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I’m Married to a Drug Addict who Suffers from Schizophrenia

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 10, 2017

Question

Dear counselor. I’ve been married for 3 years and it has been problematic from day 1. I did not know that my husband was addicted to marijuana and also potentially sold it as. Also, he had anger issues; he would get angry quick and swear a lot. He is aggressive with me. On top of that, upon looking at his phone, I found out he was sending indecent pictures of some escort. I left him then but came back. But last year I stumbled upon his id on an escort hiring website where women had left him comments and he has left them some. Despite all this, I tried to forgive him and prayed that he get better and thought of them as his personal sins - sins that he had to work on. I tried forgiving them. But things got worst and weird when he suddenly became paranoid, delusional and started hallucinating. I was full term pregnant. I thought maybe it was because of substance abuse, but it lasted for a couple of months. I left as I was scared for my and my baby’s safety. It’s been 8 months and I hadn’t gone back. He did umrah and now says he has changed and will change as now he has a baby. I’ve let him meet the baby and take him to his home (he lived with parents). My question is, does this sound like paranoid schizophrenia? Or could it just be a drug related issue? Should I take a khula? My heart sinks thinking that we had a baby together and he isn’t here to see how the baby is growing. His family calls me a liar rather than helping their son. He was acting strangely in front of them and slept in their room and kept looking out of the windows and closing blinds saying someone is there. He was saying that I was calling his friend to add things to his water so he sleeps. He was looking for cameras. He seems okay to me these days but I do not live with him to be able to see if he is okay or not. Please guide me on what to do.

Counselor

Answer


I’m Married to a Drug Addict who Suffers from Schizophrenia

In this counseling answer:

“Please, keep yourself and your son safe by living separate and get counseling for all the trauma you have been through, sister. Approach his parents for help and ask him to get counseling. Find time to spend with friends doing enjoyable things as well as family times with your son. Try to go to the masjid as often as possible for spiritually uplifting events and classes. Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) to heal your husband, guide you and grant ease. If all efforts with him fail, please do consult a lawyer and an iman for a divorce.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your most important concerns. I am sorry to hear what you have been going through. You stated that your husband is involved with smoking and selling marijuana since your marriage. He is also involved in the escort business. Sister, just these two issues are cause for great alarm as I am sure you know. Not only are they unIslamic and sinful, but these two factors alone put you and your child at great risk for harm.

You also stated he was very paranoid, angry, and prone to outbursts and generally has a deteriorated state of mind. Sister, I cannot say if it is schizophrenia or not. He may have mental health issues and he may be addicted to drugs other than marijuana. Drug addiction can make one act like this too, especially if the drug is crack, cocaine, meth or any of the other stronger substances. You may not be aware of other drugs he is using or selling although an addict does not usually make for a successful dealer as they tend to “use up” the inventory.  With that said, he may be selling marijuana but addicted to another drug.

Whatever the case may be he needs to see a doctor/therapist as soon as possible given his mental health status. I would kindly suggest that you and your child stay where you are. At least being away from him gives you both some sense of safety. I’m not sure if you are living with your parents or by yourself, but please do not go back nor let your child visit him without supervision.

As you stated his parents do not believe you which indicates they are either in denial or are enabling him in his illness and/or addiction. This happens when parents cannot face the fact that they have an ill or addicted child. They turn a blind eye as it’s “safer”, less hurtful for them to do so. You can be quite sure that his parents do notice his bizarre and paranoid behaviors, and they are aware of his drug dealing. As he was selling drugs before you met him, it is likely that all of this was going on for some time and surely his parents are aware.

I would kindly suggest dear sister that you try to talk with his parents again. Find a time when things are calm (and your child is not with you), and your husband is not around so that you may talk to them. Perhaps offer to take them out to lunch where things are quiet and you can focus.

I would suggest beginning your conversation pointing out the things you find pleasing about being a part of their family. Express that you would like for everyone to be closer and that you need help with some issues. In a kind way, describe what you have been going through and ask for their help in getting him to see a doctor/therapist. You can tell them you fear for his life (surely there is a reality for that) based on his rapid deterioration. In sha’ Allah, they will accept the truth and let down their fears and sadness to help. If not, you may wish to inform them that while you desire to save your marriage and help your husband you cannot do it alone and you will not sacrifice your child’s life nor yours. Explain to them that you desire a safe, stable, loving Islamic marriage and household for you and especially your child, their grandchild, and that your husband cannot provide you or your son with a safe, loving home environment due to his paranoia, abuse, threats and lifestyle (drugs, escorts, etc.) Explain to them that you are afraid. If they become upset, sister, kindly ask them to please reconsider your offer and need for help and to let you know in a few days. Thank them for their time, excuse yourself from the table (or situation), and pay the bill and leave. In sha’ Allah, they will wake up and help you, either during your heartfelt conversation or a few days later after thinking about it and talking among themselves.

If that does not happen, sister, you may want to wait it out at a distance. Alhumdulillah, he made umrah. However, if he is truly addicted and or mentally ill, he will still need treatment as Allah (swt) helps those who help themselves. In his case, he may not even be aware he is ill. That is why it is critical that you live separate to stay safe and raise your child in a safe, loving environment (if you do decide to see if he will get help). Even then it may be a long process to healing and recovery.

You can propose to him that you are willing to work on your marriage to save it if he gets counseling and returns to Allah (swt) and the ways of Islam. If he refuses and his parents refuse to help sister, you may have no other choice but to file for divorce. It surely is a sad thing, and I know you love him sister; however, you have a child to think about now and living with someone who is unstable, volatile and unpredictable is a danger. You must protect yourself and your child sister. Is he mentally ill? All of what you have written indicates he is.  Did it start with drugs or was it pre-existing? Sister, it doesn’t matter. It is not a safe relationship for you or your child.

Please do approach his parents for help, ask him to get counseling, keep yourself and son safe by living separate and get counseling as well for all the trauma you have been through, sister. Find time to spend with friends doing enjoyable things as well as family times with your son.  Try to go to the masjid as often as possible for spiritually uplifting events and classes. Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) to heal your husband, guide you and grant ease. If all efforts with him fail, please do consult a lawyer and an iman for a divorce.

We wish you the 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.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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