How Should I Deal With Parents Who Abuse Me in Every Manner?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I’m dealing with emotional, financial, and verbal abuse from my parents.

I try to communicate well and exercise forgiveness frequently, but I’m becoming burned out. What are the roles of the father and mother with respect to the children? Children with respect to parents? How can we maintain healthy boundaries with relatives, like parents, while obeying Allah? In the Quran, cutting ties is haram. In what situations is it ok to cut off relatives?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration with your parents and I pray that you reach a healthy balance in your relationship with them.

Burn-Out

If you feel burnt out from dealing with your parents, you are dealing with something that is not healthy and normal. Can you distance yourself a little bit from them? Can you ascertain whether they take more money from you than they need? Can you find a way to prevent the verbal abuse and leave the situation? Is it practical for you to move out?

Parents’ Roles

It is impermissible for parents to abuse their children in any manner. They do not own them like an object, they may not insult them, use them or hurt them. They are expected to treat them with the same goodness that they expect to receive.

Please see some of the rights of children here:
Rights of Children in Detail
What are my children’s rights upon me?

A Child’s Role

A child must take care of his/her parents financially if they are capable and the parents need it.

Please see those details here:
Fiqh of Financially Supporting one’s Parents and Relatives

In addition to this, treating one’s parents with goodness is obligatory and can lead to their salvation, although unconditional obedience is not mandatory.

Please see those details here:
When May Parents Be Disobeyed, and How?

Consider taking this course on the rights of parents:
The Rights of the Parents: Attaining Honor by Serving One’s Parents

Healthy Boundaries

Healthy boundaries with one’s family and friends are important, especially if one feels they are being taken advantage of. One has a right to be respected, treated well, and be given fair treatment.

Read these articles about how to set some boundaries:
9 Ways to Set Boundaries with Difficult Family Members
How Can I Cope with My Abusive and Condescending Mother?

Cutting Off Relatives

Cutting off relatives is quite an extreme form of dealing with someone. It is preferable that one minimize contact, such as calling on the two Eids and checking up by text every now and again. One will find that if one sticks to simple, and cordial behavior, that the other parties will not engage one too often and will accept you for who you are, hopefully resulting in peace for everyone.

See these links as well:
What is the Minimum Amount of Relationship I Have to Keep with a Relative I Hate?
About “Cutting Ties”
About “Abusive Parents”

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.