What causes stress in Indian daughter in laws? Has anyone ever thought about this very serious but the most ignored part of our society?
I don’t want to sound like a daughter in law advocate but also I cannot turn blind eye to the facts and figures which state clearly that most Indian women are under stress after their marriages.
While there could be several reasons but in this blog, we will try to discuss and find ways to deal with such a stressful condition.
What causes stress in Indian daughter in laws?
Let’s give a nudge to this thought and bring out the most possible reasons with proper explanations. A girl turns into a woman as soon as she gets married, her life changes overnight, regardless of what age she is in, which might range from 21 to 32 but the amount of maturity and sensibility is expected only from her. She enters her new house with the heavy baggage of fulfilling all the duties and keeping everyone happy.
That’s what we are conditioned to believe in? Right? Specifically in India, your in laws’ house is your real house, your husband is your everything now and you should take care of them even if they do not care about you and your needs. Living with in laws is indeed stressful. While some woman program themselves with these codes and lives a life forgetting about their own existence, for some it becomes really difficult, no less than like a waking call from a dream and entering into real life.
In this blog, let us try to understand the triggers or ten warning signs and find an answer to the question, what causes stress in Indian daughter in laws after marriage.
Ten causes of stress in Indian daughter in laws which needs a reflection
Being a married woman, I can confidently share a few critical areas in the married life of any Indian daughter in law. It is not that everyone is blessed with evolved in laws in their life, rather if we take a pause and reflect with an open mind, we all know that the ratio of troubling in laws still dominates the statistics in India.
It prevailed before and it is still a deep-rooted issue in Indian families where a daughter in law cries for acceptance and caring. For the society she is a part of two families, a family she leaves and a family she enters, but where does she actually belong to? What is her identity as a woman and what if this balancing act and adjustment issues start taking a toll on her mental health? She must continue to fight or should she just gives up? or is there any other practice one can follow?
|1. The baggage of expectation|
|2. You are not a jar of Nutella|
|3. People-pleaser, are you?|
|4. Society pressure? What people will say?|
|5. Sacrificing nature|
|6. Self-pity zone|
|7. Awakening of the rebel within you|
|8. The epic fight of righteousness|
|9. The notion of “Fitting In”|
|10. Being un-mindful, ain’t you?|
1.) The baggage of expectation
Drop it right there! This bag is stuffed with a lot of expectations. Expectations of being perfect, organized, excellent cook, housewife, working mom, a multi-tasker and what not. You keep on stuffing all these elements in a bag and what happens when the whole space is occupied, leaving no room for a single such element? The bag will overflow? It might even tear out, isn’t it?
Now replace the bag with your mind and imagine that the same thing could happen to us. Have you ever given importance to your mind? Some expectations are forcefully instilled from the external factors and some we do willfully to compete within our surroundings because we believe in the “survival of the fittest theory” but does our mind remain fit after going through such turbulence?
2.) You are not a jar of Nutella
Have you ever tasted Nutella? But you are not a jar of Nutella which could make everyone happy. We, humans, are programmed differently and we are not at all tailor-made to suit everyone’s happiness’ parameters. Did you know, there exist at least nine types of mother in laws in India and I am sure the count would be somewhat the same for daughter in laws too. It depends upon whom you end up with.
Some people seek happiness outside and some find happiness within themselves and we need to learn to find happiness within ourselves and with what we have, our happiness should never be inversely proportionate to others.
3) People-pleaser, are you?
Now, this is a problem if you are one of those who feel that when you please your in laws or your husband they will be happy and you will be at peace with them. Let me tell you that this practice will result in too much stress and burden for you in the long run as you will be that one person who pleases others every time but there would be a time when you will find yourself whittling and losing your inner self.
Staying with in laws and handling them is a different issue but losing your self in this whole process should not be a practice to follow just because it keeps you away from the drama.
4) Society pressure? What people will say?
The biggest culprits of all the dreams and desires, what people will say? If you decide to stay away from your in laws, this will be the first thought passing your mind. If you will decide to take a stand because of some extreme condition you might even stop because of the societal pressure around you.
Who are they? But just imagine the power we give them to control our lives that we give up on so many things just because of the fear of getting judged and labeled by the society we live in.
5) Sacrificing nature
I have seen my mom always sacrificing her wishes to fulfill other’s commands. She is someone who has whittled herself completely just to please her mother in law and suit her needs. But in the end, I could never see my grandma appreciating her. Even today when my mom, who is a grandma herself my grandma criticizes my mom and tries to dominate her with her overpowering nature.
How to deal with such disrespectful in laws? I learned from my mom that what I am not supposed to do, although I was conditioned exactly the way she chose to be with her in laws I drifted my ways sometime back when I saw her condition. She is a straight answer to the question, what causes stress in Indian daughter in law and how badly it can affect your physical health.
6) Self-pity zone
Just imagine, you are done pleasing your in laws, you are done trying everything which could have made them happy yet they stay cold towards you, how will you feel or how will you treat yourself? You might go into self-pity, which will only increase the chances of emotional abuse which you will cause to yourself.
Remember point number one? Drop the baggage and do it right now. In the end, you don’t want to pity yourself over something which is not even worth it.
7) Awakening of the rebel within you
It will awaken every now and then when that high-spirited, powerful and hustling version of a woman rises inside you. You feel that you need to show them how their arrogant behavior is causing stress to you, you will feel like yelling and screaming, but hey who is listening? The exact ones who cause that stress to you in the first place and even today when you are at your patience end and decide to teach them a lesson, will not stop rather it will become more heated up.
8) The epic fight of righteousness
Then comes the question, who is right, and who is wrong? The fight for what is right and you dwell too deep to prove yourself right but in this process, you forgot that for your in laws, they are right and when two rights will collide, things will explode towards the left of your brain which is efficient enough to give you mental jitters. You will experience the high-voltage drama and right there the question of right and wrong will turn into the defensive mode of me and you and you will seek an exit from the situation.
The righteousness which includes faith and courage will help you fight your fight in the long run. So hold on.
9) The notion of “Fitting In”
Because we are taught in such a manner, especially in Indian culture when a daughter gets married she is never taught to have faith and courage to face difficult situations but is warned and taught to not be the reason for such situations.
Even if your in laws are disrespectful towards you, you are taught that they are elder than you, they are your family now and you must respect them. This notion of fitting in is the longest prevailing culture in our society of which almost every daughter in law is a part. How can someone just fit in so completely where she never belonged to.
10) Being un-mindful, ain’t you?
Why can’t we see things just as it, forget about accepting things as it is, that is a long process but we can at least start practicing mindfulness by seeing things as they are, without judging and making an assumption about it. A daughter in law is an equal member of a family like others and she deserves all the love and cares like others. She is an asset and not a liability as you think.
I agree that there are cases where the daughter in law causes problems knowingly but trust me the ratio is way less than the otherwise situation and we need to work on what is causing stress in Indian daughter in laws with the rising number of reported mental illness issues in Indian women.
How to handle in laws yet remain stress-free
Do you know what causes stress in Indian daughter in laws? Our society, which isn’t very balanced when it comes to marriage. Right from the outset, it is the man who gets the unfair privilege, and the woman is expected to follow the stereotypes. This is why the parents of the man become entitled whereas the parents of the woman get ignored. A woman is expected to leave everything and sacrifice her life for their family members.
However, there are also families who were staying in peace is the norm. Families where the daughter in laws are treated as equals. Families where love is showered upon a new member entering the family. Therefore, handling Indian in laws is more a matter of the family you land in than a stereotyped version of them that scares you away.
How can stress cause harm to us?
Stress is a silent killer. Many women suffer in silence under enormous stressful conditions, Although this is a completely ignored and abandoned area where people totally deny to believe that mental stress can lead to physical discomfort, the fact is it does. Stress is a leading cause of the deteriorating quality of lifestyle and thinking abilities of individuals.
It may vary from individual to individual under various circumstances but stress could cause many serious health problems, including Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders in the long run if not addressed or treated well in time.
Emotional stress that stays around for weeks or months can weaken the immune system and cause diseases like cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and even stroke.
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.