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LIVING WITH ASIAN MOTHERS-IN-LAW
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:58:48 PM)

o hear the wives of Asian men talk, they're the mothers-in-law from hell -- tyrannical and nitpicky, with an iron grip on their sons.
     The rap isn't entirely unfounded. Traditional Asian culture holds wives to be subordinate to mothers-in-law. Thus women who suffered long and hard under their MIL's thumbs looked forward to the day when they could rule their sons' wives with the same heavy hand. They expected to dictate how their daughters-in-law cook, clean, shop, educate the grandkids and even over how they dress and wear makeup.
     These days fewer families share a roof with parents. But old mindsets die hard. The expectations of some Asian mothers-in-law seem to have survived into the new millennium. Their ways seem especially terrifying to young wives who grew up in more laissez-faire western culture. The terror is compounded when the MILs appear to impose old-fashioned prejudices on their sons' choice of mates and the way their wives run the household. Stories abound of how otherwise promising marriages have been killed by the old gal's all-seeing evil eyes.
     But are Asian MILs as bad as they say? Maybe they've been getting a bum rap based on the horror stories of the unlucky few. Here's your chance to paint a balanced picture of how awful or wonderful Asian mothers-in-law can be.

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WHAT YOU SAY

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Hahaha.... oh my GOD. As a KA male, I can't help but laugh. Yeah, your MIL is a frigid and silly bitch. I feel sorry for you, and I sent my regards.
God....
   Tuesday, November 12, 2002 at 15:56:35 (PST)    [128.253.186.46]
I don't know about other asian MILs, but my korean MIL is a PITA (pain in the ass)!!!! Some hx, I am taiwanese american, hubby is obviously korean american. We dated for eight yrs, starting in college until we tied the knot 3.5 yrs ago.
Let's just say, she is the one who declared war, not me. After one yr of dating, she took my hubby aside and told him that he could NOT marry me, because SHE needed a korean DIL that she could talk to when she was old!!! We were not even considering marriage at that time! My hubby is usually a mamma's boy, but his mother really ticked him off, and he told her to butt out. Ever since that happened she makes little digs here and there, acts passive agressively towards me or is just plain rude!

Here is an example, my MIL has what I have come to call a, "korean superiority complex." My hubby laughs, but does not deny I am wrong. She is always putting down other asian groups. It makes me very angry that she is such a racist person. She will make remarks like, "chinese food is so unhealthy, everything is deep fried, korean food is so healthy." Keep in mind she loves eating those korean ramen noodle packets that are IMO not that healthy and she would eat an haagen daz ice cream bar everyday!!! She also says things like, "chinese ppl do not know how to dress!" She is a seamstress at a high end men's store and seems to think that she has earned the title of fashion guru. On top of this, she laughs at the way other asians speak english, and will make those noises that a lot of caucasians make when making fun of asian languages!!!! Keep in mind, my MIL's english is just about the worst I have ever encountered, she is worse than most FOBs who have only been in the US for a few years. My MIL has been in the US for 23 yrs, there is no excuse for her poor english. Her english is so bad that even my mom (my parents have been in the US for 30 yrs and have above avg english for immigrants) cannot understand anything that she says!!! My mom just nods politely when my MIL talks. I asked my hubby why his mother did not take any english classes, like my parents did. He said that she went to one class and said it was too hard, so quit! I am sure my parents thought it was hard too, but they did NOT just give up!

She is such a big hypocrite. She is catholic and seems to think that she is angelic because she goes to church. She told me that her friends thought that she was very liberal (NOT!) to "let" her son marry a non-korean and non-catholic!!! On top of that, she never gives up criticizing the way to look and dress. I dress casually, becuase for my job I wear scrubs provided by the hospital, so I do not need to spend a fortune on a wardrobe exclusively made up of ann taylor. I am more of a GAP style person. She is also a liar and very manipulative and selfish. I never realized this until my SIL and I started talking and realized that she would tell us different versions of stories and try to plot us against one another! Since then, my SIL and I do not trust anything that comes out of my MIL's mouth.

My MIL has also tried to get me to undergo plastic surgery! She is so vain (she also tried to get plastic surgery for crows feet, but the surgeon thought she was crazy and wouldn't do it). She says that my eyes are small and that I should get the eyelid surgery (she has had that, and tatoo'd makeup done when she was still in korea, BUT she never told me, SIL told me about it). I couldn't believe it!!! BOTH of her sons have very small eyes, smaller eyes than mine! Why was she pointing her finger at me??? She actually said, "It's too bad your eyes are not bigger, I was hoping that my sons would marry girls with bigger eyes, so my grandchildren will have bigger eyes." It's a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black!

I used to think that my differences with my MIL were cultural/generation gap type issues. However, when my BIL got married to a korean women (she came to the US in her late 20's), I discovered that she feels the same way about my MIL as I do!!! My SIL told me she was embarrassed, because I probably thought that all korean MILs were like this. She says that out of all of the korean MIL stories she has heard, ours is one of the worst case scenarios, even her korean friends from NYC agree.

Lately, I have not had too many run ins with my MIL, but that is only due to the fact that we moved two states away from her (she drove us crazy when we lived close to her). My heart goes out to all of you who have MIL problems, it doesn't matter what race/culture your MIL is, it is a worldwide problem.
DIL stuck with Korean MIL
   Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 18:09:55 (PST)    [64.108.45.50]
I know what its like!!! My MIL is Japanese and she tells my husband that I look better without any body hair, such as arms hair! I`m a latina, we all have hairy arms, but it looks sexy for me!! it's not dark but light blonde on my white arms....like american girls, very sexy and nice!

Go forward, ya'll!!!! No asian MIL will rule my life!!!!!!!!!!!
Mrs.Franchesca Kaneko
hong_ling_tw@yahoo.com    Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 19:29:55 (PDT)    [66.50.25.150]
Somil,
Your story made me so teary-eyed. I am going through something so very similar. And, like your's, my future Asian MIL's behavior is so irrational, I can only conclude that she is an innately evil and selfish person. There is no other explanation that I can see.

I have never met such a selfish and childish adult in all my life. I feel disgusted at the mere thought that I ever even had to encounter such a person. She and her son (my fiance) do not talk at all anymore. He is totally disgusted with her ignorant behavior.

She tries to pretend that the reason she doesn't want us together is because it wouldn't be best for him, when in reality, it's just not best for her, and I'm so sick of her using him to hide behind her own hatred.

I do not expect her to be a part of our lives, nor do I want her hateful hands to ever touch our future children. Unlike your case, my fiance is her only son; her only child. I suspect she lives each day in misery. But as we know, misery loves company, and we refuse to join her!

I feel sorry for my fiance, to have such a "mother". I find it difficult to call her a mother. She's just someone who was fertile enough to bear a child, but certainly not a mother.

What I find so strange about many Asian MILs, is that their love is so very conditional. Conditional upon whether or not their children do exactly what they want them to do and how they want them to do it; They will take their love away from their child, and never even look back. This is so scary to me and I really cannot comprehend it.

Scold your kids when they do wrong or evil things, not when they fall in love with a good person who simply does not look the way you want them to look! This is insanity! My god, where must her priorities in life be!? They take their love away, or run their children away, and go on with their lives as if they never gave birth that day!

My fiance will see a mother, in me, that he has never seen before, and I fear it will make him even more resentful of his own mom.
MIL from HELL
   Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 09:47:40 (PDT)    [165.134.91.59]
I am a 48yo wf married to a am for the past 32 years. my father in law was great he seemed to accept me from the start, but unfortunately he died withing 3 years of our marriage. my mil never accepted me at all. my husband suffered many years of rejection and ridicule all the things the others on this site were subjected to. we have 3 grown children who were also subjected to the same treatment. my husband has 4 siblings who all turned a blind eye and never once offered my husband any assistance whith this problem. needless to say we tried every method known to man to rectify this over the course of our marriage, but to no avail. you see she never acknowledged to my husband or anyone else that she had a problem with us at all. the pain and anguish, not to mention the family disruptions etc caused by all this is indescribable. eventually 3 years ago we left our home town to live 3000 miles away. throughout all these years my husband turned himself insideout trying to resolve it to the detriment of his health. he did something no other asian i know has been able to do, choose his wife and children over his mother. of course this was something he did in his own mind, this was never conveyed in words to his mother. we just moved away, but he sitll kowtowed to her still ringing and sending presents etc. in 32 years we never once received an wedding anniversary card from her. of course we were informed by my husbands siblings that they had. i had one waved in my face once by my asian sister in law. the irony of all this is that my mil just passed away 3 months ago, she died in her sleep, there was no illness or suffering. a few weeks later my husband received notice from the public trustee to advise him his mother left a will. he was surprised, he didnt think she had anything to leave other than jewelery. we received a copy of the will a week or so later, she had quite a lot of jewellery and each piece identified and divided to each daugher by name, this continued for about 20 pieces including old coins etc. there was no mention of my husband at all, it was as if he never existed, the poor thing. i have always felt his pain and now its unbearable. after 32 years she spoke louder in death than she did in life, for that matter she was also more honest. at least her will acknowledged the fact that she had a problem with our marriage. enough to cut her son out and make the rest of his life miserable. yes i wish there was a pill for mil i better still there should be one for their sons to take. i know what we did and what we sacrificed for my mil to no avail i truely believe this woman was evil.
somil
   Tuesday, October 15, 2002 at 17:31:34 (PDT)    [211.26.83.34]
Hank,
Your story made me laugh so hard that I think I woke Nathan from his nap! Shhh! that was hilarious! Way to go Helena!
One thing also that my in-laws do that they think is so cute is if Nathan says their names they give him money. Now, I do not condone this, but when I tried to say something, MIL got all offended. I tried to explain to her that when he says something or does it correctly, that praise and clapping or just saying "good!" is what is best.

After repeatedly explaining this to no end and only getting a cold look and whispered AIYA"SSS!!! with disapproving looks thrown my way. I now tell them to give me the money and I put it in his piggy bank, since they refuse to listen and co-operate with me.

I guess it is typical of them..try to buy some love and reinforce the belief that material is more important than emotional at all costs. I think a hug would be the best reward of all.
hannybunbun
   Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 12:45:12 (PDT)    [207.172.11.148]
Hannybunbun:

Ouch! Different people or cultures have different ways of expressing things. My Dad especially was one who espoused the "motivation to succeed through harsh criticism" approach when I was growing up--nothing is never good enough, even if you get straight A's, etc. Yeah, I succeeded, but resented him so badly I didn't speak to him for over a year after I finished graduate school and started living in "the Real World."

This kind of woke him up and made him really change his tune. His approach with his granddaughter and his daughter in law has been more like my mother's was with me--praise everything that's good and give lots of encouragement in areas where there are difficulties.

Julie's gripe is that her Mom and Dad praise Helena, and me, but only criticise her. It's a lot easier to praise a grandchild or someone who's not your own flesh and blood, while it's a lot easier to criticise your family. At least my Dad learned the effects his harsh approach had on me and has taken a different tack with his granddaughter:

Helena was sitting on his lap recently, and Dad looked at her saying "Little girl, do realize how educated your family is? Both your Grandpas have PhDs, both your Grandmas have Masters' degrees, your mommy is a CPA, your daddy has Two Master's Degrees and is both a professor and an actuary, your uncle is an Attorney, one of your Aunts has a BBA and is an office manager while your other Aunt has an MA and runs a museum. What do you think about that?" Helena smiled and ripped a loud fart, which made Dad laugh and say "Is that what you think of me?" Obviously old age has helped him find his sense of humor. I hope your in-laws will do the same.
Hank Lewis
   Wednesday, October 09, 2002 at 06:55:34 (PDT)    [161.159.4.35]
To hannybunbun and all other non-Asian women:

Welcome to the Asian world....where nothing you do is ever good enough.
sad truth
   Tuesday, October 08, 2002 at 22:13:30 (PDT)    [64.130.204.9]

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