Ok, one more time....Part 1
For all you Young Bucks out there, I say again. If you are still insisting on marrying China Girl, you need to get straight once and for all the relationship between YOU and China Girl’s MOM. And if you speak Mandarin, this is an especially important thing for you to do.
Because one cannot just sit at the dinner table and with a straight face listen day in and day out to China M&L steadily knock you down. There are some types of China M&L you will just never, ever satisfy. I have one of them.
She will verbally knock you in the vehicle while driving. In the living room. After dinner. In her sleep. And especially when talking to her friends. Imagine knowing the little Mahjong Get Together upstairs is centered not on how much is won or lost, but on how your pathetic excuse for a human carcass is both inadequate and not fit for breathing Earth’s precious oxygen. In their eyes, the world would indeed be much better if you just vanished from the record books.
Without thought of giving laowai the benefit of the doubt, the Chinese will all simply nod in agreement. The things laowai son in law must listen to, put up with, walk away from….I tell you people have been killed for less. Murdered in cold blood with a hammer, with neither remorse nor reflection.
And if you wish to walk through the only life you will have on this Blue Earth of ours, than you will need to either find a way to “endure”…..or just make sure you and this cold, dispassionate woman are never in the same room.
Or you can simply have “that talk” with unsuspecting China Girl(soon to be wife). Before It All Begins.
Basic issues must be addressed and openly dealt with before you slide that ring on her finger.
Your future wife…er um China Girl may not quite catch your drift, and she is not to be blamed. The role of the M&L is after all culturally different in China. Give credit to the Chinese. They, too, you see have caught on to the curse of the Chinese Mother in Law. She is allowed great leeway to roam The Great Chinese Nation as she sees fit, unhindered by all, ignored by many, and mocked by more than a few. Alas, my dear friend you are about to obtain one for free.
Except in the end we all pay for something don’t we?
If you come out forcefully and simply ask something such as,
"Will your mom respect my authority under my roof?", watch for the confused look on China Girl's face.
If she is honest, she will immediately reply with something like,
"Honey, you need to know all Chinese Mother in Laws are this way. You will need to listen to my mom and let her handle things. OK? You can ignore her sometimes, but she is my mom and I will always support her."
Should China Girl say that, than you will have a decision to make. I know what you are thinking.
"I can handle this", you say to yourself.
The role of China Mother in Law is to protect the interests of her daughter. Simple. Except it’s not. Because the great flaw in this philosophy isn’t just the advancement of her own perceived daughter’s needs AT YOUR expense, but the cold brutal fact China Mother in Law doesn’t give a damn about her daughter’s husband’s needs. To her it is a zero sum game. Her daughter wins. You lose.
I beg thee go back to the archives; remember Chinese relations towards America if not just towards the West in general has always been looked upon as a zero sum game. That is, “we can only gain something if you lose something”. Indeed a very dangerous way to play a game. Any game. Except for unsuspecting laowai, it is a game of love.
And Chinese Mother in Law is no different. There is no collaborationist thought involved. She is in effect the “agent” for her daughter. Her pursuits are material in nature. Nothing else. She is out to get as much as she can. In time you will not only concede, but will kiss the ring and become her bitch. An emotionally dependent puppet. And how will China Wife act towards you? Well…she’s seen her mom operate right? How do you think she will eventually become? Has she not seen the success of her mother’s actions towards helpless son in law? As such, your own daughters will in turn internalize such behavior. They will learn from China Mother in Law how to treat their future husbands. All the more important for you to be very involved in your daughters’ upbringing and teaching of how their attitude towards men should be.
If your China Wife is an only child your life will become an unsustainably wretched existence. You see, China Wife will never put her “foot down” with the dastardly, devious witch from the Middle Kingdom. Why should she, seeing the fruits of Mom’s Labor? No, far from it. Rather, China Wife in the beginning will simply ask you to “ignore” her crazy mom. Her rants. Her mindless tirades. Than as the years go by China Wife develops “buy in”. Suddenly you realize China Wife just doesn’t give a damn what you think of things. You suddenly realize the worst has happened…..
She has become her mother!
Your pleas fall on death ears. China Wife’s gaze of slight pity become hardened. Replaced with impatient stares of utter contempt and ruthless disdain for the kind of person you’ve become.
“Why can’t you just ignore her?”
The thought of reminding Crazy China Mother in Law to show a modicum of respect to son in law laowai is something your China Wife will NEVER do. The longer you wait for “the conversation” to take place, the less the fruits of happiness become.
So you must ask yourself exactly how much you are willing to put up with? The sneer comments, the disrespect and open condescension….because Crazy China Mother in Law never “gets it”. In her eyes you are but an extension of her kingdom, and alas she shall never set foot in yours. You are her Laowai Bitch.
And if you expect support from China Wife on any of the above, I tell you now it will not happen. That conversation between China Wife and her mom will never take place. Why is that?
Because once you have children, China Wife will need her crazy ass mom to “help her”. You will become invisible within the family. An appendage to neither be listened to nor recognized. So dominant will the relationship of China Wife and Crazy China Mother in Law become you will find yourself dangerously close to the bottom of the pecking order within the “Chinese” household. The kids will have higher status, the wife of course, as the mother of the kids, same….the inlaws ditto…..and you? Well, just be quiet, keep your job, and do what you are told. And no, please do not think of Sex as a regular event, but more something an event to possibly be had during the holidays.
You will in effect become nothing more than a guest in your own castle.
(Are we still wondering why the divorce rate in China is so high?)
Chinese men don’t put up with this as often of course. Men tend to have all the advantages anyway, when they are to be had. The apartment, the car….much more material leverage. I find the laowai son in law more frequently than not simply thinks he is taking the “high road” in the relationship.
Meanwhile by doing so does not life just pass you by?
Married for over two decades now, I have the paid the price in spades, and in the process learned much about the dark side of life with China Girl, now Woman.
How can you avoid this?
I’m tempted to say make a lot of money, but in the past I’ve done just that and lo and behold, nothing really changed. (more on this very soon) Though at the risk of contradicting myself, this is mightily important as well. If you do not speak Mandarin, your life will be unbearably easier. Because if you speak Mandarin like I do, than you can “talk back” to your out of line China Mother in Law, embarrassing everyone. No, best not to speak the language. Because ignorance is oh so bliss.
Are there exceptions? Of course there are! Have some of you reminded me how well you have it with your own China M&L? Of course you have! My China Mother in Law may be a bit of the extreme type, but the basic problem for everyone is all the same. China M&L must respect her place in your castle. You do and should have authority wherever you build your domicile, and it should not be a negotiation.
While dating your future China Wife you will develop a good understanding of who M&L is.
My advice is simple. If you are having any tension with her now, trust me by the time you are Married with Children it will be amplified times 100. Now if you are the personality type that doesn’t give damn, no knock on you, but good for you!
I for one very much dislike the bad karma that comes my way every day. As I speak Mandarin I cannot escape. And yes China Wife is an only child. And as I have a forceful personality I have no problem speaking out. And as I am a middle aged dude I have no problem getting in China M&L’s face in front of my docile China Wife to make my point. I apologize for nothing. If your China Mother in Law is like mine and insists she can talk to you as if you are still a 21 year old “no nothing” and you have no problem with that(especially if you do not speak Mandarin) than good for you!
My China Mother in Law once told me to turn the TV off when I was watching the Sunday Morning News. She said it wasn’t right I watch TV while she tidied up a bit. I bit my tongue and turned the TV off, than told my wife if M&L asked that of me again there would be blood. Alas, she hasn’t asked since. But the mere thought she believes she can tell me in my own house to turn the TV off is incredulous.
Would this have played out above if I did not speak Mandarin? Of course not!
I’m simple minded. I pay the mortgage and you don’t. Respect that. End of story.
If you have an M&L that refuses to accept any sense of your authority or power than you have problems. My advice is to find out BEFORE you marry China Wife.