How Do I Deal with My Abusive Retired Father?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I’m a 24-year-old female, unmarried, and a dentist. I have five siblings and live alone with my parents, as my siblings are married. My father has never taken responsibility for our house, mother, or siblings. He disrespects my mother and treats her like a slave. He didn’t support us financially when we were kids and was always abroad, never sending money.

If ever he sent money, he used to take two years’ vacation and return home without caring how to run the house. My mother bore all the responsibility. I’m 24 years old, and my father has retired and returned home. Whenever he’s confronted about being responsible, he abuses and curses me.

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration, and I’m sorry that your father played this kind of role in your life. I pray that you draw strength from your pain and exercise patience.

Patience

Because your father hasn’t been around for a while, it will be hard to connect with him. He probably feels disconnected from all of his children as well. I don’t think confronting him about responsibility will be helpful to right now, as it seems he won’t change direction, as a retired person. Considering the past and that he is your father, if I were in your shoes, you should keep the relationship respectful and minimal. Keep your expectations to a minimum, and don’t nag him. It’s not worth it to sour your relationship when you could be moving out soon and not have to deal with him anyway.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The believer who mixes with people and bears their annoyance with patience will have a greater reward than the believer who does not mix with people and does not put up with their annoyance.” [Ibn Maja]

Getting Through to Him

Eventually, when you sense that he has calmed down or is open to a conversation, you should just speak to him about your mother’s pain and suffering over the years and praise her. Don’t attack him or push the point. He will put two and two together and understand your point. You must encourage him toward religion because the remembrance of God, prayer, and Quranic recitation humble and mature people and make them think beyond themselves. Make supplication your most incredible tool and ask Allah Most High to guide your father and guide you in dealing with him.

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’” [Tirmidhi]

Please see these links as well:
How to Deal With a Verbally Abusive Father?
How to Deal with an Abusive Father?

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 aqida, 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.