Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Beaten and verbally abused all my life, now lost and hopeless

Verbal abuseAssalam o alaikum everyone.

I hope you are well. I am writing a post here today because I feel hopeless, lost, and out of options. I would love to hear the opinion of people that are educated in Islam, and may be able to help me, as I have no other choice left.

I am a 20-year-old Sunni Muslim girl living in a western country. The conditions I am living in are getting increasingly worse both physically and mentally, with no way out and no way to stop it. I currently am living with my parents and siblings. We are a big family and have a large amount of household tasks and duties, and since I am the oldest sibling I have been required to do most of the work in and out of the house since I was young, including cleaning, cooking, shoveling, and being a “servant” as my parents sarcastically like to say, no matter what time of year it is (even exam periods).

To be clear, I do not mind doing chores and wish to contribute to taking care of the house and my family. The problem is that I have been, and continue to be abused by my family ever since I was very young (around age 2), and kept sheltered so as to not challenge them.

I have been doing most of the housework, more than everyone, on many occasions, and rarely ever get anything positive said to me. I am called fat, useless, heartless, rude, disrespectful, garbage, uncaring, stupid, dumb, and many other words by my parents and siblings, even sometimes in front of other people. Growing up I experienced many traumatic things such as witnessing spousal and familial abuse of all kinds daily, living in constant fear, facing bullying at school, almost being kidnapped and having no one to tell, and having been kissed and inappropriately touched by male extended family members and having to stay silent.

At a young age, I had to raise my siblings (even young babies) for long periods of time, such as making them food and watching them and caring for them every single day for most of the day for months on end sometimes, because they were too busy fighting loudly upstairs (I would turn the TV on to drown out the noise and would sit on the couch and do dua for it all to stop).

If I was not around the kids wouldn’t have got to eat all day except for chips and sometimes dinner when my parents would come down at the end of the day and would not speak to each other, causing my siblings and I to be very scared.

They ask me to do things for them that a personal maid or servant would do such as wake up early to prepare breakfast for everyone, despite me having to stay up late to finish my schoolwork since I don't get enough time during the day (which also upsets them because they say I am too slow and dumb and get very angry at me, telling me I will go to hell constantly).

I am 20 years old now, and still get beaten, as I have the entirety of my life. I have been beaten since I was a child, for the smallest reasons, often with a wooden stick which our father makes us bring to him so he can hit with it, and whoever fails to bring it also gets beaten.

Some reasons have been such mundane things such as when I was a child I accidentally walked in an aisle at the supermarket where some stranger had sneezed and I had no idea and the next second I knew my father was hitting me in public and telling me to stop crying. Or playing in the playground of my school while waiting for my father to pick me up (he regularly took between 30 mins to 2 hours to come pick me up, and would leave me to stand alone in the schoolyard while my teachers and classmates left and I was the only person left alone on the school grounds). I would have no advance notice of this either because I did not have a phone and especially in the winters it would be a very cold, long, and lonely wait (I would not even have any friends to wait with because I used to get bullied at school and so I would stand against the fence and cry alone everyday).

Verbal abuse, heart break, calling namesOnly recently I got a phone because my grandmother told him to give me one in case I was ever in an emergency because I was almost an adult. However, even now that I have a phone I am rarely allowed to use it and often get it taken away as punishment for things that do not deserve punishment like taking too long to do my homework (schoolwork stresses me out a lot now because when I was younger I would get beaten for getting a bad report card and now I maintain high grades but still get verbally abused for not being perfect).

I am not allowed to leave my house for any reason other than doing groceries/shopping with my family, or going to school (which now I don't even get to do because my school is online now). I must beg them to even stay after school for school related work, such as group projects because they have no trust in me, even though I have never broken their trust as they say I have.

The reason they don't trust me they say is because of the few times I have tried talking to a friend or extended family member about how I feel about my situation, only for them to find out and get very angry at me and make me believe I have betrayed them, committed great sins, and will go to hell. I only resorted to seeking help from others because I have tried to talk to my parents countless times and tell them how I feel but they always ignore it or tell me that I will go to hell for having these thoughts and must stop it, but they don’t ever try to help me and often take out even more anger on me, which only makes me further trapped and confused. I pray daily and constantly ask Allah for help, but I fear I can no longer take much more of this pain.

To be clear, my parents used to be much more physically abusive when I was younger, but now use emotional abuse more than physical abuse (and now use physical abuse more rarely, but regularly threaten it in hopes to keep me obedient by fear). They treat my siblings much differently than me and seem to take everything out on only me, in front of all my siblings, because I am the oldest.

As a result of this, and also because my parents have convinced my siblings I am a nasty human being, everyone in my family collectively puts me down. My little siblings disrespect me daily by hitting me, not listening to me or helping me, and even spitting on me and calling me names that my parents call me. One time my parents even kicked me out of the house because they said I was not being a good daughter, and so my father and siblings (my father made them) hit me and called me names for hours then made me sit outside at night in the snow for a very long time, telling me to get off the property and return home after a month so I would learn my lesson and become more grateful. Much later that night, my mother came to get me from outside where I was crying and cold and then my father yelled at me even more and I begged on my knees for forgiveness, and spent the next few weeks very traumatized, and scared, doing everything anyone told me to do.

I have basically lived my entire life serving them. I have done anything and everything they have asked of me that I am able to do, to the best of my ability with whatever energy I still have left because I truly love them and wish to see them happy. All I want is for them to be proud of me, and happy with me. I wish to go to a local Mosque and speak to people that could help me, but I have no means to go there as I am unable to leave my house. I have very little friends to turn to and talk to and even less people that can help me (I don't even have any family that lives in my country). My parents believe no matter what the case is, it should remain within the immediate family (I understand that in Islam it is wrong to talk about family matters outside the home and it is wrong to talk ill of people but I am really being abused and I have no options left).

All of this has taken an incredible toll on me and I now have many physical illnesses that have me vomiting very often and have made me incredibly physically weak, as I feel dizzy and faint of stress, fear and exhaustion, and often get incredible pain throughout my body (including severe stomach aches and headaches).

Although I have a little less housework to do now, they make me feel very selfish, lazy, and heartless for taking care of myself by telling me that I do not care about my family, and that I do not respect them. After asking for months to take me to a doctor for my extreme pain, I convinced them, but it was mostly because another family member heard about it and made them feel like bad parents for not helping me sooner.

I know it must sound like there cannot be a situation like this, but I am being fully truthful. I now still stay in the same position with no escape. It is constant stress and pressure to be perfect for them, trying to do everything they ask for, and even things that they don't ask for but expect, with almost no help, love, and support. I do everything I can every single day, as well as now doing my fathers work for him with little to no notice which often takes hours and is very stressful because he gets angry very quickly. He instead relaxes and naps or watches television, while I have to do hours of work for him, in addition to being in a very competitive science program in university (which my parents forced me to do, I tried convincing them to let me study something else but they did not agree), and taking care of the house, even though the rest of my family is healthy and has enough time to help, but choose not to.

I have even asked them to let me drop out of school so that I can help around the house more without making them angry (they said I am not allowed to leave school until they say, even though they don't give me time to study properly which furthers my confusion), despite my dream which is to finish school and marry a good Muslim man that I love, that will help me get better physically and mentally. However, they also lead me to believe I will not get a choice in who I marry either, and after university will spend the rest of my days as a housewife in an arranged marriage back home.

I have nowhere else left to go or no one else I can ask these questions to. This has all taken an incredible toll on my mental health as well, leaving me with depression, and extreme anxiety whenever I am around them (which I have figured out by doing research on the internet as I am unable to talk to a real professional and seek real treatment) and I am more and more often having suicidal thoughts that I cannot seem to control. I know that I will never do that to myself as I know it is haram, but I also never believed I would think like this, and I am terrified. I feel like I cannot do this anymore and do not have any chance at a life I will be happy with, despite remaining a good Muslim.

If I could at least get some freedom in this house, such as being able to talk to friends, or go outside on occasion and calm myself down, I would be more suited to cope with this, but instead I am locked inside like a prison almost, with the only moments I am not getting hurt by them being times where I am doing housework.

To be clear, I want to say that my parents are not 100% bad people. They give a lot of charity and also recite and pray 5 times a day, and teach us a lot about Islam. This is why it is so confusing to me to always face their anger which is against everything that they believe in and teach us. I know they must face a lot of stress but I do know that it is nothing compared to what I go through everyday.

I have tried talking to them in good moods and bad moods and no matter what they always justify hurting me by saying they are trying to make me into a better person, but I know now after doing lots of research that what is happening to me is not normal, and I just want it to stop so badly. I just want Allah to guide them, but I have tried everything in my power to make them see what they are doing is wrong.

Because I have tried so many times to talk to them (I even told my mother about my suicidal thoughts in a plea for help but it has been months and she has not tried to help me or changed at all), I am too scared to talk to them anymore about these things, as it always has the opposite effect (them hurting me, as well as them not listening that they should stop hurting me although it is sin to do so).

All I wish is to be healthy and happy for the first time in my life, and having been trying to achieve this with my parents for the last 20 years, but I am now noticing that I do not think there is a way to ever change them, and it is very likely that staying here could lead to my death. My illnesses have not gotten much better as they chose to react to it so late, and I was also not allowed to tell the doctor all of my symptoms, as my family would hurt me for that as well. I do not know how much more of this I can take, and absolutely anything would help me. Please if anyone reading this can offer some advice on what next steps I should take I would be very very thankful. May Allah bless you.


- galwaygirl123

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7 Responses »

  1. SubhanAllah, these are not parents but oppressors. As soon as you can please move out.

    And please, don't go into marriage with the mentally of someone else fixing you, no one is responsible for making you happy. First try your best to connect with Allah SWT, He should be your source of happiness not another human being with all their flaws. Sister please make lots of dua for Allah to get you out of this oppressive environment.

    I think it would help for you to speak with someone as well, like a counselor. Since you live in the west, I'm sure there are lots of free resources available.

    I ask Allah to make things easy for you. Ameen.

  2. Walaikumasalaam dear.
    I hear you and I feel your pain. Believe me I've been through something of the same. It does leave a permanent scar on your soul, the pain of which never goes away completely. I know the feelings of hopelessness and heart break when the people who are supposed to be closest to your heart, your go-to people in the world, end up tearing u into shreds every day. I am you a decade later and I wish I had a simple answer, but there isn't one. What I have learned though is that no one is going to rescue you, except Allah swt. Put your trust in Him, don't give up..He loves you, He sees your pain, and only He will carry you through. Whoever has hurt you will pay, if not in this world then in the next. You are an amanah to your parents and they will be questioned and taken into account for everything.
    For the sake of your mental health, get out of the house. Try to enroll yourself into university...or a course somewhere abroad. Only when you move out of the house and away from your family will your physical symptoms go away. You will find that there are good, sane people out there in the world. Try to become financially independent, as such parents will not bother to search for a compatible spouse. I know mine forced me into an arranged marriage and I'm stuck for the past five years. Be strong enough to say NO, do not let anyone take advantage of you. Your parents will try all ways to manipulate you to get things done their way. Maybe they do it because they don't know any better; maybe they were raised in a similar way; maybe they are extremely unhappy individuals themselves and take it out on the kids. Whatever the reason, you don't owe them happiness, they are responsible for their happiness and you for yours. Yes Islam teaches us to be kind, patient and grateful to our parents, but it also teaches us to take care of ourselves. And if you cannot get to a counsellor, try to talk with sane elders in your family. Talk to them about your feelings. Get it out of your system.
    And last but not least, keep praying and asking Allah in sujood for good company. May we all heal, be blessed with sakinah in our lives, and become a source of strength and inspiration for others. Ameen

  3. Salam,

    Here is what you should do:

    1. You should seek outside help such as an imam, family, friend or social worker to get the emotional and mental support you need. Get in touch with local Muslim charities or even any domestic violence charities that could help you.

    2. In terms of the physical abuse, if it getting too far, you should call the authorities as you life would be at risk.

    3. You need to distance yourself from your parents & family and take yourself out of that environment. If you want to start a family, do you really want your future husband and children to be close with an abusive family.

    4. Become financially independent by having your own income so they can't force you to get married in the future.

    Don't worry, get yourself out of that environment and seek outside help. Don't let your parents brainwash you into thinking that your disgracing the family. You deserve to be happy and to live a happy life.

  4. Dear Sister,

    Islam gives you FULL authority to DEFEND your being your soul your RELIGION. NO ONE has power over what Allah has decreed. Not even your parents. You are 20 years old right now if this goes on you will end up with a miserable loser of your parents choice and you yourself will be the most miserable. Do something before its too late. You should pursue education, get a job and move away from your family. Its doesn't have to be forever but until you can recuperate mentally and physically. You live in a country that gives you freedom to do that. Why don't you? Do it right now. I have seen cases where it goes on and on and on for 30 years and people get stuck. Parents are not Allah. Allah has given your rights. Defend yourself, protect yourself and LIVE for yourself too! Who will care for you if not you?

    Take the following steps:

    1) Start planning to move out safely ( university residence is safest for now).
    2) Take immediate and long term steps for independence.
    3) Invest in yourself time + money.
    4) Serious planning for the future.

    No one can tell you what's best for you. Only you know that. But you should start to make substantial moves before you get stuck in a hopeless marriage like your parents house.

    O Allah there is nothing difficult that you make easy please make this difficulty easy for us. May Allah make it easy for you.

  5. Asalamualaykum Galway Girl,

    Your story is heartbreaking. I am so sorry for the incredible pain you are suffering. You have literally been imprisoned, enslaved, scapegoated, isolated, parentified, and abused by people that are supposed to be the most trustworthy figures in your life. It is unimaginable, yet 100% believable by anyone who has lived it themselves, or has any degree of empathy. You do not need to worry about that or defend know the truth, and Allah knows your truth fully.

    You have talked a lot about your experience, and I would like to you cry to Allah in your prayers? I am not asking you this to pressure you in any way or make you feel like you are not already doing the best you can. Only that in your situation, that is of utmost importance and will be your saving. You will feel such incredible relief to pour your heart out to the one who loves us more than a mother even ever could. Nothing and no one could replace healthy, supportive parents... except for Allah...the one who created you and gave you rights. And you do have rights!

    One thing I am so impressed by in reading your story is that during none of this have you lost your sense of reality, or your sense of self-esteem. You know full well what you have experienced, and you are aware that it is unjust to the extreme. Many in your situation might be brainwashed by such authoritative figures, but you clearly have a connection with Allah, as He has in fact been helping you preserve your sense of self and individuation despite what is going on in your environment. That is so valuable sister. So please do not feel like your prayers are in vain, or that they are not heard. Do not lose hope and be despondent! Allah is waiting for the perfect time to give you relief and comfort...and for all your worries to fade away....please have faith in that!

    I want to address a few statements you made.

    First off, you said somewhere that you want your parents' approval and want them to be proud of you. It's unfortunate that they are not, but you will have to let go of any expectations of them in this regard. They are far removed from the fold of Islam in their behavior, and spending your energy trying to get in their good graces is futile and unfair to you. You deserve to use your energy towards things that make you happy, regardless of what they think of you. I know that we have this thing inside of us that tells us to make our parents proud, but that doesn't apply to situations like yours. It applies when parents have actually been parents!

    Secondly, you said that your parents would be mad at you if you shared details of what happens to you outside the family. However, therapists are mandated to keep details of what you share with them private. You did not share what country you are in, but in the U.S. it is called the HIPAA act. They cannot tell your parents what you share with them. it is illegal. You absolutely need to find a way to get yourself into therapy. You are having major psychosomatic symptoms of complex PTSD. That is when you are traumatized and your mental lack of well being starts to seep into the rest of your body, causing physical ailments.

    How do you respond when your parents physically or mentally torture you? You are 20, and need to start learning some boundary setting. Next time they physically abuse you, you need to call the police. You need to love yourself first and foremost, and imagine that you are a vessel that requires 100% of your attention and care. You need to have a "no tolerance" policy on abuse. After calling the police on them, your parents will think twice about hitting you again. But they will not change overnight, so they will start mentally and emotionally abusing you more. At that point, you will have to start calling the police even when the attack is verbal. Allah has given NO ONE the right to call you names such as "dumb," "inadequate," "stupid," etc.

    Also, do not be fooled by the fact that your parents are reading prayers. If they are sticking to their prayers, that's a good start, but they are in fact being hypocrites to recite the praise of Allah one moment and go beat you with a stick the next. No where in the Quran does it say that parents have a right to beat or otherwise hurt their children. Respect goes both ways.

    I want to make a suggestion. Next time your parents oppress you in any way (emotional abuse is worse than physical abuse...remember that) use the energy and anger that arises in you to start planning for your future away from them. Do you have a laptop? Do you have any ideas on where you want to be in ten years? Start brainstorming how you will get there, and create a rough, long-term plan for yourself. There is no need to be unrealistic or hold yourself to an impossible standard. Give yourself 5 years, for example, and plan how you could move out in 5 years. Type out this plan and save it on your computer to access at any time you need a reminder. Do the same by creating a budget for yourself. If you were living alone, what would your expenses be, at a minimum? Food? Rent? Hobbies? Then, what would your expenses be if you were living the life of your dreams and doing all that you love? Save the budget on your computer as well. The simple act of doing this and creating these plans, will help you put the focus back on YOU, and away from trying to get your parents to change.

    Some people say that abusive parents like this never change. That is often the case. I don't want to give you false hope. But sometimes, we teach people how to treat us, and we can make some headway even with toxic people. They taught you to be a parent to your younger siblings so they didn't have to do the work? use those practiced skills of yours to teach your parents how to treat you, and give them consequences such a calling the police, going to your room every time they disrespect you, or ignoring them. This is one time where the silent treatment is okay. If what you are feeling in response to one of their unfair demands is too complicated for you to even express because it's built up over years, then say nothing. They will have to learn that if they want you to respect them as parents, they have to respect you first. After all, it was not your choice to be born...they were the ones who should have set the proper example, which they did not.

    You can do this. Remember, Allah helps those who help themselves. We need to do what it is in our power to do, and trust Allah to take it from there. Allah so badly wants goodness for you!! You only have to take a few baby steps in the right direction, and you will begin to see results. And please do not get me wrong...I am not victim-blaming here. Only trying to give you some tools to survive an unnatural and toxic environment while you are still there, as it sounds like you do not have a ton of options for leaving at this time. However, if an avenue for you to leave opens up sooner rather than later, absolutely take it! Until then, are a Muslimah. Allah has honored you as a Muslim, and as a female. You are to be treated with the utmost respect, both by yourself and by others. You should demand that for yourself.

    You will be just fine honey. Keep praying, cry out to your Allah, give Him your problems and worries. Tell Him you cannot handle this on your own, and that you want Him to take over in your life. And if you are already doing this? Keep doing it! Perhaps this has been a test of patience for you, after which you will be rewarded to your satisfaction...a satisfaction and contentment that you can't even fathom right now.



  6. Also, just to give you some perspective and a "sample" timeline for healing, just as 123456 above says that she is "you, a decade later," I am also you, but two decades later. You are certainly not alone, and It was startling to me how much your story resembled mine. Hopefully, from this context of 123456 and I having "been there," you derive some hope and something to look forward to. May Allah heal your every wound and give you true peace and contentment in this life, and true joy in Jannah, Ameen.

  7. I hope you are well. I am writing a post here today because I feel hopeless, lost, and out of options.

    Can you describe in 5 lines why you feel like that? Using fear during young age a powerful elephant or tiger can be trained to fear a man with a stick.

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