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Family Matter
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Muslimah12
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Quote Muslimah12 Replybullet Topic: Family Fighting
    Posted: 06 July 2012 at 1:58pm
Assalamu Alaikum,

As far back as I can remember, my parents have fought very viciously. My Dad was always angry and he was verbally and sometimes physically abusive to my mother. We would be forced to get involved in their fights, even when we were very young, and try to separate them because my Dad would get extremely out of control. However, my mom then came to expect that from us, and we would always have to take her side. They fought so much that my Dad started living away from home at his workplace (he has a sort of apartment there,) and only came home on weekends, which is when they fight. The excuse was that he was always working (which is not entirely false, he is always working). Now that we are older though, they still continue to fight, but my Mom continuously scolds us for not saying enough to my father. She wants us to change him, and we have all tried talking to him, but he will never change. I am starting to see my mother's fault in their fights as well, because she never backs down, and both of them have gotten worse with age. I feel bad for my mother because she's always unhappy, but I feel bad for my father too because he is always all alone at his workplace with no family, and both of them have always been very good to the kids despite the way they treat each other.

The problem now though is that my Father's treatment of my mother has caused her to be extremely unfair to my brother. She treats him extremely harshly, and is constantly putting him down. She says he is like my Dad when I know he is not, and he loves my mother the most of all of her children. I am very sad that my whole life I had to deal with my Mom and Dad fighting, and now when my Dad is at work, I have to deal with my Mom and my brother fighting. At one time, at least my Mom and us children would be in peace at home without my Dad, but now the tension in my house has gotten worse if possible because of my Mother and my brother. Whenever they start fighting, it gets so loud that the whole neighborhood can hear, and I always step in and try to stop them when it gets to this point. My mom and I never fight, but whenever this happens she doesn't talk to me for weeks.Their fighting is ruining my Mom's relationship with all of her kids because I honestly think it is her fault more than my brother's when they fight because of the way she treats him, and because of the way my brother and my sister and I have been psychologically damaged since we saw them fighting our whole lives. My Dad says nothing in this matter, and he continues to behave as he always has.

We've all talked to our parents about how we feel, and about them getting a divorce, but they don't want to because of the "shame" it will bring, since miraculously, our family situation is something no one in the community knows about. I always try to talk to my brother and my mother too about their relationship, but neither of them listens to me and they both never back down when they start fighting. I can't talk to anyone at the Masjid either because my family is not too involved with the Masjid. The only person that really knows about all of this is my Mom's sister, and she has tried for years to counsel my Mother on how to deal with my Brother but nothing has worked. It has gotten to the point where my Brother comes home from school less and less, though I know that he desperately wants to come home, and I don't want him getting involved with anything bad since he can never come home. My brother is not a bad kid, he is actually one of the best boys I know, he just has a terrible relationship with my Mom and I know it tears him apart too. Family counseling is not even an option for us because both my Mom, my Brother, and my Dad refuse point blank to go. I am really worried about when they're older too--normally the parents live with the boy, but my brother is their only son, and my Mom has said a thousand times she will never live with him. I am extremely willing to take my parents in, but I don't want them under one roof as I know they will both fight for their entire lives.

I am only 1 year older than my siblings (we are all in our late teens/early twenties now), but I felt like I've always had to be their mother, and I know I am the glue that keeps this family together. I don't know what to do anymore, and I don't see an end in sight for our problems. I live away from home for college, and I have peace there, but I want to have a place where I can come home and relax from college and see my family. I love all my family members individually, and i hate being away from them all the time, but I get really depressed when I come home due to all the fighting. The only time I can ever be at peace at home is occasionally when it's just me, my Mom, and my Sister, but even then I feel like I've never been truly worry free. I know I am getting near marriage age, but I am terrified of getting married. If I ever had a husband like my Dad, I know I would leave him immediately. What I am really scared about is having kids, because I don't want to have a relationship like my Mom and my brother.

I apologize for the length of my post, but it's only a basic summary of my family situation-- I could write a whole book on the details. I know I should be grateful for what I do have but it's hard to get past all the sadness and hostility in my household sometimes.

Has anybody else ever gone through or seen a similar situation? What should I do Islamically in the case of my mom and dad, and in the case of my mom and brother?

Thank you
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Nausheen
 
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2012 at 6:53am
Dear Muslimah,
Im very sorry to hear about your situation. You've been thru so much since such a young age, its not fair.
However, know that there is great reward on you since you love all your famly memebers and try to make peace between them. One who opts for peace, and wants to mend matters between people, has a great ajr (recompense) from Allah.
 
I dont know if i can help you with anything in this situation, but want you to know that I feel for you.
 
If you can try to reach out to your brother and counsel him to back down when your mother is angry. A one sided argument cannot go too far. Tell him, he will get much reward from Allah to bear with the temper tantrums of his mother. Being kind and respectful to parents under ALL circumstances is a must for a muslim. If he can just do this duty of his as a muslim, much of the conflict can be tempered down.
 
There is a book titled ' when anger hurts; quitening the storm within ' by Mathew McKay.
It has several conflict resolving techniques, including tips of how to digest ones own anger. Perhaps it would be helpful for your brother.
 
Keep making dua for peace in the family.
 
Keep your chin up and take care of your own emotional health.
 
 
 
 
Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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abuayisha
 
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2012 at 11:26am

Well know that Allah, Most High, has chosen you to be the “glue” that holds things together for a good reason, and we ask that you are rewarded for your patience and conscientiousness.  These are qualities that will make for a great wife, mother and marriage insha’Allah – so don’t worry about becoming tested by what you find presently in your family.  Trust in Allah and take active steps for succeeding. 

You have given a very general overview of family troubles without mentioning any specifics as to what is causing problems or exactly what are some of the disagreements; therefore I will offer general advice.  You said often, if not always, neither party will back down.  You may want to read/research about active or effective listening and advised your family members to do their best to practice its techniques.  Basically, it is a way to listen to what the other party is saying and repeat what you understand them to have communicated.  This will force each to think and understand what is being said, thus concentrating less on their response or rebuttal.  The hope is to remove blaming and defensiveness – that only leads to resentment, for understanding and closeness.  One party would repeat or rephrase what they just heard; ‘So you’re saying it upsets you when I come from work and read without spending time with you?’  Each issue would ideally be address in this manner and whatever his explanation as well; ‘So I understand that you’re saying after having a long day at work, and you need a little quite-time before engaging with me and the kids.’  Often people just want their feelings validated.  They simply want to feel we care and understand how they feel.  Empathy can go a long way to finding a solution to problems.  If we only stop and really listen, often there are a good reasons people act the way they do.  Allahu Mustaan – it Allah’s help we seek.

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Caringheart
 
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Quote Caringheart Replybullet Posted: 07 July 2012 at 10:46pm
I just want to share that my heart really goes out to you and I think it is beautiful the way you love your family.  This is light of God shining in you.
Nausheen mentions "Being kind and respectful to parents under ALL circumstances is a must for a muslim."
This too I think is beautiful and important command of God.
I wanted to share that I can say that my arguments with my son were always due to the fact that I did not feel that He gave me proper respect.  So if you can remind him of Allah's command and he can accept it, I think it will go a long way.  Of course given his age, good luck with getting him to listen.  It depends how strong is his relationship with Allah.
May God's blessings be upon you.
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