Counseling Live Session with S. Hannah

Thank you for submitting your questions. Thank you sister Hannah for answering the questions!

Here are the answers.

Alia, 22, female

Assalamualikum,

My father is abusive, physically and emotionally. I cannot go through a marriage like the one my mother went through. I believe I have a tendency to associate my father’s personality traits with potential husbands. However, I am unclear if I am mapping or if the person actually has my fathers personality traits. I can’t distinguish between being irrational or having genuine concern. Please help. Jazakallah.

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

Yes you are correct, it’s very common for us to seek spouses that are similar to our parents (that is, a woman will tend to gravitate towards men that are similar to their father and men to women who are similar to their mother). However, at the same time, like you say, you may find yourself misinterpreting behaviours of potential spouses as being similar to your father’s even though they are not.

This could be a product of you having in mind this idea, quite rightly, that we have a tendency to marry those who are like our parents. As a result of this, it may be that your thoughts are either irrational or a genuine concern.

However, either way, regardless of whether you are misinterpreting the behaviour of potential spouses, or if they are genuinely showing negative traits that your father has, you are absolutely right to be concerned about who your future spouse will be. You have seen first hand the negative impact that abusive traits like your father have can have on those around them and certainly wouldn’t want to face the same after having witnessed such behaviours towards your mother.

This can be quite anxiety provocing as of course you want to marry the right person who will be good for you and not abusive so it’s very important that you chose carefully. In moving forward, without being to focused on whether your thoughts are irrational or not, instead focus on how to make the process easier and less stressful on yourself and there are a couple of things you can do to support yourself with this.

Firstly, continue to turn to Allah with your affairs throughout. Importantly, make istikhara. When you meet someone that you feel is suitable, this is when should make istikhara. If he’s good for you, then Allah will make it happen, and if not, then He will place obstacles in the way.

Take your time, and meet with him (with your mahram present, of course) numerous times until you are sure. Meet with and get to know his family also.

This will also help you get to know him through a different lens too finding out about his qualities though those who know him well. . Look out for any potential warning signs, as well as those that indicate that he is a good man. A man who is pious and fearful of Allah will be less likely to be an abusive partner for fear of Allah, so do take piety into account as a top priority in making your choice over other qualities that may be desirable but yet may not give an indication of whether he may or may not be abusive.

Get the support of those around you. You may be being irrational and incorrectly mapping a potential spouses characteristics onto your father’s, but someone else, such as a friend or family member will be able to view the situation from outside of this bias that you may have. This way you will be a able to get an impartial perspective on the matter that will be more helpful in helping you to decide.

May Allah grant you a righteous spouse who will be the coolness of you eyes in this life and the next.

***

Assalamulaikum, I have a feat of confrontation stemming from childhood trauma. I know being assertive is key to communication. I don’t want to go into my marriage with this fear and disturb my marriage. How can I practically overcome this fear? Jazakallah for your help

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

Sorry to hear that you have been through some trauma as a child, but Alhamdulilah that you recognise the consequences of this and how it could potentially impact on your marriage. You are correct to realise that childhood trauma can impact on who we become and traits we develop in response to this trauma, and unfortunately these responses are not always favourable and can have an impact on our relationships. You have also rightly identified that it would be a good idea to confront these issues now before they may become a problem further down the line.

The first thing I would suggest is getting counselling support for the trauma. This way you can deal directly with the root cause of any potential consequences you are experiencing now with regards to your fear of confrontation. Dealing with the root cause of any type of trauma or even minor difficulty is the key to overcoming any consequences of the difficulty, whatever it was. Such support may automatically reduce any negative impact as you learn to manage past traumas, or if not, it will help you to understand the link between the trauma you went through and why you think and behave how you do now. This will make it easier to lessen the presence and impact of such consequences.

Aside from seeking counselling support in dealing directly with the past trauma, do also understand that fear of confrontation is quite a normal feeling to have. Most people have a fear of the same and do not enjoy confrontation also. In fact, the issue may be with someone who doesn’t fear it!

However, like you say, being assertive can be key in communication, but sometimes the fear of confrontation can stand in the way of being assertive for fear of causing confrontation by being assertive. You note your fear of this in marriage in particular, so since you are presently not married, now would be a great time to be practicing and developing these skills of being more assertive. You might begin with those that you are close to such as friends and family.

Practice being more assertive with them perhaps in less scary ways to begin with, whether it be in a positive way in terms of initiating an invitation to do something, or in a less comfortable way by speaking up if you disagree with something. Doing these things with people who you are comfortable with will help to develop your confidence in being more assertive and make it easier to be this way with others.

Beyond this, you may try other simple tasks to further develop your assertiveness such as asking for assistance with something when you go shopping. Make this an exercise that you continually do as you move towards getting married. You will see the positive consequences as you become more confident and this will also help to reinforce your being more assertive and make it something that comes more naturally.

May Allah make it easy for you to overcome past trauma and may He grant you a happy and successful marriage in this life and the next.

***

Aisha, 20, female

I’ve been married for over a year now with my husband in an arranged marriage I found out recently that he is a heavy drug addict because we don’t live together,….so since I found out about that problem I asked if he did want to stop and I started helping him slowly and now the ramadhan helped him because he only uses small portions at night ….

But every night he listens to songs that make me feel like just depressed and angry so last night I told to stop since it was the last ten days of Ramadan and we shuold take advantage of it and pray tahajjud …because we have been trying to get a baby ……So when I confronted him about it ….I told him that music and what he uses could in future affect our kids ….

Then he looked at me and told me that I was the dumbest person in the world and that if I thought such things can affect our lives in the future then I was mental …  ..so I left him to his things and I wanted to ask does my nagging about religion and islam upsetting my husband should I just leave him to himself and me to myself ( am not the greatest Muslim… .I’m actually worse than Him because am terrible with my Deen) But truly I thought my Husband would be better than me and lead us in this life about the Deen …..All he does and all we do is just argue about everything and anything…….

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

You are right to be concerned about your husbands behaviour and you did the right thing to encourage him away from haram. May Allah reward you. It is unfortunate that his response back to you was not very kind at all and it looks like he does not want to take action based on the concerns you’ve expressed. He may have put you down for these comments, but they are completely genuine and correct concerns so please don’t let his own thoughts on this make you think any differently. You also did the right thing to walk away from the confrontation before it got anymore heated, especially since it seems he was not willing to listen and take your thoughts into consideration.

Given that this was his response to you, perhaps you might consider asking someone else to approach him that you feel he would be more responsive too, for example a friend sor family member who he holds high levels of respect for and will listen to. Of course you don’t want to make it look like you have pushed this person to approach him so they should approach him in a more casual way as par to their normal interactions.

Another less direct approach to take may be to encourage him to watch lectures on these topics sonthatbhe can get a better understanding from an Islamic perspective as to why drugs and music can be so harmful. If he won’t listen to the lm himself, perhaps having it on in the background will allow him to at least pick on some of the message being portrayed.

In the meantime, do continue to talk to him about in as less confrontational way as possible so that he knows you’re serious about it. Approach him at times when he is more relaxed and bring into conversation more casually rather than approaching him to specifically talk about these things.

Additionally, knowing that this is a stressful issue to deal with for you personally and also on your relationship, separate to what is going on with his addiction and music problems, try also focusing on improving your relationship with him so that you will be more comfortable together and he will be more responsive to your advice. You may do this through engaging in things together such as date nights or taking up a new hobby together; tasks that are no way in relation to dealing with his problems, but instead on nurturing your relationship.

You should also make sure to take of yourself during this time. Dealing with a difficult husband will have impacts on your mental health, especially when he’s putting your ideas down. Make sure to take time to do things for yourself too; be with people you enjoy being with, do the things you love to do. This will help to keep you in good spirits and be in a better place to deal with any negativity until your husband changes, in sha Allah.

Given that you day your Deen is not so strong right now, perhaps part of your self care routine should involve tasks to strengthen it such as being with other sisters who will elevate you mood and motivation, and watching lectures that will don’t he same. As your Deen strengthens so will your mood as will your ability to approach your husband in a way that he may be more understanding of from an Islamic perspective.

If these sisters have husbands, then perhaps a gathering (if possible) with them and yourselves (segregated of course) will help to encourage him to behave more appropriately as he makes friends with those who could be a positive influence on him.

May Allah reward your persistence in attempting to guide your husband away from bad things. May Allah make it easy for you to soften his heart and move away from these things.

Question 4

What do women feel when they decide thay want to have a child? I mean I am almost 30 and i literally have no any feeling toward children. Yes, when a little 2 year old is walking with her mom ont he street, it does grab my attention, I would say she is cute, but…I just feel having a child is too much change in my life. With my body, then with my whole life….I am really not a flexible person, i love planning and try living my life as certain as possible. I fear all the frustration that having a child causes would bring out something in me that I would be scared of.

I see a pregnant woman on the street and I have negative feelings about her. I feel sorry for her for having such a big belly, sometimes I think she is ugly with such a huge body / which is wrong, and I feel bad and tell myself, but this is my honest first thoughts. Is there something wrong with me?

I also feel I am too selfish for having a child; I hardly look after my plants at home! I am not a self-sacrifying person: i may cancel meetings if i do not feel like going, I do every favor to others just when I feel comfortable with it.

The reasons I could possibly have a child is that 1, Allah encourages this and it is haram to say i do not want to have children (despite the fact that the Earth currently does not need more people on earth, we are way too many.) 2, I can hug someone all the time and cuddle, play with. 3, I can give a valuable person to this earth.

There are so many people that Earth would be better of without. At least I support the other „worthy people” ’s, team. But again, I cannot help thinking about the overpopulation of this earth. Why do I need to give birth when I do not have any desire for it? or I have but just cover it with fears and other issues? I am really confused, please help!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

Even though the feelings you have are perhaps more unusual, there are some people that so feel as you do. I think you do seem to understand the importance of having children from an Islamic perspective which, Alhamdulilah, is a good thing and suggests that you are not completely against the idea and may come round to the idea more fondly some time. In fact, on occasions some women in this case may be completely against it until they get pregnant and once they have the child growing in their tummy their perspective suddenly changes.

I’m not sure if you are married yet, but if not, perhaps this might also be the thing that will have you more convinced since it is a joint effort and your love for your spouse will make you feel a heightened desire to bring a child in to this world and raise them. Thinking of having a child when not married yet may make it something that is more difficult to connect to.

Do understand as well that the way you are interpreting how others are feeling may not be how they are feeling. You are picking up on all the negative things about being pregnant, yet the woman you are feeling sorry for will likely also be feeling the love for the child that she feels growing and wiggling in her tummy and this excitement about bringing the child into this world and raising them.

Generally, whilst pregnancy can be uncomfortable, the positives clearly outweigh the difficulties as people continue to have more. Additionally, even though the physical burden is much, Allah has told us how immense the reward is for the pains that a pregnant mother goes through, which again adds to the positives of pregnancy and child rearing.

From what you have written, 9n the most part you do seem convinced by the benefits of having children from bothan Islamic and parenting perspective, but for now the negative thoughts about it outweigh these. Additionally, the fact that you feel concerned that you have little desire to have children at this point perhaps shows that deep down there is some motivation to have children at some point.

At the end of they day, neither I or anyone else can convince you to have a child just yet if you are not interested in it at this time, however, from what I understand from what you have shared, I believe that at some point in the future, you will start to feel otherwise. Continue to pray to Allah to be guided to what is best for you and most pleasing to Him.

Monday, May. 10, 2021 | 10:00 - 11:00 GMT

Session is over.
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