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Dear MIL, I can never love you even if I try, but not because I was born that way. It is because I was raised this way – taught to hate and fear you!
I write this letter in the pretext that you would never read this. You reading this means a significant amount of my ego getting hurt. Even though I admit some faults and lay down my concerns, I am not going to hover the fact that I still hate you, will continue to do so. Even though it’s not your fault entirely.
I hate you when I see you still pursuing your hobby, working on your career, throwing parties for friends. You walk around the house live and bright like a queen.
I never saw that in my house, my mother was always shackled inside the kitchen, never had a hobby not to mention career. Her in-laws never entertained her friends or family either.
Mother in law, I hate you when you shower love on your son and grandchildren. I feel you are planning to snatch them away from me. It may not be entirely your fault, but I grew in a house where my father was more attached to his parents than my mother.
I have seen many times her eyes yearning for some privacy, to sit a talk, go out for a walk or watch a movie on Sunday perhaps. However, my father was busy with his parents on Sundays, taking them to errands and spending time with never-ending chats. My mother battled in the kitchen to make their Sundays more special.
Mother-in-law, I hate you when you try to be nicer to me around your relatives and friends. I feel you are faking and trying to let me down in front of others. That may not be true, but I can’t help it.
I have grown up watching my mother showered with humiliation and insults particularly if people are around. My mother would sob in the kitchen silently while laughter burst out from the living room. The sound of laughter hurt me more than that silent sobs…
Mother-in-law, why does father-in-law still pamper you? Gift you clothes and jewellery on every occasion and take you out on Saturday night dinners? He never misses an annual vacation with you! My heart aches to see that, my heart feels an unknown pain.
During her entire married life my mother never really went on family vacations or on tours. I never saw her go to her own parents’ house unless it was for an emergency which was may be five or six times!
She never received any gifts on her birthday. Not that my father was poor, or he did not love her, he was negligent towards his wife. To my disappointment, he is a self-centred person, even today!
Mother-in-law, you help me in the kitchen every day. You won’t allow me to cook if there’s a party at the place. Also, you order food from the restaurant on weekends. Do you think I like it? No, I doubt your intentions there too. You definitely don’t like my cooking and my way of homemaking, that what I assume.
My mother slogged 24/7 in the kitchen to serve us a hot meal three times a day. Her mother-in-law never lent her a helping hand and neither did her sisters-in-law. During functions, my mother sweated blood till she would drop dead in bed just to get up early morning and face the horror again.
I call you mom but never feel that way. My mother was a woman who never raised her voice, and took her silence to the grave. You are nothing like her and I despise that truth. So, I eagerly try to find faults in you than appreciating the efforts you are taking to bond our relationship.
Sometimes you look bewildered why I am picking up a fight with you or sulking in my room. To tell you the truth, I do not know the reason either. I can never love you even if I try, but not because I was born that way. Mother in law, I was raised this way – fed with an unknown fear, uncertainty, and resentment towards the extended family. Hope you understand!
Note: Every house has a different story to tell, not every Mom-in-law is a monster nor every daughter-in-law is a son-snatcher. The above mentioned is actually a 10-minute conversation with a person I know. All the reason she had to hate her Mother-in-law was the sheer happiness her mother was deprived of. It is inevitably true that mindsets are built inside four walls, of our own house.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Yeh Rishte Hai Pyaar Ke
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Sheeba Vinay is a writer by profession and an aspiring Criminologist. Her write-ups have
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