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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.