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Feeling Hopeless in My Abusive Marriage

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 24, 2017

Question

As-Salam Aleikum wa rahmatullah, I'm a mother of two with a third due in September in sha Allah. I'm in a very unhappy marriage with a man who doesn't understand me and who is very abusive. Last year, we were separated for few months because he was physically abusive but since we got back together he stopped the physical abuse but is still verbally abusive and manipulative. He doesn't have a job and we're currently living in my mother's house with my kids. I don't have a job either so we're all dependent on my mother. Lately, my mom has been acting angrier towards me and my kids. She has always pushed me aside since my dad died but has always kept my sister close to her. I honestly don't know why. My husband is also getting worse with the verbal abuse and threats. I'm afraid if we go back to our own house he might go back to being physically abusive. I want to get a divorce from him and to start life afresh away from my mother also. I only feel hopeless and I constantly pray but sometimes I feel like my duas are not being answered. I don't mean to be impatient but I feel like this is the hardest that Allah has given me. Is there a specific dua for Allah to ease all these problems for me?

Counselor

Answer


Feeling Hopeless in My Abusive Marriage

In this counseling answer:

“You are advised to remain patient with the situation, but also keep within boundaries that do not allow you or your children to be victims of abuse Understanding why those around you behave the way they are can help to ease the emotional burden on you and make for clearer thinking regarding how to handle the situation. Ultimately, do all you can to save relationships and continue to find comfort in the remembrance of Allah (swt) so that if you should choose to leave you will not leave with regrets.”


Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,

It sure sounds like you are having a really tough time right now from many angles. Your husband is abusive and you are considering divorce. He is not working and neither are you, so you are staying with your mum who is also being verbally abusive. On top of this, you are heavily pregnant, so you do not need extra difficulties in your life right now as you prepare to welcome a new member to your family. There a number of things to think about in this case.

Regarding your husband, whilst the physical abuse has stopped now, the verbal abuse seems to be ongoing. You continue to live in fear that he’ll go back to his old, physically violent ways once again. Physical abuse in a marital relationship, or any for that matter, is completely unacceptable. It is entirely understandable why you would want to seek a divorce. If you choose to pursue this option, you will need to seek advice from your local Imam.

However, before heading down this route, you might first seek to counsel as a couple. See if there is a way to overcome your difficulties with a neutral party who can provide with in partial advice and guidance on moving forward. This way, whether you actually divorce of not, you can be confident you did all you could to save your marriage. You didn’t walk out without even trying to make it work.

Understand that his anger may come from the fact he feels frustrated and hopeless that he cannot provide for his family as he wants to. Even worse, he has to rely on his mother-in-law to support himself and his family. As his wife, you become an easy target to vent this frustration. Whilst this does not justify his abusive behavior, it might help you to feel somewhat comforted and understanding of why he might be behaving as he is. Think whether you believe his behavior can change when he gets a job again and live up to his role as the father figure of the house once more. Is this something you can be patient to wait for? Is it worth waiting for? Is it worth the risk?

Regarding your mother, again, like with your husband, it may be that as you are the one she is taking her frustrations out on as the one who is closest to her. Living in her house means you are the one she can vent her frustrations on most easily. Especially since she knows you rely on her right now and, therefore, will be less likely to bite back when she verbally abuses you.

Your sister does not live with your mother and, therefore, is not in that same position. It may seem like your sister is closer to her because your mother is not angry towards her like she is towards you, but it is more likely a reflection of the physical makeup of the situation.

Understand that your mother is also probably still grieving. Anger can often be part of this process. Unfortunately, you are the one who seems to be a victim of this.

Again, however, this does not make her behavior towards you ok, but it can help to feel better about the situation when you understand why a loved one is behaving like this towards you. It can help to foster a sense of hope that these times will pass as the situation improves. Ask yourself if it is likely that she will change towards you when you are eventually in a position to move out of her place. Will she change when you are not there to be the scapegoat for her anger?

Also, consider how you might feel in her situation. Ultimately as her child, you still have a responsibility to take care of her as she did when you were a child.

The Prophet (saw) said:

“I enjoin each one to honor his mother, I enjoin each one to honor his mother, I enjoin each one to honor his mother (three times), I enjoin each one to honor his guardian who is taking care of him, even if he is causing him some annoyance.” (Ibn Majah)

Having lost her husband, your mom is likely crying out for some attention, which maybe she feels she is not getting now. Perhaps your anxieties regarding your marital and financial situation have been preventing you from showing her this without you even realizing. So, take a step back and ask yourself if this is happening too and instead give your mother the love she needs. This might help to cool her anger.

Overall, yes, it’s important to be patient during testing times such as these in the knowledge that Allah (swt) will eventually bring ease. But do also maintain boundaries when it comes to abuse.

“O, you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Qur’an, 2:153)

There are times when abuse is completely unacceptable and patience is not an option. Instead, the best option is to walk away. However, this is an important life changing the decision that requires much careful thought about the potential consequences for all involved. Remember that you have children and another on the way. Is it in their best interests that you stay and for you that you get a support of your loved ones? Or is it better for all parties that you are apart from one another? The most important thing is that you do all you can to make things work so that if you should choose to walk away from everyone you can feel confident that you tried your best but it didn’t work. This way, you will not look back with regrets that could be even more detrimental to your psychological well-being.

During this time, continue to make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) to ease your worries. Surely, He (swt) will see you through. There is a number of known du’aa’ that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to say during difficult times such as these to ease his worries.

5 Du’as to Remove Depression and Worries

What to Say When Depressed and Worried? One Dua

A Powerful Du’a to Remove Sadness of the Heart

Overall, you are advised to remain patient with the situation, but also keep within boundaries that do not allow you or your children to be victims of abuse Understanding why those around you behave the way they are can help to ease the emotional burden on you and make for clearer thinking regarding how to handle the situation. Ultimately, do all you can to save relationships and continue to find comfort in the remembrance of Allah (swt) so that if you should choose to leave you will not leave with regrets.

May Allah (swt) ease your affairs and reward your patience. May He (swt) provide a way out of your difficulties that will bring you and your family happiness and ease.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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