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I Can’t Bear Living with My Bossy In-Laws!

Questioner

S

Reply Date

Sep 14, 2018

Question

Salam. I got married months ago. My mother in law is my mother's sister, but they are very different from us. My parents are very noble, kind-hearted and patient towards their children and never demanded anything from them. However, my in-laws are always talking about money. My husband is living in Europe; he is well mannered and well educated. He has just started his business so he is not having the money right now to give to his parents.

My mother in law interferes in every matter of me. I’ve spend 4 months with them, and they continuously remind me that my husband is not settled yet. They didn't buy me anything for months and spent all their money on themselves and their daughter. I know I am not their responsibility, but they should have taken care of me if they had wanted me to take care of them. My mother in law thought that I would live with her for almost a year waiting for my visa, thus she started burdening me with household work. My sister in law was also living there as she gave birth to her first baby. My in laws were all involved in playing with the baby and expected me to do all the work and deal with guests.

My parents brought me up with intricate care and never forced me into something I didn’t want to do. I was depressed. I prayed to Allah to send me to my husband and told my husband as well that I don't want live here. Surprisingly, I got my visa in just one week. When my in-laws realized that I am leaving, first of all, they asked my husband not to call me that frequently as it would increase his financial burden. But he said he would manage it. Then their behavior changed. My father in law reminded me again and again that we must send them lots of money as soon as possible and suggested that I should work, too. (My husband doesn't want me to work. He takes full care of me.) He asked me to send half of our income to them and indirectly threatened us that they would come there if we did not send them our income.

I also want to mention that they are very judgmental and pass derogatory comments on everything I do such as my cooking, sleeping times etc. Hamdulillah, my husband is very kind and supportive. He took me to honeymoon even when his mother said we couldn’t go. My husband has a bright future In sha' Allah as he is very talented and dedicated. But I am frightened that whenever he gets settled, they will control his income.

I am no longer able to live with them. They know how to emotionally blackmail and how to compel him. I have no issue in that he sends them money sufficient for their needs, but I don't want them to make properties from our money, and I don't want them to live with me. Please suggest me how to cope with this situation.

Counselor

Answer


I Can’t Bear Living with My Bossy In-Laws!


In this counseling answer:

• Recognize what a blessing Allah has given in not just one area of your life but two.

• Go live with your husband.

• Your mother in law is your mother’s sister, so ask your mother as I believe she knows from experience how and what works best in terms of how to approach and communicate with your mother in law.

• You have to figure out how to get them to do the right thing. You can’t just demand it of them because they are not your children, but your elders and your parents!


Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam my dear sister in Islam,

Congratulations on your new marriage and your marriage being so beautiful. May Allah continue blessing it, and you and your husband with the success and bliss you have described.

Also, please consider how important it is that your marriage is successful. Maybe you don’t know it but most marriages are not as beautiful as yours. In fact, most marriages (in this day and age) are painful—the exact opposite of what you described.

The benefit in your marriage is that you have it as a resource; a source of strength to help you deal with your present problems. Please don’t forget to thank Allah first for your beautiful and successful marriage as all power and strength come from Allah, and use it for what it is worth: a worldly anchor which Allah has blessed you with so that you can go forward and do good works in the world, in sha’ Allah!

Also, what a blessing your parents are! May Allah reward them for raising you in the wise and beneficial way you described! Again, please consider how blessed you are with that background. Your parents did their job right. They gave you what a child needs to become an adult; the wisdom and goodness modeled for you every day for 18 years (or so).

In addition, raising you that way gave you freedom as compared to what many of us get: traumatic, painful childhoods which leave us spending the rest of our lives trying to figure out what happened to us, how to heal from it, and what the right way is. Please, recognize what a blessing Allah has given in not just one area of your life but two. They are the two most important areas of our lives!

Now, why do you think Allah gives us blessings? Is it just the glory in them without having another purpose? No, they are there to strengthen us. So, please use your benefits now as you try to figure out, maybe for the first time in your life, how to deal with a painful thing: a “test” (a challenging test, indeed) which many of us face from the day we are born with no resources other than the Mercy and Guidance of Allah to help us. Allah has given you so many resources of truth and strength and wisdom to use your resources and celebrate your gifts (by thanking Allah) and find in your resources the strength you need to face this great hardship.

To do that, it may help to see your test in a different light. Instead of seeing it as it appears and feels (difficult and painful), see it as an opportunity. The first thing needed to solve any problem the right way is to ask for the Help of Allah! That is actually the whole reason for our tests: do we ask Allah or do we go to worldly things to resolve our pain? I can only assume you have been already doing it, especially since you came to an Islamic website to ask for guidance.


Check out this counseling video:


Don’t worry; I will not leave you without some answers as to how I think you could proceed in order to resolve this test. However, bear in mind that while I can make suggestions from my familiarity with such problems, still you can expect things to continue to challenge you. That is the nature of a test!

First, my vote is that you go live with your husband. Ultimately, he is the one who has to deal with his parents, not you! You can live your life under his gentle care, part of which is his duty to shield his wife from harm, even from his parents if they are harming you and your family. Indeed, what you told us, I think their behavior is harmful and totally inappropriate Islamically.

Two (and consult your husband first about doing this): your mother in law is your mother’s sister, so ask your mother as I believe she knows from experience how and what works best in terms of how to approach and communicate with your mother in law. You could also ask your mother if she could help, although that may not be appropriate. To figure this out, in any event, talk to your mother.

Not only do you have the test of them harming you by interfering in your married life, condemning your behaviors like cooking and using your labors (exploiting you), but you also have the test of having to figure out where the parents’ rights lie and where they do not.

More importantly, you have to figure out how to get them to do the right thing. You can’t just demand it of them because they are not your children, but your elders and your parents! This often is a dead-end street; you can’t get them to act right. So, you have to figure out how to live with their misunderstandings of Islam. That can look like two different things: leave/get away from them or stay and suffer. Both cause suffering. In the first case, they will suffer and will let you know it, and you will suffer because of that.

You will also not have a family to help you with your children, etc. which is very important for a mother. Isolation is not fun, especially when raising children. But if you stay close by…Well, you already know what that feels like. You suffer and they may suffer in the Next Life for their inappropriate behavior.

So, don’t forget: the Prophet (SAW) said (paraphrased) that when someone is doing wrong, try to stop them — to benefit them.

I hope this helps and feel blessed, In Sha’ Allah, by your challenges. When Allah tests us, it is a sign that He is blessing us with a way to get to Jannah, In Sha’ Allah!

Salams,

***

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:

4 Ways to Honor In-Laws and Make Marriage Work

How to Deal with In-Laws Who Don’t Respect You

In-Laws Always Criticize Me

 




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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