I’m a 26 years old Muslim born man raised in Belgium. I have a very difficult relationship with my parents. I am the third oldest of 7 children who has struggled all his life with being gay.
When I was a child, my parents, especially my mother, picked up on it and was very hard on me. She lacked emotional feelings towards me all my life. When my older sister was diagnosed with cancer and survived, everything got worse.
My dad was never around before my sister’s illness and would hit me and my older brother very hard with wooden chain, belts, or just by his hand. I was very terrified of him growing up and became a very anxious, self-conscious child.
My parents have never taught me anything about Islam or how to pray. They always make me feel bad for not knowing anything and not being like my older cousins. In my teenage years, I got really depressed and started taking drugs and drinking (not like crazy though); I felt extremely sad and lost. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or to really care for me with love.
At the age of 23, I moved out even though my parents were very much against it. My younger brother, who is 25 now, threatens me often just like my older sister. My younger siblings do not know my violent dad. He has never treated them like he treated me and my older brother. I am lost and I suffer from depression.
What does Islam say, how I should approach this problem? The anxiety and memories from the past make it very difficult for me to have a normal relationship with my family.
Salamu ‘Alaikum Brother,
Thank you for sending us your question. I am deeply sorry to read about the pain and hurt you suffered throughout these years. I ask Allah (swt) to help you to overcome the pain that you are experiencing and to help you love yourself and to find peace.
Brother, since I am not an Islamic scholar, I will answer your question to the best of my ability as a mental health professional.
It appears that you have suffered a lot of emotional and physical abuse as a child and that has resulted in the anxiety and depression you feel now. You decided to move out of the family home 3 years ago and your parents have been against that, including most of your siblings. Now you feel lost and need some spiritual guidance.
After everything you have experienced, it would be almost expected for you to feel lost. As a Muslim mental health professional, we understand that such things happen in many homes, including Muslim homes, and that it is a reality that we cannot ignore.
Seek Professional Help
Seeking the right kind of help and being away from that negative environment are the best things you can do for yourself now. Take time to focus on yourself and your wellbeing. By all means, seek out mental health treatment and find a counselor/therapist whom you feel comfortable working with.
Check out this counseling video:
We know that in Islam, we are highly encouraged to get treatment for our ailments and illnesses. Depression and anxiety are illnesses just like any other illness and must be attended to and treated.
I commend you for seeking to help yourself and to get yourself on the right track after enduring so much hardship.
For now, focus on yourself and your wellbeing. Developing a relationship with your family can be a goal for the future when you become stronger. In the meantime, focus on yourself and be around supportive friends and family members.
I ask Allah (swt) to help you through this difficulty and grant you strength, courage, and perseverance to move on and become the person you want to become.
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.