:
    I used to think your name “Pepper” represents spicy, chilli
    But then I read “About” and realized it is “PepperMint” – cool, fresh 🙂
    he he he, now I’m a fool 🙂

  24. Sig said

    Hugs darling – the letter was beautiful and I only hope that one day that those words become a conversation between you guys.

    In the end though – one of you will have to make the decisions whether it is worth fighting for or holding on to for the sake of the relationship.

    You’re being very reasonable and hopefully your MIL can see this. Good luck babe 🙂

  25. Pixie said

    Hugs babes!

  26. pri said

    maybe you need to talk it out to her..or make her read this post, when she is in a good mood.
    it might sort out things between you guys.

    hope floats! 😉

    • Pepper said

      I mgiht talk to her, but definitely won’t give her a glimpse of this post. I don’t know how her brain works. Not sure how she will interpret it.

  27. Preethi said

    Hugs Pepper. I read from the comments that everybody already mentioned what I wanted to say. I know how difficult life can be when you are being judged for each and every action. Once she goes back to India, I am sure she will have some to think about this situation and hope she is more willing to accept you for the way you are.

  28. Only thing I can say is, Dont try too hard(coz its not gonna help anyways..!! nope, not even a bit!) .
    dont sacrifice yourself because someone has a problem with it. You completely understand her and it is clearly seen from everything you have written. I was having the similar problem with my S-I-L, and I have cried compained and tried hard on myself, but to be honest in this situation Pepper, This is a very emotional bond and it doesnt come within a year or two. I might not have found the solution to it, But i have got all the strength to deal with it. When this judging part comes, we never like being judged by someone, similarly even your M-I-L might not like to get judged also. For everyone their identity is very important, and with a very big {{{{HUG}}} I can say that you are a wonderful person and mint is(obvious), dont change yourself and take this problem hard on yourself and keep this in your mind for a long time.
    I tried to deal with this by making myself clear to my S-I-L on what i was doing was another way of being correct also. For example i tried to explain her that our way of perceving things were different and just like i was trying to understand her, she should also try to understand me. And my husband was biggest strength to me not to take these matters to heart, since his sister wanted everything to be perfect. In my mind it was always there that he would be ofcourse a little inclined towards his sister coz they are a family. And they have had a bond. To bring myself into this bond , i needed time and lots and lots of patience.

    Sorry for writing so much in detail, but I had faced it and wanted you not lose hope because this is not an end , this is just the begining and you have come so far beautifully. Lots of Love and hoping everything becomes alright. Last but not least dont take too much on Yourself. 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Long time Manisha! Thanks for writing in such detail 🙂
      I know this is not an end. I wouldn’t fret so much if it were.I know this is an endless affair, so I betler mould myself the right way in the beginning. Glad things with your SIL are better now.

  29. Mi said

    I hope you MIL read sthis some day and realises that it is very very important to understand the other perspective too..
    u are very correct when u say that there is nothng right or wrong.. just different things and different perspectives..
    I am hands down, in ur support.
    wishing u all the luck with ur in-laws.

    between, I ended up reading all ur posts.. this is a very interesting blog..
    also, can I have mint’s blog link too, if he still blogs.. 😀

    • Pepper said

      Thanks Mi! It’s very encouraging to have some support. I love my blog because writing here gives me strength and support, which I need at such times.
      Mint doesn’t blog anymore 😦

  30. First time here. I love the sensible tone you have maintained in the entire post. I am not married. But I have my sister and some close friends who are married and there is a lot of drama happening around always. If people can be as sensible as you are to accept the realities of people and try and hope to persuade them out of their cocoon, most problems could be easily evaded. I sincerely hope that the elders today also see some light in things that are no longer the way it used to be in their times and let things go for once. After all when we have accepted so many things with the pretext of comfort and affordability, accepting people as they are is also one such thing that people can let go and do. I too hope, society is stops being the beginning and end of life and people see people for what they are and accept and embrace the qualities rather than the forcibly set ways.

    Having said that I would also like to see us (the current generation), to cut some slack to those elderly who are finding it difficult to cast off their shell. After all rome was not built in a day and they have lived in “their” way (however unreasonable it was) for quite a long time and it is not an easy task to turn around in a day. It is encouraging to see so many of them trying to embrace things alien to them and are quite successful at that too. What matters is the mutual understanding? Just like how we have our identity, they have theirs too and it often ends in clashes. So if we try to see things in their shoes, we might probably avoid a lot of trivial differences. I hope I dint rant too much and made a teeny weeny bit of sense. 🙂

    Love your writing BTW. Read quite a few posts of yours at a single stretch and love them all. Would love to read more peppered thoughts of yours.. Keep adding spice to people’s lives 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Hey Anusha! Welcome here..
      I do believe we should cut some slack to those elder relatives too. But in our case particularly, I am definitely not expecting my MIL to turn around in a day. In fact, I am not expecting her to turn around at all. A lot of her beliefs and ideas seem ridiculous and unreasonable to me, but I do not expect her to drop those or change her lifestyle. I am simply requesting her to give me the same space. I don’t want her to expect me to turn around and adopt her ways. Her constant attempts to change us are very stressful to deal with. Especially because that change seems so ridiculous to us. But well, it is how it is.

      No you didn’t rant too much. Anyway, you are most welcome to do it 🙂

      Thanks for the lovely words.

  31. Mahes said

    Hugs, Pepper. You are a gentle soul. I don’t think I would have been to tolerate this crap. Hope 3 weeks goes by fast and good luck!

  32. Oh my dear Pepper, this sounds exactly my story, I told you before also there are many things I find in common with you. MY MIL is exactly like how you described yours. She is soft, sincere but rigid, her son and daughter tried to change her when they were old enough to speak for them self, it didn’t change her and now I tried too, but best thing is not to step into each other plate. I no longer try to keep her happy, she doesn’t involve too much or rather I have asked R to handle at his level. So my life is in peace, I am sure next time we both have to live under same roof all the problems will peep in again. Don’t let all these spoil your relationship with Mint. In my case R and I fought the most when they were here and they have a picture that I will kill their son when they are gone. Its more than year since we met last and their son is still alive and in safe hands. I used to have same feeling how unlucky I am when I compare myself with my sisters and my cousins, but now I am think how lucky I am to have R who eventually came into this world because of her. Don’t let the hope go,we all hope for the best in our life.

    • Pepper said

      Fortunately, Mint and I haven’t had a single fight while they’ve been here, yet! I hope it stays that way.
      I think you are lucky to have R too. Touchwood. And thanks!

  33. Sona said

    Hugs Pepper,
    Hope is truly all we have. Hugs once again. There is always a wish that they could learn to let go. That they could realise that their “kids” are infact grown up and quite mature. That their I-need-to-know-every-damn-thing, their insecurity about every thing does not exist. But unfortunately, they remain wishes.

    But I always wonder at this, why is it only the mothers of sons who get all dramatic for every freaking thing?
    Why not fathers of daughters or mothers of daughters,for a change?


  34. Gayatri said

    Oh Pepper! Sometimes we have to face situations that bring out the worst in us. Never for once doubt that you are a good person at heart and that you don’t have to be a saint in every aspect of your life. It will get better 🙂

  35. dipali said

    Such sweetness in your letter, Pepper!
    You can see exactly what she is doing to alienate her sons:(
    I wish she could read and genuinely understand what you are saying here.
    Some people doom themselves to unhappiness, and it doesn’t help their dear ones a bit:(
    Just keep this understanding within your heart and mind when you interact with her, and let her feel your genuine appreciation of the people who brought Mint into this world!
    Hope the three weeks get over soon:)

  36. ruchi jain said

    I like your respect towards relations and a positive hope..

  37. bini said

    Took me a while to get myself to comment. Both of you are wonderful and genuinely heartwarming people with so much Zest for life . And someday that will be recognized:)

  38. Childwoman said

    You need to post this. Your mother in law needs to see what a gem her son has chosen as a life partner.

    Its not easy to live with someone with so many issues. I wish she would live and enjoy her life..

    It is indeed very frustrating and tiring to continously walk on glass around her and tip toeing all the time. I wish all the hope and patience for you to deal with this



    • Pepper said

      You girls make me so happy by saying such nice things about me 😀
      Yeah, I wish my mum in law would live and enjoy her life too. Well…I gotta just accept things the way they are. 🙂 Thanks and hugs back!

  39. Swati said

    First time here. Loved the way you write. Seemed like my unwritten letter to my il’s 😉

  40. “I hope one day you let go of all your doubts and fears. They are termites. They are eating you up. Learn to trust people. Build your faith. Free yourself!” oh boy what a line!! Pepper are you sure you don’t have a Million Bucks worth of an Author gene hiding somewhere in you? 🙄

    hugs baby…I have full faith in you and Mint to work all this out 🙂

  41. Pal said

    Hi Pepper,
    I just HAD to comment on this post…came across your blog a few days back and in my spare time have managed to read all the posts of the last year…a lot of things resonated with me and I was hooked because of the amazing clarity of thought that you display and as we both have quite a few things in common. Most imp of them being marrying the guy you love in the face of all odds. I did so 7 yrs ago but still face many of the issues u have brought up in this post…I hope it gets better with time for u…it hasn’t for me as I’m still looked upon as the ‘outsider’ in my husbands family particularly by my MIL who thinks I just cant do anything ‘their way’ and tend to be irreverent to their customs and way of life! I am to delurk and comment on this post as I had encountered a lock on it when I was reading thru the archives 🙂 Kudos to you and hope your words reach your MIL in some way ..

    • Pepper said

      It’s sad, isn’t it? The issues don’t seem to get resolved with time. Sometimes, they only get worse. What’s important in the end is that we get to be with the person we love. I am glad I unlocked this post and that you could read it and relate to it. 🙂

  42. hAAthi said

    Landed here quite randomly, and Im aghast at how much this post has struck a chord with how I feel. Its hard to imagine sometimes that a piece of writing on the interweb can echo the reality of your own life! Much like this post has, mine.

    While details of our lives vary, the underlying nature of this twisted relationship is the same. Whats worse in my case is my MIL doesnt openly question us or show her displeasure. She has this outward polite pleasant demeanor. And I must hand it to her, she is a nice person. But this constant feeling of suspicion and needing to keep a watch on her son, like he has made a big mistake by choosing his own partner, and the way he wants to live his life, is stifling. We live in different cities, but the tension is palpable even with every telephone call. The meandering questions, the subtle hints that are dropped, the implied displeasure about how we are “rebellious”, “careless” and sometimes just “different” makes me feel like I can never be myself in her eyes. She has already decided that we are too different for her to understand. As if being different is even a bad thing to begin with.

    THis is a lovely heartfelt piece of writing and I hope somewhere it contributes to making your relationship with your MIL much better 🙂

    • Pepper said

      This seems to be the story world over. And I was naive enough to believe nobody would be able to relate to this post. How wrong I was!
      Isn’t it so hard to correct the relationship when there is nothing very obviously wrong with it? Those underlying complexities are just so hard to deal with. I wish you luck in mending the relationship you share with your MIL too 🙂

  43. bia said

    Hi pepper, i just read this post and i totally relate … I am also north Indian married to Tam Brahm … my mil is very bad to me … my husband and i have been married 11 yrs and have 2 kids yet we have no relationship , when i had either of my babies nobody from their family called and congratulated us ..but i have made my peace with this ..luckily we live abroad and dont have to meet them often and i have a very loving family .. its my Mil’s loss …Her conservatism and rigidity have alienated both her sons who have married outside her community and live overseas

    • Pepper said

      I am so sorry to hear that Bia. I can’t believe you’ve been married for 11 years and there has been no change in the way she sees you. It’s sad. The sons are bound to get alienated in such a case. Like you say, it’s your MIL’s loss.

  44. […] gave me as an example this post, one I had written 4 years ago. Does it bother Mint when I so openly talk about his mother’s […]

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