In this counseling answer:
• Try not to let your wife’s attitude influence your own attitude towards your children.
• You could help her to feel more secure about herself by paying her compliments more often or taking her out.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum brother,
I’d like to commend you for reaching out for advice, despite the fact that you feel your situation is helpless. We frequently read about domestic abuse perpetrated by the husband towards his wife, but seldom do we hear it reported the other way round. However, we should know it exists.
You have done a very brave thing to come forward and seek support in your situation. May Allah (swt) make it easy for you. Your situation seems to be exacerbated by the fact that you have children and you don’t want to see them suffering from the difficulties between you and your wife.
Furthermore, there are cultural issues at play that create an added burden on the situation. Firstly, you were forced into this marriage, and secondly, family honor plays a heavy role in your society. All things put together are naturally going to cause you great distress.
It is very sad that your wife takes out her frustration with you on your children. When people feel angry and frustrated, there is a common tendency to take it out on the most vulnerable people who are close to them, knowing that they can’t or won’t respond back. Unfortunately, children are commonly the victims of such situations. Even more unfortunate is that as parents are their role models, they copy such behavior thinking it is normal.
Whilst you can’t control your wife’s behavior towards your children, you can control yours. Try not to let your wife’s attitude influence your own attitude towards your children. You can be the one to give your children the love and affection they are seemingly missing from their mother. Children need love and affection at a young age, especially when they grow up in a difficult environment where they face abuse and foul language. If they don’t get this love and affection, they will be unable to give it to others, believing that they should behave with others aggressively. As a result, later, they might get involved in abusive relationships themselves, either as the abuser or the abused.
Show them that the way their mum behaves and the language she uses is not the only way. You can be the positive role model for them who uses the good language, who is polite and has a respectful behavior.
Also, it might seem like a long way down the line, but in time, as they grow older and come to understand the true meaning of right and wrong, they will come to realize that their mother’s behavior was completely inappropriate whilst treasuring positive memories of the love and affection you showed them. This might sound very difficult when the environment is so hostile, but for the sake of your children, it is important that they receive some kind of love and affection in order to have a more secure future. Obviously, the situation is far from ideal for raising children, but you can certainly do all you can, with or without your wife’s input, to ensure that there is at least a small amount of positivity in their life.
As for your wife’s attitude, often women behave in a jealous way when they feel insecure. In order to overcome this, you could help her to feel more secure about herself by paying her compliments more often or taking her out. Maybe you really don’t feel like doing this given your feelings of hopelessness towards your marriage, but if you can make her feel more secure and happy, then maybe at the very least she will cease to take out her aggression on the children.
As she becomes more secure in herself, you will be more able to engage in the things you want to do again without the verbal insults from your wife. In sha’ Allah, this will help her to not feel any less than the woman you were involved with before and have less need to make the abusive comments she presently makes. Once this trust becomes inherent in your relationship, you will also be freer to go back and achieve the dreams you once set out to achieve, in sha’ Allah.
“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” (Qur’an 41:34)
This might seem like a really difficult thing to achieve, but this is exactly what the Qur’an advice us, and surely Allah (swt) is the best of advisers. If you can do this, the benefit will come from many angles. Think about it. It can be very difficult to be harsh towards someone who is kind to you.
In the best case scenario, your wife’s attitude towards you will change and maybe a love will blossom between you. On a lesser level, her attitude towards you, or at least toward your children, will improve. Even if this has absolutely no impact on her at all, focus on the fact that you are following the advice of the One who created us. You will, therefore, reap the rewards and blessings in the hereafter for having endured negativity in this life whilst remaining true to your deen.
It may feel like this is not the way forward; you are the victim, so why should you be the one to be kind to her when she is the abuser? But look to the example of our beloved Prophet (saw) who endured such oppression to a level greater than we can even imagine although not by any of his wives, but by so many people around him. Look how, with patience, he (saw) eventually prevailed to a huge extent against his oppressors. This is an example we can all learn from when facing an oppressive situation.
So, never give up hope in the mercy of Allah (swt)! Continue praying to Him (swt) to soften the heart of your wife and to make it easy for her to control her tongue. May Allah (swt) reward your immense patience in a very difficult situation. May He (swt) ease your burden and bring more comfort in your life.
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