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How Can I Have a Better Relationship with My Parents?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 14, 2019

Question

Salam Aleikom.

For the past 8/9 years of my life, my parents have always been disappointed in me. I am now 24. This all started when they lost trust in me due to other family members whispering things in their ear.

It caused my relationship with both parents to deteriorate and become none existent, but Alhamdulillah last year me and my parents have worked on our Deen (me with learning Tajweed and them going to Hajj) and once they returned from Hajj I felt that our relationship had improved a bit.

However, there is still criticism about anything I do. They keep forcing marriage upon me with the same relatives that broke our relationship. They said we would not accept anyone else only from the family. They say the Prophet also married his cousin, but they never speak of his other wives. I am from a very cultural Pakistani family who always think about their cast and what others might say about everything that happens.

I hope to meet someone (the right way) for marriage this year. I have asked my teacher to help find me someone, and I hope to attend a Muslim marriage event as well.

Whenever I think I am doing good and to help someone, like for my brother or sister (buy them nice clothes that cost a lot) they never see any good in it and that leads to arguments. I have, for the most recent years, given up on what my parents think of me and if they trust me.

I just don't know what they want from me anymore. I know if I ask it will lead to arguments where they just call me ungrateful. Could you please advise on what I can or should do because I usually just stay silent, and my mom just gets angrier either way.

Is there anything I can do?

Counselor

Answer


In this counseling answer:

•Choosing your own marriage partner is not a disrespectful task. If it is done in a halal way, it is a very good opportunity to choose a more appropriate partner for marriage. While it does go against your cultural norms, you may have greater success in the long-term concerning marriage and compatibility.

•Set free your expectations of your parents, as well as letting go of trying to live up to their expectations of you. Insha’Allah by doing this, you will find much more peace within yourself, as well as happiness.

•Your parents may have to go through an adjustment time. However, insha’Allah, they will come around to realize what a wonderful daughter they have raised. 

•Reflect upon one’s growth and good characteristics.


As Salamu Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your most important issues.

Sister, I empathize with your sadness and disappointment regarding your parents. Sometimes we feel we can never live up to their expectations, especially if there was a previous break in the trust. However, you are 24 years old. You are now an adult. I understand and respect your family’s cultural values, but there comes a time when one must step out towards independence and begin to live their lives.

Pleasing Parents

It seems that you had a strained relationship with your parents (as you indicated) for the past eight or nine years. Apparently, other family members started talking about you and it caused problems between you and your parents. You thought that you had repaired the relationship as both you and your parents began to work on your deen. However, you are currently feeling like they still are never satisfied with your progress in life.

Sister, sometimes we may try very hard to please our parents to the best of our abilities, but for whatever reason they always find something that they aren’t happy with. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you and it doesn’t mean that they don’t recognize the growth and changes that you have accomplished. It just means that they have set very high standards.

karim serageldin & naaila clay

Oftentimes parents do set extraordinarily high standards for their children. These standards can be so high that they’re nearly impossible to meet. This can much grief for the child who is desiring the parents love, affection, and acceptance.

Marriage Choices

Your parents are currently trying to get you married. They are trying to marry you to one of the relatives that originally gossiped about you and ruin your relationship. Your parents are adamant that they will not accept anyone else in the family.

Sister, arranged marriages can work if both people involved like each other and do want to marry. However, when there is pressure and force to marry, often these marriages end up in divorce.

In your case, you do not want to marry this person, and I applaud your efforts to independently seek a spouse in halal manner. Your parents may not be pleased with your independence regarding choosing your own marriage partner. However, they are not the ones who will be marry this person. You will.

Choosing your own marriage partner is not a disrespectful task. If it is done in a halal way, it is a very good opportunity to choose a more appropriate partner for marriage. While it does go against your cultural norms, you may have greater success in the long-term concerning marriage and compatibility.


Check out this counseling video


Looking at the Positives

Sister, I encourage you insha’Allah to make a list of all the positive and good things that you do. It could be offering a smile, doing something nice for your siblings, helping an elderly lady with her groceries, etc. Please review this list and add to it on a weekly or daily basis as needed.

You will find insha’Allah that you are a wonderful young Muslim woman with a big heart, a caring nature, and one who chooses peace within the family. These are positive qualities and traits, sister. Insha’Allah, once you begin to review who you truly are through your own eyes, and not through the eyes of your parents, you may begin to appreciate the fine young lady you have grown up to be. You may discover that you don’t need to be as hard on yourself as your parents are.

Again, your parents do love you, they have different expectations. For this reason, it is often useful to reflect upon one’s growth and good characteristics.

Refocusing

Sister, focus on what you need to do as far as school, Islamic studies, helping around the home, getting your financial affairs in order, as well as preparing for a possible future marriage. Accept the fact that most likely you won’t be able to change your parents. That’s okay!

Instead of focusing on trying to win back their trust and respect, focus on your continued growth and improvement of yourself. Inshallah, focus on your Islamic Studies to continue the path of obtaining Islamic knowledge and education. These are the things that will bring you many blessings.

It is said if you cannot change something to set it free. Thus, I am asking you to set free your expectations of your parents, as well as letting go of trying to live up to their expectations of you. Insha’Allah by doing this, you will find much more peace within yourself, as well as happiness.

Your parents may have to go through an adjustment time. However, insha’Allah, they will come around to realize what a wonderful daughter they have raised. 

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.

Read more:

I’m Tired of Arguing with My Mom Over and Over

How Can I Regain My Parents’ Trust?

Parents’ Fights Have Ruined My Life

 




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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