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How Should I Handle My Parents’ Abusive Marriage?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 15, 2019

Question

Assalamu alaikum,

I know perfectly well that I'm young, but I really want to know how to handle this without worsening the situation. My parents are on the verge of divorce due to financial problems and disrespect from my father.

A few days ago, my parents had an argument about something trivial. It was nothing new at all, but my dad started screaming, yelling, throwing things around, and cursing at my mother. I was in the living room reading a book until I heard my mother screaming, so I instinctively started screaming and calling for help.

My father was scared that someone would call the authorities, so he came to the living room and threatened me, spat at me, cursed me, and called me a dog. He used to have a habit of talking to women, and one day when my mum found out and confronted him, it turned into a huge argument.

They both started using harsh words, and my dad got angry and hit her harshly. I didn't know until recently. If I had I known, I would have reported him.

Most of my issues with my father are stupid, whether it's leaving the lights on by accident, laughing loudly with my brother when my dad sleeps during the day, playing tag in the house, or using the oven for too long.

He's always lying about our financial things and says it's for our future, but he's already destroying our future by causing problems like this. He does have money, and that's the problem. Whenever my mother asks for money, he tells her to work. When she wants to work, he tells her she can't because then he would have no right to benefits.

I've had enough. I tell my mother that what he's doing is wrong and that she needs to do something about it, but she just says that all families go through something similar. I tell my father that he's supposed to be patient as the head of the house, and that if he can't handle a single woman, then how is he able to carry out his life duties?

He always tells me that my mother is a mentally ill person and that she's not religiously committed, when the same could be said about him. They're both so immature, always finding excuses and always finding something to say about each other.

Benefits and tax credit are given for a reason: to provide a standard way of living. We don't even have the basics and necessities. I managed to hold out for this long, but what about my younger brother? Their behavior is dangerous to his mental health and welfare.

I know I'm being immature about this whole situation, but I find it hard to live my life and overlook this situation. Financial, physical, and verbal abuse in a marriage makes it an abusive marriage. I wish my parents would understand that.

What should I do? Please advise me.

Counselor

Answer


How Should I Handle My Parents’ Abusive Marriage?

In this counseling answer:

• I think it’s best that you find the right opportunity and get both your parents to know exactly how their behavior is affecting you.

• Remember not to talk about the matter aggressively.

• Assertive communication is essential in getting your point across to the other person and being heard.

• You should indulge in activities that make you feel connected to yourself and make you feel alive.

• Get in touch with the Creator.


Assalamu alaikum sister,

I am sorry that you are going through such a difficult situation. It must be heart-wrenching for you to witness domestic violence and emotional abuse within your household and it must be taking a very heavy emotional toll on you.

You mention how your father is physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive towards your mother, however, your mother isn’t even leaning towards separation/divorce. You want to do something and calling someone to intervene, but you don’t want to end up in a tough spot with your brother.

How Should I Handle My Parents’ Abusive Marriage? - About Islam

It seems that you are under a lot of stress regarding your family situation, and that is rightly so. And it seems as though all your parents’ time is being consumed in their own fights and abuse, while you and your brother are being physically and emotionally neglected.

While I cannot say whether it would be a good idea to call the authorities since it would break up the whole family and there is no surety of what sort of a home you are placed in, I think what you do need to do is to confront your parents about the impact of their behavior on the family.

Communicate Without Fearing the Worst

Since the situation is already so bad that you’re considering reporting about your father’s misdemeanor to the authorities, I think it’s best that you find the right opportunity and get both your parents to know exactly how their behavior is affecting you. Don’t fear being vulnerable.

Let your emotions flow and tell them know how hurt, sad, angry, and hopeless it makes you feel. Let them know that you think your future is being ruined by the immature way in which they are acting.

However, remember not to talk about the matter aggressively, because that could escalate the situation. Be calm, and let them know everything how you feel to the extent that they can feel the damage they are causing you.

Sometimes, adults are so stuck in their own struggles and tensions that they overlook the damage they are causing their children. However, if they are aware of the damage they are causing and still not taking any practical steps to control it, it is definitely a matter of concern.

Communicating Assertively

Assertive communication is essential in getting your point across to the other person and being heard. It entails using “I-statements” and specific events. For example, instead of saying “You always do this and it makes feel helpless / scared / angry”, say “I feel helpless when you fight” or “I feel exhausted of all the stress in the house, and feel a need to escape”.

When you use I-statements, you take full responsibility of your emotions and feelings to get your message across effectively and avoid defensiveness from the other party.

It is Not Your Responsibility to Fix Anyone

Sister, you can neither fix anyone nor is it your responsibility to do so. You can try to make people see your perspective, but you can never force them to. As for your parent’s marriage, it is their own choice if they want to live it or end it.

It may be possible that your mother has her own fears about leaving the marriage which you can talk to her about so that you understand her better.

You could try recommending your parents to go for marriage counseling so that they can get help to improve the quality of life for themselves and for you and your brother.

Involve Family Elders if Situation Does Not Improve

If the situation does not improve despite everything, talk to some elder family members regarding how the situation is really affecting you adversely. Family members can sometimes help dissipate the conflict, although it’s not always possible.


Check out this counseling video:


If the situation worsens, God forbid, then you may opt for going to the authorities. However, you should keep in mind that even that could have a lasting damaging effect on not just your family, but also yourself in terms of emotional and mental health.

Pay Attention to Yourself

When things are not going well around you, and your parents are also not giving you the love, care, and nurturance that you need to thrive, you need to be there for yourself. Forget about what is happening at home and focus your attention inwards.

Be there for the child within you who yearns for security, love, and protection. I know it’s easier said than done, but you should indulge in activities that make you feel connected to yourself and make you feel alive. Make yourself the most important person for you.

Also, try not to neglect your studies, and make a goal of becoming financially independent so that you have the option to separate from your parents once you are of legal age.

Life Is A Test

Sister, remember that this life is a test by Allah SWT. He has given each of us a different problem which we are just helpless against. It is beyond our power to resolve the tests that Allah puts us through, but with patience, perseverance, duaa’, and faith in Allah, all difficulties can be overcome in shaa’ Allah.

In the Quran, Allah SWT says,

“Verily, We created man from a drop of mingled sperm so that We may test him; and therefore We made him hearing and seeing. We have indeed showed him the way, now he be grateful or ungrateful.”  (76:3)

Ask for Help and Guidance from Allah SWT

Finally, get in touch with the Creator. Allah SWT is the All-Hearer and All-Seer. He knows everyone’s pains and burdens, and He promises that He does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear.

I pray that Allah SWT guides you through your journey and makes all things easy for you.

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

Read more: 

I Never Want to Talk to My Abusive Family Again

Abusive Parents: Enough is Enough!

Tips on How to Deal with an Abusive Husband

 




About Zainab Farrukh

"Zainab Farrukh has an MS. in Mental Health & Counseling and has been working as a counselor for over 3 years. She is also a Research Specialist working with Psychology professionals and students internationally. She has recently founded The WomeNetwork (www.thewomenetwork.com), where her goal is to help women get better at their game."

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