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Feeling Intimidated By Abusive Relatives

Questioner

N

Reply Date

Jan 12, 2018

Question

Asalaam Alaikum. I am emailing because I feel lost. There have been ongoing problems in my family for a long time. All the relations in the family are ruined and I’ve noticed a pattern. I have some relatives, who do wrong things, and no one in my family seems to challenge this. Nothing happens, the situation is accepted. Years have passed and people are still angry but nothing is said. Everyone else in the family seems to get dragged into this or bullied. The best example which I can think of is that my cousin got married abroad and the family in the UK did not know about this. Yet, my aunt said she had told me (at which point I was 15 years old). I feel really angry that children are used as bait like this. My aunt and her family have a bad habit of lying about stories/ events. There is an ongoing frustration from my family because my parents got sick when I was a child, yet none of my relatives supported us. Then we went to university and we have done really well, but we seem to be tormented/ bullied by these relatives. It feels we are family when it’s convenient for them, but when you need help, we are not related and you’re left to suffer alone (even if you are a child). Recently, my cousin threatened me, and I fear that she would hurt me. Sadly, lots of people are sick in the family and they are not well enough to say anything. I vowed to stay away from such people because I don't want to be a piece in some emotional game, and I can’t focus on my position with Allah or progress in my life if I am surrounded by these people. My question is, what advice is in the Qur'an and Sunnah about dealing with people who are manipulative, angry and continuously lie? What is the best way to deal with confrontation when other people are hot headed and do not let you speak, nor are willing to hear what you say but they swear and threaten you? It upsets me and it is making me mentally sick because I feel intimidated by them and I don't know what to do.

Counselor

Answer


Feeling Intimidated By Abusive Relatives

Answer:

As-Salaam ’Alaikum Sister,

I am sorry to hear about your problems. Going through life in this world is a constant exercise of patience and tolerance. Our religion requires its followers to show patience under provocation and to disregard and ignore the abuse. Unfortunately, there are many cases of abusive families, sometimes with even close relatives such as parents or in-laws. In your case, you seemed to be talking exclusivity about your uncles, aunts, and cousins. I assume you don’t share the same house with them, and it is already a great reliever. I understand your frustration; we all expect our families to be united and to have healthy relations with them all, but sometimes it is impossible and there is nothing we can do to change other’s behaviors. What you have to do is learn how to deal with them without letting their behavior interfere with your life directly.

When we feel insulted, we often get defense. Resisting the trap set by the members of your family is easier if you’re aware of your vulnerability to getting hurt and then feeling angry.

Allah make permissive for us to act base on justice, which means you could respond them with unkind words and perhaps go into a fight:

“And if you punish (your enemy), then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted…” [al-Nahl 16:126]

But, instead, if you have enough self-control and bear it with patience and tolerance, it will be better for you as Allah also says in the same ayah:

“…But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for al-saabireen (the patient ones).” [al-Nahl 16:126]”

To turn their anger into love, you should treat them well even when they are offensive with you. We learned from the holy Quran that good is always better than bad:

“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily! He between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.” [Quran 41:34]

My point is, stay rational and don’t answer their threats. In the end of the day, those are simply threats and probably words out of jealousy. Be kind to them as much as you can, and in case of conflict, do not get into their trap. It is like you said, they are hot-headed, and thus trying to explain your view on this situation is pointless. Repeat to yourself and be confident that you are doing what is right and living your life without harming anyone. You are just responsible for your acts, so do your part. If possible, avoid any contact with them when things start to get ugly, and pray for Allah to increase you in patience and tolerance sister.

Remember, during the Prophet’s life, he was insulted and accused of many things, and it did not stop him to accomplish his mission:

“You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” (Quran 3:186)

Use the prophetic example and don’t let your relatives stop you to get close to Allah. He is the one who has all the answers and knows everything. Seek to the truth and pray for guidance.

May Allah help you,

***

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About Karim Serageldin

Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: http://www.noorhumanconsulting.com or facebook.com/noorhumanconsulting

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