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Dad Attacks My Self-Worth, Instead of Supporting Me

21 January, 2023
Q My father and only elder brother are attacking are self-worth for I remain unemployed. I did and continuous do my effort to find job and did interviews, but the rizk are not there. Instead of providing support and understanding as my Wali, they are undermining my worth instead and that really not really frustrating and upsetting me, but killing me inside.

They are alhamdulillah successful, but demand me to work as a payoff to what my dad invested in me.

I no longer find safe emotionally and mentally with them. It's like I have enemies in my closest circle. How do I get out from this?

Jazak Allah.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

  • Talk to them and tell them how this makes you feel. if they really want to help you, they need to change their way of treating you.
  • Try family counseling or mediation involving your father and your brother. Talk about your goals and their expectations and find a compromise.
  • Read about self-worth and self-esteem, start clear and effective communication about your needs, learn to say no while maintaining kindness.

Salam alaikom dear sister,

Thank you for turning to us. As I understand it, your father and elder brother are attacking your self-worth because you do not succeed in your job interviews. Instead of supporting you, they undermine your worth, which frustrates and upsets you.

Sister, your feelings are completely understandable. They are your closest family members, and you rightly expect support and protection from them. Your father is meant to guide you and help you with your struggles.

What Is the Reason?

Reading your letter, I was wondering what could be behind their attitude towards you. Was this how they always behaved? Do you generally lack support from them, or is this related to your job search?

You do not detail what kind of job you are looking for, so I am not sure whether it has to do with the nature of the job or not.

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But if they are generally supportive, they might have some issue with you looking for a job or a certain type of job. They may be concerned for your safety or disagree with your goals. Could this be a reason for their behavior?

On the other hand, whether it is to protect you or not, with this approach you do not feel supported.

Talk to Them

So, I kindly advise you to talk to them and tell them how this makes you feel. Maybe this type of criticism is “motivating” for them, but undermining others is not right and can hurt you and others.

They need to know that if they really want to help you, they need to change their way of treating you.

Investing in You

You write that your father wants you to repay him for the investment he made in you.

I am not sure whether there was a dispute or an agreement about your studies in the past and about paying him back.

If yes, try to talk about this also and ask for some time until you start your career. You all need to trust in Allah and His perfect timing and plan for the whole family.

On the other hand, your parents’ duty is to take care of your upbringing, which includes your education.

Of course, everyone will provide according to their abilities. But is their responsibility to set realistic expectations about the investment this requires.

So, I think that is not the right approach to blame or pressure you. It can even lead to reckless decisions and compromises and jumping into situations where you find yourself uncomfortable.

What to Do

Sister, I think that your situation would require family counseling or mediation involving your father and your brother. They need to understand that their words hurt you and do not help you achieve your goals.

You would need to talk about your goals and their expectations and find a compromise. They would also need to understand that there is a difference between guiding you and making decisions for you.

You can have your choices (within the boundaries of Islam), and you are capable of deciding what is good for you and for your needs without being pressured or controlled. Also, their guidance should be based on Islamic principles and not solely on personal preferences.

Your Self-Worth

Beyond trying to find emotional safety and mental peace with them, you might need to set boundaries to strengthen your self-worth, as you say that you no longer feel emotionally and mentally well.

Your well-being is very important and will affect your life and choices, including your career.

So, I advise you the following:

  • Read about self-worth and self-esteem and how to improve them.
  • Start clear and effective communication about your needs. For example: this
  • Learn to say no while maintaining kindness. Check this video.
  • Your worth is not determined by your achievements. It is not measured in the quality of the outcome, but rather in the efforts you make.
  • There is no need to compare yourself to others or their products. You certainly have your own strengths. Read more about this here and here.
  • Trust in Allah and in His plan. His wisdom is infinite, and behind some rejection there can be His protection from further harm. Those jobs were not meant for you.

As you said, in those offers were no rizq for you. It might mean that you have to be patient, change directions, or adjust your goals. You can do the istikhara prayer and ask for guidance from Allah.

So, next time, start with the right intention. Make sure that whatever you are trying to do, you seek the pleasure of Allah. Then trust in His guidance when you apply for a new job. Some tips on job searching are here and here.

May Allah provide you comfort and ease,

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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 Ilhaam Oszter holds a BA degree in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, with a specialization in Andragogy. She completed her studies in the BSc Psychology department of International Open University, where she also studied Islamic sciences. She obtained certificates in Islamic Counseling and Islamic Marriage Counseling. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology. She is a mother of 2 and lives in Spain.