Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Living with the In-Laws and miscommunication

Who do you have communication and cultural problems with? When it comes to communication and culture differences, one would assume that it would be with your significant other, but that is not always true.

For me, it's with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I have a much different sense of humor than they do. I understand that my mother-in-law is 75 and I shouldn't expect her to change, but I have changed who I am and how I do things for her.

How does one deal with this? How do you deal with the constant cultural barriers? I'm not going into specifics, but I am not sure what to do, or how much longer I can deal with this.


  1. Well I think you are not alone on that boat, I know a lot of Indian ladies having issues with their in-laws as well.
    My MIL hates me, simply because I'm not Indian, in the begining she applied all kind of silly if not hurtful stereotype on me such as westerner women can't cook, keep a household, and all they want is divorce. She hated me even more when she realised I was nothing like all she imagine my not being Indian would make me, and after years of trying to please her I realised she simply won't let herself be pleased and quit trying. We don't live with my in-laws, we don't even stay in the same city, so when we are visiting I just am polite, dress well, help in the kitchen, but if she can't address me without barking I won't try to make any small talk, she went from trying to understand what I was saying in a mix of hinglish and hindi to now completely ignoring anything I say no matter the language even pretending not to understand when I make a perfectly fine sentence in hindi. Both DH and I gave up, clearly her loss :)

    I think you should talk about how you feel with your husband.

  2. Cyn,

    We've discussed it. Right now I believe I was correct in what I did, so I have not apologized. Let's see...we are planning to move, but not right away because we have to save enough money to get my visa fixed first. =]

    - S

  3. Good luck, and hang in there. These vias stuff can be a real pita but then they leave you alone for 15 years once you get the PIO :)

  4. I don't have any advice, but just wanted to say that this is something I worry about for the future. Also, your point about changing yourself and how you do things. Sometimes I feel like I will have to become an entirely different person to gain acceptance. How much is too much?!

  5. @loveinldn

    I haven't changed in the major ways, just small ways, such as washing after using the bathroom instead of using toilet paper, and other nothing major! I am not changing who I am or what I do... :-)

  6. My situation is similar to Cyn's: Not that my MIL hates me - I would not put it in such strong words. But there were a lot of issues when my husband and I married, and for many years MIL dealt with her frustration of having her only son stolen from under her nose and no good daughter-in-law to show off to the family and neighbours. I tried to convince her that I could do just as well as any Indian girl, but expectations kept mounting. Nothing I did was ever good enough. She kept nagging me. Things got real bad when we moved to the same city and would visit often. Then I decided not to try any more. I no longer care and if there is something i do not like, I will say it. Ironically, that improved things a lot. And then of course the baby came and now all is different. I am a full fledged member of the family now.
    My advice would be not to change yourself to a point where you actively deny yourself. But most importantly, don't put DH into the position to choose whose side to be on.
    I think it is amazing that you have lived under the same roof for so long and no dead bodies anywhere. ;-) Obviously, you are doing something very right.

  7. @Daniela,

    I like how you put it, yeah so far there are no dead bodies :P