I am a 22-year-old girl who has been in a very difficult situation for a long time. The issue is very complex as it has many parts to it.
It all started when I was very young. I hated my father for as long as I can remember. I feel very guilty for saying this and may Allah forgive me as I have really tried to find love for him inside of me. He has been very emotionally abusive, and he was physically abusive when I was a child.
I got sexually abused at the age of 8-9 years old on my way home from school one day. I came home one hour late from my usual time to get home and my dad got extremely angry (as he would normally be when my brother and I got late home from school). He grabbed me by the arm and beat me up with his belt without even asking any questions whatsoever about what had happened. I believe that is when my anger towards him started to grow as the only guardians I had as a child who was supposed to protect me was not there for me when I needed them the most.
I have really tried to read online about how I can handle my situation and I've tried to tell both my mom and my dad that they do not show me love but whenever I did they would yell at me or get defensive. I have to be fair and say that my father did support us financially and was invested in our sports and often also in school. I really do appreciate the things I did learn from my dad like critical thinking and to stand up for myself although ironically when I do with him I get yelled at for it. I have tried my best to think of those things he has done that are positive, but I feel like the anger against him for never willing to understand me or ask me about my thoughts and feelings especially when I needed him the most.
I have always lived my life to make my parents, especially my father, proud. I never disobeyed them and always did anything in my power to make them satisfied and happy. As I grew up I could not live with the depression and anxiety anymore. I could not live in the neighborhood because my anxiety and depression got so bad I wanted to kill myself, but of course, I did not as I know it is a great sin.
I then decided to do anything in my power to get out of a home because I could not support the yelling, the way my dad treated us and my mom, the manipulations and all the negativity became too much for me to handle. I then decided to study in the US against my father’s will but with my mother’s support even though I was not sure about my academic path, but I became so desperate I had to leave. When I came back from the US (because I found out that psychology was not what I wanted to do after all), I started working towards getting into architecture school in France so I went to learn the language in France. My father wanted me to stay at home and study at home, but I could not bear being at home so I did not do as he said. I could not stay there because it reminded me of my sexual abuse and it made me depressed and anxious (I still was in the US as well, but at least less than home).
I told my mother what had happened at the age of 21 were all she was worried about was me not obeying my father. I was so hurt I did not know what to do, she did not ask me how I was doing all she seemed to care about was my father and how he would react and it was like a knife entered my heart but of course, I did not show it. She told me I was not going to study in France and that I had to stay in Norway which is what I did only in another city which we agreed to (My mother and me).
My father decided he did not want to talk to me and it has been over a year with no communication. So the decision my mother and I made took place during the period where my father did not wish to talk to me. I have to be honest and say that I am better without him in my life and may God forgive me for saying this and give me the strength to forgive him and find love for him, but for right now I need time to process the trauma without him.
My problem now is that I have been in a relationship with someone for a while and it has been a long distance relationship for 5 years. I have done mistakes and I pray for Allah’s forgiveness. My father found out and is now and is mad at me, but as I do not speak to him nor him to me for other reasons he sends my mother to speak on his behalf. I have sent him messages earlier asking him to talk, where he has refused. I was in an accident and he never called me but got mad because I did not call and tell him (I only told my mother). I sent him greetings for Eid with no answer so I do not know what to do since he does not want to have anything to do with me. I do not want him in my life either although I respect him, I cannot be in an abusive environment anymore. The only reason I am worried is that the young man and I want to get married in order to have a halal relationship, he is also a Muslim of course. His mother knows me and has known me for 3 years now he has never met my mother, but I need a wali in order to get married and it doesn't seem like my dad wants to take part in my life and I regret today that for now, I do not wish that either. I do not know what to do with my relationship and also as important what to do with my relationship with my father to not go against God's will.
I am sorry for sending such a long message, but I just found it very important to point out my feelings and my situation, there are of course more details, but this is the outline. Thank you very much in advance and I really hope that You could help me or give me the advice to do the right thing.
In this counseling answer:
• Your father’s feelings may be buried under the stress he has faced in life, or he is simply not a man of emotion.
• Replace his anger with your respect, love, and thankfulness for him. Everything that you have written about him in your question, how he saved money for your extracurricular activities, etc., let him know what you are aware of it all.
• Discuss with your mother your will to marry and your desire to get your father on your side.
Assalamu Alaikum dear sister,
I am truly saddened by the condition of a relationship between you and your father. It truly hurts me to see all the emotional pain that you are suffering.
What I can deduct from your question, your father and mother seem to be lacking the most important ingredient of happiness: effective communication. This is often the problem in many families these days where the parents do not want to communicate with their children exactly what it is that they are expecting from them. Instead, they choose to direct their children using anger, strict guidelines and abuse. This, unfortunately, renders the children unhappy and they seek other means to be happy, often indulging in what is Islamically prohibited, or go down the path to mental illness.
Approach your father.
You must realize that although as children we expect kindness, generosity and good behavior from our parents, they are not always up to our expectations. They are humans as well and as such are bound to make mistakes, to not see our feelings, and to misjudge us and consider themselves perfect.
Dear sister, in such circumstances, we must learn to not stress over too much as their behavior is not in our control. Only Allah SWT can change the hearts and minds of our parents for the better.
Dear sister, I know how hard it can be to do what I am asking you to do. However, trust me, if you do not approach your father and meet him, you will NEVER, EVER feel happy about anything in life.
From your question, I can easily deduce that you love and really care for your father although he may not reciprocate the same feelings right now. His feelings may be buried under the stress he has faced in life, or he is simply not a man of emotion. However, you are. You seek love, attention, and approval from your father. Dear sister, it is not enough to love your father and not show it.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: When a man loves his brother, he should tell him that he loves him. (Sunan Abi Dawud)
How else would a person know the feelings the other person has? You need to sincerely try to erase the distance that has formed between you and your father. This distance is the creation of Shaytan. Be honest with yourself. Although you say that you are better off without your father, then why would you write seeking advice on how to mend matters with your father? You are clearly not happy without him.
You may be insulted, yelled at, and ignored. However, if there is an elephant in the room, it will not ever be easy to get rid of it. You will need to apply quite a bit of effort, all the while ensuring that you are calm, patient, and happy with your decision to mend shattered relationships.
Approach conflict with calmness.
Check out this counseling video:
One thing you must remember, under all circumstances, is to never express anger and contempt towards your parents.
Allah SWT tells us in the Quran,
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” (17:23)
“Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]” (3:125)
Please your father.
First off, try to approach him with a letter, explaining everything, even if the letter turns out to be three pages long (do not make it longer), explaining your thoughts and feelings. I sincerely pray that good may come from this. Sometimes we can explain our feelings in writing better than we can in words. Sometimes conversing intimidates us.
After, Please, visit home, even if your father hasn’t responded to your letter. If you see your father in anger, contempt or unhappiness, smile at him. Replace his anger with your respect, love, and thankfulness for him. Everything that you have written about him in your question, how he saved money for your extracurricular activities, etc., let him know what you are aware of it all. You are not like other children who tend to be ungrateful. Show that you appreciate and know of the struggles that he underwent to give you a happy and satisfied life.
The Prophet SAW said: “The Lord’s pleasure is in the parent’s pleasure, and the Lord’s anger is in the parent’s anger.”(Hasan). (Tirmidhi)
Also, “the best of the deeds or deed is the (observance of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents.” (Sahih Muslim)
In addition, try to surprise him by giving him presents. Do not send them to him. Give them personally. The distance between you and your father can only be replaced by your efforts. And I know that you sincerely want to be a happy daughter with your father.
Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet SAW, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Hasan) (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)
Seek Allah’s Pleasure
Allah SWT says in the Quran,
“And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (65: 2-3)
Do not underestimate the power of Istighfar.
Read Istaghfar daily. Allah SWT says in the Quran:
“Ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength.” [Quran 11:52]
“Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver.” [Quran 71:10]
Therefore, dear sister, seek forgiveness from Allah SWT. It is possible that you have unintentionally hurt your father in one way or another. There is no means of knowing this as your father will never confess this. However, if you sincerely seek forgiveness, Allah SWT will place mercy in your heart for your father, and in your father’s heart for you. You need to ask for Allah’s guidance, and He SWT give strength for you to approach your father and mend the problems that have come in the way.
Dear sister, in life our only purpose is to please Allah. If you are certain that you want to please Allah, then sometimes we must do what we may not truly want to do.
Remember, if your dad is happy with you regardless of all these years of unhappiness, then you will be satisfied in life. However, if your father chooses to disregard your efforts and still be unhappy, then rest assured that Allah will accept your sincere efforts.
Set your priorities.
Dear sister, if you sincerely want to get married, then you must make the difficult choice of mending the relationship between you and your father.
Dear sister, life is a test for us all. We cannot always get everything we want right away.
Primarily, discuss with your mother your will to marry and your desire to get your father on your side. For this to happen, you need to approach him one on one. Go home and sit and talk with him and discuss the past and the present and the future like a wise woman.
I pray that Allah SWT fills your father’s heart with mercy and make you all a family again.
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