Mom’s Inappropriate Behavior with Dad’s Friend

15 September, 2018
Q My parents were introduced to a man who had a big family and is very well known to everyone. He has a wife and kids in Pakistan. We are not blood-related to him at all. Since the first time I saw him, I dislike him. I found out that he did black magic although my parents told me he just uses verses from the Quran to help people.

Needless to say, they blindly trusted him to the extent that they allowed him to stay at our house for months. My dad, who usually works at night, would leave my mother and my siblings with him, and he and my mother would usually stay up all night talking to each other alone. She also texts him at late night and has inappropriate conversations with him.

I am not just accusing my mother of no reason; I have even seen him hugging her once when they were alone. I have actually told my father about it in the past and even confronted my mother, but I was the one who got in serious trouble instead as she denied everything and said he was just like a brother. My father insisted that he was just a friend who already has his own family. Anyway, I was forced to apologize for nothing, and nothing has changed.

Am I wrong to try preventing my mother from committing further serious sins? I am so angry about this because I know he is not a good man, and if he did black magic in the past, that makes it even more dangerous for my mother to keep any relationship with him. I really feel helpless. I want to help my mom.


In this counseling answer:

• It is most wise to behave in such a manner both in your professional life and in your personal life that no one would raise suspicion.

• Let her know again about your worries that this man might try to take advantage of her.

Wa ‘Alaykum As-Salam,

You have a generous heart, and I can see how much love you have for both of your parents and for your family. There will never be any reason to hate your parents, even if they sin. That does not heal; love does. Your experience of watching your parent making human mistakes is likely causing you to feel the anguish of disappointment. Your parents are humans and are capable of making poor decisions or of being gullible – just as capable as the rest of us. It is often difficult for a young adult, who has depended on the wisdom, guidance, and protection of her parents, to discover that they are fragile human beings doing the best they can in a confusing world and might make mistakes. We all have blind spots.

We do not know if your mother would actually fall into the trap of having a relationship with this man. I agree that there is something I certainly do not trust a man who makes himself comfortable in the company of another man’s wife for long periods of time in a private setting. And yes, I agree with you that both of your parents may have been gullible and naïve about him and his intentions. I feel for you because this is a sad situation, and your intuition is telling you that this could be a bad situation for your parent and ultimately your family.

As our world changes, many people do truly believe that men and women can spend time together alone in a platonic relationship (like brother and sister), and that no one should be concerned. Women are in the workplace and must work with men and consult with men on a daily bases now. And, indeed, many of our professional relationships are truly pure and no sins are being committed. Some people scorn the idea that appearance is important, but I believe they are. I am of the camps of people who agree that it is most wise to behave in such a manner both in your professional life and in your personal life that no one would raise suspicion. Life is just easier for everyone that way.

The barrier to you being able to talk to your parents in a manner that they can listen and hear from you is at least partly, if not mostly, a result of your being their daughter. Your position in the family as the daughter creates a dynamic that is often difficult to rise above. Your parents are used to be the ones who warn you of dangers and not the other way around, thus they will have unconscious defenses against listening to you. This puts you in a difficult situation. We don’t want to be talking about this to other people because that would be both disrespectful and slanderous. So, it is difficult to find someone to help you with your situation in communicating with your mother your concerns. However, you might reach out to a family counselor if you have the means. A family counselor can help to guide you with your approach and help you define healthy boundaries to your worries and how you should shift your focus back onto yourself and your own future and personal growth.

In this counseling answer:

With that said, you cannot directly influence the decisions that your parents make, but you can ask your mother to spend some time hearing your concerns. You might even suggest that your father calls in and joins in the conversations with his friend who is spending time with your mother. If this man’s intentions are pure, he would welcome having your father on speaker phone for a time to check in and say hello. In fact, if his intentions are truly pure, this would be a way to strengthen the bonds of friendship and to alleviate some of the loneliness that goes with traveling away from one’s family for both your father and this man who is living in your family home. This is just an idea, and naturally, I do not know all of the dynamics and logistics of your family situation, but it is food for thought.

After all, is said and done, I would encourage you to ask your mother to give you a couple hours to talk in a private setting about your concerns. Without accusing her of any wrongdoing, let her know again about your worries that this man might try to take advantage of her. Let her also know that if this is not the case that is good, but you are also concerned that the behavior of staying up late together until late at night alone might even bring suspicion if nothing else. Then let her know that you are not going to speak about the subject to anyone else but her and that you are going to pray for her safety. Let her know how much you love her. If your mother is making a wrong decision, it is not because she is “bad”; it is because she is confused.

Tell her how much you love her and care for her. Let her talk to you also and listen to what she has to say as well. And do not forget to pray.

Leave all of your worries and cares to Allah (swt).


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:

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.