Mom Beats Me Up; I’ll Run Away or End My Life

13 October, 2017
Q I am really devastated. Let me tell you about my family first so that you will understand my situation better. I have four siblings. When I was little, my maternal grandfather used to look after me when he was living with us because my mother had my little brother. My granddad used to get me all the things I wanted and taught how to play sports. Later, when he started to get ill, I would start looking after him like getting him his medicines or taking him to the bathroom. When we moved to China, my granddad passed away. After that all my problems started. My mother started beating me, and when anyone did anything wrong, I was held responsible. She used to kick me in my stomach harshly or scratch my face with her nails. My father, who treats us all fairly, used to protect me. I still love her and hold high respect for her. She is not a bad woman; she recites Qur’an and regularly prays, wears the hijab, etc. But I don't know why she hates me and loves my other siblings. Sometimes, she talks so rudely with me which makes me think I am adopted. When my birthday came, she used just buy me some cake mix and let me bake it myself. I tried praying for her and even tried looking up on the internet what might be her problem. A site suggested seeing how she was raised. So I asked her and also my grandma about her past. My grandma said that out of the 8 children, she was the most loved by all. So now I am really devastated and thinking about moving to America for my further studies. Yesterday, when coming back from shopping, she was packing out her stuff she bought to my siblings: a giant water gun for my smallest brother, a box of loom band for my little sister, some beauty stuff for my elder sister, and some other things for my little brother, but as usual I didn’t get anything. She gave Swiss rolls to everyone, even the servant got one, but when I asked for one, she instead just told me to clean the car. Whenever I ask for money, she would give the littlest amount or refuse completely, but when she sends the servant to the shop, she tells him to keep the money that is left which is sometimes 3$! I got so hurt that I locked myself inside my room, although my little brother came and gave half of his roll to me. Another time my sister took my calculator, so as I was studying, I took her pen. When she noticed it, she started demanding her pen back, but I told her that she should give my calculator first which she refused. So I refused giving back her pen as well. She started to push me and I pushed back as I was very angry. My mum came in and right away she brought a wooden stick and started beating me and slapped me on my face. But she wasn't finished; she brought out the leather belt and started beating me with that. I got so furious that I brought a knife from the kitchen and handed to her to kill me so that I can be free from this torture. She threw it back and I got hurt. She said I could stick that knife into me if I wanted to end my life which I was about to do, when my father came in and put an end to it. So I am now really frustrated and looking for solution. Please help! I am really thinking of running away to somewhere. By the way, I read that the Prophet (SAW) said that if a child starts crying while being beaten, they should stop it, but I was bleeding and crying at the same while getting beaten. Does this mean my mum has committed a sin? If so, please pray for her.



As-Salam ‘Alaykum A,

My hear breaks as I read your story. You must be feeling quite alone. You are correct that you are experiencing both emotional and physical abuse in your home. It does seem as if some of your siblings care about you while others might be taking advantage of your situation. Of course, I cannot assess your family dynamic from reading one post, but you did offer a lot of information to help increase my understanding of your situation. I do not know what the legal age in Pakistan is in order for you to be considered an adult. In addition, I am an American who does not really have any experience of Pakistan culture (except for friends here in the USA who came from Pakistan). That is my disclaimer as I try to assist you in looking at your options.

My first thought is to suggest that you ask your father whom you can remain close to until your options for your future are worked out. My immediate concern is for your emotional and physical safety. I am not clear about whether you live in Pakistan or China, but that might make a difference as to what your options are as well. With that said, if your father can have you be with him when you are not in school or working, you might be able to develop a relationship with him while developing insight and guidance from him. You might be able to ask him to be with you for a day so that you can talk this out in private and let him know about your struggles. Indeed, you will preface this with letting him know that you do not want to cause any trouble between him and your mother or for your mother.

There are often serious tensions between young men and their mothers when the young man yearns to grow into manhood, if the mother is the one who is in charge of managing him and structuring his life. Although this probably does not explain all of the troubles, it may explain why things are escalating. You are in between a boy and man. Mothers are rarely equipped with the abilities to help a boy grow into a man successfully without the help of healthy mature men to become mentors for the boy. I do not know your educational situation, but I would even go as far as to suggest that if possible, you can go to work with your father and study in a home school fashion with your father in charge of you.

I would request of your father to be the person responsible for helping you develop your goals for your future and helping you position yourself so that you can achieve those goals. This would likely include finishing school and deciding where you will further your studies or work. Your mother is likely used to you doing chores around the house, and she may not realize that you are in transition, thus she may seem inflexible. By working with your father, and possibly even having your family contributions be organized by him rather than your mother, a lot of tensions might be relieved, while at the same time you might be more empowered to grow and mature. Still, this kind of arrangement may not be possible. If you do have family counseling available at your mosque or in your community, please, please make an appointment to talk about your situation if you cannot connect with your father. But I would talk to your father first.

I have said a lot with a strong focus on your father. But I want to stress how important it is to reach out and get help if your father cannot or will not help you. Reach out to your imam or your community counseling center if you have one. I do not recommend running away because you do not have any way to support yourself and you would sabotage your ability to complete your education. You need to complete your education so that you can work and provide for yourself. You did mention studying abroad. If your father supports that, and you have family here in the USA, that might be a health option.

Finally, do not forget that you need to take some time with a trusted counselor or Imam to process your feelings and emotions about having been treated so harshly by your mother.  Those feelings are just as important as your physical circumstances, and you need a safe place to process them. Again, if you have counseling in your areas, please talk to a counselor to heal your hurt. You will also benefit from proactively developing a healthy network of friends who have positive life behaviors and goals, and who can be a good influence on you. Picking the right friends will be crucial for you right now, so make sure you avoid people who use drugs or engage in illegal activities of any kind. But do reach out and join study groups or work and spend time with people who support you feeling the way you want to feel about yourself.

Of course, I can only provide suggestions with the limited knowledge that I have of your situation. With that said, I do want to strongly encourage you to take some time out for your own relationship with Allah; get yourself into a meditative state of mind where you can feel your connection with Allah. Pray with your heart for emotional healing, emotional safety, physical safety, and guidance so that you know what your next step is. Ask Allah to send you help with your problems. Allah will be with you forever. Conditions always change with time.  What we are really asking is “What is the best way to respond to my current situation so that when situations change, your conditions and circumstances become better?”

May Allah help you,


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About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.