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My Abusive Father is Ruining Our Life

19 November, 2023
Q Assalamu aleykum.

Thank you for this beneficial service. My silent cry for help is about my parents. I am in desperate thoughts about what to do regarding them. Even though their relationship is about to escalate, my mother refuses to divorce, but she is suffering hell on earth. My father is way older than my mother who married young and naively without the consent of her parents. They are cousins and my father was well known for his outrageous anger attacks, his stubbornness and humiliating attitude towards other humans. I do not remember a long period of a peaceful time at home, so I felt overwhelmingly relieved when I finally left this house to study abroad. I am still fighting with the lack of self-confidence caused by the permanent humiliating and blaming from my father. He provided me and my siblings every possible financial support, but emotionally he damaged all of us.

My oldest brother is suffering from depression and panic attacks. He was the most difficult child of us and at the same time the most beloved one by my father. He became the reason my father turned into an incapable paranoid being. For many years, my father has complex financial issues with my mother's brothers. He is blaming them and sees them now as enemies. As he has been aging, he lost friends and relatives because of his childish arguments or again financial fights. I have never ever heard him excusing or admitting a mistake of his. This fight with my uncles worsened the relationship of my parents, which already was damaged because of zero respect from my father towards his wife. My mother has a silent, submissive nature. She once said after a heavy argument between me and my father that she would endure him till death. Things became worse also between my brother and father. My father did not allow my brother to marry the girl he loved, destroyed their relationship with prejudices and irrational blaming towards the girl and they broke up. This incident also broke the last tie between my brother and father.

As usual, my mother was blamed and she suffered the most. Now that my brother turned his back towards my father, he became completely mad restricting my mother more and more. My uncles are seen as his enemies so he ordered my mother not to see them, otherwise he would divorce her. He has not restricted us, but every single silly thing became more and more the fault of my uncle; therefore, also the fault of my mother. Because instead of defending her husband, she was defending her brothers. In fact, my mother begged him for years to sit down and talk with my uncles to clear these money issues, but my father's ego never allowed him to do that. He was a hundred percent sure that he is right and in his eyes his wife and children were isolating him and leaving him slowly. He never understood that his own disrespectful behavior was the reason for him being alone. With years of being unemployed and without any beneficial occupation in his life, his thoughts and assumptions became his own reality. He strongly denies any psychological help even though his own daughter, a medical doctor, begs him to seek professional help. I am witnessing how my family is breaking apart. We daughters and sons are desperately seeking to flee from home and spending as limited time as possible with them. I offered my mother to divorce, it is not haram to divorce, and I do not understand why she should suffer every day within her learned helplessness. But she refused. After this heavy fight, I have mentioned before regarding the lack of peace in our family I recognized something that destroyed me completely.

My bed is close to our parents' room, so I heard them having intercourse that night even though I knew that my mother was mentally broken after the fight. My father has thrown the whole kitchen table on me, glasses were broken. She was crying a lot. I am not a married person, I cannot understand what is happening in the bed of two married persons, but more or less I have learned in medical school that the woman has to be ready for intercourse, otherwise she will be dry and feel pain. I think it is impossible for my mother to be in the mood for having sex, especially after this troublesome night. I assume my father abuses my mother; I have witnessed his psychological abuse dozens of times, we all grew up with it. But now that I have sort of witnessed also physical abuse, I am not able to stand still any longer. I am writing you on this very night.

My trust towards my father is completely gone. I wonder if I will be able look into my parents' eyes without remembering the noises I have heard that night. I wonder what I as a daughter can do for my mother and father. Almost all of our elder relatives are ceased or are crossed with my father. He is already old himself. I do not believe his cruel character and years of paranoid overthinking will recover, neither do I believe that my mother will someday stand up for herself and say stop to this cruelty. She even hinders us children when we stand up for her and defend her. She says he is our father, he wants our best.

We kids are all old enough to build a life, alhamdulillah. What I have witnessed is only a small peak of an iceberg because I am not living with my parents anymore. I cannot just wait for this situation to end till one of them dies, but I am also in a deep desperation. What can I do besides begging Allah to help my parents? My deepest thanks to you.


In this counseling answer:

• At least you can ask your mother to go for counseling as it will help her as an individual. She needs someone to talk to and get advice from a professional person.

• Make the most of the time at home by bonding closer with your mother.

As-Salam ‘Aleikum,

There is no doubt that the problem you have described is very sad and painful, and you have spent a lot of energy telling it to us. We appreciate it. Thank you. I will, In sha’Allah, try advising you the best I can.

It is quite obvious that your father has made your mother’s life very difficult for his emotional abuse. He is supposed to give his family and his wife comfort, respect, and love, but instead, he is doing the complete opposite. His stubborn, aggressive, and rude behavior has ruined so many relations with his friends and family, and sadly he is not treating the ones he has left in his life with respect at all. The husband is Islamically ordered to have a good marital relationship with his wife. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:

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“And live with them in kindness” (4:19)

Your father is going through a few personal problems; he does not have work or friends, and relatives have left him due to this old financial conflict. He has ruined the relationship with his son he loved the most. For me, it seems like all this has made him more bitter and aggressive. This should be a good lesson for him to behave kindly towards the few people that are left in his life, but unfortunately, he likes to be in control, and when he has no control over other things in life, he likes to have it over someone – and that is his wife. He wants to keep her “under his thumb”. They both are old now, and for a woman, at this age, it is hard to leave her husband and start all over with her life. But it does not mean that she should accept and tolerate the abuse. She is passive and gets quiet, and that gives your father a chance to treat her badly without challenge. He knows she will not leave him, so he treats her the way he wants to, which is very wrong.

Your mother has been abused for so many years now that I am afraid that she does not know what a healthy relationship looks like anymore. In fact, she may not recognize that she is in an unhealthy relationship. Your mother maybe hopes your father to change, or she fears to bring shame upon her family if she leaves him. She probably wants to be with him, but wants the abuse to end.

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You said he is physically abusing her because of the sexual intercourse you acknowledged between them, but that may be the only time he is actually “nice” to her. I understand your concern, and it must be hard for you to hear them, but try not to think too much about it.

He needs someone to advise him, but he cannot get any help until he admits that he is wrong.

Couple counseling would be the most ideal in this situation, but I doubt you will get anywhere with his stubborn behavior. At least you can ask your mother to go for counseling as it will help her as an individual. She needs someone to talk to and get advice from a professional person.

Make the most of the time at home by bonding closer with your mother. Make her smile by doing things she enjoys such as cooking together, watching her favorite TV show, going for a walk, etc. Try taking her more out of the house to change the environment. This way, she will feel happier, In sha’Allah. She needs to be with people who appreciate her and respects her. This is why she has to spend as less time as possible with your father whilst you are there.

On the other hand, make your father as less angry as possible. Find out what triggers him and try not to push his buttons. Your mother is an independent woman, do not force her to leave him or don anything she does not want to. Remember, she is already controlled by your father and that is the only thing she thinks she can decide herself. Let her have this little confidence in herself. She may know what is best for her, but she just cannot leave him.

May Allah (swt) make your mother’s life easier and guide your father on the right path.



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