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My Family Doesn’t Show Love Towards Me

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

May 17, 2018

Question

My older sister’s daughter accused my daughter of stealing a lipstick. They posted things on social media that made my daughter feel bad. When I asked my sister to help the girls get through this (as I believe my daughter would not steal), she did not want to. She believed my daughter did it. That made me angry.

I told her that’s not right and you guys didn’t see her do it. It’s a baseless accusation. This sister and her family have a history of jealousy and spreading lies to get the rest of the family to hate me which she did the year before. Although she has said things about other family members to me, I never told any of them because I know how it feels and I wanted Allah to be pleased with me.

The rest of the family including my mom has chosen sides. My mom lives with my older siblings. I don’t visit them often because I don’t want to be an accused of anything, and my husband has told me not to. They all ignore me. No one phones me. I call my mom daily to see how she is. They all get together and I am never invited. I have many problems in my life and I wish I could cry on my mom’s lap.

My mom has never been fair and just and has made me feel like I am nothing. I have severe anxiety and depression. She controls me even though I am married. Am I doing something wrong Islamically by staying away? I just feel hurt and sad and like I have no one but Allah. I wish I could write all the details of my life so you could get a sense of her cruel she is towards me which includes emotionally ignoring me.

She sees and knows the truth and takes my sister’s side. I feel frozen in my life. I wish I could move away. My husband works in a different country. I wish I could go too. I wish he understood my pain. He has a loving family and can’t understand my issues. I’m hurt and life is hard. I push myself every day to be there for my kids. Please help me.

Counselor

Answer


My Family Doesn’t Show Love Towards Me

In this counseling answer:

• Seek out counseling to help you get through this difficult period in your life.

• Writing a letter to your mom is a symbolic way of “laying your head in her lap” and crying.

• Reassure your daughter that you will always be there for her no matter what. She will feel more secure.

• Until you are healed insha’Allah, I would kindly suggest limiting your time with your family.


As Salamu Alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us and trusting us with your question. I am sorry to hear about the situation wherein your daughter is being accused of stealing a lipstick. However, the problem seems to go much deeper than just that.

You indicated that your sister/family have a history of jealousy and spreading lies to get the rest of the family to “hate you”. You said that you were never invited to family gatherings and everybody in the family ignores you. You call your mom daily to see how she is, despite your feelings that your mom has never been fair and has made you feel like you are nothing. You also feel that your mother controls you even though you’re married.

On one side sister, the family (including your mom) excludes you and makes you feel rejected and betrayed. Yet, on the other side, stating that your mom still tries to control you even though your married is evident that in some way she is still trying to hold on to you. Perhaps she fears to lose you.

You did not mention your age nor your sister’s age, but I suspect that there are other feelings they may harbor such as jealousy, fear, guilt take precedence overexpressing love.

Seek Out Counseling

You also stated that you have severe anxiety and depression. It is not surprising given the stress you have been under. I am wondering though, did you ever experience anxiety and depression before? Have you seen a doctor and are you getting counseling?

I don’t know what your history is as a child growing up in the family. However, the issue today may be reflected in your past as well. Perhaps, you had these issues growing up wherein the family members all pitted one against the other and you were always on the outside. I can only imagine how to hurt and betrayed you must feel.

No wonder you are experiencing anxiety and depression now. I would kindly suggest sister that you seek out counseling to help you get through this difficult period in your life. You may be surprised at how much relief and progress you can make insha’Allah by getting counseling on a regular basis.

When things are going wrong in our lives and we feel hurt, confused, depressed or overwhelmed, it is natural to want the comfort of our mom. You stated in your question that you just wish that you could “lie your head and your mom’s lap and cry”. That is such a strong and touching emotion. We all wish that from time to time.

To not be able to cry in a mother’s lap is a great loss and hurt. Perhaps there is an opportunity to touch your mother’s heart and bring out the love and goodness that is inside of her hiding away. If she knew how you were truly feeling, sister, perhaps she would “wake up” to your needs as her daughter.

Why a Mom Doesn’t Show Love

There are many reasons why a mother or family cannot or will not show love. It has nothing to do with you, sister, but it has everything to do with them, how they were raised, and how they are able to relate to others.

Sister, I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah you sit down with your mom (alone) and discuss how you feel regarding the family dynamics.

If you feel you cannot do that just yet, then write a letter to your mom.  Take your time and be thoughtful (without anger). Write to her about everything you feel, pour your heart out to her about all you are going through, your fears and your disappointments, hopes, and dreams.

Writing can be very moving. Writing a letter such as this to your mom is a symbolic way of “laying your head in her lap” and crying. May Allah guide your hands and heart if you chose to reach out in this way.

Sister, I can understand how you may feel hurt and disconnected from your family. There are many children and adults who experience this disconnection from family for various reasons. A dysfunctional family is a cause of many mental health issues, much sadness, and grief as well as loss of joy in life.

Befriend Your Daughter

The issue that you wrote about concerning your daughter should be resolved for everyone’s sake, but especially for your daughter. I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah, you sit down with your daughter and discuss the lipstick issue.

As you feel she is innocent, I would just ask her to recount what happened and ask her how she feels about the situation. Tell her that you love her dearly and that you trust what she says and that she can tell you anything even if it is something that she has done wrong.

The reason for this is because you want to formulate a loving trusting relationship with your daughter. Even if your daughter did take the lipstick, she may be fearful of telling you as it would be a disappointment.

Children seek to please their parents as you know and may tell little white lies to avoid hurting their parents. I am not saying she took the lipstick. I am just saying that for future reference. If you reassure her now that you will always be there for her no matter what, she will feel more secure.

This is especially important as there is so much drama going on about this lipstick, as well as within the family unit. The goal is to try to explain to her as best as you can that the way her auntie is acting is not appropriate. This is not the way Allah wants us to treat each other.

As your daughter loves you, sister, she picks up on your emotions. As a child in the midst of family drama, she is probably confused as well.  You may wish to read portions of the Qur’an to her as well as hadiths relating to families, community and how we as Muslims should treat one another – with love and mercy.

In this way, you are teaching her that while yes, there is love in your family, there are problems as well. However, this is not how we treat each other.

Distance Yourself from Your Family

At this point, sister, the relationships with your family are toxic. Until they are healed insha’Allah, I would kindly suggest limiting your time with them. I would check up on your mom, of course, to ensure she is okay and to see if she needs anything. But for now, you need to find a peace of mind.

I would kindly explain to them that you love them all dearly but you desire nurturing relations. Tell them that until they are ready to sit down and resolve whatever is bothering them, you prefer to not be engaged in drama.

Sister, you do not have to go through life suffering from anxiety and depression and feeling the loss of family. You can take proactive steps as described above to help heal from the trauma and move on.

Please, utilize prayer, make dhkzir, read Qur’an, and attend the Masjid as often as possible. Our connection to Allah and to our Islamic community is a pillar of strength for us in hard times. Our connection to Allah is what gets us through our trials and sadness in this life. Allah is the ultimate healer of all things.

Inshallah, please, include your daughter in your healing journey as I am sure she has been hurt by this as well. As stated earlier, the issue goes beyond the accusation of your daughter taking lipstick. The accusation is only a symptom. However, now is the time to try to heal your family as a whole by talking to your mom about your feelings; try to reunite the family, or move on.

I’m not saying to cut off your family as that is haram. However, you can distance yourself from their imposed pain, isolation and disregard of you and your daughter. You can still look out for them, especially your mom, but this is the time for you to put you and your daughter first in an Islamic manner.

Gather Your Husband’s Support

You stated that your husband really doesn’t understand your pain because he has a loving family. I also understand he works in the different country. Inshallah, once you are with him, his family will love you and your daughter and treat you both with love and tenderness.

While this doesn’t take the place of your own family, sister, it is a blessing from Allah. I have confidence that you can get through this, that you will take the right steps to resolve these issues and make yourself a happier mom, Muslim, and woman.

We don’t always get born into a family that demonstrates loving and caring gestures. Often it is the opposite. However, there are many in your situation. You are not alone. When it comes to situations such as this, sometimes there is no way out, but there is a way through it.   You’re getting through it is what matters right now. Insha’Allah talks to your husband and gather his support and his love to help you through.

Sister, often times in life we must accept things for the way they are, even if it hurts.

I would kindly suggest that you try to get closer to the sisters at the Masjid. Make your sisters at the Masjid your family. That is what our community is for. We are one family. Inshallah, seek out friendships with sisters who have things in common with you. You can have a family get together, engage in social outings, attend Islamic events and create your own little family within this circle. While it does not take the place of your birth family, this can help fill the void of loneliness and sadness.

It will also give your daughter the opportunity to meet other young girls and form lasting relationships that are healthy.

Insha’Allah sister, in time your family will begin to see the light and change their ways. Until then, focus on your daughter and yourself and create your own positive, love-filled world.

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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