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How to Put an End to My Husband’s Emotional Abuse?

17 April, 2017
Q As-Salamu Alaikom. My husband and I have not been talking for 3 months. I tried to make it work, but he is unforgiving even though my mistakes are small, and I'm still loyal and doing my duties as a wife. He blames me for everything.His parents interfere a lot which also ruined my relationship with the whole family. I sought help from counseling and local imams, respected people who advised him to lower his ego, but it seems he is blinded. I tried to talk to him many times and even lowered my pride to the extent that it really hurts. I tried different approaches, but nothing seems to work.We haven’t had sexual intercourse for more than 3 months. He refuses to reconcile and firmly believes that things will never be the same again and that we should divorce although he hasn’t actually gave talaq (divorce). Is it considered divorce Islamically?We know each other for 10 years, and I have invested emotionally, financially, and physically in this marriage. I was always there for him, but now I am devastated, lonely, and shattered. I'm Malay; he is Pakistani Singaporean. His family and he have been looking down on me, my race, my culture, and my family. His mom has been very manipulative over her son.Moreover, my husband has a very close relationship with one of his female relatives he supposed to have married instead of me. (Now she is his sister-in-law.) For 6-8 months, they are always talking on the phone with each other, text each other, send photos to one another, and meet every day. I tried to talk to him about this, but he defends himself by saying that at least whenever they meet, he brings me along. What kind of response is that? He doesn't even want to spend time with me. She also triggers fight between us and among the family, but he is blind to see it.One day I shouted at him and embarrassed him in front of his friends. Now he uses this as an excuse and says that he won't be able to love me and that I will never change. I don't know what to do. He has been slowly torturing me, but does not divorce me, and he doesn’t tell me the truth why not although I am ready for divorce.We used to be best friends. I helped him so much in his business, and when nobody believed in him, including his family members, and when his relatives looked down on him, I was there for him. I truly miss him and love him, but I cannot bear his and his family’s abusive behavior toward me. The situation is just complicated, and I don't think this can be ever solved. Every day I pray to Allah for answers and solutions.



As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister,

I can feel the difficulty and heaviness of the situation you are going through. It seems you have gone through a lot and that you have exerted a lot of efforts and paid a lot from your emotions throughout the years of this relationship. Thus, it is very normal that you have the feelings you described “devastated, lonely and shattered; don’t know where to start and don’t know what to do.”

When you are loaded in such a way, it would be very difficult for you to think thoroughly and take a sound decision. I would advise you to take a break – a break just for yourself. Let us say a one month break from all what is related to this relationship. Try to stop all your thinking, all your attempts to fix things, all interactions with your husband or anyone of his family. Just switch off. Relax, breathe, and let your mind breathe so that it can be refreshed and can then think again about your situation. When you have done this, your mind will surely be able to think better.

Through this break, try to surround yourself with people who love you. You don’t have to talk to them about your problem or seek their advice because, as we said, now you are trying to rest your mind, and also because you don’t need any further confusion from getting different inputs in your situation. Just try to spend some quality time with people who genuinely love you.

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You need to retrieve the feeling you are loved and that you deserve to be loved. It is very normal that after being in an abusive relationship, one feels lost, not worthy of love and respect which is, of course, not true. This break will help you get back in touch with yourself and will help you find your worth and know your purpose.

According to how you describe your husband’s way of treating you, we can say you are going through an emotionally abusive relationship. Continuous blame for everything, even minor mistakes and refusing to forgive, is emotional abuse. Looking down on your race, culture, and family is emotional abuse. Not spending quality time with you and instead of caring for another woman is emotional abuse. Keeping you in this state of confusion, feeling you are tortured slowly without telling you the truth, telling you that he no more loves you and that things will not be as before while not deciding on your relationship – all this is emotional abuse.

You say that you are ready to get divorced and that he also wants a divorce, but he hasn’t pronounced it yet, instead of leaving you tortured. I’m not sure I understand this situation clearly, so let me ask you: have you asked him to divorce you or not? If not, are you still unsure you want to ask for it, or what is the reason that keeps you from asking divorce? If you have asked for it, does he refuse to give you divorce?

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Regarding your questions about the state of your marriage according to Shari’ah, I apologize for answering these as this is not my scope; you will have to ask an Islamic scholar in this area.

However, what I am concerned about is the decision that you have to take in your situation. This is your life, and this is your emotional well-being; therefore, you have to decide for yourself and not leave yourself in this state of emotional abuse which is eroding your feel of self-worth, self-love, and self-confidence.

People get into relationships and marriage in order to get the love, support, warmth, appreciation, security, and respect they need from a partner. Allah (swt) has created us with the need of having such emotions from people around us, especially from our spouses. So, if one is not going to have such emotions from his/her spouse and instead have negative, destroying emotions, then what could be the reason for staying in such situation?

Of course, relationships require us to work on them in order for them to develop and prosper. We don’t say that if we are faced with problems in our relationship we don’t work on them and solve them. And as per what you have described in your question, you have sought different approaches in order to make your relationship work; you have sought counseling, scholars, family intervention, you tried to talk and not focus on the mistakes, you have been patient and waited for things to get solved. However, as you say, your husband refuses to work things out. He is insisting on this situation and saying that things will never be as before. In addition, he’s hurting you and keeping you in a state of confusion.

As a Muslim, you are responsible for your own well-being and for continuously improving yourself in all aspects; therefore, you are responsible for providing yourself with the circumstances and surrounding yourself with the people who will help you to improve yourself and move forward on your way towards Allah.

Of course, if you have children, there is another responsibility on you; you need to maintain your emotional/mental well-being so that you can satisfy their emotional needs and also maintain a healthy psychological environment for them to grow in. This, too, requires that you decide for the right terms of that relationship between you and their father.

I know it might be difficult for you to think of all these aspects and take decisions while you are in such a difficult emotional state, and that is why I suggested earlier that it might be helpful for you to take this break. After you have taken this time off and revived your spirit, you can start to think about your situation again with a clear mind and a strong spirit.

In addition, I highly recommend that you seek a professional counselor to be by your side in all this. The best would be, of course, if both you and your husband seek the help of a marriage counselor; however, if he is still unwilling to go with you, you will need some professional help for yourself to remedy your emotional wounds and know your self-worth and step back on your feet.

May Allah (swt) guide you to the right decision, and may He end your worries and confusion.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 


About Layla Al Qaraqsi
Layla Al Qaraqsi has worked with islamonline.net since 2008. She has been the editor of the counseling section till May, 2013; then a counselor and writer since March, 2015. She has also worked in early childhood psychosocial development;and managed a support group in Egypt. Layla has been studying psychology and counseling since 2011 in the Islamic Online University (IOU) of Dr. Bilal Philips, University of North Dakota, and in several specialized psychological institutions in Egypt including Tawasol Center, one of the offline projects of Islamonline.net. Her studies also included group psychotherapy, psychodrama techniques, mindfulness.  You can contact her via: [email protected]