How to Deal with Toxic Relatives?

14 January, 2020
Q Assalamu alaykum, my question is about how to deal with some people.

They are my relatives and I really can't be patient with them. I mean I just don't want to meet them because they say things that are mean for me. They don't respect me.

The reason they behave like that is that I practice Islam. Even though they are Muslim they are afraid of Islam.

I don't know how to react because I get angry immediately.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Read more about the life of our prophet (PBUH).

• Try to deal with your family without reactionary emotions such as anger, and insha’Allah, try to view their being mean and disrespectful as a symptom of their own inadequacies, not yours.

• Try to limit time with them if possible until you are able to sort out your feelings and react in a way that will not feed into their negativity.

• Be the example they need to see. When visiting them, insha’Allah try to display Islamic qualities and morale.


As Salamu Alaykum,

As I understand your situation, sister, you are wondering how to deal with certain people who are toxic. In your case, the issue is regarding your relatives. As they are your relatives, it makes the situation more sensitive.

Dealing with Toxic Relatives

Sister, you stated that your relatives say mean things to you, and they don’t respect you. For these reasons, you find it hard to be patient. You become angry, and you really do not wish to see them. This is understandable.

I am sure that it hurts you very much when your relatives are mean to you. In this life, we seek our family for comfort and solace. We don’t expect them to be cruel to us or be disrespectful. However, in many families this type of behavior does occur, sadly.

How to Deal with Toxic Relatives? - About Islam

Practicing versus Non-Practicing

According to you, the concerns and issues between you and your relatives surround the fact that you are a practicing Muslim and they are not. You stated they are afraid of Islam. I am not sure what you mean by that; however, perhaps you mean that they do not wish to practice it because it may be too difficult for them to give up things that they’ll enjoy which are harmful. Perhaps they feel guilty.

Sister, you stated that you are a practicing Muslim. If you are a practicing Muslim, then you should not get angry when they say something or do something that offends you. It hurts you of course, and as human, this may be the first reaction.

Illustrating Islam

However, the best way to reach your family, and show them that Islam is a beautiful religion to be practiced is by being an example.

If we look at our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PHUB), we can see how he dealt with situations such as yours. He dealt with mercy. I would kindly suggest insha’Allah, that you read further on the life of our prophet (PBUH). By reading about his trials and tribulations and how he handled things, you may gain more insight and comfort. This may help you in dealing with your own family. It may help you to learn to be more patient.

Insha’Allah, it will also help you understand and deal with your anger. As Muslims, we are to be slow to anger, especially with our family members.

Dealing with Anger and Hurt


Check out this counseling video:


If you can learn to understand and control your anger insha’Allah, and express what is really going on, such as feeling hurt by their disrespect and they treat you, you may find some common ground with them. If instead of getting angry and expressing anger, you say, “What you stated really hurt me” perhaps after a while your relatives may begin to understand how their negative ways of treating you hurt. Insha’Allah they will begin to understand and change.

Conditions of a People

Regarding oppression, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change themselves. In your situation, it may mean that you will have to address your anger issues.

Sister, it is understandable that you are angry. You are angry because you are hurt. However, once you realize that by getting angry it is only perpetuating the distance and poor behavior of your relatives, you will insha’Allah, choose different responses.

Conclusion

Sister, please do read more about the life of our prophet (PBUH).

Try to deal with your family without reactionary emotions such as anger, and insha’Allah, try to view their being mean and disrespectful as a symptom of their own inadequacies, not yours.

Try to limit time with them if possible until you are able to sort out your feelings and react in a way that will not feed into their negativity.

Be the example they need to see. When visiting them, insha’Allah try to display Islamic qualities and morale.

Overtime insha’Allah, you may be surprised to see they may begin to change.  Perhaps they will become curious as to why their harshness is no longer affecting you. They will see your light insha’Allah, and their negativity silenced by it.

We wish you the best,

***

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:

How to Deal with a Toxic Family Member

What Is Anger & How to Control It?

Am I Too Harsh If I Cut Ties with Bad Friends?

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.