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Cannot Please My Parents; I Don’t Want to Be Like Them

18 February, 2023
Q I grew up in a dysfunctional family, where I always witness my parents fighting and arguing as long as I remember. They are separated at 6, yet always in constant fight in every Eid. So Eid have always been a nightmare for me. Now in my 30s, alhmadulillah been achieved much scholarship and academic success, yet they remain displeased because of the choice of my corporate career especially my dad. He even threatened me that should I displeased or disobedient by not withdrawal from my job, I will be labelled as disobedient child who is destined to go to hell and will have a bad life and bad living. Is that a curse and will Allah really accept such dua from such a parent? Mother on the other side always please other children who are into medical fields, as if her own child is worthless for not pursuing that. Always share a story of that children's medical success and etc, but ignored mine. She never asked of what's my interest except pressing onto hers, and shunning of my stories every time I try to express.

In other words, no matter what I do or achieve can never please them, even reprimanded for it. I am already exhausted with them. How do I move on from them and how do I not end up like them? I am still single for fearing of ending up like theirs, and ignoring their own kid’s existence. And such a parental curse on their child who is not complying to their wishes is valid?


In this counseling answer:

  • Using religion to control, gain power or oppress someone is not Islamic at all.
  • Make a promise that you will not forget and will try your best to listen to their needs and give them the treatment you were deprived of.
  • Try to please no one else but Allah. He is always there for you, and he loves you more than anybody else.
  • Learn about parenting and healthy communication, try online counseling or a minicourse about building self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah, dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us.

I am really sorry that you are not feeling that your family is pleased with you. This must be very hard, subhanallah. Being accepted and loved by your closest ones, especially your parents, works as a shield and protects our self-love and esteem.

I understand that you are trying to please your parents—actually, it is something very natural. But in your case, no matter what you do or achieve, you feel like you never please them.

Motivating Force

Probably this desire has worked as a motivating forc and your great achievements in your studies and career might thank to this drive, alhamdulillah.

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And even so, you may struggle with feeling contentment, as those who you really would like to please do not seem to recognize your success.

I am sorry to learn that you do not feel supported by your mother either, as she is praising people in the medical field and does not appreciate your success. Nonethless to say, her love should not depend on your carrer choice and whether you are on the medical field or not.

Spiritual Abuse

Regarding your question about the parental curse for a disobedient child: Sister, unfortunately, there are parents who justify their abuse with religion. This is spiritual abuse.

It means that they use the distorted meanings of religion to force their opinion on you. Read more about it here

One thing is for sure: using religion to control, gain power or oppress someone is not Islamic at all.

The leader of the family—in your case, your father and your mahram—should consult your opinion and consider your interests and needs, especially if they relate directly to your life choices.

Yes, they have a right to guide you towards Islam and an Islamic solution regarding all matters.

At the same time, you as an adult are responsible for your life and choices in front of Allah, so there should be a clear line between guiding and forcing you.

Islamically Justified or Not

So, my question is, dear sister: do you think that your father’s primary concern is related to your choices Islamically? What is exactly their problem with your job? Do they try to protect you from some kind of harm?

I am not sure whether they oppose your choices out of their fear of Allah because they can be opposed religiously. For example, being in constant close contact with non-mahrams, dealing with riba and haram finances or commerce, etc.

In this case, involve a third party—a person with knowledge about Islam and legal rulings—and discuss your halal possibilities. Consider their opinion, if is driven by the fear of Allah and transgressing His commands.

But if his concern is not justified Islamically, they actually do not have the right to force their choices upon you.

Especially by torturing you and threatening you with Hell, as well as other forms of religious blackmail. No need to say that this way of treating you is not right and acceptable, even if they have sound reasons for opposing you.

Mercy, respect, and kindness are components of communication in the Sunnah. Check out these articles, for example: this , this.

So how to cope with this and move on?

  • Sister, as I said, first check whether there is any Islamically justified reason behind their concern.
  • Try to involve a third person, someone who has knowledge about Islam and can mediate between you. If they have some valid points, try to reflect on them and arrive at a compromise.
  • If they do not, they should not force your choices upon you using religion or other forms of emotional abuse. Ask the mediator to help you guide them towards a more Islamic way of communicating instead of blackmailing and threatening.
  • Switch your focus and try to please no one else but Allah. He is always there for you, and he loves you more than anybody else. Earning the love of Allah is the most worthwhile and pleasing one. I know that the love and acceptance of your parents are precious, but think about how much more precious the love and mercy of Allah are!
  • Even if your parents are unkind to you, you can still maintain your kindness and respect for them with the primary intention of pleasing Allah.  
  • You said that you did not want to end up like them. Sister, in sha Allah, it won’t be the case. The fact that you are reaching out is proof that you know that there is a better, healthier, and more just way of dealing with our children. Make a promise that you will not forget and will try your best to listen to their needs and give them the treatment you were deprived of. If you recognize the problem and work on healing the wounds, you can break the circle, in sha Allah.
  • Forgive your parents. Allah may give you more strength, and you will be able to overcome the unhealthy behaviors you have learned. Forgive your parents, as they were probably unable to do that. Think about the reasons behind their behavior. They may have been hurt in the past; perhaps they were not heard, and their needs went unmet. Be the change at home and set a good example.
  • Learn about parenting and healthy communication about your needs. Here are some examples from our site: this, this, this or this.
  • If you have the chance to try counseling, and work on your self-esteem and self-love, that would be beneficial. You might try online counseling or a minicourse about building self-esteem and self-acceptance. Check out this video.

I hope these tips will help you. May Allah protect you from further harm, ameen.

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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.

About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic counseling, Islamic marriage counseling, and in the jurisprudence (fiqh) of counseling and psychology. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.