Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I am living the life of a prisoner with my husband

Controlling husband



I was raised in a very open environment where everyone takes their own decisions and do whatever they think is right for them and are freely allowed to take/make decisions about life. I was always afraid of marrying and potentially losing this freedom after marriage. Especially because in Pakistani society, the male is always dominant.

I was in university when a proposal came and I refused respectfully. But he insisted a lot and his parents did too. Then his parents finally back off but he still showed all the efforts.

I clearly told him that we can't marry because I want to focus on my growth and career, and I can't live with someone controlling me. I told him that I really love studying and I enjoy my independence. He promised that he would support me and that he would never come in between me and my career no matter what.

We got married and things changed. Bit by bit. We argued a lot because as I said, we have different mindsets. But as he promised to support me always, he was always apologizing. But he was also verbally abusing me. We always had a tough time. We started avoiding each other and decided to separate after the birth of our child.

Two years passed and Allah blessed us with a baby girl. The day she was born we were happy, but after that, he was a changed man.  He said that I am not allowed at his house until I leave my job, obey him, and leave my friends and studies. I was not allowed to ask questions but only to work at home and be a completely housewife!

I was shocked as I married this man because he said he would be on my side, and now he is doing the exact opposite just because we have a daughter and he knows I can't let her suffer.

I am living a life of a prisoner with him, opposite to what I was before.

Should I leave him ? Or do I continue living with him and have Sabr ?


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2 Responses »

  1. Seems like your husband is narcissistic. Read about this disorder and if so tackle accordingly. Feel free to email me.

  2. Asalamualaykum Kainat,

    I'm sorry you are feeling suffocated in this marriage. It is indeed a shame that he changed immediately after he felt you were "stuck" with him. That is the pattern of many controlling and abusive people. Inshallah we can work on this.

    How you approach this depends on what you are up for. If he has extreme insecurity or perhaps even a personality disorder as Shela suggests above, this will be a lifelong challenge.

    This topic is very involved. First off, if you were attracted to your husband when you met him, then you were seeking to mend your own childhood wounds. Read up on the Imago theory in psychology. We tend to be attracted to people who display qualities that are familiar to us and that we are trying to heal through a new relationship. This being so, leaving your husband will not necessarily fix the problem, because you may very well again find yourself attracted to BOTH the GOOD qualities AND the BAD qualities of a new, similar person, unconsciously looking to "fix" that childhood wound.

    So I would suggest that if you feel this might be you, you try the following:

    1. Stand up for yourself at all costs. Don't let him walk all over you. Remember that Allah has given us ALL various gifts and skills to help us survive. Argue logically with him with the intelligence Allah has blessed you with until he is literally scared to get in another argument with you because he knows he will "lose!"

    2. When expressing yourself to him, talk with him firmly but NOT emotionally or loudly. If you feel anger and frustration with his actions, instead of trying to "fix" him every time it happens by teaching him like a child or arguing with him, try to let yourself SIT with these uncomfortable feelings. When you get used to this, you will learn that feelings cannot kill you! And when you learn that, you gain a lot of power in the relationship, because you won't REACT every time he abuses you. Over time, he will get bored with picking on you, as you are no fun!

    3. FEAR ONLY ALLAH. If you husband threatens you with blackmail or control tactics, making you feel like you are in the prison you describe, GO AGAINST THE GRAIN. What do I mean by this? It will initially feel like you need to "people please" and give in to your husband's unreasonable demands and expectations. As hard as it is, don't give in, and do whatever your heart tells you to do. Don't fear your husband's anger. It is only a feeling and transient. Allah is everlasting and the only true security in this life. So go against the grain of your personality and FORCE yourself to do what you want to do, even if it means upsetting him or getting him angry or in a bad mood. This will be hard at first but you'll get used to it.

    4. If your emotional health is really suffering and you find yourself entirely incapacitated by this person, then you may need to leave and separate for some time, which will give him a chance to figure out what he was doing wrong and also realize that he misses you. After a period of separation, you could give him another chance.

    5. If all else fails, then you MUST look after yourself and leave the marriage. Pray to Allah to give you healing and comfort such that you are not attracted to this kind of person again, or so that if you are, he has LESS severe insecurity and is willing to work on himself.

    Take care of yourself sister. May Allah bring love and contentment into your marriage, reward you for the love you are willing to give your husband, and strengthen you for whatever the future holds regardless of what you decide.



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