My Punjabi Mother-in-law Sends Me Round the Bend!

How long is someone expected to nod sweetly and pretend to agree, so as not to offend their mother-in-law? Well, I've been doing it for 15 years now. OK, there has been a few occasions when she's pushed the wrong button and I've completely lost it. It takes a lot to make me cross, but when it happens, boy, you'd better keep away! There's usually one episode every couple of years when I have to get things off my chest.

We're probably coming up to that time right now...that's why I'm logging onto sites like this!

I could write a book about her, but I won't bother!

salaciousc salaciousc
14 Responses Feb 16, 2009

OMG, check out my story----I am Hindu from Fiji Islands who married a Punjabi guy from India 20 years ago. At first MIL did not approve of our married because mil wanted a daughter in law from Punjab. None of my in laws from India spoke with me until I was eight months pregnant with my first child; even though I learned to speak and write in Punjabi and wrote letters to MIL; however, no response. So life went on and it was a good life. MIL arrived to US when I was about to give birth to my second child. She wouldn’t talk to me but she would stare from top to bottom making me uncomfortable. I was at my mom’s house for birth and when my daughter was three days old, MIL told my parents that she came from India to help me and therefore, I came back to my home. As soon as I arrived, she told me that she can’t handle babies for her kids were grown and she couldn’t cook because she had high blood pressure. I was a very quiet woman so I cooked, cleaned and took care of my daughters. I would also take her food and give it to her in her room, washed her clothes and massaged her. Time passed by and she did not show that she liked me, she stayed away from me and always kept to herself unless she needed things. I was pregnant with a son and miscarriage when I was almost six months. Of course all the blame was on me and again I didn’t say anything and kept everything bottled inside. I at one point did tell my husband that MIL did not like me but he instead got mad at me and defended MIL. I started working. Every morning I would make breakfast, dropped kids to school and go to work but before I went to work I would touch MIL’s feet (out of respect) but she never gave me blessing. I would also touch her feet when I got home, made tea for everyone, cooked, cleaned, helped with kids and their homework, bathe them and went to bed. MIL did not even consider helping at all. I got my promotion and was surprised with pregnancy. This time my husband asked MIL to start helping for my work hours were long and my pregnancy was risky. Now all hell broke loose. MIL now was starting too compliant about her shoulder hurting, her arm hurting, her back hurting, and her knee hurting. My kids and I would always massage her each time she would complaint but her complaint got worse. I would notice that my husband would be mad at me and my kids every time I came home from work. His answer was nothing when I asked what the matter was. I had my son and things were ok for a short while. One day I get a phone call from my auntie who informed me that my husband and my MIL had complained to her about me and my kids multiple times, (little things and the things we did not do). Now my husband and I were always arguing. I noticed that MIL would keep her bedroom door when she complaint against me and my kids. Arguing went on for four years and I got sick and tired of it. I had done so much for her and her daughters. Sister in law #1, sent her expensive gifts and gave her $7,000 US dollars so that her daughter would get married. Sister in law #2, expensive gifts and $5,000 for her daughter to get check up with a Cardiologist. Sister in law #3, gifts and $5,000 US dollars so that her husband could get out of India but that did not happened. On evening I went to MIL and told her that she was the cause of our divorce when my husband and I argued. MIL told me that she did not arrange for our marriage and she is going back to India and we either to stay married or get divorce. This was the first time I yelled at her and told her that she was a layer, a thief (things went missing when she went to India), and she was self-fish. Well MIL was surprised that I said a lot of things to her and by now I was the bad one. She told everyone in her family that I was bad, I was ill-treating her and she wanted to go back to India. I told her that she can go back but that did not happened as of yet. She is still living with us and we have not talked since all this started. MIL does not even remember all the good things that was done to her or all the gifts that was given to her. She even took my bra to India and when asked…she acted like she was dump, no explanation. She even took the 22karat set that she gave me. I always didn’t believe my friends would tell me that MIL from India was the worst. I always thought if I would be good to MIL than she would be good to me; however, I was WRONG….MIL and her daughters just want things for themselves and does not care for anyone else. There are a lot of other things that I did not mentioned but it does feel good that I can share my story.

im living with my bf at the moment and his mom and brother andddd im of different culture to punjabhi yes i understand deeply...

Hey Girls. Hi i am married for more than an year now. but every now and then my MIL push her thoughts on me. she is very clever woman. she run for gold/ expensive suits etc. every time i gift her something and she says i only like designer suits. feel like killing her at that moment

Hello ladies,
One frustrated night, when my husband was in the drawing room watching his favourite tv show "comedy nights with kapil" along with his mother, I just typed punjabi mother in lawto see what google had in store and it led me to this link. I can completely empathise with all of you guys and will share eveverything I learnt from my experience. Hope that will offer solace if not help.
I am an indian( south indian) who fell in love and
married a punjabi hindu guy. Its been 4 years now and I have a 3 year old son. I live in punjab with my husband, son, pils and bil. I have lots to write, so I will take my time. You guys be on the lookout.
P.S. there is another lady like us who blogs about her pumil. 'A united front against punjabi mother in laws'.

I have one too.

LearningAbtLife, your story reminds me of the same as what I have experienced! Ive also been married 3 years but have so far spent most of them feeling hurt, rejected and just very very down! Ive never really answered her back or put her right when she has said something out of order, but i am starting to realise that this is going to get me no where!! We need to start standing up for ourselves!! Quick sharp before its too late!<br />
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IMILs have a very backwards attitude to their sons and daughter in laws and often feel that they should be 'looked after' even when they are physically, mentally and financially fit to look after themselves! They feel that they are 'owed' because they did the same for their ILs and so its only fair to themthat we do the same! What they have failed to realise is that if youve brought your children up in a western country, they are going to have western views. Times have moved on MILs!!! Welcome to 2012! If you dont let go of your beloved son, you are going to get hurt, because believe it or not, when he marries, he now has a family of his own! If you want to be a part of that, its simple, just give your son and daughter in law space to have their own life, show them respect and just love....then watch,you will reap the rewards!!!<br />
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I wanted nothing more than that from my ILs but instead i was and still am constantly criticized, put down and made to feel like an MIL once even told me i was different to her daughter, since i am a daughter in law! How can she ever expect me to treat her like a mother with comments like this??

Oh, Im here to just vent out and i already feel better I am not the only one. I have been 10 months into my marriage and me and my MIL got along well until we got engaged. ME and My husband wanted a registered marriage as Im south Indian and he is Punjabi. The problem started when she was was very rude and she said it was her wish to do a Sikh wedding. We decided it was Ok to just go through that one day. After which she started saying I am fat, My hubby is atheist but she wants me to wear the Kadda (the bangle that sikhs wear when her son doesnt wear one). She decided to make my sikh weddind dress where i dint interfere at all and for the evening reception, i wanted to wear something I like and she said Im not allowed to wear that saree and my choice is Ugly (the saree was actually chosen by my hubby). After the wedding she asked my hubby to pay for her second sons medical insurance every year where she actually had the money to buy a Ipad and i dont own one. She takes her son for shopping and expects to pay for all the clothes she picks for her sister in law.Things were so good till we dated and after marriage my 10 months have been in vein. I have till not said anything rudely to her but i always come back home and cry and get angry with my husband. And today me and my husband love life and everything sucks big time. I sometimes just want to get out of the marriage because of my MIL constant nonsense. Now after a lot of fights for 10 months my husband has started standing up for me. But i really missed out on my first yr of marriage :( <br />
Happy married life is only a fairy tale!

I have three SILs and I had to purchase computer, telephones, cell phones, gold coins since they had boys and i had a boy, and money is given every time when MIL travels to India. MIL also bought Kadda; however, i refused. MIL also tried to change my name to a punjabi name; however, i refused and she didnt like it. My husband is the only son and all SILs are very well off but we have to call them if it my kids birthday as well as their kids birthdays....Just annoyed.

I don't talk to her, allow her in my home, near my son, and have seriously curbed the relationship she has with her son. I had the pleasure to telling my filthy FIL what I really thought about him and MIL. They have stollen money from my home and make my husband an I pay for all of hubby's educational costs despite being extravagantly wealthy. No more, now she pays and hubby keeps her in check or risks loosing son and wife. I just love the peace and quiet now and my growing bank account!

Can u explain to me how you have accomplished that cause my husband is like my mom and my sisters...I told him that if mine and my kids lives are hectic than i will leave. I do not understand the reason why MIL and SILs are so conniving.

You have to start this by changing your husband. He is your partner in the marriage. This is also accomplished by controlling the bank accounts. In Indian culture, divorce is frowned upon. I made sure I had my name and control on all of the bank accounts and any life insurance policies we had also, my name was included on the deed to our home. Then I started saying that his parents were stealing from his own children because they are greedy people. I said this over and over again, "we cannot support your parents, we have to support our children first" (this is the law in the US or else during a divorce fathers are ordered by the court to pay child support especially if they are not financially supporting the children at all times even during the marriage). Slowly (and I mean over a couple of years) things started to change. If the parents could not support themselves, then they had no business being with us or in this country. My money and his money (because we are married and the money belongs to the married couple legally in the US) would only be spent on our house together and the kids, not on his parents. We kept all bank accounts with both husband and wife's name. His parents hated how much I changed him. We had many arguments but in the end my husband had to decide, would it be easier to divorce and never see his children again or would it be easier to tell his parents to back of and have limited contact with them. Things are good now. He does not even speak to them. Also, you can expect the in-laws to pay for the children's school/day care tuition. I used to make them do that and they automatically backed off in a few months because they said all I wanted from them was money. OK! It worked out great because they didn't want to be around just in case I told them to pay for the grandkids schooling. So they started getting very quiet and stopped visiting. It was cheaper for them that way. Hope it works out for you!

Good for you..Our house is under our name's as well as the bank account; however, it seems like when i am not around, my SILs brain wash him by telling him that he is the son/man/brother and they need him cause their father past away. I do blame my husband for a lot of things for i did not come in their relationship. I finally quit my job just to be home. Income is hard at this time but i need to put my inlaws back in their place. MIL does not like it when i am at home cause she can not communicate in private. Thank you for your advice.

Good! Now you have half of the work done. There are a few more steps. Make sure all of the paychecks go into the bank account which is in both of your names and make sure there are no money transfers into other bank accounts. You should handle all of the money and put the money into your and your husband's savings account. Check the account balances every day. Set up online banking with your own password. Next make sure he does not use the bank card to withdraw money. Take the bank card away and say you are trying to save more money and will be giving him cash for his gas every day. Pack his lunch for him every day and tell him he cannot spend on anything other than gas to get to work and get back home. You will be surprised at how much money disappears and ends up in other people's hands (especially money meant for your and your kids). Every penny should be accounted for and you should do the banking and give him only enough for gas money, not for grocery. You handle all of the grocery shopping and going to the market. During this time, expect the fights to increase exponentially. If they do, then you will know your control of the finances is working in your favor. These inlays always control the women by taking control of the money first. Keep doing this for as long as it takes. Slowly, one side will have to back down and it will be the side that is no longer getting more money. He cannot stop supporting his kids or paying the mortgage so he has to stop supporting them. Put any extra money away into investment funds he cannot tap into because this one or that one says so. Lock it away for the kids' future use away. It takes time to change his attitudes but if he is a good man who cares about his children then he will change.

1 More Response

Couldn't agree more with froggyboggy abt the Mil thinking of the Dil as a sort of lower life form just because she's a girl. Never been able to understand that logic as she's a woman too; but really common attitude back in my country.<br />
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I'm an Indian and so is my Mil. My husband is wonderful. My mil, however, annoys me a lot. It's so frustrating to have someone just assume they have the power to talk down to you, advise you endlessly when no one asked for any, sulk when you try to make it an even field instead of she being some superior being. However, she behaves a different way with her sons-in-law. She is respectful with them, and is very careful to not offend, but for some reason the opposite rules apply to me. So, it's not like she doesn't know how to behave well with a younger person, it's just that she chooses to behave the way she does. I don't understand why there has to be that difference in treating the spouses of your children ba<x>sed on gender. That male-centered attitude is deeply ingrained in her and many other indian mil's psyche(the older generation atleast). It's probably futile to try to change it.<br />
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I've been married for 3 yrs and by now I realize that my anger is mostly because of my not being able to stand up for myself when she has behaved badly. I guess I wanted to win her approval initially and let her get away with talking to me in a way I would not let anybody else get away with. But really, it's like being in between a rock and a hard place. Because if I assert myself, she just shuts me out, ignores me. If I nod my head to all she says and am sweet, she is satisfied and happy, but i feel deep anger with myself for not standing up for myself. The relationship is really so shallow, and so different from the parent-child relationship, where love is unconditional. But here, it's like you have to constantly be on your toes. Even one mistake will cast you out of favor and she pretends like you don't exist.<br />
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Every time I replay past comments and feel like she just doesn't respect me much, I have to really remind myself that spending my time doing that is throwing away precious minutes from my life, which is just not worth it.

OMG I know how you feel, in the two years I have been married there have been three big outbursts of frustration. I did the nodding your head and pretending to want to hear what she had to say for about six months and after that all I was thinking was shut up b***h and go away! My first outburst was about wanting my own house, so she said she'd rather die than not live with my husband. The second time was about her avoiding seeing my family and telling my bil that he shouldn't go, even though he has said of his own accord that he would like to go. Everytime I'd ask her if she wanted to pop over to my parents house with me, she'd make an excuse, even when she wasn't working! The recent outburst was about her 5 cats and how unhygenic the house is because she lets them roam around everywhere. The bottom line is I want my own house, I ain't spending my life in misery because of her. If I ever have a dil, I'll make sure she knows she is allowed to live seperately and can do things her own way, and should she need advice I'll give it otherwise I'll keep my nose out!!! After experiencing what I have, If I ever have a daughter, I'd hate her to go through the same thing I have :(<br />
Maybe its the generation, or maybe she's just so ignorant!!!<br />
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I don't know how you've managed 15 years, I would be tearing my hair out and probably divorced or at least living seperately by now. Good luck x

My MIL told me that she is entitle to everything that my husband owned for she is his mother. I told her that she is forgetting that she left her home to live with her son, her son's wife and her son's kids. You should have seen the look on her face.

Yeah, my mother in law threatened suicide. My husband told her to do it. My father in law grew a beard and went on a hunger strike. The proceeded to tell my husband how he marched with gahndi against the brtish and here his son had married one. The 15 years bit tells me this isn't going away or getting better. Thank god I am not Indian or living in India. Mybheart goes out to all of you in that situation. I can easily walk away and have threatened after she stole from me the last time. I have my grandmothers wedding ring gone and diamond earrings gone. Not surprised as sue always mentions my diamonds...she wanted some of her own.

I'm an indian but maharashtrian, married into a punjabi family. My MIL got widowed young. She cashes in on this all the time. Tears are a free flowing force. She talks and acts like a 16 year old and harbours incestuous feelings for her son, i.e. my husband. She never says anything directly. She always smiles, and laughs and jokes about things and always taunts me in the process. She makes insulting disrespectuful gibes at my family, including my little sister who's like a little child of the house. She is always fake and dramatic and filmy. I have to always smile and nod at her and be fake like her. I just can't do it. I cant be fake at all and it strains my nerves to be so. I don't think i have ever dislikes anyone more than i dislike her. She always wants expensive gifts, even when we are busy trying to build a new home for ourselves. Nothing holds value for her except matelialistic value. She'll like something depending on how much it costs. The presence of her son in her life is equivalent to a male presence. She openly declares that she loves her elder son more as he came first into her life and compared him to one's first salary. She even told him how much money he owes her for bringing him up. Me and him wanted a court marriage but hand a big one to make her happy. After the wedding she now tells him how much he owes her for the wedding. And did I mention she has incestuous feelings for him. Place any psychologist in our house and he'll tell you. She is a school teacher but does not exhibit any eductaed behaviour at all.

How do we all cope with our crazy IMILs? I have a sikh MIL too and when I was dating my husband and met the MIL for the 1st ever time, the first thing she asked me was ----guess? Not what do you do/where you live / education etc etc, but whether I can cook anc clean! We did not have an indian marriage and opted for a civil ceremony which pissed my in laws off no end. ..... when I got pregnant and throughout my pregnancy, my MIL did not even ask if I am well/if I need any help with amything. She made me drag heavy bins across their huge kitchen in front of her husband (who is a mute in front of her) and expected me to cook for her. Our relationship went downhill ffrom there. Just because I am a girl, my MIL thinks I am a lower life form compared to her son and she has a right to presecure me becuase I refuse to cook/clean and skivvy after her ***. On the birth of my son (the first grandchild) my MIL told me that next time I have a child I should give out sweets to all their relatives myself - as it costs too much and she is not prepared to pay for sweets! (when a sikh baby boy is born, it is considered auspicious to give out sweets to close family and friends to share the happiness). She has no happiness for my son's birth at all. She completely ruined my son's first birthday. My FIL stated they would arrange a birthday party for their grandson, then 2 weeks before the 'party' the MIL calls my husband up and tells him they cant afford to do a party (they are rich!) and they dont want to be spending on us and thay we should arrange something for ourselves. Every happy occasion in life is ruined and my hubby cannot stand up to his mum. I am at my wits end and our relationship does suffer because of my MIL.............................sorry for the long rant but I too have had enough. I dont know what to do anymore.

I've got a psycho Indian MIL as well! We have been together nearly nine years, and got married in summer 2010. My husband told his mother about me about three years prior to this. She cried and carried on like a child, saying I was an embarassment etc. She finally accepted it (I am white and he is Indian-Sikh), and was reasonably pleasant to me. However, when we decided to get married, everything changed. She single handedly ruined both our weddings (we had a 'white' wedding and a Sikh wedding) - I was in floods of tears on both days and can honestly say that the two supposedly happiest days of my life were by far the most miserable, lonely days I have ever experienced. Seven months later, and I still can't bear to look at the wedding photos or the wedding videos. She used to call me every hour, but I've started ignoring her calls now. She calls my husband a minimum of ten times a day, wanting to know where he is, where I am, what I've cooked, did I clean the house, did I do his ironing, did we fight today, if we did then what were we fighting about, would he like to come to her house for some 'proper punjabi cooking'.. Any time that I stand up to her, she tells my husband that she is depressed and will kill herself if she has to put up with any more unhappiness. It's just an excuse for getting away with treating me like dirt. My husband is the youngest son, but his elder sister and brother both live far away and have little to do with their mother (I can see why!!!), so everything falls on his shoulders. I understand that it's hard for him, but I do wish he'd stand up to her more. She calls every time a distant relative visits her and expects us to drop what we're doing and just go. I don't go, but my husband usually does. Since the day we got married, I have been considering divorce because as much as I love him and I love our relationship together, his mother is poisoning what we have. We fight all the time about the fact that he always does exactly what she tells him to, even when I've asked him not to. She arranged a blessing at the house after our 'proper wedding' (what she calls our Sikh wedding), and I told her I wouldn't go because she should have discussed it with us - not just arranged it and expected us to turn up. She said I HAD to go, to serve food to the priests, and if I didn't then I would shame her. I told her that if she felt shame at me not being there, then she should not have arranged it without asking me. If she had asked me, I would have told her not to do it and she would have escaped the 'shame'. My husband, rather than standing his ground with her, went because she had pulled all the usual tears and tantrums. I haven't seen her for two months now, and things are becoming better between me and my husband, but how can I possibly never see this woman again? I used to look forward to being married and having children, but the thought of children absolutely terrifies me now - I know deep down that she'll take over and expect to bring them up on her terms, not mine. I have never hated anyone in my whole life, but I truly hate this woman - I can't understand how anyone can behave like she does and not feel ashamed of themselves. I get so angry with myself for allowing her to affect my marriage, but I don't know how to prevent her from doing so when she's so manipulative with her son.

I was starting to think I was the only person in the world experiencing these crazy, psychotic issues with my IMIL!!! I am American and I have been completely SHOCKED to discover that IMILs commonly act like crazy people when their sons get married. Do they teach girls in India to become uncivilized crazy people upon the marriage of their sons??? Seriously, there is an odd control factor that our Western families typically do not use. I have tried to reason w/ my IMIL and she is just not in touch with reality so there is no hope. She lost her mind the day her son told her he was going to marry me. I have never met her but I've received at least 800 harassing, abusive phone calls from her, even while I was pregnant. I've kept silent all these years (our daughter is now 3 and a half) but this past weekend she came to my home while my husband was at work (drove 3 hours to get here) and blasted the car horn in my driveway. I decided to finally call her and ask her why she came to my home and she flipped-out, yelled and screamed at me, called me abusive names, etc.. She has never met out daughter. Fortunately, my husband also thinks his mother is nuts and refuses to allow her into our lives. Of course, that doesn't stop her from calling him often screaming abusive nonsense to him. Lets just say after the way she has treated us, she won't be taken care of in her old age in my home!!! Glad to know there is someone else out there in the world who understands this bizarre life of marrying and Indian man with a psycho mother.