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How to Be Patient with People?

Questioner

a

Reply Date

Jul 24, 2017

Question

Asalamu Alekum. I cannot withstand others’ mistakes. I get hurt easily by others’ mistakes so I don't interact much with outsiders. If someone does something wrong the next moment I try avoiding them so that I don't get hurt next time. I cant even defend myself when someone does something wrong. So I try not talking to them again. I got married 2 years ago. After marriage, I have to maintain good relationship with my husband’s parents and relatives. Sometimes they advice me do something which I don't like, but I can’t express my opinion to them.We don't have kids right now. Sometimes my husband’s relatives ask us when are we planning to have kids. My mom in law thinks that only women are supposed to do household work. I don't like it when people interfere between me and my husband. I get hurt and complain to my husband about his relatives and parents. I don't even like my sister in law. She is a very lazy person. I always talk negatively about her in front of my husband. I alsp have an elder brother who is not a responsible person. I get irritated by his mistakes and shout at him. Otherwise if my mum says something to me which I don't like I shout at her. When it comes to my family I shout at them when they hurt me. When it comes to friends, relatives and in laws I don't say anything to them when I get hurt but I overthink about the hurtful things they told me. I don't have control over these thoughts. Can you please suggest me how to control my mind regarding these obsessive thoughts and refrain my tongue from shouting at my family members? I don't want to hold grudges against anyone. I just want to forgive and be patient with people the way I want ALLAH to forgive me.

Counselor

Answer


How to Be Patient with People?

In this counseling answer:

The counselor advises the questioner to “make your lists and journal to explore the reasons why you get hurt so easily and lash out at others. Take classes in positive communication and practice deep breathing and imagery before you speak in a tense situation. Get counseling if you feel it may be OCD, apologize to those you have hurt with your words, and seek forgiveness from Allah(swt).”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your concerns about patience, forgiveness, and communications.  First of all, dear sister, I would kindly suggest that you explore the reasons WHY you get hurt so easily. Please start a journal. In your journal, you may want to look back and make a list of the things people say or said to you that hurt you. Then look at these statements and analyze them. Why do they hurt you? What feelings do they trigger in you to feel hurt? Make a list of these feelings and see if these feelings correspond with anything you have experienced in the past such as a trauma or loss.

After you have begun to map out your feelings, look at your responses, or lack of responses. Why do you lash out at your brother and parents, yet keep quiet around others and not respond? Please also look at the reasons WHY you so harshly judge others for their mistakes and avoid them afterward. Do you take others’ mistakes personally? Do other people’s mistakes remind you in some way of your own? These are important points to consider, sister, for some times those who lack patience with others and judge others quickly and do not forgive have often internalized their own mistakes and perceived inadequacies so deeply that they project them on others.

Communication is vital to all successful human relationships and interactions. Learning to communicate effectively will be an important skill for you to learn. I kindly suggest sister that you look for classes in your area that teaches effective communication skills. Often community centers will offer these classes for free or for a low-cost fee. If this is not possible, look for classes online which can improve your communication skills and guide you towards more assertive and positive responses, especially when you feel people are making mistakes. This will also help you to learn patience as part of communication is patience in regards to active listening, thinking before the response, and formulating a response that is well thought out and appropriate, not just based on quick emotion.

It is my feeling, and I may be wrong, but possibly your silence in some cases and your mean outbursts in other situations may be based on your own personal emotional issues which have not yet been resolved. I kindly suggest sister that if you have experienced any trauma in your life that may be causing this you seek out counseling to begin healing and resolve these issues. In sha’ Allah, you will find improved relationships within your family circle as well as socially.

In regards to your in-laws, a lot of in-laws do try to guide young married couples. They mean no harm (usually) but often times it is seen as coming between a husband and wife. If this is truly the case that they are interfering a bit too much, perhaps your husband can speak with them concerning your married life together as a separate relationship in regards to the family as a whole. By explaining that he appreciates their help and advice, he can also explain that as a married couple you both seek to discuss issues between yourselves and will seek their advice when needed. This, of course, should be done in a most loving way.

Additionally, as they are trying to be helpful, you do not always have to agree, and that is okay. However, you do not have to get angry or resentful because everyone is entitled to their life choices, their beliefs, and how they chose to live – just as you are. For instance, your mother-in-law believes that women should stay home and take care of the home and children. That is fine. If you feel you would like a career, it is also fine. These are choices and neither is right or wrong. By expressing choices and lifestyles, you do so to share lovingly, not to prompt an argument or debate.  Again, communication classes will help with learning how to express your feelings, ideas, and emotions in a constructive way.

“Everyone is entitled to their life choices, their beliefs, and how they chose to live – just as you are.”

Yelling at your brother and parents is haram as is backbiting your in-laws. Please, stop these behaviors immediately. When you feel like saying mean things, please take a few deep breaths, count to 10, and imagine a big red stop sign in your mind. Ask yourself, if that were me I was talking to, what would I say to myself? This technique (putting ourselves in other’s shoes) often curbs the impulse to attack others verbally as we ourselves would not want that. Please, in sha’ Allah, seek Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and apologize to those you have hurt with your words. 

Sister, you asked, “how do I stop these obsessive thoughts.” If these thoughts are truly obsessive and I mean in the way of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), then I kindly suggest that you seek out counseling to determine if, in fact, you do suffer from OCD. OCD is a mental health disorder which has roots in anxiety. It can be treated with high rates of success if you are committed to the treatment plan. While I cannot say if you do in fact have OCD, it would explain some of your behaviors and thoughts. Please see this link to determine if you might have OCD and if you think you may, in sha’ Allah, then seek counseling to get treatment.

In sha’ Allah, sister, make your lists and journal, take classes in positive communication, and practice deep breathing and imagery before you speak in a tense situation. Get counseling if you feel it may be OCD, apologize to those you have hurt with your words, and seek forgiveness from Allah(swt). Work on your relationship with yourself to find out why you feel so impatient and easily hurt as well as your relationship with Allah (swt) to draw you closer to Him. When we are truly conscious of Allah’s (swt) love for us as well as the consequences of not treating others with patience and loving forgiveness, we tend to develop a more softened heart, one that is able to love, forgive, and be patient. However, we must begin by doing this for ourselves first.

We wish you the best, sister. You are in our prayers.

***

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

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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