As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,
Thank you for writing to us. Your letter clearly expresses the pain and abuse you went through as a child. It was horrendous, and I am so sorry you had to go through that. It is evident your mother has some type of psychological disorder; however, only a complete assessment done by a clinician can determine what it is. I am wondering if she ever got help before or has ever been diagnosed. In any event, dear sister, while this is in the past, it still affects you.
Sister, concerning your teen years and boys, everyone makes mistakes; we all commit sins for which we repent and ask for Allah’s (swt) forgiveness. The teen years are especially difficult, and in your case, with all the abuse at home, you were looking for love, wherever. Additionally, research has shown that children, who have been sexually abused at a young age, tend to become sexually active at an earlier age in their teen years.
As adults, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common among survivors of not only domestic violence from spouses, but childhood violence as well. Abuse can take a real toll on you physically, emotionally, and mentally. It can affect your ability to function, and at a time when you must function at even a higher level than average if you are going to make it. Perhaps you jump out of your seat or scream occasionally when you hear a loud noise, or when someone walks up behind you. You know that you are “safe.”
Sister, while you did not mention whether you had symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other issues due to the sexual and other physical abuse you endured as a child, I highly encourage you to seek counseling in your area.
Additionally, in sha’ Allah, I suggest that you join a group of Childhood Survivors of Abuse. If you search this on the internet, you should find a chapter where you live. In these groups, you will be in a “safe place” hearing other women share their stores, and as you share yours (if you chose), you will find that much support is as well as learning valuable coping skills and insight.
You must remember, dear sister, that Allah (swt) is most compassionate, most merciful. He knows all and He (swt) sees all. Your mother had no right to abuse you; there is no justification for abuse. While your mother may have been very jealous of you and treated you (and your brother) horribly, she does love you, sister. It was evident in some of your statements such as her concern of you being raped, she was angry when she found you at a party with boys (safety). I’m sure if you think long enough, you will find other instances of her love for you despite her abusive and harsh treatment of you. However, she was/is mentally ill, and sadly, you had to suffer because of it.
Sometimes it is hard when one a parent is mentally ill. Children are often the target of their anger, confusion, delusions, anxieties, low self-esteem and so on. As a consequence, adults, who were abused as children, often blame themselves for the abuse, feeling they deserved it and often have low self-esteem. Left untreated, adult victims of child abuse often carry the pain and guilt of an abusive childhood well into their twilight years.
Sister, I know you will be okay; I have confidence you can heal from this. You are a beautiful Muslimah blessed with a husband who loves you and a precious child. I see a strong young woman who has lived through some horrific times only to emerge as a pious pearl of Islam. Hold your head up, love yourself for the empowered wonderful person you are. Trust in Allah (swt), make du’aa’ for your mother, your family, and ask Allah (swt) to help you on your journey towards healing. He (swt) is the greatest of healers.
Additionally, dear sister, I would advise limiting time spent with your mother. It is a toxic not only for you, but for your child as well. Unless she gets help and changes, I would treat her kindly, help her when you can as that is your Islamic duty, but limit the time spent. Focus on your new wonderful life, your husband and child, Islam, as well as considering, in sha’ Allah, the advices I have given as far as counseling and a support group.
You are in our prayers dear sister. Please, let us know how you are doing.
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