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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Hi I live with in a joint family with my mother in law , divorced sister in law and her

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Hi

I live with in a joint family with my mother in law , divorced sister in law and her daughter. My mil is a very negative personality and wants to dominate everyone in the house. She snaps out at me once every month, verbally puts me down on how i cook, maintain the kitchen , do things around the house. I work full time while my mil and sis in law stay at home. Now she expects me to cook for them 7 days a week. I have finally given up and have told them clearly that i will do my cooking separately. I am really tired and dejected. My husband does support me , but he wants me to get okay in a few days post the fight. He has been used to his mom's behaviour for the last 35 years, but i am not okay with being treated like this . This verbal domination has continues since the day i got married . Please help

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this serious situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The scenario you describe is truly frustrating since it clearly shows how your mother in law has been systematically abusing you, mentally, emotionally and verbally. No form of abuse is acceptable, and for this to be your reality from day one that you have been living there, shows how dysfunctional your husband's family has been from long ago. You said he's been used to such dysfunctional and abusive behavior for the past 35 years, and you are absolutely right about your need to set healthy and clear boundaries about everything, in order not to take any further abuse.

Customer: i am an indian and we have a concept of a joint family,it is the sons responsibility to take care of the mother. But i dont know what the solution is to my problem. I am not saying that i am not at fault, when she behaves this way i do answer back , but that does not make things right
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have tried everything to make this situation improve, but your experience has shown you it does not matter what you try, if she is unable and unwilling to respect you and your marriage, things would not significantly improve, unless you keep very solid boundaries supported by your husband, specially while you stay there.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, and because of such cultural and social reality, as long as you live together, you and your husband have to set very concrete and healthy boundaries and limits, for his family to know that no form of mistreatment, abuse or disrespect would be tolerated, as long as they want to live together. Having this duty does not mean having to take abuse or to expose you to be abused by anybody at all.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

They are two adults who stay at home and should take full responsibility for taking good care of themselves and doing the house chores once they have no other responsibilities, while respecting you and the integrity of your marriage.

Customer: i know, but the issue is that since my husband has lived in a household like this, while he does support me during the fights, he does not find his mothers behaviour abnormal
Customer: according to him these are normal fight in any family
Customer: i can leave my job because we need the financial security
Customer: when i try to explain these things to my husband he shuts down, he will just not speak and look in the other direction
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That could be his opinion based on how much he has adjusted to such dysfunctional relationships and life for most of his life, but now he has a new responsibility towards you, and needs to work on becoming more aware, assertive and responsible, acknowledging the impact such chronic dysfunction and abusive behaviors have in you and your marriage.

Customer: i just need someone to tell me that what i am doing is right. That it is okay if i live in the same house and cook my food separately. I am tired after a 12 hour workday, but the satisfaction i get by cooking food made by me and not being told how i dont contribute enough into the process is worth it. But is it okay to live in the same house and do this. I also tried to tell my mil to get house help but she refused that too
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then you need to reassess your priorities, core needs and expectation in this marriage and talk to him about it, for him to know what you are willing to afford or not in this marriage, since it is unacceptable for him to avoid working on finding real and responsible solutions to these serious problems.

Customer: what is the other solution, am i doing something wrong ? can i do something else to make things right. I am from a family of distinguished doctors, but the last two years have indirectly taken a toll on my health. Though i would never accept that in front of my own parents, i have lost 10 kilos, i am anaemic, suffer from severe back pain
Customer: but i am told that i am not taking care of my health, i am expected to work , manage the house, spend time with my inlaw, and be okay and still take care of my health
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think your plan is absolutely reasonable, since they are obviously abusing your generosity and not being responsible adults. I haven't read that your mother in law or sister in law are disable, and that's why they cannot take good care of their own core needs nor of the house chores, since they have no other responsibilities whatsoever, right?

Customer: yes ,my mil is 70 and suffers from back pain which is age oriented , my sis in law is quite lazy she only does what her mother in law tells her too. Even to dress her kid she asks my mil's opinion on how she should dress her daughter
Customer: at times i feel my mil wants me to take permission from her on everything, but i am an intelligent adult, i cant do that
Customer: sorry i meant wht her mother tells her to
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please, set your individual health, integrity and well-being as your number one priority, since it is from there that you would have the insight, assertiveness and strength to support in healthy and acceptable ways those around you, but without exposing yourself to any form of abuse, mistreatment or exploitation. Your husband is obviously neglectful and lacks responsibility when avoiding working on these issues, enabling that way further abuse and dysfunction.

Customer: doctor i do love my husband , but at times i feel like running out of the house and not coming back. At times i feel i am magnifying my problems for no reason
Customer: do u think it would help if i see a therapist in india
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You cannot control your husband nor anybody in his family, but you can, have the right and responsibility to take good care of yourself before anything, and from there you would know how to cope and do things while keeping self-respect, self-love and support.

Customer: i do try to stay positive externally, but my mind is constantly churning. At home i am on gaurd waiting for the next fight to happen
Customer: i told my husband that we can take two houses next to eah other , that way we have separate households and he can still take care of his family but he bluntly refuses to the same. His response is that my only solution to every problem is to separate
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, psychotherapy, as long as provided by a competent, ethical and experienced psychotherapist, could be not only positive but essential for anybody coping with a tough iife issue, to effectively work on creating solutions, while rehabilitating from the impact such issues may have, from stress, to depressive and anxiety problems, marital and family issues and more.

Customer: that is not the case, i have tried living with them for 2 and a half years and been miserable
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think that would be the best and wisest approach, since that way he would continue to be able to support his mother without neglecting your marriage, nor exposing you to any further abuse, one he has been enabling with his passivity and avoidance.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Reality is that if things do not significantly improve soon, you would get more psycho-emotionally ill, it would impact your physical health and marriage even more, and nothing would survive this destructive reality, thus somebody has to do something about it. if your husband in unwilling to make changes, then you need to reassess your options and work on what you truly feel you need to do in order to take good care of yourself, integrity, health and well-being.

Customer: i may just try to take him to a therapist
Customer: i may just try to take him to a therapist
may be if someone else said these things to him they would register better
Customer: i may just try to take him to a therapist
may be if someone else said these things to him they would register better
the fact that i say them are seen as selfish interest on my part
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Marriage counseling seems necessary, but if he does not decide to work on his personal and family issues, it could be helpless. he needs to fully acknowledge the core serious issues he and his family have, and choose to work on making necessary changes, otherwise your marriage would deteriorate more and more with time.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I support you, and it does show the need for developing further mutual respect, understanding, caring and support, trust and intimacy in your communication and relationship.

Customer: thank you so much doctor
Customer: i guess i am only looking for some acceptance, your words have really helped
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust. Please take gentle care and consistent action to create the changes and improvements you need and deserve.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am glad to know this has been helpful. Please work on it feeling confident respecting, loving and taking good care of yourself, are your first rights and responsibilities, from there everything else could be built in healthy ways.

Customer: thank you
Customer: i will work on them, i am focusing on making myself happy and doing what is right for me. I just need to focus on becoming stronger and standing by my decision
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please work on developing a healthy support system, constituted by close friends and people who truly happen to respect and care about you, for them to support you, for healthy sharing, venting and mutual support.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You bet!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're welcome.

Customer: have a good day
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You too. Bye for now.

Customer: bye
Customer: bye
Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Bye.

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