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How to Survive in a Troubled Family?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Feb 21, 2019

Question

Assalamu Alaikum,

As far back as I can remember, my parents have fought very viciously. My Dad was verbally and sometimes physically abusive to my mother. He used to hit her as he would listen to his sister in law which is also my mother's aunt. This was all before we were born.

They have been arguing for 24 years. Every time they argue with I can't tell my mom that she’s wrong, she would scream and hit herself. That’s one of the main problems we are facing that we can’t tell her that’s she’s wrong. They fought so much that my Dad goes everyone morning to work and comes back around 1-2 am.

Now that we are older though, they still continue to fight, but my Mom continuously scolds us for not saying enough to my father. I said very bad stuff to my father I don’t know whether Allah will forgive me. She wants us to change him, and we have all tried talking to him, but he will never change. I am starting to see my mother's fault in their fights as well because she never backs down, and both of them have gotten worse with age.

There’s also a massive age gap between my parents as my dad was married before and had a son. But both have passed away together. I feel bad for my mother because she's always unhappy, she’s suffering from depression and heart problems but I feel bad for my father too because he is always all alone, his parents passed away, his brothers and sister don’t care about him even though he’s the youngest and he’s not in touch with them so all he has is us.

I am very sad that our whole life we had to deal with my Mom and Dad fighting, my grandparents play a big role in this too they always ask us for money, my dad is the only one working he’s 56 yrs old and he working and earning money for us and them by force. Even though my uncles live here they don’t ask them for money as much as they ask us my dad spend more than 15 thousand just to get my moms brother from back home and send my moms parents to hajj.

They own sons don’t do as much as my dad does. And now they are not even paying us back our money. Every month we send more than 1000 pound my sometimes send secretly money and she takes our work money and sends it we are forced to give it to her without any hesitation.

My sisters wake up 5 am and come home late why just to make things easier for my dad so that he doesn’t have to do much but my mom will never understand we are struggling to spend money on ourselves because my mom always says don’t waste your money keep it safe it !!! For what so that she can send it to her parents and her sister who received £200 separately which was taken from my older sister who wakes up every morning at 5 am!!! My mom will never understand the pain we go through.

My mom is always nice to her family the way she talks to them she never talks to us that way!!! Everyone morning she’s calling all her brothers and parents. And when we try to talk to her she gets mad because the talked too much to her parents and brothers. We've all talked to our parents about how we feel but they will never understand!

My sister getting old, she’s 25 years old and hasn’t been married yet, every time someone comes my mom send them away why because our grandparents have that right to pick for us!! Which is ridiculous my mothers doesn’t care that she getting old my mom is more worried about her sister back home who isn’t married yet she said I will first try to find someone for my sister and then you!!!

That’s not her responsibility she has parents who can do that when we tell her something about her family my mom gets so bad that she doesn’t talk to us for weeks.

Counselor

Answer


How to Survive in a Troubled Family?

In this counseling answer:

•I suggest that you also get counseling. You have been under tremendous stress most of your life it seems and you are carrying the weight on your shoulders. Please do consider it.

• Relaxation & stress reduction exercises would also be helpful. Try to get out for fun social times with your friends and experience some joy.

•Go to Islamic events, pray at the Masjid, take up a hobby, go to the gym or a quiet walk in nature. There is a balance in Islam. To attain this balance, we must take care of our minds, bodies and spiritual selves.”


As salaamu alaykum sister,

I’m very sorry to hear what’s been going on in your family with the verbal abuse and physical abuse of your mom by your dad.

What your father is doing is an abomination and it is something which Allah hates.  Sadly many women go through abusive relationships with men and they come to accept it.

This acceptance is either due to low self-esteem, fear,  feelings of hopelessness, or just giving up.  Cultural norms can also play a part in what a woman tolerates as acceptable behavior from a man.

I can imagine it was very hard for you and your sister to see this happening to your mom since childhood,  it must have hurt you very much. One must feel so helpless as a young child watching your mom get hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

You stated that now that you’re older, you try talking to your dad about changing his behavior on behalf of your mom but he won’t change.

Sister, you stated that your parents have fought for so many years and for so much of the time, that your dad goes to work every morning and he comes back about 1 or2 a.m.  This may or may not be avoidance behavior as it appears he is trying to stay away.

You described how despite the abuse,  feel bad for your dad too “cuz his parents passed away and he’s all alone and his brothers and sisters don’t care about him”.

You also stated that you are starting to see your mother’s faults regarding their fights as well because “she never backs down and both of them have gotten worse with age” and that you felt bad for your mom because she’s “always unhappy and suffering from depression”.

Sister, it seems as if despite all the abuse that’s going on you love your parents very much and you feel sorry for both of them for different reasons, and for different reasons you understand each of their struggles and their weaknesses. Is very apparent sister that your care about your family and you wish to do something for your parents. Sister, I wish I could say there is a simple answer.


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In truth, only your parents can decide individually and together to stop fighting and to start treating each other with respect, love, and mercy that Allah swt intended for a marriage.

Regarding your parents fighting, I would kindly suggest sister that you that you try not to get in the middle of it but if asked to intervene on behalf of your mother or father-   encourage both of your parents to seek out counseling from a qualified marriage therapist. If needed, try to find one in your area beforehand in case one or both agree.

Counseling for your mom would be paramount as she is in an abusive situation and while she seems to be accepting of it, at the same time she appears to be tired of it too as she asks for you to talk to your dad about changing.

In addition,  insha’Allah maybe you can plan a family night wherein you and your family take an hour or so to recite the Qur’an together. You may even want to read Quranic proofs in regards to how a marriage should be stating you would like to learn for yourself or your sister what Allah has to say about marriage.

You can even use hadiths about the Prophet’s (PBUH) marriage for further reflection.  Insha’Allah these family nights may soften and awaken both of your parent’s hearts to cherish and show mercy & kindness to each other.  Make duaa to Allah before that asking Allah to touch your parents’ hearts sister.

As they have been married and arguing for 24 years, it may be difficult for them to change but it is possible, especially with counseling and prayer.   The truth is, neither of them are happy, both are suffering in one way or another.   Insha’Allah they will think about counseling and if agreed perhaps family nights spent reading Qur’an will benefit them.

It might not be right away but maybe after several times of suggesting it, they may think about it. Please do make Duaa to Allah that he touches their hearts to start repairing their marriage and drawing closer to Him as well, as to each other as a husband and wife who are truly living in Islamic marriage.

In regards to your grandparents always asking for money, that’s only something that your parents can deal with- specifically your mom, as it is her parents who keep asking for money causing your father to work  to support the whole family (her brothers who live with you and your grandparents) and from what I understand your sister’s money is used as well.

From what you have stated, however, it seems like your mom may not be willing to talk to her parents about the money situation as she appears to be “clinging” on to them as an emotional security, possibly because of the abuse.

As Muslims, we are to take care of our families especially our parents.  However, the responsibility is on your grandparent’s children as well and that would be up to your parents to talk to them about helping out financially.

While the money should really not be your concern, it is affecting you and your sister. You may ask your sister to create a budget in which she sets aside a certain amount of money every month for your grandparents and puts the rest in her own savings account.

This may help reduce the stress that she is feeling and you as well.  Again, as this is between your mom and dad and your grandparents, there may not be much you can do except keep the situation and prayer with Allah.

In regards to your sister getting married, there’s no reason why she cannot meet somebody in a Halal manner who she finds compatible for a marriage partner.

Parents do not have to arrange marriages. Traditionally it’s been done, but it is not an Islamic requirement. People do meet or hear of others who are single and find them suitable for Marriage Partners and get married without the parents fixing them up.

If at all possible, I would encourage your sister insha’Allah, to take her future into her own hands and seek marriage without your parents help. If she were to meet somebody or hear of somebody that she’s interested in, of course, she would want to consult your parents and have their blessings.

If your parents refuse and he’s Islamically appropriate for her, she should go on with a marriage and try to repair her parental relations later.   She is an adult and it is her choice for a life partner/spouse.  While we seek to make our parents happy, in some situations it is not possible.

Sister, I suggest that you also get counseling. You have been under tremendous stress most of your life it seems and you are carrying the weight on your shoulders. Please do consider it. Relaxation & stress reduction exercises would also be helpful.

Try to get out for fun social times with your friends and experience some joy.  Go to Islamic events, pray at the Masjid, take up a hobby, go to the gym or a quiet walk in nature. There is balance in Islam. To attain this balance, we must take care of our minds, bodies and spiritual selves.

Please try to take care of you too sister.  In life some things we do not have control over such as others’ relationships and sadly this hurts us, however, we can try our best and then accept what Allah swt has decreed.

We wish you the best you’re in our prayers.

 

Salam

***

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About Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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