What do you do when woman don’t value themselves – Post 8

I was talking to a friend the other day and then I read this post by Roop. Let’s first talk about the friend.

I think I know her since we were in class 4 or 5. She is/was smart, intelligent and someone with a sense of purpose in life. I would also call her decently ambitious. Let’s just say she was like any other regular girl with a regular life and regular aspirations. And then she fell in love with this guy; a couple of years older to her, from an affluent business family and belonging to a different religion. She was all of 18-19 then.  With much resolve and after a lot of protest they got married. All this happened a decade back. She quit her studies and got settled in the life of a home maker. I don’t think she gave all this too much thought then for she was finally getting married to someone she loved and was more than thankful that the parents and in-laws who had first protested had then finally agreed.

Why I told you this story was to set some context. This girl went on to produce 3 children in that last 10 years. First 2 were daughters and therefore she had a third one too, which, much to her liking and to the joy of her mother in law and husband was a boy.

Cut to present – her husband is hardly ever home, is into alcohol to the extent of being called an alcoholic and doesn’t do much work (read: is living off the family money). Her MIL is sort of a tyrant, running and ruling the household. My friend has no social life. And is at times subjected to “a bit of physical abuse” (these are her own words). She hardly ever gets to meet her parents in spite of the fact that they stay in the same city.

Obviously all this hurts me, for I still remember the girl she was when we were still in school. But what pains me more is her total resignation to her situation. She justifies her MIL’s behavior by saying that the lady has accepted a girl from a different religion into the family and that she will always be thankful for that, come what may. When I asked her about the domestic violence bit, she justified that too saying that she calls such behavior upon herself by arguing and fighting with her husband. And lastly, she justified the need to have a son too – she feels she owed it to the family to give them an heir. If her 3rd born was a daughter she would have gone for a 4th one as well.

Here is a girl, perfectly normal, who is enduring all the pains and troubles, because she believes that she deserves it. She suffers at the hands of this belief that is deeply engraved in her mind. A good DIL is one who never answers back, asks permission, thinks more about her in-law than her own parents, has no opinion etc. The parents feel proud to have brought up a daughter who listens to everything her husband and in-laws say. They are happy that she, with her “obedient and polite” behavior, has washed off the stigma of marrying outside the cast and has been totally accepted by her in-laws family.

So who is at fault here? For me it is my friend as much as her family. It is a case of a woman who has subjected herself to such behavior by choice. She suffers but in silence. She thinks it’s wrong to complain. She is making the marriage work. She has been at it for 10 years and will continue doing it till she breathes her last. I have no words. I feel bad for her but I also know that this is the choice she has made. Maybe someday she will realize her worth and maybe someday she will stand for herself. Maybe…

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14 Responses to What do you do when woman don’t value themselves – Post 8

  1. Smitha says:

    >You are right, Iya. It has to do with both your friend and her family. But I guess, if one is brought up in an environment like this, the girl gets conditioned to not 'voice' her problems. She has been taught that no matter what, only keeping silent, and 'bearing' what life hands you is expected of her. I just wish all parents teach their daughters( sons are more than aware) to be aware of their worth. You know what, I think I have something to share about this as well, will probably post, and link you too.

  2. Shail says:

    >Wow, a story from serials on TV seems to come to life for real. How sad that your friend has lost so much of self worth that she justifies her MiL's behavior and her husbands abuse. I hope too that she opens her eyes to reality soon and stand up for herself.

  3. Life Begins says:

    >So many girls I know are living such a life. To a large extent, I am no exception to that. Just accepting what life throws at us.But lately i have realised it does not work that way. Even accepting every single thing with a smile does not guarantee peace and happiness. We do need to stand up and raise a voice against all this. The more we try to make it "work" the more the tears we get.It's time we all women understand our worth and take some decisions.I am surely on it and I feel proud of that.

  4. Swaram says:

    >And here I ws telling my maid, that she shud nt take it whenever her husband beats her! I so can't believe such educated women giving in to these *norms* of the society too 😦 Hope she realizes and rectifies before it is too late!

  5. tarabhatt says:

    >I have no words Iya.. Its real sad to know there are such things happening still. I feel sad for the girl who is conditioned so badly to live like this and those who did this kind of conditioning angers me far more than anybody else.

  6. chandni says:

    >see too much of it around still. I can't even begin on the importance of social conditioning.

  7. SMM says:

    >I see it around myself too – when a friend accepts verbal abuse from her FIL because she cannot answer back to her FIL, when she goes out and buys expensive gifts for her SIL because her MIL said that bhai ke ghar se kuch achcha jaana chahiye and whcih they can ill-afford.

  8. Deeps says:

    >I so agree, Iya. Your friend is as much at fault as her husband and in-laws. And its even more saddening to see educated people like her abiding by such ridiculously regressive mindsets. I hope she realizes her worth soon and learns to demand a dignified life.

  9. >Iya recently a friend told me about something similar happening to her old school classmate. They remained in touch and this friend used to listen to her friend and express her opinion (only mildly) – finally now this woman (with my friends' encouragement) has opened a shop and started a business. She is beginning to start living again – simply because one person (if only one, at least one) put the 'seed' of a doubt in her mind about suffering in silence being her only destiny. If nothing else this mother might put that seed of doubt in her two daughter's minds…

  10. >It's indeed sad to see educated women giving in to social conditioning and toeing the line to keep a marriage going, completely giving up their individuality. I'll tell you the same thing I wrote at Roop's – talk to her; maybe she won't listen, but may be it will be the catalyst that will some day help her break free from her brainwashed state.

  11. D says:

    >I used to sympathise with an elderly woman who took a lot of shit from her husband. But I later realised that by not protesting against it, she was inviting such treatment. Women condition themselves to believe that shutting up is the best way to achieve peace in a home. But is it worth it?

  12. Nilu says:

    >Oh my goodness Iya! For a while I thought it might be the same friend we have in common. The story is SO similar. And I talk to this friend whenever she feels she needs a ear. I give her so much advice on how to stand up for herself & she agrees. Next thing I know, she is back to the same life, taking all the nonsense over and over again. It's been 13 years of torture. I feel, if she is not going to stand up for herself, then there is really nothing I or anybody can do for her. Now I just listen to her.

  13. Anonymous says:

    >She made a choice and she thinks she is paying the price for it. What bothers me is she will pass on these complexes to her children and they will grow up to realise she suffered for them or maybe for even nothing. Cos she thought she had no ground to stand on and no spine to fight for herself! And they will look at their mom as sad.Is it all worth it??I hope for her sake it is.

  14. Pingback: More on adjustments, compromises, and a woman’s life.. Post 9 « Any Excuse to Write…

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