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How to Move on After an Abusive Marriage

17 February, 2020
Q I belong to a religious and educated family. I got married two years ago.

My husband says to me in clear words that he cannot live with me and can't love me no matter what. According to him, I'm perfect with many qualities but not the one he wanted his wife to be like referring to some physical features such as height and hair and being modern in dressing. Everyone in his family knows about this which I feel so ashamed off.

I was forced to stand with my husband, mother in law and sister in law to know exactly how short I am. These things embarrassed me so much. Is being short such a sin that you need to be treated like how they do with me?

He and his family met me 3 to 4 times before marriage. I think his parents didn't pay attention to my height as they desperately needed a daughter in law who is a doctor. I was not modern.

Why did they say yes in the first place if he wanted a modern and a very beautiful wife? I never uttered a word of disrespect to him or his parents and his parents were so happy with me. But still they always tried to degrade me in small things like choosing clothes, shoes, crockery and I always ignored it.

He said to me sorry many times, but every week I'm in trouble as he does not talk to me for 2 to 3 days. He says he cannot guarantee that he can behave with me well.

“Leave me or allow me to marry another woman” he says, “but I won't be able to fulfill your needs so better leave.” He feels ashamed to stand besides me. He tried to tease me through different ways so that I don't develop love for him and leave him.

He has many good qualities and that’s’ why I did not want to break this relationship. But these things mentally tortured me so much. His parents told me strictly not to tell anyone about this.

He listened to his parents on all others matters. Financial, my career. I did all I could to make him happy, being modern and all. I prayed and told him to pray as well, but all in vain. I thought I would be a Psychiatric patient soon.

Finally, he divorced me after 4 months because my mother confronted him. I could not keep things inside myself and told me mom about them.

I want to ask was I wrong all the time? Is this a punishment from Allah? I don't know what to do. After he divorced me I found out that I'm pregnant. I pray, I repent...

May Allah forgive me for my sins. I still feel that he was a good person but all this has happened. I was his wife. I am so stressed.

Maybe I would have shown more patience. Please tell me was I to be blamed? How to overcome all this stress?


In this counseling answer:

I want to encourage you to think about how many allies you can have in your corner to help you moving forward.

Make lots of dua to Allah.

Do not speak to, text, or engage with your ex-husband in any manner. Leave this to your father or another man who can serve as a wali.

As-Salamu Aleikom,

Thank you for reaching out with your question.

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Right now, one of the most important priorities for you is to take care of yourself and honor yourself because you are also pregnant with another tiny being.

With the facts presented as you have shared them, it sounds like you are now free from the daily mental burden of being with a husband who didn’t want you, who shamed you and allowed his family to do the same.

It boggles my mind how people can be so cruel to another human being who has done nothing but show up as her beautiful self.

He and his family agreed to marry you and instead of taking responsibility for their son’s behavior or him taking responsibility for his own behavior the blame is being placed on you.

May Allah guide them and strengthen you as you move through the next several months dealing with this family.

Experiencing Emotional Abuse

It seems that, between the lines of what’s you’ve described, you dealt with quite a bit of emotional manipulation down to your ex-husband saying he might commit suicide because you’ve ruined his life.

Saying something like this is not only a horrible thing to say to another human being but also extremely serious as it highlights that he, indeed, needs some form of professional help.

How to Move on After an Abusive Marriage - About Islam

A normal person would not say something of this nature. In cases of manipulation, it can be used by an emotionally abusive person to convince his spouse to do something or not do something in order to gain either her sympathy or control her in fear that if she doesn’t obey, he’ll harm himself.

Not being able to speak to others, having your circle of contacts minimized, or constantly monitored all also signs of emotional abuse.

In a nutshell, no, it’s not your fault, you did nothing wrong to warrant this crazy behavior. Now you have a chance to free yourself from dealing with it on a personal level.

Check out this counseling video:

Marriage is Not a Jail

The one honest thing he has done is to tell you he cannot meet your needs. They often say if someone ever tells you they can’t love you or take care of you – believe them.

Instead of trying to convince them why you are worth it recognize that they are incapable of being a loving and move on as they are not worthy of your love and sacrifices.

Marriage is not meant to feel like a jail. It should never leave you to feeling like you are going to end up as a psychiatric patient. When it feels crazy it’s because what you are experiencing is not healthy and normal.

Find Allies to Support You

Sadly, it’s not shocking, from my years in counseling, to hear that a person like your ex-husband is now trying to say terrible things about you even after divorcing you in order to further control or manipulate the situation in his favor.

It may be your next challenge is battling over custody rights of your child, may Allah protect you and aide you.

I do not know what kind of legal and supportive aid is available to you in your area but I do encourage you to speak to someone who can assist you. Are there organizations for women that help them in situations like this? If so reach out for contact.

I understand you are worried about people finding out what is going on. At the same time, I want to encourage you to think about how many allies you can have in your corner to help you moving forward.

He will be the father of a child and in some fashion, you’ll have to interact with him. Get as much help and support as you can.

Chin Up and Seek Help from Allah

Trust in Allah and know that He knows the truth. Even when people spread lies about others, slandering someone and their character, Allah knows the truth.

Make a lot of du’aa’ for the truth of who you are as a person to be known and the truth of who is he as a person to be known if needed in order to protect you and your family. Let Allah clear your path for you.

Ibn Al-Mubarak, an early scholar, reported that Sufyan At-Thawri, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “If you know yourself, then you will not be harmed by whatever is said about you.” (Hilyat Al-Awilya 6/390)

You know you are a solid good person to lead with that in your life. And then you may also want to consider reminding him and his family of the following:

“We were sitting with Hudhaifa in the mosque. A man came and sat along with us. It was said to Hudhaifa that he was the man who carried tales to the ruler. Hudhaifa remarked with the intention of conveying to him: I have heard the Messenger of Allah () saying: The tale-bearer will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)

At the very minimum, someone should remind the family to fear Allah so that they avoid falling into major sin.

Is there a righteous respected elder that can visit them? Someone, to advise them to rethink their current path, to retract their accusations, and to purify their hearts from their sinful choices?

If this person exists send them with the intention of creating more peace and stability for everyone.

Do Not Engage with Him

At this point, I would encourage you not to speak to, text, or engage with your ex-husband in any manner. Leave this to your father or another man who can serve as a wali.

It is not befitting for you to continue to deal directly with his abusive nature or that of his family.

He divorced you which means he has no further rights to reach you in any manner privately moving forward. Protect yourself, your heart, and let others assist you.

Kindness in Divorce

Even if a couple divorces a man is commanded to treat his wife in a kind and dignified manner and while this man may fail to meet these standards I want you to review them to remember for yourself what you deserve.

The Qur’an tells us the following:

“Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allah . But if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. These are the limits of Allah, so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah – it is those who are the wrongdoers.

And if he has divorced her [for the third time], then she is not lawful to him afterward until [after] she marries a husband other than him. And if the latter husband divorces her [or dies], there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep [within] the limits of Allah . These are the limits of Allah, which He makes clear to a people who know.

And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them]. And whoever does that has certainly wronged himself. And do not take the verses of Allah in jest. And remember the favor of Allah upon you and what has been revealed to you of the Book and wisdom by which He instructs you. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Knowing of all things.” (Quran 2:228- 231)

I hope this offers you some validation for your pain and some guidance to support you in this difficult time. May Allah support you and guide you to what is best for your dunyah and akhirah.



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:

After Divorce: How to Move On & Socialize?

How to Moving forward After Divorce?

How to Rebuild My Life After Divorce?

About Megan Wyatt
Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah where she offers training programs, live workshops, and relationship coaching for wives and couples. She is a certified Strategic Intervention coach with specialized certifications for working with women and marital relationships and has been coaching and mentoring Muslims globally since 2008. She shares her passion for Islamic personal development in her Passionate Imperfectionist community. She is a wife and homeschooling mother with four children residing in Southern California.