In this counseling answer:
• Consider also how a divorce might affect your two precious children.
• The first step in making amends is to identify who you have hurt and what exactly you said or did that hurt those individuals.
• Don’t just say sorry; develop an action plan for your own personal development in order to increase the probability that you won’t have serious angry outbursts which can hurt others.
• You will find comfort in prayer and confidence in your awareness that Allah (swt) is guiding you and helping you to correct yourself.
Wa ‘Alaikum As-Salam,
As a psychologist and as a woman, I highly recommend that you stop requesting for divorce right now – at least for a couple of years. You need to take the time out for yourself to explore what is behind your feelings of upset. Things will be confusing for a while as you begin to sort out your feelings and seek to understand your own heart.
Consider also how a divorce might affect your two precious children. If you have had outbursts of anger and it has affected your family, you can repair this damage with the help of Allah (swt). This would be best for your children, for your husband, and for yourself.
You will want to focus on three areas for total healing of this particular situation: your connection and relationship with Allah (swt), making amends by building trust with your husband and your children and healing your heart through the journey of anger management, and the resolution of the inner conflicts that you have within you.
Firstly, trust in Allah (swt) to know you, and to love you as you are. Reach out to Allah (swt). Yes, this is abstract and vague as we cannot describe the Creator of our own being and the source of life in human words, nor can our minds conceive or fathom His (swt) mysteries. But our being, our heart of hearts knows Him (swt). Inside our own soul, we experience our connection with our Lord (swt) with all of the mystery, power, and love that created all the endless universes. It is in this ocean that we find our truth which will heal us and make us whole. This is our true home.
Trust that Allah (swt) has complete love for you and your family. His healing power is real, and you can become ever increasingly aware of your connection to Him (swt). You will find comfort in prayer and confidence in your awareness that Allah (swt) is guiding you and helping you to correct yourself so that you can reflect the perfect soul you are in reality – the soul that was created by Allah (swt).
Indeed, over time something caused your perceptions to change and to become discontent. This seems to happen to almost all human beings for some reason while we dance upon this earth. However, our struggle and work in this life are to uncover our misguided beliefs and incorrect understanding and peel each layer of misguided defenses away until we re-discover our core – the being that was created by Allah (swt). This being resides in a happy and content state because it is aware of its connection with Allah (swt). This being is you.
Take time to pray by which I don’t mean the obligatory prayers only. We know we are making progress when our prayer is no longer compulsory or feels like an obligation, but rather becomes our source of strength, the power to live a good life, comfort, and guidance. Once your prayer experience is elevated to this level, you will find that prayer feels like you are recharging your “batteries” and you are more “in tune” with your inner voice and the guidance of Allah (swt).
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You will begin to crave this prayer time. This is your time, and it is perfectly ok if your children are crawling all over you when you practice this prayer and practice getting your mind quiet to “tune in” to Allah (swt). It is even ok if you “mess up” your prayer because your children are crawling all over you, and you break into a great laughter of joy. In fact, joy is a type of prayer in and of itself. So, don’t let what appears to be an obstacle to prayer; enjoy the process itself. Take time also to remember Allah (swt) as it will help you focus your mind and bring you to experience more good.
Secondly, making amends with your family can be a wonderful experience. Yes, it will take some effort and might feel uncomfortable at first, but in the end, you will feel so much better about yourself and about life. This process will also help you feel more connected to Allah (swt). Before you begin, think through your “divine strategy”. In other words, don’t just tell everyone that you are sorry for your outbursts and make promises that you don’t even know if you have the ability to keep. Rather, develop an action plan for your own personal development in order to increase the probability that you won’t have serious angry outbursts which can hurt others.
This plan will include increasing your connection to Allah (swt), increasing your feelings of self-worth and self-esteem, learning assertive communication, resolving inner conflicts that are consciously and unconsciously upsetting you, and learning how to manage anger when you feel it so that you can behave proactively, rather than reactively. For the purpose of making amends, you do not have to have everything mapped out. Only realize that if you are making a commitment to develop these skills and to heal your own self, you are not only making amends to your family, but you are making a commitment to yourself. Once you have this understanding, you can begin to make amends.
The first step in making amends is to identify who you have hurt and what exactly you said or did that hurt those individuals. Sometimes, it is difficult to apologize to someone who also said or did hurtful things to you. However, in order to accomplish amends, we must separate the hurt we received from the hurt we caused. We bring the hurt that we received to Allah (swt) and ask Him (swt) to help us manage that pain while setting out to do our work of apologizing for each specific mistakes we have done. Over time, we will learn how to be healed from the hurt that others have caused us, especially when we learn assertive communication. So, do not worry; there is a kind and gentle way to stop people we love and who love us hurting us.
For now, the focus is on making amends, and we understand now how to apologize. That is the first part of amends. After the apology is made, we want to build trust with the individual that we hurt or wronged. We do this by being very honest with them. Let the person know where you are in your progress. Let the person know your intention of learning anger management skills and self-improvement, and that you have a goal of being able to participate in a healthy and loving relationship with them. Let them know that you have just begun this journey and ask for their patients as you make your effort to learn these skills.
Now, as you do this, you will no doubt have a little annoying voice inside you saying “how unfair this is, why he doesn’t have to do the same; after all, he has said this and that, done this and that, and he isn’t trying to better himself!” This is your ego voice trying to keep your soul trapped in disharmony. Don’t listen to it. Indeed, it is probably very true that your husband has faults. I can say this with confidence because I am pretty sure that your husband is a human being.
With that said, your soul’s mission here is to make amends with him and to embark on a journey of self-improvement for your own soul’s sake. It does not matter if your husband has faults. That is his journey, and he will take his steps toward enlightenment and healing at the perfect time according to the will of Allah (swt), in sha’ Allah. The point is that if this happens to you, refocus and remind yourself that you are doing this for yourself, not for your husband (though he will benefit which is good). Be very forthright with your husband and then go to work on yourself.
If your husband has the habit of saying things to you when you share with him your sincere intention of improving that make you feel worthless (which is just a program that many people have from their upbringing), just respond by saying, “yes, you are right, I understand”, and tell yourself that he is where he is, and let him have his opinion. Do not defend yourself; he can’t see everything right now. Just know in your heart that Allah (swt) is with you and will make you strong. It is in your strength that your marriage will become strong. And do not believe it if he says that you are less than a beautiful woman with much to give. By saying that simple sentence, the conversation will end shortly and you will be able to get on with the business of making yourself and your family well, in sha’ Allah.
Finally, you will want to participate in particle skills training and in healing the conflicts that are within you. You will want to identify what triggers your angry outbursts and acquire, master, and use strategies to manage them. You will want to identify the several things you are upset about.
For instance, you might feel lonely, or having difficulty adjusting to the new environment and culture in KSA; you may miss your family and friends. If at all possible, find a psychotherapist and join an anger management group. Read anger management books and find some anger management workbooks. Learn assertive communication either with a therapist or through self-help books. Seek out women’s groups, and see if you can make some friends. Learn how to give yourself permission to feel what you feel, while seeking positive and creative solutions to what is bothering you.
While you begin working on all of this, make sure that you learn how to play and have fun with your children. Eventually, you will be modeling a new behavior and your children will pick up on your lightheartedness and happiness and will learn proactive ways to manage their own feelings as you teach them. So, make sure you stay engaged with them by playing with them as much as you can. Have fun! I personally still love to color coloring books with my grandson as much as I can, because it is fun. We also play pretending to be superheroes a lot. It is also really fun. 🙂 (Food for thought)
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