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An open letter to Indian mothers-in-law

Opinion
Some South African Indian mothers-in-law need to think twice about their actions, writes a soon to be broken-hearted mom.

Durban - I am saddened at how our society is evolving. Firstly, I'm an independent and professional Indian woman in my late twenties who is well cultured.

I am newly married and, unfortunately, going through a divorce due to no fault in my husband but merely because he respects his mom and she uses it against him.

I admire this, but it does not help me or our unborn child.

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Mothers-in law should re-consider their attitudes towards their daughters-in-law, says the writer.

When we attend functions, too quick we hear aunties complain that this one or that one's son found a girl out of the Indian race group.

Dear aunties, have you stopped to think why your sons look outside our culture? No.

For one, Indian girls are brought up to respect their elders, not back chat, be cultured and talk to their in-laws as their own parents.

Some Indian men are never willing to leave their parents’ home and step up to being men in their own homes.

Too many times, some of our Indian men wait for an issue then leave their marital home and then, too, it's the girl who gets labelled as the cause.

When Indian men find girls out of their race or culture, it is merely because they are stronger.

They were not brought up to quietly take abuse.

They know they can stand their ground and hold their own against their mothers.

They know it's a better chance to have their marriage work.

As a mother to be, I urge Indian parents to stop telling their daughters to keep quiet and take it.

We all went through it. Don't make it an issue.

All we, as mothers, are doing is teaching our daughters that it is okay to be abused. It's normal.

First, we as women leave behind our entire lives, our homes and our families, for what? For love?

We do it out of love for your sons.

The sad part is it is women who make you cursed being married and that hurts.

Nowhere in our scriptures does it say a woman, once married, should disown her family and should only obey her in-laws and endure their abuse in silence.

Dear mothers-in-law, you all weren't born mothers-in-law.

You were born daughters, grew to be women, then new brides, wives, mothers and then mothers-in-law.

You know the pain of marriage, yet instead of helping your son's wife adapt, what do you do? You knock her down.

If we, as women, can do that to one another, it's a shame and it gives men the upper hand.

When you get a daughter-in-law, sit and think.

You were once in that position, how did you feel?

Tomorrow, if your daughter is mentally and verbally abused and cannot tell you because she was prevented from doing so, how would you feel?

Too many times we assume that because a person smiles, the person is nice, and if they are quiet, they're snobs.

We have a famous saying: “You don't know a person until you live with them.”

I urge our community to stop judging women.

Telling your daughter-in-law not to do this or that is fine. But don't turn to an outsider and say, she cannot do this or that or won't do it.

Telling your sons not to listen to their wives is wrong. Yet you insist your husband obeys you.

Where's the logic?

When you hurt your daughter-in-law, do you think she is happy and spreading that happiness to your son?

When you hurt her, she hurts.

She doesn't have happiness to spread because you killed it.

In turn, your son will not be happy.

You are indirectly hurting your own child. How do you not see this?

Too quickly, when a marriage fails, the wife is blamed.

She is accused of being characterless. No one sees what led to the breakdown of a relationship.

Mothers-in-law, you put your sons in situations where they must choose you or their wives.

As a mother, you are more capable of taking care of your son than a new wife.

After all, you have been doing it all his life. It is the only way he knows.

But give us a chance to learn to take care of our husbands.

We may do things differently but it does not mean our way is wrong.

Yes, as a mother you can care for your son, but you will never be able to care for him as a wife.

Your son may sacrifice his marriage for you but when he goes to bed at night it's his heart that is breaking.

When he gives up his happiness for you and smiles a fake smile to make you think he is happy, he is actually longing for his wife and child.

You quickly bad mouth the woman and tarnish her reputation to justify why your son's marriage failed, but do you sleep well knowing that through your actions, your son is facing the world as a divorcee?

Do you ever sit back and think your daughter-in-law also sacrificed much to be with your son?

In today's age we women are financially independent but are still mentally, emotionally and physically abused.

Today it's your daughter-in-law.

Tomorrow it could be your daughter or granddaughter. Would you feel the same then?

I know not all mothers-in-law are the same.

I'm speaking from personal experience, observations and encounters.

Dear mothers-in-law, remember that taking away someone else's happiness doesn't multiply your own.

Blowing another's flaws out of proportion doesn't eliminate your flaws. It just diverts attention.

Dear parents of daughters, teach your daughters never to accept abuse in any form no matter from whom.

When your daughter starts making excuses to avoid simple answers, know she is scared.

When she becomes distant, enquire why.

Girls and women, don't allow anyone to deprive you of your basic human rights. Don't tolerate abuse in the name of love.

Men, if you know you won't stand up and defend your wives in your homes against your families or parents from verbal, mental or physical abuse then don't marry and don't ruin another's life.

Not all mothers-in-law are thoughtless, senseless and cold towards their daughters-in-law.

Not all men are cold. It depends on the individual.

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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