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Abusive Father, Can I Sever Ties with Him?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jun 23, 2019

Question

I’m 23 years old. My dad claims to be very religious during the first 11 years of my life. My dad was so aggressive with my mom, seaming and throwing stuff at her and threading to kill her which gave me a lot of sleepless nights worrying if he killed her when I’m asleep. I used to have bad tremors and I didn’t want to go to school to stay with her. When I was 12 they decided to get a divorce and my dad wanted to hurt my mom, so he decided to cut off all connection between us (my brother 8 years older than me) and my mom and we never saw her or spoke to her for 15 years now.

Back at the time, he and my aunts convinced and brainwashed me that my mom hated me and she was jealous of me. They made me hate her till I was 20 but since I was 16 or so I had a bit of guilt towards her but I was scared my dad would know that I wanted to talk to her and he wouldn’t pay for my education and kick me out ( because he said he would).

When I was 20 I reached out for her and she promised she wouldn’t tell him I call her in secrecy, and now I’m 23 and I still see/call my mom behind his back. She is so depressed after he took us away, and I feel bad for what she had to go through. He gave me good money for good education throughout the years, to be honest, but he was aggressive screaming at me throwing things on me and threading to kill me as well and he had his psychotic episodes to terrify me.

Now I moved to live in the Dorms and I’m so happy I don’t get to see him he still pays for my education. He still doesn’t know I talk to my mom. He remarried 3 times and was equally abusive to these women who I felt bad for. He lives in a very bad place and I’m so ashamed of it, he doesn’t work he talks in a vulgar way and he is very outdated. I don’t get to see him because I make up excuses even though I call him once per day and I’m nice to him.

I want to get engaged to a guy that my mom knows and approves off, but I’m ashamed of my father and my brother (who doesn’t talk to my mom), and I don’t want to see them. I forgive them, I wish them all well and I’m nice over the phone with them. But I don’t want to see them I wish them all health and wealth and happiness just away from me. Is that haram? I don’t want them around, I have bad memories with them, they hurt my mom and me growing up and terrorized me.

I don’t hate my dad I just don’t like him. I don’t want to see him, he ruined my family and ruined his image. When I was young my friends and teachers used to make fun of the way he talked and acted which was unstable. Is it haram to be nice to him but from distance and not get my paths to cross with him again?

Counselor

Answer


Abusive Father, Emotionally abused

In this counseling answer:

•You should not feel guilty about having an abusive father.

•You could get in contact with someone from the local mosque who may be willing to spend time with your dad more casually to be a positive influence on him this could be helpful.

•You have found someone that you want to marry so you have the chance now tons tart your own family life.

•You have been through a lot of trauma from such a young age and the trouble still continues to some extent today. I would highly recommend seeking some counseling for this.


As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

You’ve had difficulty within the family from such a young age, that continues today only perhaps in a slightly different way. Alhamdulilah, you are old enough now to be in a position to be apart from that physically, but the emotional difficulties still exist.

The unfortunate thing in your case is that you are the one who is suffering the consequences of feeling bad for both your mum and dad, yet the source of the problem was not started by you.

You should not feel guilty about anything, although it is understandable that it might feel like having contact with one parent or the other makes you feel concerned that your upsetting the other, as well as generally feeling sad for what they are both going through.

Of course, Islamically, we are ordered to maintain family ties and there are reasons behind this importance. As an adult now, this does n necessarily mean you have to see and talk to all family members every day, but you can still keep contact on a less intensive level. Now we have mobile phones t a quick phone call is enough to uphold ties without having to even see each other.

Family difficulties that you have encountered can take a long time to overcome. Maybe in some time as you grow older and settle down you will feel more inclined to see your father more often, especially as he gets older. Whilst you get yourself together and overcome past difficulties you could just maintain the ties in this more casual way.

If it’s possible that you could get in contact with someone from the local mosque who may be willing to spend time with your dad more casually to be a positive influence on him this could be helpful. Social support can be a good way to help overcome the clear anger issues that your father has battled with for such a long time.

If he has a friend who could be a good influence on him and inspire him to act on the Deen instead of becoming angry, this could be a healthy first step in him overcoming his anger, especially since it has been going on a while and may take time to break free from. This may encourage him then Tonge out more and be in the company of good people who will encourage him to behave more appropriately.

Alhamdulilah, you have found someone that you want to marry so you have the chance now tons tart your own family life. You have been through so much turmoil through childhood up until now, but you can try and use this experience positively to ensure that your own family that you will nurture does not go through the same. You know how it felt first hand to be in that scenario so you can do all you can to strive to nurture more calm and loving household.


Check out this counseling video

You have been through a lot of trauma from such a young age and the trouble still continues to some extent today. I would highly recommend seeking some counseling for this. Even if it is just to give you a space to talk through everything that you have been through for such a long time.

This will also make it easier for you to decide how to deal with your family members as you come to terms with and learn how to manage and express your emotions relating to the situation. As you prepare to start a new life it will be useful to ensure that you have dealt with these issues to make sure that any emotions you are now feeling will not interfere with your ability to live a happy life from here on.

You’ve spent so much of your life worrying about others, so now it’s time to think about yourself. Do things you enjoy and take care of yourself. Worrying about others may have prevented you from doing these things, but now it’s time to think of yourself too. Taking care of yourself, having hobbies, being with people will all contribute towards a healthy recovery and positive future.

May Allah bring ease in your family and soften all of your hearts for one another that there will be no ill feelings and family ties can be built once more.

Ameen.

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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 Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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