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Role of Family members in Sikhism

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:04 pm
by JennG
Hi all. I am a white American lady married to a Sikh man for 15 years. I am wondering what the role of my husband's parents should be in his life. They live in Malaysia while we live in America and have a 12 year old daughter. His parents are wonderful people and have always been accepting of me. They have visited us and we go to see them, unfortunately not very often. I was always raised that your spouse should come first, then your children when young, then your parents when they are old. But at all times the spouse is first. As the youngest of 6 and only boy, I know my husband (45yrs old) feels obligated to take care of his aging parents (78 and 85). I think he feels guilty for not being with them. They don't want to move here and they don't want us to move there as the lifestyle in America is better.
My husband has always valued his parents first and I have never been 1st in his life. He has consistently made me feel like I'm not good enough. This has progressively gotten worse in the last year and we are now filing for divorce for many reasons including that he has been financially, emotionally and mentally abusive. To the extent that I felt so small and worthless in Feb and tried to commit suicide (I trully wanted to die because of what he said to me). I have since gone to counseling and have a better self esteem and have stopped allowing him to treat me badly. Our daughter has seen it all and won't talk to him since he moved out a month ago. As our daughter noticed, he progressively got worse with me as I got better.

So long story, but my main question is....what does sikhism teach about priority of a spouse in a marriage? Spouse 1st or parents?

Re: Role of Family members in Sikhism

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:27 pm
by gurmail
Husband and wife are one. There is no first and no second.
I am puzzled. Parents don't want to move and they don't want you to move. Then how does first/second come into the equation?
Is it that Your husband sends financial help to his parents? Is that the root cause of difficulties in your marriage?

Re: Role of Family members in Sikhism

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:03 pm
by Superstar
You two should be working together. There is no reason for this to become such a big issue. If his parents didn't step in and stop him from mistreating you, they aren't very good parents either unless they have no clue what he has been up to. I don't have exact details of the situation but based on what you are saying, your husband is having problems and he also needs major help. His ego might be too much for him to admit.

Re: Role of Family members in Sikhism

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:18 am
by JennG
Thank you for the reply. That is basically what I thought, that a wife and husband is a partnership. This is one of the main issue in our relationship. He has never completely treated me as a partner. He has told me in the past his parents are 1st in his mind. He doesn't send them money as they don't need it. He just always kind of throws the relationship in my face. He always acts like family is super important (which it is), but it is always his family and not mine. He likes to throw the fact in my face that I don't talk to my mother - haven't in 17 years, she is as emotionally abusive as he is (they do say you marry what you know!), and my last straw was when she tried to manipulate my 6 year old daughter against me (she's now 23 met her grandma at age 19 and doesn't want to talk to her either). I didn't have the best family experience growing up ... dad died when I was 2, step dad abusive alcoholic when I was 3 to 8, mother always emotional, etc. So he likes to throw all that in my face. I have one sister (we are close) and she has two daughters. The man I was super close to and considered my dad died in 2015. He even will only say our daughter has 5 aunts (his sisters) and forget about mine. He always acts like his family is so perfect (when they aren't... I have seen his sister's kids curse at their parents). The other main issue is his mentality towards money.... it has always been "his" money vs "my" money. I have always told him it is our. He makes $100k a year and acts like he has not money, only good thing about it is I won't be financially screwed over in the divorce as we live in Texas and it's a community property state. He has tons of money saved and we have no debt, house is mortgage free and he has already paid off cars bought in 2017 and 2019 worth $60k. He has always made me pay my half... I used to be able to work full time, so it never really bothered me. But when we moved back to Texas from Oklahoma in 2017 for his job, I wasn't working due to my health (have fibromyalgia). At that time, we sold our house in Oklahoma using the equity (I always paid extra to get the house paid off sooner... but he always just paid his half! I'm pretty frugal as well as I didn't grow up with a lot of money, but still was able to make up to almost $100k per year when I was working). And we both chipped in half of our savings to be able to pay off the rest of the house in Texas as he wanted to be mortgage free to make sure that no matter if I wasn't able to work due to my health, that we would be fine financially. Our house is not really considerably expense (we paid $220k). He always acts like he makes no money. Even once we moved, I was still paying for so many things and went through all my savings. He kept encouraging me to get a job. I worked some in the last year (didn't work the 1st 6th months after move), but am constantly exhausted and often in pain. One minute he tells me to rest and he's supportive of my condition and the next he tells me that I have made up my condition.... really? Like you don't see me exhausted and in pain for days at a time! He did pay all the bills for the house (which I now have to pay since we are legally separated). He has constantly threatened to stop paying the bills or telling me I need to pay my half. He has refused to give me access to his bank account, yet I put him on mine after we were married (but he only used for like the first 6 months). And refused to pay for "my" expense (doctors bills, etc), saying I have more money than him.... that doesn't eve make sense since I haven't worked since May. I have learned in the past few months that is all financial abuse. He has an unhealthy obsession with money. Even our daughter noticed he analyzes everything when we go to the grocery store. I don't get his mentality. I don't think that is a Sikh or Indian trait as his sister's families don't have issues spending money. I am really starting to think his family raised a covert or introverted narcissist. Being the only male and youngest of 6, I think he was coddled growing up even though they didn't have a lot of money either. Probably you could consider both our families as lower middle class growing up. He never thinks he does anything wrong, blames me for everything. Doesn't have any close friends outside of 2 he grew up with in Malaysia who he rarely talks to (which I've always thought was super weird). Even my daughter's friend's mom noticed he seems to care way too much about what other people think. He is always oversensitive about teasing and any criticism. Anything I remotely say that I don't like about his behavior, his family, his cooking being too spicy for me to eat, I am then accused of belittling him and putting him down or that I hate his family. It has gotten so ridiculous. Over the years he has constantly threatened to leave me in some manner when we argue (go back to Malaysia, separate, divorce)... I am realizing that is emotional manipulation/abuse. As I started to realize things from going through full time outpatient mental therapy from beg of March to end of April (I went back to work for a week and couldn't handle it so quit..get that thrown in my face too even though he said when we moved to Texas I could stop working) about how I was negatively treating/reacting to him and started to adjust my actions, talking nicer and not react to his words and telling him I didn't want to be talked to that way (crazy, bad mother, etc) he slowly got worse (even our 11 year old daughter noticed this). I think he has been gas-lighting me for a long time. I really think he lacks empathy. I don't know if it's because he's an Indian male (like my Indian PCP said when I told her some of what has been going on), he's going through a midlife crisis or he really is a narcissist. It's all very confusing at this point. Sorry long story! You probably didn't want to know all that. I get to venting and can't stop sometimes! I just wanted to make sure that I at least wasn't crazy about the priority of family members in Sikhism. But part of gas-lighting is that it makes you start to question your thinking due to the things the abuser tells you. One less thing I have been made to feel bad about.

Re: Role of Family members in Sikhism

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 6:35 am
by Tadpole
Hey Jenn!

Sorry to hear your story but it has nothing to do with sikhism. I belong to a sikh family and I have never seen such a narcissist even in my extended family. Sikh parents are rather caring and care for their family and your husband’s immediate family is you and your kids, afterall you’re married to him. Also, it seems like his parents are considerate about you and your kids, that’s the reason they don’t ask for you guys to take care of them or financially support you. The main problem is your husband. You need to be strong and deal with it. He is a jerk (as it seems) (sorry if that was abusive to say him a jerk but he really is). Now, stop being emotional and seek help for your therapist or a lawyer to find out the safest way to handle this. It’s not you who’s doing any wrong. It’s him. Better leave him and you lead a better life with your daughter.

Stay strong