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Author Topic: Really Good Advice: 'Handled Abuse With Patience And Now Feel Angry'  (Read 1930 times)
blackrose
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« on: Mar 30, 2009 05:17 PM »



   

Question and Answer Details
      
   

Name of Questioner
   

saima   - India
   

Title
   

My Husband and My Temper
   

Question
   

 

I am 30 years old, and a happily married woman. My problem is my in-laws. During the initial period of my marriage, they treated me badly and tortured me with no limit. My husband was settled in the Gulf then, and I was living with my mom-in-law and brother-in-law. They abused me and my parents, and it's very hard for me to tell you about all the pains I tolerated. I just remembered ALLAH every time and prayed. Al hamdu Lillah, now I'm living with my husband in THE Gulf, quite happily, but still when I remember all those bad day, I only pray to Allah to take my revenge on them. Sometimes I loose my temper, and I also fought with my husband on those bad days of mine and abused his family also; although I know it's very bad to do that. I don't want to take any bad du`aa's from my husband. Please let me know how can I show my regret from what I said to my husband, because I don’t want to take any- bad du`aa' from him. Please help I may get mental satisfaction and happiness in my life again
   

Date
   

28/Mar/2009
   

Name of Counsellor
   

Feryad Hussein
   

Topic
   

Communication, Marital Obstacles, Self development
   
   

Answer
      

 

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious

the Most Merciful.

 

 

As salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

 

Jazaka Allah khayrun for sharing this important issue. Bless you sister it seems as though you have been through a traumatic experience and recovery from the situation you refer to can take some time. When a person suffers from any type of abuse, the effects are far reaching and sometimes, even though the sufferer may have dealt with the problem as best as they could at the time, it can be the case that the feelings re-surface and become more intense once they have removed themselves from the situation, (since they are then more free to express their feelings / anger about what happened without further danger). This does not mean that you will never overcome these feelings, but rather like any unpleasant experience, from time to time, it may affect your life. This is made more difficult in situations where the perpetrators of such aggression /abuse are not questioned or made accountable for their behaviour as is the case here. Unfortunately in many cultures the behaviour of adults within the extended family remains unquestioned, and is somehow seen as their right as an ‘elder’. Hence, the problem is rarely dealt with successfully and usually just ignored. However, for the ‘victim’ ( forgive the term) the awareness that other people recognize what they have suffered is really important when trying to overcome the effects of any type of abuse. If there is no apology, regret or acknowledgement of the suffering you have gone through, then naturally you will not feel that the problem has been acknowledged or dealt with. Therefore, it may be that you yourself have to increase your family’s awareness, and this may come about in the form you have described. This reaction is not about asking for attention / sympathy, but about empathy as a form of justice where no other action has been taken. It is about validating your feelings and acknowledging that you have a right to be angry. Having said that, it is also about moving on from these feelings, and returning to a ‘normal’ life insha-Allah.

 

Masha-Allah it is laudable that you have tried to work through the feelings, and maintained your commitment to the deen. These are the trials which can cause the creation to become distant from the Creator (may Allah protect us all from this), and I am impressed that you want your reaction to be just towards people who have been unjust with you. May Allah (SWT) give you ajar for this striving, and increase your iman and may Allah (SWT) forgive your in-laws and grant them hidaya (a gift).

 

There are a number of strategies to help you understand your position and may insha-Allah motivate you to move on:

 

Essentially, you should grant yourself your humanity, and allow and admit that you have been through a horrible experience. Your reaction is natural and understandable, since as a human being we all have our limits. In acknowledgement of this fact we are told,

 

(“Allah does not like evil words to be uttered except by someone who is truly wronged, Allah Hears all and Knows All.  If you do good deeds openly or in private or forgive and evil, then surely Allah is Pardoning) (An Nisa 4: 148 -149).

 

Ibn Kathir interprets this ayat (verse as describing, what is allowable in cases where someone has been wronged, but this has its limits, since remaining angry is bound to cause problems and keep the memory alive. But insha-Allah remembers also that Allah is al Adl and your suffering will not go unquestioned by Him and the day will come when justice is done.

 

Try and identify the triggers to the anger. Are there particular situations/ times that make you feel angry? If so try, and contain the feelings, and prevent them from developing into something more by being sensitive to these occasions. As soon as you recognize the first sign of the anger emerging; take the Sunnah as the model and read Tawudh (to seek refuge in Allah from the bad). Since anger is seen to be from the Fire of Jahannum (hell) you should insha-Allah drink some water and if you are standing, sit and if you are sitting, lie down. Insha-Allah do not feel self conscious about this, just try it.

 

It is understandable that when you have been hurt/oppressed by others that it feels justifiable to respond without limits. But my experience tells me that this is not always healthy nor does it help the individual to move towards resolution and in some cases can just add to the problem.  Allah (SWT) tells us:

 

{O believers! Do not violate the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah: the Sacred Month, the animals bought for sacrifice , the garlands that mark such animals and the people who visit the Sacred House (Ka`aba) to seek the grace and good pleasure of the Rabb! When you put off your ihram (sacred garments) then you are allowed to hunt. Let not the hatred of some people – who one hindered you from al Masjid al Haram - incite you to commit transgression. Cooperate with one another in righteousness and piety and do not cooperate in sin and transgression. Have fear of Allah, Allah is stern in punishment} (Al Maida 5: 2) This ayah (verse) reminds us that though we may be oppressed by having our basic rights taken from us, our reactions should be balanced as far as possible. In the cases where you can not prevent the expression of this anger, insha Allah recite this ayah to yourself and think about the guidance given in it. This will work both as a distraction technique (since you can not think of two things at the same time!) as well as a form of management.

 

One technique to rid yourself of these feelings is to write a letter expressing your feelings. ( I am not suggesting you post it- I think in these cases it would be very unhelpful) but it is a catharsis, a way of releasing feelings and words that can not otherwise be said. The letter should be completely honest, and detail the emotional impact that the experience has had on your life and can be as angry as you feel necessary, since it will not be sent. The letter can then be thrown away/ burnt/ buried as a symbol of the event being dealt with and put in the past. Some patients find it helpful to write a series of letters that help them to release their distress gradually over time. This can also be helpful since one letter in and of itself may not be enough and they may need to consider the change of feelings as they are expressed in each letter. The choice is yours insha-Allah.

 

Remind yourself also, that you are safe now, with your husband and living happily together. When focusing on the problems you have had in the past, it is common that you forget the good experiences that you have in the present. Identify what these they are and when you are most close (emotionally) to each other and reinforce this by repeating the same experiences. The on-going anger that you express may spoil this so it is important that you find an alternative channel towards which you can direct these feelings.

 

 

You are right; no matter what your in laws have done it is likely that any reminder of this behaviour to your husband will make him feel uncomfortable. This is not to deny their harm to you – this must be acknowledged - but to reprimand him because of their behaviour may alienate him from you. No matter how guilty they are, nobody likes to hear their parents being insulted.

 

Regarding the split of emotion – that you are showing towards your husband regarding his parents; generally there are two sources (that is, people) towards whom the negative feelings are usually directed. Primarily, of course the perpetrators, and secondly those relatives from whom the sufferer may have either sought/ expected protection. In your case I am wondering how much the fact that your husband was abroad is compounding the problem. In addition to the behaviour of his parents, perhaps some of the anger you express towards him is about what you perceive as a lack of support on his part by not being there for you. Furthermore, if you are unable to express your feelings to your in-laws your taking the anger out on your husband may be one form of releasing this tension to the closest person to them. So indirectly it may be that you feel by making him realize how much you have suffered you are taking out your anger on your in laws. But, of course, they are two different people and he is not accountable for his parent's behaviour though he is - regarding what he did about their behaviour. This may be adding to your frustration and may explain why on occasions the anger is directed towards him – because you may want some recognition from him that his parents treated you badly. This acknowledgement is also a form of support since it recognizes that you behaved well in a difficult situation and this alone can alleviate some of the distress or at least help you to tolerate what happened. I am unclear as to whether you and your husband have actually talked about what happened to you and considered the effects. This is really important since if you feel any anger towards him for not being there for you in the past, this is a opportunity to be there for you now.

 

If you are personally feeling unhappy with your reaction then be aware that Allah is all Forgiving and Merciful and that there is a route out for you. Your aim in changing your behaviour seems to fit the ayah:

 

{They are those who spend generously in the way of Allah, whether they are in prosperity or in adversity, who control their anger and forgive other people, for Allah loves such charitable people, who if they commit an indecency or wrong their own souls, earnestly remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins; for no-one can forgive sins except Allah, and those  do not knowingly persist (in something wrong) which they have done} ( A’le Imran 3:134-135).

 

If the Creator (SWT) forgives the creation, then it should be easy for the creation to do likewise, since in not doing this, it can be hard to move on. The guilt however, can be functional in serving as a reminder that there are certain behaviours you wish to avoid. Remember that Allah loves this characteristic and this closeness to Allah will insha-Allah offer you some comfort. What is helpful at this time is to have some form of marker – a point in time where you can draw a line under the experience, so allowing you to start again. An excellent provision here is already made for us in the form of Salat al Tawbah (prayer of repentance) since it pieces together the intention to start again, regret at ones behaviours and a promise with the Creator not to repeat the behaviour you are unhappy with. So you make the intention to stop the behaviour through Salat al Tawbah and use the techniques suggested above to manage the change.

 

Make du`aa' my sister for yourself and your in- laws for Allah to increase your/ their iman and therein lies true happiness and peace. It is with such iman that the creation does not feel the need to harm others. May Allah al Jami make easy the relationship between you all.

 

Ma’ salama and du`aa's


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