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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Time to say 'No'

Be warned that this post has nothing to do with food. Seldom have I posted negativity in this blog. But I think it is time for me to certain things off my chest. It has been weighing on me too long that I have no will to blog of other stuff at all. I do not know if this post will draw any flak. All I ask is that if you find this post offensive, don’t read it. Allow me to vent my emotions on my own blog. I do not expect you to walk in my shoes or feel how I felt.

1) Have your parents been humiliated by your in laws during the wedding preparation?
2) During the wedding dinner, your parents were being treated as if invisible?
3) Till this day, they had never spoken to each other because your in laws think your parents are holed up in 3 room flat?
4) Have your parents been accused of as snobs when the real snobs are your in laws?
5) Despite meeting your in laws only during Chinese New Year, it can still become a circus act, gossips that followed months and months later?
6) Over a period of 7 years, your daughter met her ‘so-called’ grandfather on 7 to 9 occasions?
7) You do not even know where your in laws live?
8) Have your joy of a first time mother doused with words like, ‘I already have 4 grandchildren’?
9) Have your pride of a first time home owner being trampled upon, just because you could only afford a HDB flat?
10) Your sis in law returned and insisted a bigger ang bao for her kids even though your husband was jobless and relied on your income at that time?
11) Your sis in law gave your kids clothes so worned out that even your helper didn't even want them?
12) Your sis in law gave big packets sweets and chocolates to your kids which were so close to expiry dates?
13) Have your calls for help being answered only a year later when the crisis was over, and that they came questioning if what you said a year ago were true?
14) Despite of all these, they expect you to fulfill your obligations to them when the need arises?

As the verse went, ‘A time to kill, a time to heal’. And this is my time, a time to say ‘No’. A relative from IH’s side said, ‘Do not have pride, forget and forgive and life is all about relationship, do not deprive the kids of their grandparents.’ Well, I would like to tell this self righteous relative, who has never been married, never had in laws like mine and whose womb never nurtured a child to hold her tongue.

Do not have pride - It is not about pride; it is dignity. My parents definitely did not raise me up just be treated like that. I did not receive education to be treated like that. I did not have children just so you could treat them like the way you people did.

Forgive and forget - It is so easy for you to say 'forgive and forget' when you are not at the receiving end. You may request, but the choice is up to me. In the first place, there wasn't any apology.

Life is all about relationship, do not deprive the kids of their grandparents - All their lives, my children have only known and loved one set of grandparents. At the age of 4, Ah Girl told my dad that 'the other old man' is not her grandfather because he doesn't love her. Upon hearing those words, how would a mother feel? My MIL was so indifferent towards Ah Girl and Ah Boy, perhaps they didn't even know she is the grandmother. What relationship? How can one be deprived of something which they never knew they had? My kids don't even want to be carried by them or speak to them. To them, my in laws are nothing more than strangers. Whatever love they couldn't give, my parents gave, my aunts and uncle gave, unconditionally.

There was death in the family recently and so the drama unfolds. I refused to attend the funeral and told IH that the kids are too young to go. It took them 7 years and a funeral to remember that they have a daughter in law and grandchildren somewhere. 冰封三尺,非一日之寒。If they expect instant reconciliation, they are mistaken. I may be married to IH but I am not enslaved to him or his family. I have the same earning power, I stand on even ground. Being an outcast for so long, I refuse surrender my freedom. I do not want to waste my energy on my in laws anymore. Out of sight, out of mind. I am fine as long as they stop bothering me. I am not stopping them to see the kids; that is if they ever bothered to. But don't expect me to play nice, that's hypocrisy. Brand me unfilial, unforgiving, vindictive, I don't care. I insist, call me Madam, not Missus. I do not want to carry his family name for I am my own master.


tia said...

Hello Rei.

I've been following your blog since 2008 and never commented, but I feel that it is time to do so now. I love your recipes and your blog helped me a great deal with my chiffon cakes. I want to thank you for this.

I couldn't help noticing the personal trouble you were in but felt that I, as a complete outsider, was not to comment on that. Your post today however changed my mind.

In my opinion, you are completely right in feeling no obligation towards your in-laws & family concerning your children. They don't seem like open-minded or even friendly people and by showing no interest at all over the last years clearly made their point. I hardly believe that their opinion has suddenly changed. These beautiful children are YOUR children. These children are your family, not your in-laws. If the kids shy away from their grandparents, so be it. The possibility of establishing a real bond like with their "real" grandparents is probably very small. It makes me sad that your husband seems to offer you no help or understanding. I hope you find your way.

I want to send you a smile and a hug from another part of the world. Keep strong!

wanwan said...

Well Said! If they can't be bothered, why should you? A relationship happens only when both parties are willing and involved. But if that's not the case, then what relationship is there to speak of?

A woman should never be inferior or weaker than the man! And it is always your own parents and family that will treasure you more than anything else in the world! :)

Cheer up! Cos you'll always know your family will always be behind you! :)

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Rei,
I empathised with what you have gone through. You are truly a very independant mother, a very strong woman. And I totally agree with you are doing. It's good to pen down your thoughts and share. I'm sure when your children grow up, they will appreciate what you have done for them, despite not having a good marriage, but being a true mother! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I have been following your blog for a while now and have always been the annoymous reader. But this post of yours pushed me to finally drop a word of encouragement.
You are definitely your own master and as long as you are answerable to your own conscience, you take good care of your family and kids, you DO NOT owe ANYONE any explanation. No one can make you do or think otherwise. If your self righteous relative is so wise, so be it, let them be the wise one then. Everyone has their own lives to lead. Forgiveness is indeed a virtue but it cannot be coerced otherwise it's not genuine. Rather be true to yourself than live in misery just so to live up to someone else's expectation for they are not living your life for you.

jnifur said...

I agree hands and legs up with you post. Especially this --> Do not have pride - It is not about pride; it is dignity. My parents definitely did not raise me up just be treated like that. I did not receive education to be treated like that. I did not have children just so you could treat them like the way you people did.

Forgive and forget - It is so easy for you to say 'forgive and forget' when you are not at the receiving end. You may request, but the choice is up to me. In the first place, there wasn't any apology.

These 2 paragraphs are something that I have repeated to some other people somewhere. 5 years ago, My husband's relatives gatecrash my wedding. Up to now, I am still sore about it. I will not kick up a fuss now of course, but these people are not sorry about it at all.
I fully know what is it llike though I have no kids yet.

Take care rei


terri@adailyobsession said...

i wish i could talk to you in person. i understand, i had in laws problems as well. but as i'm older now, i also emphasize n understand why they act as they do, altho tt doesn't mean i support these actions. i wish things'll be better for you. beneath all the anger and snobbery, your in laws are just old fashioned 'jang bei' who really want a relationship with your family, esp the grandchildren.

hate the actions, not the people. see beyond what they are doing. usually ppl who hurt you r ppl who are angry n hurt themselves.

~~吳大娘 - 吳懿恩, 吳懿倖和吳勇樂的母亲大人~~ said...

Hi Rei,

Hope you remember me .. I order my kiddos birthday cakes from you twice :)

Anyway, after reading your post, I can understand how you feel coz though my relationship with my in-laws are not that bad but we have had our up and down too ...

During preparation of my own wedding, there was alot of unspoken rules from that side that we had to follow .. even to the extent that they have to control what my parents asked for from the grooms side (dun need to give the pig trotters canned food lah.. nobody eat it nowadays ..) etc .. to me, why you bother if any of my relative eat the pig trotters canned food, if that's what my parents want, just give it to them..

When I was pregnant with my gers and broke news to them that I was having twins ... they did not seem excited at all and this was their first grandchild in their family .. when we brought them along for my prenancy checks at my gynae and they saw for themselves that there were really twins inside of me, this was their reaction, " 哇,真的是双胞胎阿" I was so pissed .. you mean all along, you were doubting us?

When I was left to fend for myself, taking care of my gers and housework while Hubby was at work and one day I fell ill with high fever and they happen to be at our house, when I asked and nearly begged for their help as Hubby was unable to take leave the following day and I was really too sick to carry on taking care of my gers, this was what they told me, "I also can't take leave" ..

Sometimes, it's not that we do not want to forgive and forget .. but it's that 一口气真的太难忍了 .. but for the sake of my hubby coz I do not want him to be sandwich between me and his parents, I try to turn a blind eye wheneven I can .. unless things turn out of hand then I would interfere

So go ahead and vent it all out .. you would feel better after that :)

ultimately, why let people like them spoil your mood .. be happy ..

Triic said...

Good for you! Your kids should be your 1st priorty!

Anonymous said...

been reading your blog for the recipes, and smtimes i read your past entries on personal stuffs, family matters. so sorry to hear that you have such terrible in-laws, and i guess a not very supportive and helpful husband (my impression fr yr past entries). stay strong for yourself and for your 2 adorable kids. you definitely deserve better treatmt fr them. HUGS!

Anonymous said...

You have every right to break away from your in-laws, and your husband needs to step up and tell his family to get a life--he should be defending you. And as for forgive and forget, something I read several years ago dispelled that myth for me: If it's big enough to require forgiveness, you probably won't be able to forget it. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

hi i know at the same time you are sad too. pls take care,

Cookie said...

If truth be told, I ever secretly wonder why you can be somewhat "callous" in some of your older posts... and it is all explained now.

I am fortunate to have very supportive and understanding uin-laws, so I may be petronalising if I say "I know how you feel".

I hope you continue to look at the positive side of your life - having great siblings and kids to give you all the love you so deserve!!!


Haru said...

If it is any consolation I have a rough idea of how you feel. My partners mother and older sister can be so vindictive and hurtful for no reason. Especially the sister.
Be happy and strong knowing you have your children and your husband and that's all that matters :)

Katherine said...

Hey Rei

Hope u remember me... kat who recently emailed you? Just wanna say CHILL DOWN!!! I kindda understand this situation as my aunt (living in your block)kind of had the same problem as you. Not really good at giving advise and I think you definitely don want advise now, but just wanna say I hear you and you will be in my thoughts.

You are a person with deep thoughts... I'm pretty sure end of the day you will walk out proudly.

hazel said...

i'm sure you have thought about a divorce, what's the reason for holding back? is it because of kids?

Gina Choong said...

Rei, I have known a few close friends who have the same problem like yours. Sigh..even my best friend has parents in law with whom she address them as "devils from hell" :( All I can say is "Live for your kids, be the mother to them as yours have been with you. As long as you bring your kids up properly, in the ethnically way, that's the best you can do for now. Only God can decide and punish those who make life a hell for us. God Bless you..I am always on your side. :)

MoB said...

I think it is natural for you to feel this way. Sorry to hear about such unhappiness. But forgive for the sake of your own heart. Hope things improve one day.

lil' said...

Hi Rei,

Sounds like you had been feeling very frustrated with what's been happening.. This must be a very tough and painful time for you. Keeping you in prayer.


Anonymous said...

you are right. we cant please everyone. important is to please yourself first.

Anonymous said...

I could u/std ur situation / feeling as per your list - most of them happened to me too. It is so true that ppl want us to follow their lifestyle and when we refused, we are labelled anti is good that u know your parents love u and u hv 2 adorable take care..

friend said...

Let the kids decide for themselves whether they want a closer relationship with ur in-laws. Do your part as a daughter in law and offer your kids an opportunity to meet them. But if they decide against it, then leave it. If your in laws choose not to love them. It's their decision. At least you do your part.

I can empathise with you cos I'm not close with my in-laws as well and do have some minor issues. But do not leave your kids a chance to blame you for not giving them the chance to have another set of grandparents. And most imptly, do not give them the example that they can do this to you in future.

You may not want to carry on ur IH's family name, but don't forget that ur kids came from him as well.

Rei said...

I would like to thank all for your words of encouragement. This issue has been bothering me for a long time. It is hard to put it to words as I do not think one could understand without knowing the full story. What I mentioned here is tip of the iceberg. There are too many underlaying issues which I do not feel comfortable enough to reveal.

First I need to clarify that I did not stop my kids from meeting them, ever. My inlaws chose not to. Thus I in turn chose not to meet them as well. Every CNY, it came to a point whereby the issue of visiting inlaws or not triggers more than unhappy thought. It was depressing. Recent years, the kids visited them during CNY with IH, sans me. The only time I totally objected was when IH brought them to my FIL's birthday dinner, 3 weeks after his grandfather passed away. I thought it was inappropriate. They were supposed to be mourning, not partying. This is just an example of them manipulating. Whenever the tradition or customs befit them, they demand you to follow. If not, they create a new rule.

Divorce is certainly on the cards and on my mind constantly. But things are complicated, not only because of kids. I want IH to be responsible for certain things he did. Divorce would be an easy way out. No doubt the kids are his as well but as a father, he had it easy, in terms of raising and providing for them.

And to Anon of June 25, 2010 3:44 PM. I like this : "If it's big enough to require forgiveness, you probably won't be able to forget it."

I would also like to thanks those who have written me emails sharing their experiences.

Yenny said...

Hi Rei...

Be strong, I do understand your feeling. I also have problem with my in laws. I think they are just selfish people. Before I got married, I thought 2 different families should have been nice to each other, that's why they become family...but now I understand that they are rubbish...

I can't change them but I only can tell myself be strong and believe there is a freedom in the future.

Again, be strong..


Anne said...

Take Care! *hugz*

Reira said...

Hi Rei,

Got to your blog while browsing KC forum.

I am in a situation similiar to yours but I think it is not as bad. I hate my inlaws because of how they treat me. Well, they loved to pick every little thing that I does or didnt do which they dont like and nagged at my hubby about it. I am not good with words & description. How I describe it might be simple matters but it caused both my hubby & I to quarrel often when we were living at their flat. When I scolded my inlaws for it, they blame the way my hubby bring the message to me. I know my hubby, he is not the type that will make things worst. Infact, he bottled everything up till he couldnt take it anymore. My hubby hates them for all that they had done to our family.

Thank god it is over as we just moved into our own flat 2 months ago. My FIL commented to us that we are stupid to purchase our own flat and bind ourselves with loans.

Since we moved out, I've been telling hubby that he no longer have to see their face and listen to whatever they demand. He no longer need to see them everyday and hear their nagging even when in the toilet! Especially they know how to deal with hubby & forced him to do whatever they want which caused him stress.

Fortunate ppl out there might not be able to understand how you feel especially those that treat us badly are treating them with love.

Personally I think the most important in the family are the kid's parents. Hope your relationship with your hubby is not affected by all these.

Airen-chan said...

Hi Rei, I have been your silent reader for quite sometime. I think we are in the same boat, the only different is yours is with you in-law but mine is with my family. Anyway after reading your article, I think you are doing the right thing. You have to live to your own expectation and not the expectation of others. I wouldn't blame you if you had an attitude similar to "why should I please you if you are not worth my time and effort."
It good that you finally let all your pent up emotions.
Kind Regards

quixotic said...

Well spoken.
Forgive and forget is easy for people to say but not do. To forgive doesn't mean one has to forget. And some people do not deserve forgiveness. And even if one is to forgive, one should never forget - what would one learn then? repeat the mistake of being used and abused again?
People have to be nice and good to people period. Not when they need help or favours.

Good for you for sticking to you guns!

Anonymous said...

Rei, you're right to stand up for yourself and not be bullied and manipulated by so called "family"

May the Creator give you wisdom, courage and strength to make the right decisions in these difficult situations.

Take care

By the way, thank you very much for sharing your recipes. I really enjoy reading your website.

PutuPiring from KC said...

Dear Rei,
Do vent out you will feel better. have you had a serious heart to heart with your husband??? Would he agree to seek marriage counselling?? Maybe if he had been forced to " see" what's happening to his family he might see everything in a differnt light??? I hope you guys can work everything out otherwise its not good to have your kids see you in pain everyday. I assume your in- laws are Japanese (?) if so there are many many in your shoes. Maybe talk to your hubby then have a family meeting (with your hubby's support) to clear things up, maybe its cultural differences?? I Hope you can sort out all this but whatever dont let those people make you bitter, live your life for yourself and your kids. This is the first time I saw your blog hope I'm not too presumptious to add my 2 cents worth. Take care, lots of people are rooting for you
Quote you : [[I want IH to be responsible for certain things he did }} Is it really worth it to keep suffering just to make him be responsible???

naomi said...

This is my first time here and first I have to say your dishes are lovely.

Secondly, this post is all too familiar, but it is my family who is the snobby one. I have seen my not so nice mother talk down to my sister in law (whom I adore) while my brother quietly and obdiently stands by and lets my mother talk to his wife as such.

This along with other reasons, I no longer associate with my family and have cut them out of my life. They are snobs and look down on me and my son.

Since they show no respect, they get no respect. I chose to cut them out of my life along with my son's life.

I applaud your bravery and your strong stance.

Administrator said...

Hi there,

I just chanced upon your blog and read this very post. Though I do not have a set of in-laws anywhere close to yours, I can somewhat relate to it through sharing the experiences of others. I sympathise with you and I hope that you are able to cope better with time.

I dont feel that you are at the wrong. There are many people out there who judge others purely based on material possessions which in my view, is not right. You hang in there, the Lord will make it right for you. Justice prevails. Just have faith and pray.

Take good care,