Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Emotionally abusive mom

Emotional blackmail.

Emotional blackmail.



I am going through some emotional turmoil and I would appreciate responses about how I should cope with it.

I am 27 years old. Allah has blessed me with education (up to masters level) and with a good job that pays handsomely.

The problem started when it came to marriage. I reside in a Middle Eastern country. I came to this country when I was four years old and I did not visit my native country for 23 years. I grew up here and I finished my education here.

It is natural for me that that I want to marry someone who also grew up in the same country. Also regarding marriage, I had simple expectations. My primary objective to get married is to lower my gaze and protect my eeman. As for what I am looking for in a prospective bride, I wanted someone who grew up in a similar environment, who is educated up to bachelor level, someone who I can communicate with, someone who has basic Islamic knowledge of Islam and maintains hijab and niqaab.

I found such a girl in my locality. She is three years younger than me. Her father proposed to us formally and her father is also very fond of me. However, my mom had rejected this proposal saying that the girl was not very skilled in cooking and she is little overweight.

I was very hurt but I had accepted my mom’s decision. Now, two and half years passed since her initial rejection of this proposal. During this time, she searched a lot back home and she was unable to find a suitable bride. Recently she was in a four months visit back home to find a bride for me, and right before she came back after her fruitless search, she called the father of the girl I wanted to marry and proposed to her. Her father happily agreed.

I was happy thinking my mom’s heart had changed. However, after she came back, she started behaving very hostile towards me and she has said many hurtful things to me. Examples of her sayings include:

-“I had the dream of finding the most suitable and beautiful bride for you, but you have destroyed all my dreams because you cannot wait anymore for marriage.” According to her, if I was really grateful for all she had done and sacrificed for me, I should have said, “Mom, do your bride searching without any pressure, be it takes two years or three years.” I have reminded her of the hadith that the Messenger of Allah (S) commanded young men to marry, and I am capable financially (worked four years and have a good saving), but my mom responded, “Not everyone commits sin. What about those who are unable financially? Will they also commit sin? Actually it is not sin; it is that I never knew you had the mentality of a third class people like a truck driver.”

-She cries from time to time and she gives me silent treatment like she does not talk with me. This is the hardest for me. When I try to speak with her, she says, “No need to talk to me. I am training for my lonely life. I am training how I will live in the grave.” When she responds, she only responds in yes or no and I get lost about how to carry on a conversation with her.

-She says, “What have I got from life? I have given birth to sons only to donate it to others. How beautiful that your father in law is now going to have another son! I did not get anything from life except that people would not be able to call me infertile women. And I cannot get a son because who will donate me a son now that I do not have a daughter? Had I known all these, maybe I would have not got married.”

-I used to give her a pocket money, but now she refuses to take any money from me. She says that I should save money to take care of my father and mother in law.

-Referring to my bride who is little overweight, she says, “Whenever I see a fat girl, I want to vomit.”

-She refuses to recognize that it hurts me when I see her unhappy. She says, “You all care for me, it is me who cares for no one.”

My mother has above average knowledge of Islam. She is very practicing. Like she always maintained strict hijab and niqaab, never misses tahajjud in the last third of night, fasts Mondays and Thursdays, reads four to five juz of Quran every day and do many other voluntary acts of worship consistently without failing. However she is also very cultural and I think she has borderline personality disorder. My mom and my dad never had good relationship and they have not been talking at all for NINE years now. However, they will not separate. Also, because of this bad relationship, I was like a surrogate husband for my mom.

People may feel that my mom never wanted me to get married because I am her surrogate husband, but that is not the case I think. Her problem is that I have failed to wait anymore and that I did not give her the freedom of two more years of stress free deadline free time to find a spouse for me. She is very religious and practicing, but the moment someone disagrees with her viewpoint, she will be vehemently against you. Even if it is about a fatwa where valid difference of opinion exists, if you disagree with her, you will become her enemy. She is always right, her decision is the best, whether it is worldly matter or religious matter.

I personally think I have tried my best to be an obedient son. I have agreed with her as much as I can, sometimes just to please her. However, whenever slightest disagreement happened, she chided me. Also another hurtful thing she does is she compares me with other sons and tells me how inferior I am. For example, she compares me with a cousin of mine, who even did not graduate from high school, and now works as a security guard, who was not blessed with the knowledge of Islam, and she still finds that cousin better than me because she feels his communication skill (according to my mom) is way better than that of mine.

Because of my mom’s behavior, my younger brother COMPLETELY ABANDONED MY MOM AND COMPLETELY STOPPED COMMUNICATING with her. He had found the girl of his life (falling in love in non-Islamic way), and my mom tried her best to prevent this marriage, but my younger brother went ahead. Still to this date, almost a year after marriage, my younger brother and his wife never talked with my mother.

My problem is I get stressed al lot. I get stressed when I am at work. I get stressed while I am praying. I cannot concentrate. I get semi panic attacks. I cannot abandon my mom like my younger brother, but I also do not know what to do either. Only Allah knows how much her behavior and sayings hurt me. My marriage date is approaching and I have decided to live separate from my mom, I am really worried how I free myself from this guilt feeling and getting stressed and have a normal relationship with my wife.

And what is also deeply hurting me is how my mom is making an issue of marriage, which is supposed to be a simple thing in Islam. I am feeling very sad that the day I will get married, a day which is supposed to be full of happiness and joy about the fact that two people are starting new lives to realize their dreams, my mom will remain angry with me thinking how useless I have been as a son and have made her life to nothing. She will never be able to get over this overweight issue, and she will never understand that this life is very short before our bodies are destroyed in the grave. She will always be critical of culinary skills, although our Prophet (S) said that a few bites are more than enough to stand straight.

Any advice about how I should get over getting stressed, being anxious all the time? Have I failed my mom by this marriage? Should I feel guilty because of mom’s sacrifices all the time? Also how I should converse with my mom when she keeps crying or give me silent treatment or only responds in yes or no or insults my back when I try to talk? How to overcome this whole awkwardness that is there now between me and my mom? What will I do if my never visits my house after marriage?

Thank you for reading and may Allah reward you.


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8 Responses »

  1. Assalam alaikum,

    I am very sorry for how your mother has abused her power over you. May Allah swt give you patience to love her unconditionally and respect her all the time. May Allah swt soften your mother's heart.

    There is no point in speaking about your brother or other family members as they have their own ways of dealing with this situation; however, I believe you can make things better for yourself.

    First of all, you are not alone. There are other mothers like this who compare their children to others and are verbally and emotionally abusive. You are not alone and your feelings are 100% valid.

    You need to understand what your responsibility is and fixate on that and not going above and beyond it if it breaks you down. You should take care of your mother financially, she may refuse, but then leave the money in front of her still, Don't speak a word. She may ignore you, still, say Salam, speak to her, smile to her. Your behaviour is what you will be judged on, not how she reacts.

    It isn't normal for your parents to not speak for 9 years. This should tell you that you are living a dysfunctional family and silent treatment is a form of abuse, a form of manipulation. I am not sure if your mother has bpd, because being cultural is really enough. The things you have mentioned are actually very common in the East Indian Cultural--many mothers manipulate their sons in order to instigate power and control over their daughter-in-law---even the ones that THEY CHOOSE for their sons--so stop feeling guilty for marrying a girl of your choice. Your mother will probably treat your wife, whether it is your choice or hers, the same way.

    I don't think you can change your mother. Make du'a. What you can change is how you react. If you acknowledge that this isn't normal and that you have a right to marriage and making your own choice, and to happiness, you will be able to better deal with your mother. Your brother understood this, but he took it to another extreme. Your mother is probably afraid that you will leave her as well--so instead of using love to keep you near, she is using fear tactics, as this is all she knows.

    For the stress in all this, make lots of du'a and don't let your mind delve into "what ifs", instead fill your mind with dhikr and remembrance of Allah swt. Focus on doing what is right, not having the conditions that you want. What does your father say in all this?

    1. Don't try to change your mother.
    2. Love your mother the way she is.
    3. Treat your mother in the best way, regardless of her reaction.
    4. Do not feel guilty for seeking happiness within the guidelines of Islam.
    5. Trust in Allah swt and know that this is a test from Him. You can only do your best.

    May Allah swt make your married life a blessing and improve your relationship with your mother, Ameen.

  2. Your mother is manipulative. The family is dysfunctional. I have family members like this. Your mother will never change -- it will never happen, I speak from experience. She is not rational so you can't reason with her.

    Marry a good girl. Who cares if she's a bit overweight? Protect her from your mother. Speak kind words to your mother and take care of her when she needs to be cared for. Don't be sad about your life choices --they sound very reasonable.

  3. Walekumasalam. May Allah ease your worries and put mercy , peace and kindness in your relationship. I have a question to all those who replied:. What if a mother is sweet to everyone else but not own children ( in terms of talking/speech) what does that show? Is that manipulative or justifiable based on her personality disorder? How should one deal with this? That is she loves the child but chooses to verbally/emotionally abuse..what should one do?

  4. Assalamwalaikum brother,
    As I was reading your story, I felt like I was reading my own story. You're definitely not alone in this kind of a matter. I've made a separate post which hasn't been posted yet, and I was looking around to see if anyone else were having the same issue and what advise our Muslim brothers and sisters may have given. To be honest, I don't know what advise to give because I feel that I should be able to apply any of my advise to you for my life as well. So I just wanted to share some feelings if that helps in any way.

    I can't help but feel that our mothers have done us wrong in some ways, but I still feel compelled to make dua for our parents, and ask Allah to forgive our parents sins and guide them and us on the right path, ameen!

    Much like yourself, I too have silently borne the spiteful words of my mother. When a mother utters words like "What sins have I done to bear a child like you"... it truly has to power to crush a child's heart and break the bond between a mother and son before Judgment Day comes. I do forgive my mother, but even still I'm now left with a deep emotional scar and once again in life have no one to turn to except Allah ...I try to think that this is Allah's way of taking me away from things I attach myself to and to bring me closer to Him, and I know that what Allah tests us with won't ever be easy.

    Our parents are humans too, and part of our human nature is to make mistakes. Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, sometimes we ignore our mistakes, and sometimes we are adamant that its really not our mistake. When a mother makes a demand of her son to marry someone she expects, personally, to me it feels like I'm being forced to marry someone I do not want to, especially when I have a choice which is within Allah's guideline. And so I'm inclined to think that parents are mistaken to keep an expectation for their children to marry someone they have considered and nobody else.

    Unless there is a good and valid Islamic reason to reject a proposal, any justification or rational argument that anyone can come up with seems meaningless and debatable. And if a person's response is merely emotional due to cultural reasons, then I think that we've really gone astray because those kinds of emotional responses could easily extend into other matters of life. Just imagine, if you were born in a non-Muslim family and you told your mother that you became a Muslim... and she had the same emotional response because "that's not how its done culturally", then should you just accept being a non-Muslim or accept your new found imaan in Allah? ...but maybe this is an extreme example, Allahu'Alam!

    I chose to suffer in loneliness for my mother's well being which is causing me to be emotionally distant from my mother and father now which is good in many ways, Alhamdulillah! I still provide and care for them, but just don't feel bonded to them as much now. As for me, I don't know how long it would take me to heal my pain nor do I know if I'd ever be able to complete half my deen anytime sooner or later. Anyhow, for you... on the bright side of things, you're getting married and starting a new chapter in life which you should be grateful for and you don't have to feel guilty about carrying out a Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It will be a struggle, but you have to make sure that the negativity and dysfunction between you and your parents does not carry forward into your new life whilst still maintaining good relations with both your mother and father.

    I came across this really well written article which helped me realize some things about culture and how that plays with our psychology.

    Hope I've been of some help. 🙂

  5. Reading this and wonder that its been almost a year do you feel now ?.. Any change.
    You wont believe when you will hear my story.
    My mother manipulation behaviour destroyed life of us..we are seven sis and bros...all of them are depressed.anxieted.pyscho patients now.
    This infiltrated so much hate into my heart towards my mother. But iam still living with her. Iam 38 year old.i urge to do good with her. But my hate does not allow me to do so.
    I make lots of dua
    Dua dua dua and dua.
    Bearing in mind that this is a very finest test allah can give me.
    May allah ease your pain and hope you are doing good in your life now.

    • Brother hope everything gets better for you.... I'm speaking from a daughter in laws point of you... How I found this thread is I'm dealing with similar situation.... I was picked by my parents in law along with my husband... Even then after few years things changed to worse and no matter what I did I felt degraded and even hated but you know what I've learnt focus on what you need to do and don't get upset if you don't get your required response.... Our rewards,acceptance and blessings from Allah are based on our actions not the response of other people.... Keep doing what you think is the right thing to do infront of Allah... Ignore ppl judging you and ignore what anyone says that is negative.... I'm telling you this from experience when someone is negative towards you being positive in return will wash away your anxiety and depression and with time ppl will remember you as kind and a good person in their hearts which actually matters not what they say from their mouths.... May Allah bless us all Ameen

      • AoA.i'm 19 yrs old n i want to ask what islam says if both of ur parents emotionally abuse u try to hurt u physically also n favor ur siblings over u,my father always has been so much abusive towards evrybody of us both physically emotionally and verbally. N my mother she always favors my elder siblings,she shouts at me for even at slightest things n i 'm not saying i a good daughter two but as compared to my brother and sister i care for her more than them n i try to do things that would plz her n she would start loving me but no use she has never attended to any of my emotional needs n in childhood she also used to hit n yell at me,she still tries to hit me even now but now i defend myself,since childhood she has been mocking at me at everything makes fun of me never appreciated me, n once she said indirectly that she never wanted me she wanted to ve a son,and use curse words for me n when i try to argue back or when even i don't she always uses islam as a shield to protect herself by telling me about how islam teaches us to honor our parents at timea i ve tried telling her islam also says to be fair with ur kids but she never listens n says u r just making up things i treat u all same n in a good way.hardly she is nice to me n for sometime only,sometimes i don't feel like blaming her cuz bcuz how my father all life has abused her n us,but what is my fault in it,cuz of all this i ve really no self esteem plus no frnds n i m lonely as hell,...i can't take any of this anymore,i just want to knw what islam says about such parents n if islam tells me to still respect them than isn't it unfair,n may be i can respect them infront of them but not from my heart, times i bcuz in how much abusive enviroment i live i wanted to run away frm home but i ve no plus no where to go n i 'm dependent n in this i don't wanna say but shitty country like pakistan i can't take any such step

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