Abused by My In-Laws: Is Divorce the Only Solution?

19 August, 2020
Q I converted to Islam after marriage. My mother in law and brother in law disliked me from the beginning.

I receive abuse (verbal) almost daily from both of them. Mother in law acts innocent in front of others and tells them I beat her and her husband which I swear on my child is not true.

Brother in law believes her and abuses me and my child verbally very badly. I am on the verge of depression.

Though my husband supports me he is also facing the same problem from them.

Is divorce the only solution to this problem? Please advise.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Your in-laws are being verbally abusive, and this is not OK and should not be tolerated.

Given that both you and your husband are being subjected to this abuse, now might be a great time to take a break from it all and focus on yourself and your marriage. 

Approaching them together will show them that you and your husband are united in this.

If their behavior is a means to try and split you up, then this will prove to them that it’s not working and will deter future behavior. 

You may consider how best to distance yourself whilst maintaining some level of family ties. 


It sounds like your husband comes from a family that are exhibiting some very toxic behaviors. When it comes to it being a family matter, it is more difficult to manage. This is because one is also obliged to maintain family ties and respect parents except when they are forcing something against Islam.

Verbal abuse

Even though it seems that they are not doing this, they are being verbally abusive and this is not OK and should not be tolerated.

If it were the case that your husband was siding with them then perhaps your situation would be even more difficult and warrant a divorce. But it would seem that he is also being subjected to the same from his own family which must be very difficult for him. 

I would suggest beginning by taking a step back and not making any irrational decisions in the moment without considering the consequences. What you are facing is placing you under great pressure and distress both individually and as a couple as well as as a family. Whilst it is important to maintain ties, this does not mean that you cannot take a break.

Abused by My In-Laws: Is Divorce the Only Solution? - About Islam

Take a break

Given that both you and your husband are being subjected to this abuse, now might be a great time to take a break from it all. To focus on yourself and your marriage. If it’s possible to organize a weekend away then this could be a healthy way to get this much needed break.

Otherwise, just have a weekend to yourself without contact with his family. And give yourself time to focus entirely on your relationship without the interference of his family.

During this time you might start by not even talking about the matter at all. Just enjoy each other’s company without the added stress.

However, at some point it will be necessary to discuss the matter together and talk about how you will address the matter with his family. It’s very important that you do this together and be completely open in your emotions.

You are both experiencing the same abuse from them. You can understand each other from that perspective. However, you should also keep in mind that this must be especially hard for him to face this from his own family. Perhaps you might choose to bring the matter up with them directly and let them know the hurt they are causing.


Check out this counseling video:


A team

Approaching them together will show them that you and your husband are united in this. If their behavior is a means to try and split you up, then this will prove to them that it’s not working and will deter future behavior.

Perhaps they didn’t even realize they were causing any bother. And didn’t mean anything in their actions and to talk to them will let them know the same. And perhaps even improve relations between you all.

Alternatively, if you feel they would be unreceptive. Or if they don’t respond well following confrontation, then you may consider how best to distance yourself. Whilst maintaining some level of family ties.

Conclusion

This may be possible with the intention of rebuilding bridges. In the future as sometimes when family relations are struggling taking a break from each other. Reducing contact can help reduce any animosity between people. It would make it easier to rebuild the foundations again in a more healthy way. 

May Allah bring you comfort during this difficult time and guide you to what is best. May He soften the hearts of your husbands family. May He strengthen your relationship with your husband and make you the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.

Salam,

***

Read more:

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)