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Difficult situation- please help!

Discussion in 'Relationship With In-Laws' started by Sarnika, May 5, 2010.

  1. Sarnika

    Sarnika New IL'ite

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    If someone can help me make sense of my situation and offer sound advice, I'd really appreciate it. I'll try to be brief.

    It's been months since I've been job hunting after graduation with no luck. I was recently told by my family that I had to find a job and live with them (older siblings) until I get married. If I were to live on my own, then my parents would live with me. If I decided to do anything else, then basically I would receive no support and be disowned. Living with my family is not good because they are difficult to live with and in one sense, toxic. I say this because I am emotionally drained and wrecked with having to put up with them for years, and it has affected all aspects of my life. I come from a strict Christian Indian background, so I'm not allowed to mingle with people outside of church, make my own decisions, be independent or live life the way I want. It's a very depressing and controlled life that I lead, and I'm unbearably miserable. Though my time in college was tough, it was the only good time I had away from home, where I had a chance to make mistakes, learn and grow. Honestly speaking, I've never experienced the kind of support or comfort of a family. All I've gotten over the years is criticism, guilt trips and disapproval of every decision I've made and interests I've wanted to pursue.

    My question is, what do I do to improve things? I've tried talking to my family, but they shut me down by saying the problems exist because I'm rebellious. There's just no reasoning with them. Several times I've thought of going to my college town, staying with a friend or two for couple months, taking up any job, and trying to be independent. If I do this, I would be cutting off my bond with the family. I can never set foot in our church again, face the people we know, or find a good Christian husband. I feel like I need to be away from this environment to help myself heal, mingle with other people, and try to build a career. I feel so torn, and I'm wondering if this is worth losing face and my family? Do you think eventually they would come around, if they see that I succeed and I'm doing okay? But it's my fear that with no real world experience and them constantly telling me that if I don't do what they say, that I'll fail. I'm so confused, I don't know what to think or do.

    Please help me figure out what to make of this, understand what's true and what's not, and practical steps I can take to help myself.
     
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  2. Spiderman1

    Spiderman1 Gold IL'ite

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    I feel very sorry for you Sarnika. Thats a toxic enviroment.

    Anyway - if someone feels sorry for you, it may make matters worse. So, forget all the sorry.

    You can do it girl. You will come out with flying colors. Believe in yourself. From your post, I can see that you are a smart and intelligent girl with a lot of potential and talent. Trust yourself.


    1. Can you contact someone in your church? Some senior person who has the reach to talk to your parents...have a counseling with them and tell them your issues. Or maybe even from another church.

    2. If someone can like that can explain things better to your parents, maybe there is a chance they can see another point of view.

    Let me think if there are other ideas, while you take a look at the above option. Somehow I feel a sense of connection with your situation and I want to give you ideas to free yourself and at the same time still retaining bond with your parents/siblings. Maybe because you remind me of the days when I was graduating from college and had dreams/fears mixed in.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  3. asuitablegirl

    asuitablegirl Gold IL'ite

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    I can tell from your post that you sincerely want to be independent and take responsibility for your own life choices. Good for you. It is hard being caught in two worlds.... yours, the educated and newly modernized young person's world... and your parents, the traditional Indian, devout Christian world. Definitely a tough place to be!

    My suggestion would be, at first stay with your siblings while you are looking for a job. Chances are, they are close to your age and are more leniant and modernized than your parents.

    Then I would start looking for fantastic jobs outside of the area you live. When you land one of these fantastic jobs, go to your parents and tell them about the opportunity. Explain to them that it's an opportunity you weren't able to find in your hometown, and hence you will need to move to accept the job, and subsequently live on your own, since they nor your siblings live in this new place. I think they will accept your independence better if you do it for a job's sake, than doing it for independence sake itself.

    If none of that works, you have to make a decision. Do you want to change yourself to fit into their world and keep the peace? Or are you willing to risk your parent's and church's wrath in order to live the life you want? Neither answer is right or wrong, it all depends on what is possible for you to do, and what you value most. For some people, finding their own way in the world and exploring life is the most important. For others it is fitting in and maintaining the peace of 'the group'. Different things bring different people happiness.

    You need to take a minute and think what you want, what would make you happy in the LONG RUN, and what you are willing to sacrifice.

    And think through it rationally without making too many sweeping assumptions. Yes, your parents may be mad if you live on your own. But I bet if they are NORMAL, SANE parents, they would not stay mad at you forever or disown you for it. In time, most parents come to accept that their child has become an adult. But if they refuse to let you live your life or grow as an adult... you need to think whether those are the type of people you really need in your life anyways.

    But most of all, you have to have confidence. You have to BELIEVE in yourself, your plans, your decisions, your goals. And if you fail, which you might, you have to be ready to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again. Being successful doesn't happen overnight. It takes confidence and hard work. 'The Real World' isn't for the faint of heart. Life is tough. But you know what, success happens everyday. Everyday, a new person achieves their dream or tastes victory. It's just a matter of how bad you want it.

    This is America Sarnika. Anything is possible. :thumbsup
     
  4. Spiderman1

    Spiderman1 Gold IL'ite

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    Yes ASG. The sincerity and maturity of Sarnika just touches my heart. A young person shouldering problems in her life, but trying to go about it in a mature way. Hats off Sarnika, believe me you are going to do really well in life.

    I just read this thread, and instantly felt a connection. Can't explain it.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  5. Sarnika

    Sarnika New IL'ite

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    Thank you to Spiderman1 and asuitablegirl for your reply. Your encouraging words made me cry, it's not so often I get positive feedback being in this situation.

    Unfortunately, I can't go to anyone in my church for support. Most people in my church think like my parents, but my family by far are the extreme. Women are taught to be submissive and tolerant of everything, no matter what happens. With that said, if I were to consult my pastor, he would never go against my parents. Unless my family is stopping me from doing something in favor of the church or God's work, or I'm being physically abused, I can pretty much expect no help from them.

    My siblings are much older than me, like 15 years gap. They're old-school, and if anything, they're at times worse than my parents. Living with them would mean going to work, coming home, going to church on weekends, and that's it- nothing more to my life. I can't mingle with people other than from church, go anywhere I like, wear clothes I like, or go to the movies just to relax. I have no break from the drama at home, and I have no outlet. I fear for my mental well-being, I don't want to get to a point where I give up on myself because I did that before. It took a long time to recover, and still recovering because it messed me up bad.

    My last resort of saving myself from this situation was the job. Now I'm told that if I move away for a job, my parents will come to live with me. They're not willing to compromise, they're convinced that I'm not trustworthy, and that I'm doing wrong. I'm wondering if they're doing all this to prevent me from running off with someone and disgracing them? Because it seems they're so bent on what other people think. But that's ironic because if I am forced to leave, then I would have to find my own partner. Since marriages are arranged through the church, I could never find a Christian husband. Besides, word would spread that I'm a horrible person, that no Indian family would want their son to marry me anyway.

    I guess as of now, I'll have to suck it up and stay here until a job pans out soon. I will insist that I want to live on my own, and I should brace myself to deal with the problems that will undoubtedly result. I just desperately wish I could shake off my fears, and be able to discern what's true and what's not. My family brought me up in such a way that I don't trust anyone and I live in fear that if I stray from what's expected of me, that God will punish me or that I'll mess up. You see, it's not just working up the nerve to make decisions for my life, but also dispelling false notions. When it comes to that, I have no clue where to begin or what to think.
     
  6. Spiderman1

    Spiderman1 Gold IL'ite

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    Sarnika,
    1. Do you have any other relatives Uncle/Aunt etc who can support you?

    2. Are you in the US (looks like yes) - what sort of crazy church in US is imposing this? Anyway thats besides the point, some crazy place is doing it is all that matters.


    3. Do you have friends you can turn to for help if you go for a job away from parents/siblings?


    4. I feel Sarnika if you go for a job (even away from them) and become successful - eventually after some years they will reconcile with you. Dont worry you will also find a good hubby.


    Hang on Sarika, you will be ok. Lets see if other IL-ites come up with more suggestions. I'll repeat again - Be proud of what you have achieved so far, and believe in yourself.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  7. Sarnika

    Sarnika New IL'ite

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    Thank you Spiderman1. I do hope people will contribute ideas.

    1) I don't think my Aunt/Uncle will help me. Due to some tensions between the parents, they're not really close. Also, I think my relatives would be afraid to take my side out of fear. They would not want to go against my parents, and if something happens to me, or I fail somehow, they would not want to be blamed.

    2) I am in the U.S.

    3) I have a few friends in the area I went to school in. If I were to get a job there, they would allow me to stay for a couple months till I get on my own feet.

    4) That's reassuring to hear, it is my hope that the family will come around.

    I was wondering if there are any resources specifically for Indian women, young people like me who are starting out on their own- to receive support/mentoring, financial, legal advice, and such? There's nothing that I know of, and it just made me wonder what battered and abused Indian women in the States do if they need help? I hate to even think what it's like to be in their shoes....
     
  8. asuitablegirl

    asuitablegirl Gold IL'ite

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    Sarnika,

    One thing I would like to address. You have mentioned numerous times your concern about "not being able to find a Christian husband" if you break off from your family. Please don't think your church and all other Christian men are the same. If you live on your own, it's true, men from your super conservative Christian church might not marry you. HOWEVER, there are many many many other Christian men in the US who are devout AND modern. Men who would have more in common with you and share your views. Really Sarnika, you are not happy now in this orthodox family, what makes you think you would be happy marrying an orthodox man from your church someday?? I think you would be better off making your own way in the world, and then letting love happen naturally, with a guy who shares your values. JMO.

    As for how to support yourself.... get a job, if need be get a roommate, and initially save your money for an emergency. After you have situated yourself and saved up an emergency fund, you will feel more secure living on your own.
     
  9. APassionateOne

    APassionateOne New IL'ite

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    Dear Sarnika, I hear you girl. With such parents (They are exact clones of my best friend's parents in college), rebelling messes up everything. The trick is in making them understand and come out of their conservative madness.

    Here is what I think you can do. If you have girls (NOT BOYS/MEN) from your community or your neighborhood or your college, who have good education, good jobs, settled well, who talk and think maturely - befriend them. Do not pour out your grievances to them, but meet them and spend time with them. And then start inviting them to your home, when your parents are home. Hint your friends to include the benefits of girls independence, freedom, 'sense of self' in their conversations with your parents. It would also help if any of those girls with bad run by these conservative marriages and restrictive upbringing can share their experiences with your parents and indirectly make them realize that being restrictive and uptight won't assure that you'll necessarily have a good life.

    They have to realize (one way of the other) that young people who are kept in tight vigilance are the ones who try hard to break the chains and go do the worst things imaginable.

    My best friend in college had the similar story. Her dad didn't trust her. With every blank call and every guy glancing at their house, HELL would break loose. And in spite of all this, she would go out with guys when her dad was not looking (just out of vengeance). It was a train on a wrong track. After we (4 other girls) became friends and started showing up at their home often and studying hard at their home during exams and talking more freely to her dad (He and I talked more openly, then he and my friend did), he slowly loosened his grip. She began to breathe for the first time. The final year was a blast. Her dad himself arranged a farewell party at their home (with beer and wine in INDIA!!!!!) and gave us permission to invite all the boys and girls in our class. It was such a turn around! It was good to see her happy like that.

    Things will work out. Don't loose heart. You'll see, all this will be a thing of past and you will be leading a very happy life a few years down the lane. Good Luck.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  10. Vidya21

    Vidya21 Senior IL'ite

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    Sarnika,

    After reading your post, I was reminded of a lot of things; it struck a chord somewhere, and I just wanted to stop by with a few lines that came to my mind: it is the old old poem by Frost:

    "... yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood and I-
    I
    took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

    There is always going to be uncertainty in stepping out of your comfort zone. Hats off to you for having the courage and maturity to want to do that.

    Take small steps, and others have suggested some excellent ways to do that.

    I see so many threads on the forum relating to personal freedom, it is something fundamental we all crave and there is really no reason why someone should not be living their lives the way they want it. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010

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