In this counseling answer:
“When talking with them, focus on speaking about yourself, your perspective of the situation, and how you feel about it. Tell them how their disagreements are affecting you and how it is important for your happiness to feel that your family is solid and having warm relationships. Tell them how much you miss those times when your parents had good relationships together. You may also want to tell them what you think of the situation and why.”
As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister,
Thanks for putting your trust in AboutIslam and for having such caring feelings for the well being and happiness of your family. I know how stressful and upsetting it could be when one’s parents are arguing and fighting a lot since parents are considered to be the source of stability, calmness, and wisdom at home. I also know how much it is important for one’s well being to feel that he is living in a family which has strong ties and positive relationships. However, it is important to never forget that parents are just human beings after all and they have times when they get stressed, angry and lose the ability to control their tempers and express their negative emotions in an appropriate manner. We all have to learn how to control our anger and stress and to express our emotions through conversation and discussion.
In addition, disagreement between couples could even be a healthy component of their relationship. People will always be different in many things; this is how Allah has created us. Hence, people, who share every aspect of their life with each other, would necessarily disagree or have different viewpoints toward different things from trivial ones to important decisions in life. It is healthy that people express their feelings, needs, and choices for each other and let out their negative emotions instead of bottling them up which would eventually lead to exploding and having more serious problems in their relationship.
Of course, I don’t have any information about the history and nature of the relationship between your parents, the reasons that cause the distress between them, and whether there are roots for such conflict or if such arguments are only temporary and might have been caused due to some life pressures one or both of them are going through. However, you state that alhamdulillah your parents used to love each other very much. Therefore hopefully, it might be that there have been some factors which lead them to feel stressed lately and that in sha’ Allah they will be able to work those disagreements out and return to their normal state.
I know dear sister that in any case what you are really looking for is something which brings peace and love to your family again. Of course, this is a natural feeling. However, no one can make somebody else change unless that person is willing to change. So, you will not be able to change your parents, but what you can do is that you express your feelings, your thoughts, your needs, etc. to your parents. Maybe, they are not aware how their arguments negatively affect you and give you so many negative feelings. Sometimes parents miss the fact that their children can hear and see and feel their disagreements.
So, talking to your parents either both of them together or separately is a very important point to start with. You may choose to speak to only one of them; the one who you feel more comfortable with and who would be more understanding and willing to work on improving the situation.
Choose the right time to talk to them. Talk to them when they are calm and avoid times when they are stressed or having an argument together. You may also want to ask them what time could be suitable for them to sit together and discuss some important issues. Of course, talk to them in a respectable and calm manner.
When talking with them, focus on speaking about yourself, your perspective of the situation, and how you feel about it. Tell them how their disagreements are affecting you and how it is important for your happiness to feel that your family is solid and having warm relationships. Tell them how much you miss those times when your parents had good relationships together. You may also want to tell them what you think of the situation and why. You could also suggest some solutions if you have any. For instance, one of the suggestions you could talk about is seeking family counseling. You may read a little bit about family counseling and how effective it is for the well being of family ties so that you can explain it in an effective way.
When talking with them, listen to their explanations and what they have to say to you. Hopefully, you may be able to work out things together and come up with plans on how to handle stress and disagreements in the future.
It could help to write things down before talking to them. You can also write them a letter if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them directly.
If you are not sure about talking/writing to them, if you feel it is difficult for you to decide what to say to them, or if you have tried talking to them but nothing has changed, you might think of involving a trusted adult in the situation (a relative/friend, an Imam, a counselor..); someone who you trust, who really cares for you and who knows your family and is close to it.
In all situations, the main focus should be on yourself and your well being. As we previously said, it is not your responsibility to change people; however, it is your responsibility to work on improving yourself and your situation and to try as much as you can to protect yourself from any negative influences. Therefore, try to keep yourself away from the arguments/fights when they take place; seek a calm place and do something relaxing like reading a book, watching something, listening to Qur’an, etc. You may also want to go out of the house during those arguments and have a walk or meet a friend, etc. It is harmful to you to be amongst the situation or to even hear what is said during those arguments; you might misunderstand what is going on and be more stressed. Besides, you will not be able to do anything at that time and it is not your responsibility to act as a referee or to calm things down. You will just be stressed and no one will be benefited.
I also advise you to seek counseling as this will help you eliminate the stress, learn how to cope with the situation well and deal with it in a positive to avoid the negative influence and may be able to help improve it. What’s more important is that you seek Allah’s help and guidance in your situation and ask Allah to bring your parents’ heart together as before – and even better than before.
As for your brother, I would also suggest that you choose the time to talk to him. Tell him how you feel about his way of talking to your mother and how this hurts you. Ask him why he is treating her that way when his mother loves him so much. Try to really know if there is something that is upsetting him from his mother; you may find that there is something in your mother’s way of treating him that is upsetting him and makes him act in such a way. Of course, there would never be an excuse to talk with the mother in a rude manner; however, this could be a reason behind your brother’s attitude and that could be worked upon when it is known.
Also, you may want to talk to your mother about how you feel about your brother’s attitude and what you think could be the reason that makes him act in such a way. Tell her also how this attitude bothers you and upsets you and that you need to find a solution for it. Maybe you have a viewpoint in this regard or you may tell her what your brother thinks and feels (if your brother talks to you about this). Finally, don’t forget to make du`aa’ for your brother that Allah shows him the right path.
I hope I have been able to help you in your situation. You are most welcome to contact us again if you feel the need to.
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.