I am Struggling with My Mom’s Abusive Behavior

19 September, 2020
Q My mom has been very passive-aggressive lately, she would pent-up her anger then explode on one of us.

When she explodes, she'd usually pray that god curses us or cause misfortune upon us, or she would beat up one of us. Last time she hit me with her phone on my face, which ripped my lips and I had to get them stitched.

I have lost all empathy and remorse towards her, even when I yell or make her cry, I don't feel bad or sorry for her at all. Sometimes, I even wish that either she could die or I can leave home sooner.

I hate being around her and have no idea what to do at this point.

Answer


In this counseling session:

  • Your mom’s behavior is unacceptable and you should not feel in any way that you are to blame.
  • To make things easy on you all, you might begin by trying to understand what the cause of her change in behavior was so you can try and help her in a way that will be more meaningful and effective.
  • In the meantime, due to the imminent danger that you face, you should find someone else to stay with. This will give you all the chance to reflect on the situation and make more rational decisions moving forward, such as seeking family counselling. 
  • If you don’t have a safe place to go, please call the domestic violence helpline

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh, 

It is very sad to hear that you are being treated like this by your own mother. One would never expect to be treated like this by their mother of all people. Her behaviour is unacceptable and you are doing the right thing to seek advice on the matter. 

If it were that this was someone else, it might be easy to suggest that you walk away. However, this is your mom and you have obligations to her as her child. But, at the same time, she is being abusive towards you and this is not acceptable either. It is understandable why, as a result you are not having good feelings towards her anymore. 

Identify the cause of her changed behavior

Given the way you have phrased the first sentence and no mention of it being an ongoing issue, it would seem that this behavior has only started recently. In almost all cases, these types of outbursts would have had some kind of trigger to them. Such triggers might include death of a loved one, loss a job or difficult relations with someone else close such as a friend or sibling.

I am Struggling with My Mom's Abusive Behavior - About Islam

I would first suggest looking into whether a significant event like this has happened in her life recently. This may be obvious, you may have to ask around, or if you feel you can, you could even ask her yourself. 

This doesn’t forgive her behavior, but it will give you an idea about what is causing this behavior. This will soften your heart towards her as you realize that the way she is behaving towards you is nothing against you personally. It will also place you in a better position to help her in the most appropriate way. 

Support your mom in getting help 

If you are able to locate a clear cause then you can encourage her to get the most appropriate support. For example, if she has been bereaved recently, then bereavement counselling would be helpful for her. If she is fighting with a loved one perhaps there is someone who could mediate on their behalf and support them in building bridges again.

Either way, she could do with some kind of anger management support to work out better ways to manage her emotions regardless of the cause. 

Alternatively, if you can locate any clear cause for her recent outburst, it maybe that there is an underlying medical condition. Encouraging her to get a general check-up would help here. If you or someone else is able to be present to also give the additional information on her recent behavior then that would be ideal. 

Find a safe space 

Right now, it sounds like you are not safe from physical harm by staying with your mom. If you have friends or family locally you might look into staying with them for some time. This is not only for your safety, but also to give her that space to reflect on her behavior.

Without you around to take her frustrations out on, it will be necessary to find new ways to manage her anger. Perhaps she may even start feeling remorseful during this time, or at least be more open to discussing her behavior if she hadn’t been already. 

If you don’t have a safe place to go, please call the domestic violence helpline.

Seek family counselling

Following some time away, or whilst you are away, you could imitate family counselling with your mom and siblings. This will give you all a safe environment to express your feelings. This will perhaps uncover the reason for her change in behaviour if you have not established this by then. It will also give you the chance as a family to discuss ways to overcome difficulties moving forward and learn the skills of how to do so. 

It’s not about you

Among all this, whilst the abuse is directed towards you personally, you must remember that this is not your fault. You are not responsible for her behavior. Try not to let this situation make you feel down on yourself. Try to find joy in life in other things still to maintain a level of normality too. See you friends and do things you enjoy. 

Summary 

Your mom’s behaviour is unacceptable and you should not feel in any way that you are to blame. To make things easy on you all, you might begin by trying to understand what the cause of her change in behavior was so you can try and help her In a way that will be more meaningful and effective.

In the meantime, due to the imminent danger that you face, you should find someone else to stay with. This will give you all the chance to reflect on the situation and make more rational decisions moving forward, such as seeking family counselling. 

May Allah reward your patience. May He guide you mom and bring love and stability back into your household again. 

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 Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)