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I Lost My Temper with My Brother

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 19, 2018

Question

As-salamu`alaykum. I was wondering if I could ask a question about losing temper and patching things up.

I lost my temper last night and acted irrationally. I am temporarily visiting my brother for few weeks and his new family. His wife converted to Islam a few weeks ago, al-hamdu lillah. But she has a 12-year-old child from a previous marriage who did not take shahada (not Muslim). I had a long day and was trying to get some sleep and had my sister-in-law told my niece and her friend to reduce noise. But my niece kept shutting her room door every time. She kept getting in and out of her room, talking with another of her friend on the cell phone and it was 1:30 A.M. They are on their spring break. I know I am just a guest for a few days, but as soon as I raised this issue with my brother, she (niece) became very defensive with a rather harsh tone of voice. She kept answering him back in a disrespectful manner, saying "what is he talking about, why is he saying all that”? In addition, she whispered some other remarks. I felt she was taking it out on him and reaching for what I complained about. I was exhausted and I got off my bed and yelled at her to stop acting and to grow up. But she kept saying it's her house and she can do whatever she feels like. So that ticked me off and I slammed her room door several times.

I feel like an idiot right now. I think it scared her. There are tears in my eyes right now, for those 2 minutes I forgot she had a difficult childhood, and I acted just plain stupid. Her mom came in and reminded me that this was her house and I should be mindful. I don’t know why I got so angry. I was still half asleep. Now I want to apologize, but I don’t know what to say. I apologized to my brother, but he is worried about my niece and her mom. They were disappointed and shocked by my actions.

I am arranging to move as soon as possible now, but I am afraid that I may have left my niece with a disturbing experience. Should I just let it pass and act as though nothing happened for a few days? I didn’t want to ruin the spring break for the family. What can I do to fix this? I just want to move on a good note, I don’t want them to feel as though Islam sanctions this. Any suggestion?

Counselor

Answer


Losing Temper with My Brother

In this counseling answer:

• I’m sure she is still adjusting to having a stepfather and seeing her mother become a Muslim.

• You need to find a way to repair your relationship.

• Do something for the family to make amends.


As-salamu `Alaykum,

In the Qur’an, Allah stated:

{Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men—for Allah loves those who do good. For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath—an eternal dwelling:  how excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!} (`Al-e-Imran 3:134-136)

And

Abu Hurairah reported: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying, “One is not strong because of one’s wrestling skillfully.”They said, “Allah’s Messenger, then who is strong?” He said, “He who controls his anger when he is in a fit of rage” (Muslim 32 #6314).

A man said to the Prophet, “Advise me!” The Prophet said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.”(Al-Bukhari )

Of course, you realize how your anger got out of control. How often do we say things that we regret/have no meaning/no intention, but can be more easily managed when one is not in a state of anger unless the anger is directed towards injustice.

I’m glad you understand that the girl has had a difficult background. I’m sure she is still adjusting to having a stepfather and seeing her mother become a Muslim. She must deal with all this, on top of the normal challenges of pre-adolescence.

So now, you need to find a way to repair your relationship. You should definitely apologize to the girl and her friend. You must show her respect, just as you hope to have respect for her.


Check out this counseling video:


You should also talk to your sister-in-law. Explain to her how you temporarily lost your temper. Teach her what the Prophet said about anger. Tell her how much you want to build a relationship with her.

I suggest you do something for the family to make amends.  You can take them out to dinner or on an outing. Take more time, too, to get to know them and build a relationship.

This is your brother’s family, and also yours. Even after you leave, you should continue to do what you can to keep good relations with them. Call often. Send small gifts—especially items which will help your sister-in-law better understand and practice Islam.  As she becomes stronger and more confident in her faith, she will be able to distinguish between the goodness of Islam and the occasional weaknesses we all have at times.

You have the right attitude about what happened. Make the intention to repair and strengthen your relationship, and Allah will help you in this cause.

Salaam,

***

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:

Anger Management & Resolving Family Conflicts

What Is Anger & How to Control It?

Breaking Things When I’m Angry




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