Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I am so embarrassed by my parents’ fighting – it is so loud that even the neighbours can hear. They’ve been fighting for years, and because they’re old now, it’s really bad for their health.
One morning, I got very angry and just exploded at them. I know it was wrong but they just don’t listen any other way. It’s been going on for years and for the past year it’s been almost every second day and first thing in the morning to late at night.
What can I do?Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
This is a very difficult situation. May Allah heal your parents and bless them with some peace in their old age.
Ultimately, please remember that only you can control your behaviour. You have no control over what your parents do. It looks like they struggle to have control over their own behaviour.
Realistically, because they have had such an unhealthy relationship dynamic for so long, it is unlikely for them to change. You will only frustrate and disappoint yourself if you want them to change.
The irony is that although both your parents are deeply unhappy with each other, they have chosen to remain married out of habit, financially necessity, or some other factor. It is far healthier for them to go separate ways because all they are doing by staying married is hurting each other, and hurting you.
Could you consider bringing up the topic of divorce to your parents? Do so calmly, respectfully, and expect them to respond defensively at first. Change is difficult, especially for the elderly.
Trust in Allah
Place your trust and hope in Allah. Plead directly to him for ease in this test. Please perform the Prayer of Need.
Unfortunately, your role model for conflict management is an unhealthy one.
I suggest that you speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor about your situation. A good therapist will help to teach you coping strategies.
It is important for you to learn how to better resolve conflict. All of us return to our default programming, especially during times of stress. As unbelievable as it may sound to you right now, when you get married inshaAllah, it will be very easy for you to fall into the exact pattern your parents are in.
1) Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to help your parents and you.
2) Practice daily relaxation and mindfulness exercises. “Calm” is an excellent app.
3) Rehearse what you will do the next time your parents argue. You can set a firm boundary, such as “Please stop arguing. I’m worried for both of you. It’s bad for your health.” Then leave the room.
4) Invest in a good pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to help you cope with your daily life.
5) Reach out to your brothers for support. They may be married and living independently now, but it is still their obligation to care for your parents.
6) Consider speaking to a culturally-sensitive counsellor to help you cope better.
I pray that Allah grants you an opening and eases your difficulty. Please keep in touch.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.