Question 2

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,


It would seem quite clear in this situation that the death of your father is what has triggered this intense emotional response in him. It seems like all his behaviour since has stemmed from your father’s death. As you mention, people do cope in different ways; some people get over it quicker and move on, whilst others become depressed for years before they can finally move on, some people express sadness through silence and some through quite the opposite like your brother is.


To consider his behaviour as a result of his inability to manage his emotions appropriately is not a means to excuse him, but it might help you to understand him a bit better and therefore be in a better place to help him. It might be suggested that if his anger is a result of his grief that seeking counselling for his grief, rather than his anger as such would be the way forward since dealing with his grief would have the consequences of helping him to deal with that which is the cause of his anger.


However, as you have said he is not willing to engage in such. What you might try instead is to work on strengthening your connection with him that at some point in the future he will be more willing to take your advice and attend. If he reaches a place where he makes the decision himself he is more likely to attend and to benefit from it in the belief that it was his choice and he was not pushed into it by others.


For now in assisting you to connect with him more it will be useful to understand why he is so angry. On the surface it might seem like there is no logical reason. Everyone seems to be the victim of his anger, not just you and your family, but his colleagues and others too. However, as mentioned people deal with death differently. Some people have the skills to manage their grief and others don’t. In coping with grief, anger can be a method to cover up the negative emotions that one feels at the death of a loved one. Anger can be a means to protect themselves from having to express feelings of grief.


Either that, or they simply do not know how to express such emotions, or perhaps even feel some shame in expressing them especially if there is some kind of stigma in the community to which the person belongs. Furthermore, it is not possible to control someone’s death and that can make loved ones feel a complete lack of control over matters. As a result this alone can lead to feelings of anger due to lack of control, but also, with anger in particular, it is emotion that very much puts the person back in a position of control and fulfils a need that has been involuntarily taken away from them.


Then unfortunately, for the people around them they fall victim to their angry outbursts. Understanding the causes of anger in cases of a bereavement like for your brother can put you in a better position to understand him and respond to him more effectively.


If it is that he has not even spoken about his sadness following the loss of your father then you can try creating an environment that will allow him the opportunity to open up comfortably. Perhaps you might take some time between you in his presence to speak of memories of your father. Be open about your own feelings too, if you feel sad, express it. Let him know that it is ok to do so and that it’s OK to be sad. Masking these emotions will only make it more difficult for him to accept it and move on.


When you have such discussions perhaps have other males in the family present especially in the case there might some stigma attached to expressing sadness especially for the males in the community. It is commonly expected for the man to be strong and not express what might be seen as a weakness, but the longer he holds on to such feelings behind the mask of anger, the longer it will take for him to move on as he is avoiding the chance to process these feelings.


Even though he doesn’t talk to you much, do continue to still try and keep approaching him. Let him know, either openly, or just quietly through your actions that you are still and will still always be there for him should he need you. As you show soft hearts towards him, in sha Allah his heart will soften towards you. Speak positively in front of him and repel his anger with soft words. After all, its not easy to behave in an angry manner towards those who are so kind to you.


When he is present and it’s time to pray, pray together and encourage him on the path of Islam. Help him to strengthen his connection with Allah that he will find some comfort in remembering Allah. This will help to nurture a softness in him as he remembers that Allah is the one in control of life and death and was the one who took you father when it was his time.


With this strengthened connection to Allah he may then start to feel remorse for his negative behaviour towards others. Additionally, do continue to turn to Allah yourselves as well. Never give up hope on the fact that Allah can turn anyones heart, and in sha Allah, in time, with your support he will be able to process his grief more effectively and stop using anger as a means to manage this.


May Allah reward your patience and struggle to help your brother. May He guide him on the straight path and give him the strength to overcome his grief.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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