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My Aunt Was Abused for Years; How to Help?

Questioner

Ni

Reply Date

May 21, 2017

Question

Assalamualeykum, I need your advice regarding my aunt. She has been physically and mentally abused since she married at the age of 15. The family of her husband used her like a servant, she has been beaten by her husband. Her mother-in-law made evil magic on her. My aunt has two grown up sons. One is married and has a 7 years old daughter. The mother of this girl is mentally abusing and even beating her little daughter and she is calling it teaching discipline. My aunt uses heavy antidepressants and many other medicines. She suffered from memory loss and can't remember two years of her life due to trauma. Now they're living away from the husbands family but the husband is still beating her from time to time. The mother of the little girl is selfish and neglects the child. the girl was literally raised by my aunt. She loves her granddaughter so much. I observed that the girl is already showing signs of anxiety and depression. she has cry attacks and panickattacks. Her father is helpless and tries desperately to look after the family financially. My aunt has now become the servant of her selfish daughter in law, even being severely mentally ill she even can't walk normally due to these issues.. She is been under psychiatric treatment but only through drugs. She can't go out alone, the only thing she is doing is house chores. When I visit her she gets so happy and I'm listening to her and I want to help more. I wish I could take her out of this hell but I can't. As a student I can't help her financially. I know she should take psychotherapy but there is no money and no time. No one supports her. Despite these conditions what can I do? I remember her that Allah knows her situation. I tell her to seek refugee in Allah. How can I talk to her else. What can I tell her? I'm quite interested in clinic psychology but I'm no psychotherapist. I wish I was one, I  feel so helpless and desperate. I don't want my aunt suffer anymore.

Counselor

Answer


abuse

As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

SubhanaLah. I feel your pain! First and foremost ask Allah for help!

In America, you can report child abuse, can you do that in Turkey? Or, do you not want to do that. I don’t like to do it in America because the system is abusive, so, sometimes it is from the frying pain into the fire instead of help.

Also, you live in Muslim country, are there no groups/social service organizations (non-profit orgs) run by Muslims that have it as their service to intervene in cases like this where a child and an elderly person are being abused (without getting the authorities involved)?

Even though you are not a therapist, you can start reading about how psychology works. But, in this case, that is not what you need exactly. You need to get your aunt and her granddaughter out from under the oppression!Then you can help them recovery by helping them understand the psychology of both life and Allah’s plan (i.e., why He created pain and suffering, to test us and help us learn and grow, and as a struggle that, when we overcome it, we can earn Jannah)

As far as your Aunt’s needs go, that is a hard one because she is an adult and has to make her own choices, where she can (I know that she does not have her own money so may be stuck, she may just have to deal with her lot). However, the child needs to be protected, inShaAllah. Can you try educating the mother first about the right way to parent, that children learn when in an environment that is loving and encouraging? Hate and abuse never made for permanent healthy growth, as you pointed out, she is already showing signs of anxiety, etc.

Ask Allah, and keep asking Allah to send help!

If the suffering cannot be relieved, or at least not anytime soon, in the Quran, Allah Says that, when we feel traumatized, very scared, or extremely sad, or the like, we should deal with it by saying “inna li lahi wa inna ilaihi ra jee un” (From Allah we come and to Allah we will return). Thikering this helps the believer see life in its true context, as part of the whole of it, which includes the next life too. That one short sentence references the beginning and the end of life, thereby referencing the essence of life, that life is for the next, not this one.

I know that this may not feel like help but the way you painted the situation, it seems as if there are not solutions except internal ones – for your aunt. Again, I must urge you to take action to protect the child. I know this may cause problems in your family but you have to decide what is more important, this poor child’s life or you dealing with problems in your family!

May Allah Make it easy for you.

***

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.

 




About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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