Between my Marriage and Self Respect


I’ve been married for more than 15 years now and it has not been very smooth. From day 1, I had to face a dominating mother-in-law whose say in the house was final, whereas mine was almost never even heard. There are countless incidents when she insulted me or put me down. 

Once, when I was pregnant, one day the maid was absent when my mother-in-law commanded me and my sister-in-law to clean the house. I found it difficult to bend down and sweep the rooms, yet somehow I did it. Later, all she did was complain about how the floors were not cleaned satisfactorily. I politely tried reasoning with her about my pregnancy. But what surprised me was how my husband supported her and rebuked me for “raising my voice” in front of his mother.

Living in a situation, where you are always taunted, insulted and criticized, can reduce your self-esteem and self-confidence to ashes over the years. When my mother-in-law passed away, I thought the situation would improve and I started making efforts to have a fresh start in my marriage. The first few months were smooth. But then, my husband took to dominating me, just like my mother-in-law.


I’m a freelancer and I work part-time. My husband has never been very supportive of my work. He complains that I do not look after the household and even insults me in front of my parents by saying stuff like I’ve time to fix my laptop but I do not care to buy groceries.


Initially, he excused it because the get-togethers were too expensive in our pocket.  But then he even refused to go to a friend’s birthday, wherein we wouldn’t have to pay. After a lot of persuasion and altercation, he just said he doesn't like her.


In order to cut me off from my support system, my husband has been trying to prevent me from meeting our friends. Initially, he excused it because the get-togethers were too expensive in our pocket. But then he even refused me to accompany him to a friend’s birthday, wherein we wouldn’t have to pay, by saying that he doesn't like her.

These conflicts lead to frequent fights. He had also raised his hand on me a few times before and went on to do the same a few days ago. He stopped when I threatened to strike back. I feel suffocated that I cannot talk about these fights. My friends constantly shut me out for this is my personal issue and my parents and brother feel that the fights will resolve if I adjust and that I’m making a big issue out of our trivial arguments.


Recently, I started to see a marriage counselor. My husband refuses to accompany me to the counselor and is reluctant to put in any effort for marriage. He says that the fights are completely due to me.

I’m in a crossroads, where a part of me wants to work through the marital problems and while another part wants to leave the marriage. I’m not financially independent which makes leaving even more difficult. Once, when I was pregnant, one day the maid was absent when my mother-in-law commanded me and my sister-in-law to clean the house. I found it difficult to bend down and sweep the rooms, yet somehow I did it. 


Later, all she did was complain about how the floors were not cleaned satisfactorily. I politely tried reasoning with her about my pregnancy. But what surprised me was how my husband supported her and rebuked me for “answering back" his mother.

Amidst all my problems, I strongly feel the absence of a patient ear to understand me. Domestic violence and marital discord are still societal taboos. I wish people were empathetic and compassionate enough to hear out and not make the victim feel trapped.


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