Abusive Household: I Need Peace and Tranquility in My Life

12 September, 2020
Q I've grown in an abusive household since my birth and my early childhood is filled with trauma. I've been looking to get married for a very long time just so I could escape my parents' oppressive environment and misunderstandings toward me.

I know that patience is a virtue but I’m reaching various points along my journey where I'm fighting depression, suicidal thoughts, poor performance in academic life, nightmares, low self esteem, etc. I’m wondering if I really should take a different path in life, maybe a different step.

Should I get married without my parents permission because they aren't going to let me marry unless I'm done with my education. By the time that happens it might be too late to save myself from my father if he doesn't stop behaving abusively towards us (me and my mother included).

And, unfortunately our family members are either too remote to help us or simply don't want/intend to. We are oppressed and have no way out.

I would love to hear some suggestions and advice that can help me get through this. I follow the quran and sunnah as much as I can but I want a better life. Away from this chaotic place, where I can practice my deen in peace and tranquility.

Moreover my mother cannot get a divorce due to tight circumstances though she is convinced it's right for her. Please advise.

Answer


In this counseling session:

  •  If at any time you get suicidal thoughts again, call the local suicidal number
  • Please, do not blame yourself for the behavior of your parents. Don’t think that you are the cause of their abuse. This would further harm your self-esteem and reinforce your depression and anxiety.
  • It’s very important that you seek counseling and help from professionals.
  • Keep yourself and your mom safe.
  • It would be important that you are there for your mother. Try encouraging her (or find someone she trusts to talk to her) to stay safe at a friend’s house, with a family member, or at a shelter house for women who suffer from domestic violence.
  • Sister, you need to get well emotionally as well as mentally first in order to enter a marriage.
  • I sincerely encourage you to read and study in depth the life of the Prophet (swt) and of prophets in general and find comfort and strength in the trials they went through.

Salam Aleikom sister,

I am sorry to hear that you live in an abusive household, you feel depressed, and have low self esteem. You are even thinking of committing suicide. 

May Allah save you sister. I can imagine the pain you have been through seeing your father abusing your mother and being abused yourself as well. I am sorry that you feel marriage is the only way out of this toxic household. 

Call the hot lines

Unfortunately, many women go through the same as you do. Some are more fortunate to live in a place where they can reach out to help, while others live in societies that sadly accept domestic violence as the norm. As I do not know where you are from, it is hard to give you the specific numbers where you can reach out to help. 

I sincerely hope you live in a part of the world where you do have access to professional help, and you have a child help line to call. Please make a simple Google search and call them. They will help you a lot biznillah. 

Abusive Household: I Need Peace and Tranquility in My Life - About Islam

 You also mentioned you have suicidal thoughts. If at any time you get these thoughts again, do the same thing: call the local suicidal number

I know, it might feel awkward or scary to talk to someone about your feelings and problems at home/school. However, you can call them from an undisclosed phone number and tell the crisis counselors what is going on. They are unable to know your location or name or anything unless you tell them.

Please, contact them. They are trained to provide help for young victims of abuse, in sha’ Allah, like yourself.

You have to know, sister, that you are a beautiful and loveable young woman. Please, do not blame yourself for the behavior of your parents. Don’t think that you are the cause of their abuse. This would further harm your self-esteem and reinforce your depression and anxiety. Be sure that despite difficult times, Allah loves you so much.

As you know, we all go through various tests and trials throughout our life. Allah says:

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,” (2:155)

However, Allah loves you sister and did not create you to be abused. It is a horrendous sin to abuse someone, especially one’s children who are a trust from Allah (swt).

Keep yourself and your mom safe

Sister, this is the most important step right now: think of your options to stay safe.

Is there any family member or a friend whom you could temporarily move to?

If you are a university student, can you apply for a dorm? 

Find a trusted person, the school counselor or someone who could help you both stay safe!

Why doesn’t your mom do something to end the violence?

Be there for your mother, try leaving together to a safe place. 

Women often stay with their abusers because of fear. They are afraid that the abuser will become more violent if they try to leave. Some fear that they will lose their children. Many believe that they cannot make it on their own.

Some abused women believe that the abuse is their fault. They think that they can stop the abuse if they just act differently. Some cannot admit that they are abused women.

Others feel pressured to stay in the relationship. They may feel cut off from social support and resources. Abused women often feel that they are alone, and have nowhere to turn for help.

This is why it would be important that you are there for your mother. You try encouraging her (or find someone she trusts to talk to her) to stay safe at a friend’s house, with a family member, or at a shelter house for women who suffer from domestic violence.

I sincerely hope you live in a society where you both can get help!

Do not get married

Sister, you need to get well emotionally as well as mentally first in order to enter a marriage. You feel depressed, you have low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts now. These are really not the emotional states one should make one of her most important decisions of her life. You need to overcome these first so that

 1, have a clear mind of who you really are and whom you want to live the rest of your life with. 

2, to be able to take the responsibility a marriage requires from a wife, give to your spouse and do not overwhelm him with expectations that are not healthy in a marriage but only come from your feelings of insecurity your abusive household has caused you. 


Check out this counseling video:


Marriage should take place when you are able to think clearly of who you are, what you want in your life, and what kind of a person you wish to live the rest of your life with. Marriage is about giving and taking, scarifying, and accommodating to another person. You can not fulfill these until you are healed from your abusive experience.

Here are some very good article to read about how child abuse or witnessing abuse at home as a child affects later relationships. 

How the Trauma of Childhood Abuse Affects Interpersonal Relationships, and How to Begin Healing

6 Ways That a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships

Please start the healing process right now so that you can get married as soon as possible and live in a healthy, bonding marriage, biznillah.

Reclaim your self-confidence

To battle against abuse, depression, anxieties, and negative thoughts, you need to be kind to yourself to re-build your self-confidence. There are many self-esteem booster tips on the Internet. Here are those I really feel they work:

Who are you really?

In the milieu of hurtful words and actions of abusive people around us, we might forget who we really are inside, what are we good at?

Therefore, I encourage you to make two lists on a piece of paper: on one list collect all your strengths and on the other collect all your achievements. You might want to ask a supportive friend of yours to help you with the lists. Read these lists every morning to get motivated.

Set your life goals

Don’t let these difficulties divert you from achieving what you want to do in life. What are your dreams? What do you want to achieve next?

Think of religious goals (such as reading the Quran on a daily basis which I highly recommend) as well as worldly ones such as getting a good job. Write everything that comes to your mind, big and small, but have goals that are realistic and achievable. Achieving them one by one will feel so pleasurable, inshallah.

Be grateful

Try to shift your thoughts to the positive. For that, at the end of each day, think of 3 things that made you feel grateful to Allah (swt). It can be as little as a sunny day or eating your favorite cake. You can write these down in your journal or you may want to include them in your du’ aa’ before sleep. It feels so good to end your day by expressing your gratitude to Allah.

Exercise

Being active increases the level of certain hormones in our brain that will make us feel happier. Try it!

Keep yourself busy outside the home

Do the things you really enjoy. As you feel distressed at home as well as at school, try doing your stuff far from these places. Performing some art is actually healing. (My favorite are the coloring books for adults!)

Socialize

Surrounding ourselves with righteous companions is essential for our happiness. The Prophet (saw) said:

The example of the believers, in their mutual love and mercy for one another is like the example of one body, if one part feels pain, then all of the body suffers in sleeplessness and fever.” (Bukhari)

Visit the mosque and try joining pious sisters’ groups.

Join groups for victims of child abuse. They will definitely be a big boost for your self-esteem as well as a big help for how to deal with the situation.

Volunteering in an NGO is also a very good way to socialize and boost your self-confidence.

Strengthen your relationship with Allah

Dear sister, remember that the prophets were the most beloved to Allah (swt), and even they were severely tested throughout their lives.

I sincerely encourage you to read and study in depth the life of the Prophet (swt) and of prophets in general and find comfort and strength in the trials they went through. You may learn coping techniques, gain spiritual insights, be inspired by their experiences as well as find many amazing stories among the ahadeeth as well.

Again, please sister talk to your school counselor or call the hotlines and get counseling as soon as possible. This is really important for you to heal!

May Allah (swt) always keep you safe, sister, and help you to have a happier life free of harm and abuse,

Salam,

***

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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Timea Aya Csányi
Timea Aya Csányi pursues her BSc. degree in Psychology and Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. She is a certified NLP® Practitioner, one of our writers and counselors at the "Ask the Counselor" section. She works as a fitness trainer who is specialized in the spine and functional training. She is advocates for gaining self-love and confidence through exercising. If you are a Muslimah who seeks spine-friendly online training with a PT, you can reach out to Timea at [email protected]