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What to Do with My Horrendous Childhood Memories?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 17, 2018

Question

As-salamu `alaykum. I thank you a lot for your great website. I will try to express myself briefly and not to bore you. I grew up in a very negative home environment. My father was never satisfied with anything we did. He was always angry-- screaming and hitting us. He never gave us love or any kind of care. I started to neglect everything and now I am disturbed by this. I love my husband and he tries to help me ‘find myself’ and my dignity. Sometimes I can sit in front of the television all day long without doing anything. I just ignore all my household and religious duties, or I start doing things just before I have to go to collect my 3-year-old son from kindergarten. I have no prospects for the future.

I tried several times to change myself but always relapsed into bad habits. When I tried to improve myself, I always became so overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the household that my nerves could not cope. I am very clumsy, and never know what to do-- ever! My parents never encouraged us to use our brains and to take our own decisions, they just complained , in turn, how stupid we were. I have now realized that this was not out of stupidity but out of fear of failure. How can I become a responsible and respected person?

We live in a foreign country and I feel a great responsibility to give people the correct image of Islam; I do not want to conform to their stereotypes about Muslim woman being stupid. I have difficulty in making a good atmosphere at home. I am always very slow in doing things and I put on a sad, depressed face, which makes my family members in the same mood as me. I have grave difficulties in laughing. I sometimes scream at my husband or child, not because I feel irritated about something but in fact because I feel disappointed in myself. I feel that I am a failure.

I have difficulties when meeting people. I can never get a friend to stay in touch with me for more than a couple of months. I feel very isolated as a Muslim, but I cannot force my Muslim sisters to stay in touch. I know you receive letters from people that have greater problems than I do, but I hope you will take the time to help me and to give me some advice.

Unfortunately what I experienced in my parents’ home has had a great negative impact on me but al- hamdu lillah (all praise be to Allah) I feel much better now since I married my husband, who has had great patience with me. I know that to change for the better will take time but what I am most afraid of is that I am loosing time. My greatest wish is to be a good and happy Muslimah.

Counselor

Answer



Check out this counseling answer:

• You need to seek professional help, such as counseling, in order to be able to process the feelings that you have towards your father and your mother.

• Let him know that you are thankful to Allah for granting you such a husband and that you look forward to his continued support.

• Inquire about your friends’ lives instead of focusing only on your life and your problems. Listen to them. Learn from them.

• Strengthen your relationship with Allah.


As-Salamu `Alaikum,

Thank you for your kind words about AboutIslam’s Cyber Counseling service.

We want to be truthful with you because we believe you have the potential to improve your situation, in sha’ Allah, and we want to help you to do so.

First, you must realize that because your childhood home environment had such a negative impact on your outlook on life, it is not enough just to wish that those memories would disappear. You need to seek professional help, such as counseling, in order to be able to process the feelings that you have towards your father and your mother.

You need to be able to work on your self-esteem. You need to be able to confront your feelings and, with the help of the counselor, confront your parents, even if it means doing so in the form of a letter which you never send or in the form of conversations with the counselor as if you were actually talking to your parents! If you do not seek counseling, you will continue to face difficult challenges in moving forward with your life. However, we feel that your childhood experiences are only one part of the issues you are dealing with today.

Second, we strongly believe that Allah Most High has blessed you with a patient and understanding husband precisely so that your new home environment can be of your own making. Tell him how much you appreciate him! Let him know that you are thankful to Allah for granting you such a husband and that you look forward to his continued support. You have a choice to make. You either wallow in self-pity and continue to blame your parents for how you are today, or you pull yourself together, make du`aa’ to Allah, and begin a new life.

You are married now, you have a three-year-old child, and your home environment can be whatever you want it to be within Islamic limits. You need not throw out the television set, but you must definitely reduce the total number of hours you spend watching television. Rather than being a source of news or education, you are using the television as an escape from your daily life, the housework, and any other obligations towards Allah, yourself, your husband and your young son.

Third, most of your friends do not stay in touch with you because no one wants to have contact with a person who is consistently down on herself and brings down everyone else around her. Try something different next time.  Inquire about your friends’ lives instead of focusing only on your life and your problems. Listen to them. Learn from them. Encourage them to deal with issues that they are facing in their own lives and you will find that they will, in turn, make it a point to stay in touch with you and inquire about your well-being.

Finally, we urge you to strengthen your relationship with Allah through consistently reading the Qur’an with commentary. Try to understand that Allah Most High knows your pain and suffering but that you will never improve your relationship with your family and friends if your relationship with Allah is in shambles. You cannot watch television at the expense of ignoring your religious duties.

Satan will tempt you into thinking that your relationship with Allah is all right, but you know better than that, and we urge you to get closer to Allah through regular prayer, fasting and charity. Make du`aa’ to Allah to help you and to guide you to improve your condition. You are losing time, but you have not lost all of your time yet! Set your life aright and, in sha’ Allah, with Allah’s help you will improve your married life and convey a positive image of Islam!

Allah (swt) knows best.

***

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.

Read more:

I Never Want to Talk to My Abusive Family Again

Child Abuse Made Me Suspicious of Proposals

The Truth about Domestic Abuse and Children’s Development




About Abdul-Lateef Abdullah

Abdul-Lateef Abdullah, an American convert to Islam, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Economics at the University of Delaware, his Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and recently completed his Ph.D. from the Institute for Community & Peace Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, in the field of Youth Studies.

He has worked as a Program Assistant for the Academy for Educational Development (Washington, D.C.); a Social Worker at the Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, New York); and the Director of Documentation and Evaluation at Community IMPACT! (Washington, D.C.). He has also worked with the the Taqwa Gayong Academy (New Jersey, U.S.A./Penang, Malaysia) for troubled youth, both Muslim and non-Muslim. As a recent (1999) convert to Islam, he spends much time writing about his experiences as a Muslim-American convert. 


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