Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My sister being mentally tortured by her husband

upset lonely woman

My sister got married when she was 20. My brother in law is also our first cousin. His mother and all of 3 sisters weren’t in favor of his marriage with her in the beginning. In the starting few years they tried every possible way of mentally torturing her but her husband always supported. Because of his mother’s and sisters’ behavior, he made her a kitchen on the floor where only my sister’s room was, so that she doesn’t have to face any trouble by them. Every 4 to 6 months when matters would get really serious he’d send her to our home away from them for few weeks.

Right now, 15 years after their wedding, his parents have passed away, two sisters married, and the eldest sister living with my sister and her two kids (of 10 and 7) has severe schizophrenia and is mentally disturbed. She has attacked my sister (to hit) two times and also her son once.

At the present time, my brother in law’s behavior has ended up to be the worst out of all his family without any reason but a possibility of having a mental problem like his sister.

Among us four siblings, my sister used to be the liveliest of all. Beloved of parents and grandparents alike. She as if now is on depression medication because of him. My brother in law says nothing to her and the kids but yell at them. He is in his office all day, comes at maghrib and starts yelling on tiniest possible matter.

I have lived with them and have seen his behavior. He taunts her all the time about the house and money he gives to her. Taunts about her (and my) parents. He doesn’t like her to visit parents, talk to them on phone and doesn’t like anyone from our side of the family to go his house. If out of the blue moon he gives them some time and spends on them like last year he took them to dubai, it is always followed by his worse treatment.

When they came back from dubai, he didn’t pay her pocket money the next month saying he spent on them already, even though he earns pretty well and spends on himself and even married sisters luxuriously. Inspite of the fact that my sister takes care of his mentally ill sister, feeds and cleans her where in return she is always called abusive things by his sister, his behavior is getting worse and worse day by day.

He hardly lets his wife to go anywhere, if she has to go, with his car and driver, so she is used to going places with other means like public transport. He never objects but very unmanly feels a relief that she went on her own without bothering her.

Recently, on eid ul fitr’s 2nd day she told him she wants to go see her relatives, and as usual he didn’t agree to take her so she went with public transport with kids. When she returned back home, he didn’t let her in and when she forced to go inside he called her abusive things, cursed and gave her 1 talaq.

They have made up afterwards for the sake of their children but he is still the same. She still has to beg for money from him although it’s his responsibility to take care of her necessities. Even for groceries for cooking he never gives her expenses. She is tolerating all this because my family’s financial situation is not well. My father Is retired and two brothers on junior jobs out of the country earning only our basic necessities. She doesn’t want to further increase our brothers burdens by separation from her husband.

But her situation and her husband’s bad behavior aren’t improving at all. Because of all the situation in the house even her kids are learning to be disobedient to their parents and forgetting good manners. I do not say my sister is a perfect wife but she is a good one. She takes care of him and his needs also the kids’ and the house, even of his sick sister. There aren’t as such any big flaws in her Alhamdulillah except for may be waking up late on the weekends and watching tv when he comes from office and he starts verbally abusing.

Please enlighten on the basis of Islamic view what could be done in this situation. jazakAllahu khair.


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3 Responses »

  1. I don't think your brother in law has mental issues. People with mental problems shows impairment in behavior to all social circumstances and mostly problems start at work places as that is most stress full places to handle.

    Now Q is why he developed change of heart towards your sister? . It appears he is well off, car with driver, Dubai visit, I'm guessing must have servants for home too.

    If his sister with schizophrenia is on medication then mostly their symptoms get well controlled regarding aggression and if she is not taking meds then she should be provided with medical attention as these people make other people suffer but they themselves are suffering too. Your sister will be rewarded by Allah if she is taking good care of her for sake of Allah . Humans mostly don't appreciate these good deeds.

    Your sisters kids are older and school going so she must have ample time alone at home . She try to avoid watching too much TV specially those programs that are close to her husbands arrival home. She can try to visit her family at that vacant time . Try to assess and avoid doing things that your BIL is signaling he does not like them.Don't take me wrong as I'm trying to eliminate triggers for your BIL outbursts.

    Your BIL used to be ideal person but has changed now. Something happens In between . Despite no pressure from his parents and sisters now, it appears he is not happy with your sister. Why? I don't know as I don't know them well and I'm looking only at half story ,but look back and correct your own flaws that might indirectly change his behavior .

  2. Assalaamualaikam

    It sounds like your sister is in a really unpleasant situation, and something needs to change here. I think the first thing she needs to decide is whether or not she wants to stay and try to make this work out, or whether she has tolerated enough and needs to leave to maintain her own and her children's wellbeing.

    No amount of money worries are worth sitting in an abusive relationship. Alhamdulillah she has a family who love her and would be willing to help her out, and as her children are at school she could potentially find employment during the school hours to help with the bills. Her husband would also be required to provide financial support for the children. I'm not saying that this is necessarily what she should do, but it's important to look at all the options available - if she chooses to leave, she can, and if she chooses to stay and work on things, she can... It's often more empowering for a person to be able to think "I've chosen to do this" rather than "I have to do this". Nobody should be forced to remain in an abusive relationship, and my understanding is that intolerable mistreatment would be valid grounds for requesting divorce.

    If she wants to try to resolve some of the problems they are having, it's important to have some acknowledgement from her husband that things aren't the way they should be - if he feels everything is fine and he isn't doing anything wrong, then he's unlikely to be motivated to make changes. It might be worth the two of them attending marriage counselling with a counsellor who is experienced in counselling based on Islamic values. This would give them a space to identify and discuss the problems they're having. If he isn't willing to do this, then I'd question his commitment to resolving their issues. As the status quo is making your sister ill, she might well be better taking some time away from the situation if this is the case. He might then change his mind, inshaAllah.

    It's important to make sure that your sister and her sister-in-law are both receiving appropriate support for their mental health. Help your sister to spend time doing things she enjoys, keep in touch with her, and encourage her to get involved in her local Muslim community - there are often sisters-only study groups or community centres, where she could inshaAllah meet other sisters and boost her self-esteem as well as her deen. If your sister's sister-in-law has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, she should be receiving treatment for this (usually medication) and should see a specialist doctor or nurse regularly. Depending on where you live, it may also be possible for her to have additional support in the community (such as day centres, home care visitors, befrienders, charitable groups, supported employment or skills training, community therapists...) - it's worth looking to see if any of these are available.

    Midnightmoon editor

  3. i think this is GHAR GHAR KI KHANI back home. Mans feel that it is their (Astagfurlaah) god given right to physically as well as mentally abuse their wife, and show their masculinity. Your sister married your brother in law, and not his entire family, so its not your sister responsibility to take care of his (Kumba). But i think he knows the position your family is in financially, that's why he is torturing her. Overall, i think after children, woman should become powerful and need to know how to play her cards right.

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