In this counseling answer:
• Allah tests us all in different ways, where the test is to see how we respond to the trial.
• Share the responsibility equally with your siblings and mother.
• Let your mother know how her constant anger and anxiety is impacting you, and how it is making you withdraw into yourself.
• Find positive activities for yourself.
• If you feel too burdened, I think it is a good idea to continue your counseling regularly.
• Regarding your future, put your trust in Allah.
As-Salamu Alaikum Sister,
In your post, you have mentioned that you have had a difficult childhood since your parents were not on good terms, your father had an extra-marital affair and he used to abuse your mother emotionally and verbally. Furthermore, your mother took out all her anger on you.
You had trouble sleeping as a child due to all the stress you carried – and therefore were on sleeping pills. You have mentioned that in your present situation; your father is a totally changed person since he has had a stroke and is dependent on his family for care. You have mentioned that you dislike your father and do not feel like taking care of him.
On the other hand, you mentioned that you have a love/hate relationship with your mother; since you are not able to express your feelings and emotions with her. You feel as though your mother does not understand your feelings, and whenever you try talking to her, she ends up shouting at you. Lastly, you have stated that you have trust issues and are scared about marriage and your future in general.
Sister, I am sorry that you are going through so much emotional pain. May Allah SWT make things easy for you. As for your relationship with parents, it is definitely complicated. Since you did not get the emotional love, care and support that you deserved while you were growing up, it is natural for it to play out now that you are an adult.
However, as a Muslim, Allah SWT asks us to be good to our parents.
In the Quran, Allah SWT says,
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” (Quran 17:23)
While it is necessary that you know your obligations towards your parents, it does not mean that you do not take care of your personal needs or allow others to mistreat you.
This Life is a Test
Sister, this life is a test for each and every one of us. Allah SWT has given each of us a different set of trials. While some suffer from difficulties in health and physical needs, others might suffer because of their children, some with finances and others with parents or spouses.
Therefore, Allah tests us all in different ways, where the test is to see how we respond to the trial. In your case, you have a father whom you dislike because of his previous attitude towards you and your mother. However, he is now paralyzed and dependent on you. If you look after his needs, Allah SWT will bless you manifold – in this world and in the Hereafter.
Be Compassionate with Yourself
Learn to be compassionate with yourself. You have never had anyone to support you emotionally or listen to what you want. Understand that you have a right towards yourself.
Also, know that just as it is obligatory for you to look after your parents in their old age, in Islam it is/was also obligatory for your parents to have taken care of your physical and emotional needs as a child. If they have erred, may Allah SWT forgive them.
Set Your Boundaries
Sister, I understand that as human beings, each one of us has limitations beyond which we cannot perform. Be aware of the things that you can do for your father and the things that you feel are out of your range.
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Convey it to your family firmly about what your responsibilities should be regarding your father, as it should also not be that they give you all the responsibility only because you are the youngest and not married. Share the responsibility equally with your siblings and mother.
Be Assertive with Your Mother
Regarding your mother, it is important that you confront her about how she makes you feel when she takes out all her negative emotions on you. Our surroundings and interactions with people are what make our lives either peaceful or toxic.
From what you have said, there seems to be a lot of toxicity in your surroundings. Let your mother know how her constant anger and anxiety is impacting you, and how it is making you withdraw into yourself. Let your feelings and emotions be known to people around you rather than taking it all in and handling it by yourself.
Indulge Yourself in Positive Activities
Find positive activities for yourself. See what makes your spirit soar. It could be anything such as writing, painting, reading, walking, or jogging. Make a habit of doing something positive for yourself every day. “Self-care” is the most important thing especially when you live in a place where others don’t see or feel your existence or acknowledge your needs.
Seek Professional Help
If you feel too burdened, I think it is a good idea to continue your counseling regularly. I would also suggest you bring it to your counselor’s attention that you tend to increase your sleeping pills when you want to avoid a situation.
Sister, I would like you to know that I absolutely understand that the emotional pain you are feeling is very deep and intense.
This is what causes you to increase the dose of your sleeping pills. But in doing so, there is no solution. Whenever you feel as though things are getting too much for you to bear, do go to a professional mental health counselor and talk out your concerns and situation.
Ask for Guidance and Help from Allah SWT
As for your concerns regarding your future, I would tell you to put your trust in Allah SWT and let him lead you to the light. Insha Allah, you will know that there are people who are also good, kind, and understanding. Be regular in your prayers and supplications.
In the Quran, Allah SWT says
“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” [13:28]
May Allah SWT make all matters easy for you.
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