How Do I Deal With a Disrespectful Autistic Brother Who Ruins My Peace?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My brother has autism and it’s really weighing down on my life because he screams, insults, and calls me a terrorist, a nigger until he gets a reaction out of me and I end up hitting him or insulting him.

My mom won’t do a thing to defend me because he’s autistic. She only blames me. Whenever he gets a reaction from me he goes on a tantrum and he makes everything horrible like breaking something or running away. My mom would blame it all on me when he was the one who wanted the reaction. I know I can’t do anything against him so I just indulge in food and it’s gotten to the point where I’m almost obese and I don’t want to live like this.

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration and I pray that you can deal with your brother in a way that gives you peace and relief.

Dealing with an Autistic Brother

Dealing with an autistic brother is very difficult and I suggest that you study techniques to cope with him. I don’t know how easily an autistic person can change, but I suspect that you don’t have the means to help him change, especially if your mother doesn’t help either. Can you speak to a therapist or counselor about the best way to deal with an autistic person? I feel that you need to educate yourself on this point and equip yourself well since you will have to interact with him for the rest of your life. I urge you to be patient, distance yourself from him and eat in your room if you have to. If your mother tells you to stay in his company, tell her that you can’t really endure his insults, and subjecting yourself to it is too stressful.

Try reading the tips here:
Sibling’s Guide to Autism
10 “Rude” Things Autistic People Do (And What They Really Mean)

Food

As for overeating, you must not allow yourself to indulge in it to deal with your stress. This goes against what our religion teaches us, and I guarantee that you are only harming your body.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), told us: “A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food), and a disbeliever or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines (eats too much).” [Bukhari]

Rather, truly relieving stress is doing things that lift you emotionally and spiritually, such as meeting friends, praying, supplicating, getting fresh air, exercising, or reading.

Please look at these links and educate yourself on why you must change:
Why stress causes people to overeat
How do I stop stress eating?
What Is a Low-Calorie Diet?

Turn to Allah

And last but not least, turn to Allah, and ask Him during auspicious times to guide you through this difficulty. Pray on time, read Quran daily with the meaning, and eliminate the haram and makruh (disliked actions) from your life. Give in charity, even if only a little, for it stands in the way of calamity as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us. Busy yourself with a free course here to review your obligations and learn about the Prophet’s life (Allah bless him and give him peace).

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.