I Left Home to Escape from My Parents’ Control

17 August, 2020
Q I am in my early 20s. I have lived away from my parents for 3 years now. I live outside the country. They reside in for study purposes.

Within the period I have left home, my relationship with both my parents has deteriorated dramatically.

I am here for some guidance and counseling for some restoration.

I will not deny my desire to study abroad has been a wish I have longed for, simply because I was in a household of abuse and constant control.

My father has been abusive towards my mother for the entirety of their relationship. Although I have witnessed and stood up for her, I seem to share the most abuse from her as well.

My mom’s social isolation is because of him which makes me think whether all that my mother pushes on me as a result of what has been pushed upon her. Growing up, I was never if ever allowed to go out with my friends.

Or if I did there would be a time limit (I would just like to say I shouldn't have a time limit at my age). I was told who I could or couldn't associate myself with (even till this day when my parents see photos of my friends they tell me who I can or cannot see).

I was shamed and abused publicly if I didn’t like something.

The whole reason why I wanted to leave my country of growth was that I was over being told what to do, I wanted to hang whoever I wished to hang with, and control my own life.

Yes, I've made mistakes along the way I admit, but that was a process I should have learned from years ago as a child not now when I'm in my early twenties. I get constantly reminded of the mistakes I’ve made in my past whether I’ve apologized for it or not.

My mother holds this weight of guilt on top of me whenever she has an opportunity to do so. I choose not to talk to them anymore. I choose to just accept her abuse and nod and say yep.

I have social issues now. I was once a friendly and nice person who could talk to anyone.

Now I don’t even know how to start conversations or even talk to people I’ve known for years now.

As a reflection, my mother abuses me because I don’t talk to her now. When I try to express that I have social anxiety or I have social issues, she tells me why did Allah give me a mental husband and a mental son.

I choose not to care but the constant repeating and arrogance and selfish behaviors and exploitation of my emotions have made me suicidal for years now.

Although I know I will never do it, it hurts all the time when I think about it or when I hurt myself.

I pray constantly, for my mother’s health wealth and greatness. yet whenever we are together we can’t go a week without her abusing me emotionally or mentally and even physically sometimes.

I don’t know what to ask, I’m just fed up and want a resolution or an end. I am middle-easterner so going to a counselor with my parents or seeking family guidance, for example, will obviously as you would know not be a resolution.

I have thought for many days that I just want to make money and give me parents all the money they have spent on my education back to them so I have no financial ties to them anymore.

This seems to be the only thing which is keeping us together as a "family."

My mother expresses it many times that she has the power to not pay for me anymore and make me come back and live with them.

I have cut myself multiple times. I smash my head multiple times, and I constantly hit myself when I’m emotionally hurt by my parents.

When I have no right to speak, it affects me more. The fact that people can live their lives doing what they desire while I am constantly pressured by parents hurts me.

I can live in this world without my family; I’ve done it fine for the past 3 years.

However, if I have to stay with this dysfunction for longer periods of time, I often believe the best resolution is for me to just leave it all behind and commit suicide.

Thank you for any reply.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Your family seems to be lacking the most important ingredient of happiness: effective communication.

• Sometimes parents are over-controlling not because they are bad people, but because they are unaware of the damage they’re overprotectiveness is causing to their children. They simply need to learn that children are now adults who want to plan and execute their own lives.

• The hard times that you have been experiencing right now should not be making you weak. Instead, they should be instilling in you a drive to escape them by being self-sufficient.

• You should be investing your time in relaxing your mind from the worries by exercising, going for walks, or studying to become a better student for a promising better future.


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear brother,

I am sorry to hear about the issues that you have been facing with your parents’ control, and the negative impact they are having on you. I am truly saddened by the condition of the relationship between you and your family.

It truly hurts me to see all the emotional pain that you have been suffering from.

From what I can deduct from your question, your family seems to be lacking the most important ingredient of happiness: effective communication.

This is often the problem in many eastern countries where the controlling 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.

They then seek other means to be happy, often indulging in what is Islamically prohibited, or go down the path to mental illness.

Be Inspired

You do not have to be defined by your situation; you need to define your situation.

Have you ever heard of Oprah Winfrey? She is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. However, in an interview with her, she recounted the sad truths of her life as a teenager.

She was abused physically and emotionally; left homeless and was about to enter the shelter unit for women in America when she finally decided to change her life around. She had controlling parents who were alive, though, they were the reason she was in trouble.

Without financial support, moral support, and worst of all, being all alone without even an education to rely on. However, she did not let it define her. If she had wanted, she could have succumbed to the lifestyle of a homeless woman.

I Left Home to Escape from My Parents’ Control - About Islam

She could have drowned herself in drugs and she could have indulged in negative and suicidal thoughts. But, as a woman who was determined to bring about positivity from negativity, she motivated herself, with courage and certainty, that one day she will succeed.

One day, her past will be there to indicate her courageous and brave nature.

Not all great leaders, scientists, doctors, writers, actors, etc., have had great pasts. They have had their share of issues. In fact, in his book “Tipping Point”, author Malcolm Gladwell shares that those who have had a hard childhood and adolescents pursue far more creative, inspiring, and successful lifestyles than those who only lived in ease. The reason?

Hard times teach us patience and optimism.

“A calm sea never made a skillful sailor,” is the quote that always comes to my mind.  When you want to travel the sea in a ship, you need someone who is skilled. Someone who can maneuver the ship in all kinds of weather while ensuring that the passengers are safe.

However, can this be done when the sailor has had no experience in dealing with bad weather? Absolutely not!

The same is applicable to yourself. The hard times that you have been experiencing right now should not be making you weak. Instead, they should be instilling in you a drive to escape them by being self-sufficient.

Sadness does not last forever

Although it may seem that your unhappiness is eternal, it will soon end. Crises are time-limited. I am sure that you have heard the phrase that there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Solutions are found, feelings change, unexpected positive events occur. Don’t let thoughts of suicide rob you of your life and of better times that will come your way when you live by patience.

Talk about your feelings with others

Dear brother, you need to talk about your feelings with others. Human is a social animal. We are not made to survive on our own.

When we feel depressed, confused, and lost, it is essential that we seek help. I am glad that you have decided to ask AboutIslam.

However, you also need to seek someone who you can converse with and who can provide you with guidance in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah.

Conversing about the problems we have really lightened the burdens. It helps us realize the issues we consider to be agonizing are lighter than we imagine.


Check out this counseling video


Search for positives in life

Psychology researchers looked at those individuals who survived the holocaust and life in the concentration camps and those who died.

They found out that those lived long were the ones who saw positively their lives and were looking forward to living life once the war was over rather than dwelling on the sadness and helplessness of the situation.

There are many things in life I am sure that you are interested in pursuing. List them on a piece of paper. I assume, among them are:

  1. Completing your education and getting a degree.
  2. Getting married to a pious woman and enjoying your life forgetting about the past.
  3. Getting a fulfilling job and living an above-average life.
  4. Having kids and enjoying time playing, teaching and talking.

Dear brother, simply because a solution is not in the view of sight does not mean it does not exist.

Sometimes, situations change for the best at a time which is the best.

Keep your mind occupied

  1. Read through the list of positive things about your life.
  2. Read through the list of positive things about life and a reminder of the things that have so far prevented you from committing suicide.
  3. Distract yourself from suicidal thoughts. Learn about Islam, listen to the Quran, and attend programs in your local mosque to find like-minded friends. Reading a book or watch your favorite film or comedy.

Try to understand your mother

As you have mentioned in your question, your mother seems to be the one you are unhappy with. Consider this for a moment, why do you feel upset with your mother? Is it because she has abused you and insulted you? Nope, you feel upset because you love her.

Your mother, why does she feel upset with you? Because of the mistakes that you have committed in the past? Because you are not a worthy son? Definitely not! She feels upset with you because she loves you. More than you can ever imagine.

Sometimes parents are controlling not because they are bad people, but because they are unaware of the damage they’re overprotectiveness is causing to their children. They simply need to learn that children are now adults who want to plan and execute their own lives.

Forgive and Forget

In the Quran, Prophet Noah makes the following supplication to Allah:

“My Lord, forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women. And do not increase the wrongdoers except in destruction.” (Quran 71: 28)

You have extremely controlling parents. However, remember this: once you become a professional you aspire to become, then you will be on your own. You need to see hidden blessings. In the Quran, Allah says,

‘Surely, with difficulty there is ease.” (94: 5-6)

When you dwell on the negativity, you will suffer. However, if you think positively, your positive thoughts will erase the negative ones. This is not easy to achieve, I know.

Like a marathon and your endurance, your mind needs to train itself to see the positivity. At first, it will rebel against it and see the negatives easily, but eventually, you will see the hidden benefits.

Plan ahead

You are already a student abroad. However, you must remember that when you have liberty and power of education, you need to be a responsible individual. Your life is precious. You have potential, you have dreams, and you have aspirations.

You should be investing your time in relaxing your mind from the worries by exercising, going for walks, or studying to become a better student for a promising better future.

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

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