How to Deal with Abusive Parents?
Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I’m 18 years old and don’t love my mother. She has been beating me since I was 12 for silly reasons. I always had excellent grades at school, but she never cared. Now, I’m her maid because my four brothers won’t help. One time, a houseguest even thought that I was the maid. She never lets me go out with friends, so I don’t go out for days, and I’m getting depressed.
I have missed my childhood. I respect her, but I’m fed up, and I want to leave. I know that if I stay here, I will be sad all my life. I can’t force myself to love her. Sometimes I break down, and we argue, both of us yelling, usually about chores. Then I ask Allah for forgiveness and to forgive her too. She controls everyone, including my dad. She even brings haram food into the house, and I struggle to make separate food for myself.
I pray that Allah resolves this problematic situation for you. Being a victim in your household is not right and un-Islamic. It is also sinful on her part to hit you for silly reasons such as chores.
First, ask Allah to help you through this and be the best Muslim you can be for His sake. Pray on time, pay zakat on time, stay away from backbiting and cover correctly when you go outside. Review your obligatory knowledge and learn your halals and harams of daily life. It is very commendable that you are keeping away from haram food. May Allah reward you for your hard work. The du’a of the oppressed is always accepted.
The Prophet, may 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]
As for the chores, only do what you can because one should disobey one’s mother unconditionally to the point of driving oneself into the ground. Explain to her your limits and that you need fresh air and exercise. Keep requesting to go outside, so she knows you are serious about it. Be honest and open with her and tell her that your brothers should be pulling their weight. Perhaps your father can tell your brothers to help.
Asking for forgiveness after an argument is praiseworthy, but try not to let it get to that point. Respecting parents is essential, and there are many other ways to communicate your frustration. You can write her a note, send her a message, or tell her that you prefer to be told about your mistakes instead of being hit. Consider taking a free course at Seekers on the rights of parents. I am not trying to say your mother is right but just trying to give you a well-rounded point of view.
Check these links:
Goodness to Parents – A Reader
My Mother Treats Me Like a Maid
I am concerned about your depression. Please consult a friend, local imam or elder in the community or possibly a culturally-sensitive counsellor to help you work through your feelings of depression. Your feelings of depression probably stem from feeling powerless. Please know that although your situation is difficult, you still have the power to protect yourself. May Allah reward you and facilitate matters for you.
[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.