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How to Deal with Toxic Family Members from Islamic and Counseling Sources [Part II]

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In Part 1, we learned about the Islamic teachings of family relationships. In this article, we will learn about the characteristics of toxic family members and how to deal with such toxicity in our lives.

Part 2: Characteristics of Toxic Family Members

Having problems with family members does not necessarily mean they are toxic. Relationship problems are normal and can often be solved by honest communication and problem-solving. One question to ask yourself is, “Is this relationship harming me more than benefiting me?” If the relationship is more harmful, it may be toxic.

Two key characteristics of toxic family members is that they are:

1) Dishonest

2) Unwilling to accept any responsibility for their behaviors

Because of their unwillingness to take responsibility, it is difficult to repair relationships with them. Setting boundaries/limits is crucial. Part 3 of this article will discuss boundaries and other coping ideas in more detail.

Here are other common characteristics of toxic family members:

  1. Cause stress, anxiety, anger, confusion, exhaustion, and self-doubt in others.
  2. Can make you feel like you are going crazy or that you are the victim of a psychopath trying to manipulate and control you.
  3. Their behaviors are severely affecting your life and health.
  4. Unlikely to understand how other people feel, or to even care.
  5. Self-centered and emotionally dependent.
  6. Extremely negative and critical.
  7. Financially irresponsible.
  8. Feel entitled.
  9. Manipulative.
  10. Disrespectful.
  11. Emotionally abusive bullies.
  12. Adept at sensing your weaknesses and will use them against you.
  13. Passive aggressive (Passive aggression is “non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behavior.  Instead of openly expressing how they feel, someone makes subtle, annoying gestures directed at you.  Instead of saying what’s actually upsetting them, they find small and petty ways to take jabs at you until you pay attention and get upset” [See here for more.]
  14. Many become worse with age.

Toxic people act in these ways because it works to get their needs met. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t continue acting in these ways.

blog-imagePart 3: Ideas to Cope with Toxic Family Members

How to cope is complicated because every situation is unique. Here is a list of ideas. You should use your intuition and reason to choose the best course of action. Not all of these ideas will work for your particular situation.

  1. Live for Allah SWT.

…But is it not sufficient concerning your Lord that He is, over all things, a Witness? (Fussilat, 41:53)

Place your hopes in Allah SWT, and not in people. Allah SWT is All-Seeing and All-Hearing, and He will reward your for your patience and sincerity.

The Prophet Muhammad SAWS said: “The Muslim who mixes with the people and bears patiently their hurtful words, is better than one who does not mix with people and does not show patience under their abuse.” 1

If you focus on Allah SWT and on earning His pleasure, then you will try to be a good Muslim regardless of how other people act.

Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds.” (6:162)

The Prophet SAWSsaid, “Do not be of those who do to others as the others do to them, and say that we will do them a favor if they do us a favor, and if they will be mean and unjust to us then we, too, will be mean and unjust to them. On the contrary, resolve that you will do good if the others do good, and if they do a wrong and act unjustly, even then you will not be unfair to them.” 2

  1. Try to show toxic family members kindness and understanding, but also limit your contact with them to protect yourself from their toxic behaviors.

Many toxic family members are going through difficult times. They may be suffering from health and/or emotional problems. You can try to show them understanding to the best of your ability. If they request something from you, you can respect their requests (as long as they are reasonable and permissible in Islam).

  1. Take care of yourself and know your limits.

Our Prophet SAWS said, “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshiping in the mornings, the nights.” 3

Remember to not “overburden” yourself. Take care of yourself by making dua to Allah SWT, exercising, and expressing your feelings to a caring person. Many stress experts believe that the stress caused by other people is the most damaging of all stressors.

Take responsibility for your happiness by finding ways to cope and relax.

Also, do not take the toxic behavior of family members personally. They are the ones with a problem, not you.

  1. Find peace in truth and wisdom.

As quoted above, Allah SWT is truly the Witness of all things. When someone is behaving unjustly to you, find peace in the truth of the situation, knowing that Allah SWT is enough as a Witness.

  1. Sometimes it is best to be silent.

Our Prophet SAWS said, “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good, or keep silent.”

If you are not sure that what you are about to say to a toxic family member is “good”, then perhaps it’s best to keep silent. When a family member is angry or disrespectful, he/she is not in a state of mind to listen to reason anyway.

If you are feeling angry, you may say something that you regret.

Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (Al-’A’raf, 7:199).

And obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel for then you will be weak in hearts and your power will depart, and be patient; surely Allah is with the patient. (Al-Anfal, 8:46)

Our Prophet SAWS said, “It is sin enough for you not to cease quarreling.” 4

  1. Listen to your intuition and use your reason.

Use your intuition and reason to decide how to respond to a toxic family member. Many psychologists believe that intuition is simply your past knowledge and experience coming out in a fast message; this definition of intuition can also be called: wisdom. Islam teaches us to use our reason and to gain wisdom from our life experiences.

It is He Who has created you from dust then from a sperm-drop, then from a leech-like clot; then does he get you out (into the light) as a child: then lets you (grow and) reach your age of full strength; then lets you become old,- though of you there are some who die before;- and lets you reach a Term appointed; in order that ye may learn wisdom. (Ghafir, 40:67)

For example: Use your intuition to decide when is the best time to talk about an issue with a family member.

  1. Set and enforce boundaries and keep your distance.

Every healthy relationship has some boundaries. Boundaries are limits that you set with other people.

Examples: You can set boundaries about how often you will meet or talk to toxic family members. You can tell family members what kind of behaviors you will not accept from them. If a family member does not respect your boundaries, then you need to have some kind of consequence, such as leaving for some time.

  1. Seek support.

Surround yourself with positive people who care about you and support you. Use your support systems to help solve any problems you are having with toxic family members.

  1. Sometimes it’s best to speak directly to toxic family members.

Again, use your intuition/experience to decide when it’s best to speak more directly to a toxic family member about his/her behaviors. You can respectfully explain to them what they are doing that is disturbing you.

Examples: You can say, “I feel insulted when you say…” You can also ask them, “That’s interesting…Why would you say that?” You can explain to them that you will not tolerate dishonesty, manipulation, or rude behavior.

  1. Do not feel hatred towards toxic family members.

The Prophet SAWS advised a companion, “Son, if you are able, keep your heart from morning till night and from night till morning free from malice towards anyone…O my son! This is one of my laws, and he, who loves my laws verily, loves me.” 5

Hating family members for being toxic only brings more toxicity into your life.

  1. If their toxic behavior becomes physically abusive, it’s a legal matter that must be addressed.

Physical abuse is never tolerated in Islam. Consider the following hadiths:

“Those who abuse their slaves cannot enter Paradise.” 6
“An owner slapped his female slave in the face, and the Prophet ordered him to free her as compensation.” 7

A’ishah (the Prophet’s wife) said, “The Messenger of Allah never struck a servant of his with his hand, nor did he ever hit a woman.” 8

It was asked of the Prophet SAWS: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them. 9

Showing kindness to family members is highly rewarded, but at the same time, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can be kind, healthy people in the long-run. If your mental health is suffering from the effects of toxic family members, you should treat yourself with kindness and protect yourself from harm. Also remember that you are not alone and that many people suffer from toxic family relationships.

You will be a happier person if you can avoid toxic family members and set boundaries. Setting boundaries is not easy; it means saying “no” and limiting contact. Just because people are related to you does not give them the right to be hurtful and dishonest. Family members are supposed to love and support one another. May Allah protect us from toxic people and help everyone become better people. Ameen!

Please share your views and suggestions about this article in the comments section below. 🙂

  1.   Mishkat, Book: Ethics, ch. ‘Gentleness, modesty and good behavior’
  2.   Tirmithi
  3.   Bukhari
  4.   Tirmidthi
  5.   Bukhari and Tirmithi
  6.   Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad
  7.   Muslim
  8.   Ahmad, Ibn Majah
  9.   Abu Dawood

Comments

comments

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How to Deal with Toxic Family Members from Islamic and Counseling Sources [Part I]
If you liked the article, do leave a comment down below

121 Responses

  1. Pingback : How to Deal with Toxic Family Members from Islamic and Counseling Sources [Part I] - IOU Blog

  2. Iammaju@hotmail.com'
    Maxie

    It is great to read an article where the toxicity of family members is even accepted!
    I am the last born in a family of 6 and have always been told about respecting elders and forgiving them no matter what It never made sense to me As I could not accept that the position of your birth could absolve one of any responsibility of their actions
    As is wont to happen Elders abused their status and so I decided to keep away Which did mean no contact whatsoever
    Not because I was angry with them but because I needed to protect myself

  3. bushraa1997@gmail.com'
    Bushraa

    SubhaanAllaahi wa bihamdihee SubhaanAllaahil ‘Azeem!!! I was in dire need of such an important article! Allaah SwT has provided me through you dear sister. Jazaakillaahu khairan katheeran fiddaarain! BaarakAllaahu feeki ukhtee! ♡ ♥ ♡

      1. nabila_rahman88@hotmail.com'
        Nabila Rahman

        Subhanallah Sister. Thank you for the valuable article. In today’s world we still are facing domestic problems from toxic nembers. I tried to stay patient but this article showed me the total guidance. Thank u so much sister. May Allah bless you and also pray for me

  4. murtza_lamsah@hotmail.com'
    Murtaza Sharif

    Excellent compilation.Sounds little elaborate & scattered.A more copmpact & concise presentation would have been more eye catching & mind holding but may b d topic was large enuf \7 needed coverage on that larger scale.Jazakallah

  5. shaheen.siddique@hotmail.com'
    shaheen

    As salaam Alaikum,what to do if the most toxic family member is your husband?What if u cant even talk to him nd xplain your feelings to him coz hes not ready to listen?what if his behaviour is destroyin ur duniya also and Aakhirah also?

  6. xahi37@gmail.com'
    Hawwa

    Salaam,

    If any relation with spouse cause stress, anxiety, anger, confusion, exhaustion, and self-doubt. If He is Financially irresponsible. Disrespectful.
    Emotionally abusive bullies. If more damage is done mentally. Do we still continuing the relationship? Knowing it is destroying our duniya and also our Aakhirah.

    Pls give an opinion. Jazzakallah Khair

  7. Hardeyreal@yahoo.com'
    Hafsat

    Jazakhallahu khairan to the writer of this article. May Allahu SWT continue to use him/her to light other peoples candle. The write up is of immense help.

  8. Raqqiab@gmail.com'
    Raya pearl

    A fantastic article and it’s true toxicity is rampant in families and inlaws and this helps us to navigate our way thank you for the article

  9. buzzshak@gmail.com'
    bushra

    so glad i found this article i am also having same problem with toxic family members no matter how much they hate me i still can’t hate them back i dont know why i always end up forgiving and forgetting their extremely unpleasant behaviour. i try to stay away as much as possible from them but sometimes i really feel sad
    thanks for such a great article it really helped me 😉
    jazak Allah

  10. husna_and_tajul@hotmail.co.uk'
    Husna Islam

    A beautiful and meaningful text. I wish I could forward this msg to alot of brothers and sisters going through very tough family problems. May allah ease the pain and sorrows that we are all facing and help us to remain strong so that we may continue to call upon him. Ameen.

    1. Berna1042_1999@hotmail.com'

      As Salaam Alaikum,

      What can I do if both of my parent are mostly toxic? It affects me in many ways. A few years before they physically abused me very much. They are also abusing me mentally and verbally. Because of this pain, I made many suicide attempts at a age of 12/13. But I have also many good times with them. I don’t know what I can do about this situation. I know that my mother has psychological problems but it is very hard to be silent if they are treating me like that. Although all of this, alhamdoulillah, I know that Allah sees everything and he has the justice. What can I do about my situation?

      1. Wa alaikum as salam dear Anonym,

        Thank you for your comment and I am sorry to hear that both of your parents have been abusive to you. There is no justification in Islam for any type of abuse and you should certainly try to seek help from a trustworthy outside source. You should certainly not put yourself in an environment of abuse.

  11. DawoodUsman@outlook.com'
    E

    But for some one who suffers from trauma because of childhood wounds that r inflicted by family due to physical, psychological and emotional abuse its very difficult to follow all that. if u r silent neutral and always hiding ur pain it will do worse. living with family members is enough, take care of urself, if u make ur self care u will be at peace with toxic family members behavior. Allah cares about ur family members but he also cares about u because u matter.

    1. Thank you for your comment, E. I understand that you feel that hiding your pain will make things worse. I agree that self care is of utmost importance. I love your statement that Allah also cares about you because you matter too.

  12. a.f.khan94@gmail.com'
    AFK

    Assalamoalaikum sister sheima that’s a wonderful article I appreciate your work and thank you so much for sharing. I just have a question and hope you consider. What if the toxic family member is a parent? What if they are toxic to their kids especially adult daughters? It may seem unusual and wrong but it truly exists in this world especially in Pakistan. What if the parents are continuously in search of a reason (stupid and unlogical it may be) to hurt their daughters emotionally,
    mentally and psychologically? They would do the best they can to humiliate, torture(psycholoically) and force them to think they are worthy of being blamed. They would not even provide for them the basic necessities of life and would force them to leave the house for work! What advice would you give to the daughters then? And ‘reasoning’ and ‘logic’ doesn’t work in this society with parents especially when they are uneducated. Kindly reply.wasalam

    1. Wa alaikum as salam AFK, thank you for your kind words. Parents have an Islamic obligation to treat their children with justice and goodness. Parents are responsible for providing the basic necessities to their children. If parents are not providing for a child’s basic needs and forcing the child to work, then this is against the teachings of Islam. I would seek help from a wise elder in your family or community. Please consult with others and try to improve this unfortunate situation.

  13. farangiz_15@yahoo.com'
    Fara

    Assalamu aleykum sister. Thank you for this article. I have a toxic problems with my in-laws. I live with my father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and two sister-in-laws with their kids. Its very traditional in my country to live with your in-laws together, and also serving them is a must thing. I know its best for my imaan and akhirah to be respectful to my in-laws, to forgive their unjust and hurtful comments and serve my in-laws. But unfortunately my imaan is too weak to act that way. Day by day Im hating them more and more. And serving them is feeling like a punishment for me. Dear Sister, please, make dua for me and for my imaan.

    1. Wa alaikum as salam, Fara. I understand that you are struggling with living with your in-laws. Their hurtful comments are affecting your imaan. I will certainly pray for you. I hope that your living situation will improve in shaa Allah.

  14. asiyah345@gmail.com'
    Amuslimah

    Feeling so emotional right now. My deen is suffering. I can’t help blame my mum who I believe has narcissistic personality disorder. She seriously fits perfectly into the description of narcissistic mum.

    It hurts to know that you will always feel guilty for not being a good daughter no matter what you do. It hurts to know that sometimes you stop trying and are exhausted and hurt so their abusive comments eventually come true.

    There is little or no support offered. Just judgement. After all how can you say that your caring loving mum does not know how to be a mum, never showed love and affection, just abused teased you and used your weaknesses against you. Humiliated you in public and wants you to sit there as she abuses, teases you and looks for the spot that will emotionally hurt the most.

    She know how much Allah and the deen means to you and yet she wants to make sure that she hangs the keys over your head. They are with her and you have to be constantly reminded that you are so close to be doomed for life if not already.

    Such oppression that eventually wears you down until you nearly become a raging lunatic and every teasing hurtful comment she makes forces you to react. Because she won’t let you be until you do and then she has the joy of knowing you are the one in the wrong.

    Constant Games, lies, deceit, arguments..and they know when you intend to set some boundaries ..they can emotionally sense you detaching. So they come after you with a campaign defaming you with innocent visitors and neighbors who have no clue of the reality.

    Ya rabb forgive those amongst us that are wronged and react by falling into wrongdoing ourselves.

    May Allah reward you and the team for such an article that shed light on these issues that are to hard for most to deal with.

    Best thing I learned is trying to please an extreme toxic person is overburdening yourself which will eventually lead you to running yourself down.

    1. labisisho@yahoo.com'
      SB

      This is exactly what I am going through. My Mum has also convinced my Dad that I’m a bad daughter and they are constantly attacking me verbally and psychologically. Any mistake or oversight on my part is seen as something intentional. They say I am not a caring daughter but nobody cares about me or what I want. They believe they’re always right because they are the elders. The only time they are not abusing me is when I do exactly what they tell me to do. They want to control my life, my time, my dressing even my facial expressions. I cannot go out to visit friends who they blame for my new-found love for Islam and following sunnah- such as wearing the hijab, refusing to work in a riba-based organization, constantly trying to improve my knowledge of the deen. Even when I cry (I do that a lot these days), they say I am pretending. Worse still, they have refused to give me out in marriage. I must get a job first or start earning. They blame my inability to get a job on my hijab. I am even scared to sleep sometimes, because they will complain that I am insensitive and not focused on what I want to do to start earning.
      There is no one who can talk to them as they do not have close friends. They are not on talking terms with most of their family members too.
      I need to leave this environment soon as I am finding it hard to hold on to the last pieces of my sanity.

      1. Dear SB, I am sorry to hear of your family’s unkind behaviors. May Allah (swt) bless you for your struggle to follow the teachings of Islam. I hope that you can find a way to leave this difficult environment.

    2. saimasn@hotmail.com'
      SSaima

      Oh my gosh! I just read your comment…no words. But a HUGE similarity….I sincerely hope your situation has evolved for the better Insha Allah. May Allah swt have mercy on us all.

  15. Szg.gul@gmail.com'
    Gul

    Highly delighted to read the Article … Its the voice of so many around who are going through such difficult time .. What to do when other people are forcefully binding you to the toxic relationship .

  16. Farzanapervez@yahoo.co.uk'
    Farzana

    Thank you for your article and for a balanced view point. It is not always possible to maintain relationships with a toxic family member as it can be detrimental to your own mental health. Sometimes the best option is distance. Thank you sister.

  17. hasibrah63@gmail.com'
    hasib rahman

    I am from Bangladesh. I am a Muslim . I am student of class 11 . When i free i am going to researching about Islam . My question is #

    I find a Hadith about Ayatul Kursi , which is very important ayat. i find explanation about this ayat like that “when we are going to sleep ,those time if we are read aytaul kursi, allah send faresta/angel for us to night time safety. is this hadith true?[i believe that is true]

    if this hadith is true ,so when we are going to sleep and read aytul kursi with trust and allah send angel for us but at sleeping time if i saw dream ,is that come from Allah ??? [we know there is 2 kinds of dream #one is come from Allah # two :come from saitan .] Because reading aytul kursi with trust ,Allah makes us safe ,there is no chances that dream comes from saitan . so is that dream come from allah ?????????????????????????

    1. Thank you for your comment, Hasib. Here is the hadith I think you are quoting:

      Narrated Abu Huraira: Prophet Muhammad salallahu alaihi wasallam ordered me to guard the Zakat revenue of Ramadan. Then somebody came to me and started stealing of the foodstuff. I caught him and said, “I will take you to Allah’s Apostle!” Then Abu Huraira described the whole narration and said: That person said (to me), “Please don’t take me to Allah’s Apostle and I will tell you a few words by which Allah will benefit you. When you go to your bed, recite Ayatul Kursi, (2.255) for then there will be a guard from Allah who will protect you all night long, and Satan will not be able to come near you till dawn.” When the Prophet heard the story he said (to me), “He (who came to you at night) told you the truth although he is a liar; and it was Satan.”
      Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 61 Hadith 530

      As for your question about whether your dream is from Allah (swt), Sheikh Bilal Philips gave a great lecture about dreams in Islam, and in it he said that all dreams are blessings from Allah (swt) except the dreams that are clearly from Shaytan (they make you feel bad). Therefore, if your dream makes you feel good, it is a blessing from Allah (swt) and we should be thankful to Allah (swt) for our dreams. The link to the lecture is : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_x8iumfZ3Vs

  18. umkoleandhunter@gmail.com'
    Aisha

    Salam alaikum, Allah bless you for this article. It was such amazing timing. Since stepping onto the path of Islam two years ago things with some members of my family have been difficult. But if i am honest with myself, it has always been this way. Islam has given me the courage to be true to myself and live my life trying to please Allah in my dealings with people. Increasingly i have come to see how toxic some family members are and the games they play. Thank you for the suggestions in this article on how to deal with them in a way that is pleasing to Allah, but also will hopefully allow me to feel more at peace.

  19. mnmshazni@gmail.com'
    Shazni

    Jazakallaahu khairan for the valuable thoughts and steps. What if the toxic family member is mother..? I am the youngest in a family with 3 sisters and a brother.

    1. Wa iyaa kum, Shazni. If the toxic family member is your mother, you must continue to honor her as best as you can, but also find ways to take care of yourself and to protect your mental health. Think that you are protecting your mental health in order to do your duties as a Muslim. Perhaps keep some distance if you can while still showing your mother respect and kindness.

  20. r_waasafa@hotmail.com'
    Waasafa

    Salaam Sister Sumer, thank you for writing this series of articles. I have been looking for something like this for quite some time. My experiences relate to my siblings. My youngest brother is wayward, he is incredibly dishonest and is very manipulative. He has been in trouble with the police over the past year and this has caused considerable pain to my parents.
    In addition to this my sisters inflict a lot of pain to me. They cause me a lot of emotional grief. It is very difficult to maintain ties of kinship with them and they know this. They all show the characteristic of not accepting responsibility for their behaviour. I must say you have hit the proverbial nail on the head in your article. Well done!

  21. kalimah945@yahoo.com'

    Al hamdulillah. Awesome post. I woke up this morning after a rough talk with a family member yesterday and this post was the first I saw on my timeline. Subhan Allah. Great advice and so on point. May Allah swt bless you all for your posts they are jewels indeed ameen.

  22. h.rehman80@yahoo.com'
    Habib ur Rehman

    Salam
    I have a question if a toxic family member is crossing the boundries and harming a person..what will be our reply according to quran and sunnah

    1. Salam Habib. Our Nabi (s) said, “A believer is not stung by the same hole twice” (Bukhari, Muslim). My understanding of this hadith is that we should protect ourselves from harm. We should not put ourselves in situations that we know will harm us. Therefore, I’d try to avoid such toxic people to the best of my ability.

    1. Dear Poo, I commend you for looking within and considering that you may be a toxic person. I advise you to take care of yourself, talk to a caring person, try to learn more about yourself and why you may be engaging in toxic behaviors. Of course, pray to Allah (swt) to help you to improve.

    1. Dear Confused, the message that I hope my article sends is that you need to find ways to take care of yourself. Yes, we do have duties to our parents but if we are facing toxic parents we need to find a way to protect ourselves from losing our mental health. So keeping distance for the sake of maintaining your health so that you can still show your parents respect (for the long-term) is the idea. Please review the coping skills in this article. Best wishes and prayers.

  23. amjadabed@gmail.com'
    Amjad

    Salamualikum ,
    About this article on toxic family members,
    I have a question that no body gave us an answer for !
    We have sought the opinion of a shaikh but we feel that it’s not right!
    Our story is that my father !
    My father always treated my mother , me and my brothers and sisters as if he was ((feraon) and we are his jewish slaves ) since young age that included all kind of beating and cursing ,talking bad about us to other people or family exetera …excetra , even though we never disrespected him .
    But now we grow up , so no more beating even though he tries,but the cursing and all other things has gone even worse,
    And we found out recently that my father is mentally ill, and he refuses to take his medication but we give it to him without him knowing , but he is still very abusive to all of us !
    (May allah forgive me but I think that no body like him )
    And we try to be nice to him (for the sake of Allah swt ) but he continues to be as always and no matter what we do for him it seems never enough and he never appreciate anything we do for him
    ;( .
    Now the doctor said that we should send him to the psychiatric hospital and he should stay there .
    But that is a disgraceful thing in my arabe culture and we don’t really know what to do anymore !!
    Can you please advise me on this or refere me to someone how can .
    May Allah swt reward you for this .
    Wa jazakum Allah khairan .

    1. Wa alaikum as salam, Amjad. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story. This is a difficult situation and my only sincere advice is to pray Istikhara prayer and Tahajjud prayers a lot and wait for Allah (swt) to open a door/give some guidance as to what choice to make. The answer to this complex situation requires a lot of duaas and prayers and in shaa Allah the way will become clear to you. I wish you the best and may Allah bless you for your struggles for His sake. Wa iyaa kum.

  24. rayaazr@gmail.com'
    Rayaaz

    Salam brothers and sisters this is a marvelous article….but I must add it is also important to connect with other people genuinely aside from keeping a deep connection with the toxic person try to deepen connections with others around you..

  25. bibahabdul@yahoo.com'
    bibah

    assalamualaikum.. i see “physically abuse” bu what about mentally? how if our iman day by day not as strong as its used too? can the person who was abuse mentally seek any help? people around my country says that it is not right to tell others about someone elses wrong doings. but what if he or she just want some advice on their problems? is it a sin to opens someones aib?

    1. Wa alaikum as salam, Bibah. Yes, I agree with you that mental abuse can be just as hurtful as physical abuse. In my humble opinion, we should seek help from others if we are abused mentally. We should not just suffer silently. I believe that if you are seeking advice, then it is ok to talk about other’s wrongdoings. If you are talking to a neutral 3rd party who does not even know the people you are talking about, then I think it is ok. Also, if you seek help from a counselor, then the conversation is confidential (the counselor cannot share your information with others).

  26. hadiamin9@gmail.com'
    Hadia

    Jazakillahu khaira sister for the wonderful article…i really needed to read something like this…due to some toxic relations I feel completely frustrated and very low in eemaan…I feel this is affecting my life, my productivity and my other relations too…my head is always banging with the harsh comments (backbiting ) they have made about me…what hurts me the most is that I had been very good in my relations with them, I had neglected their wrong comments then how come did they criticise me and backbite about me when I didn’t so with them…but the most imp thing I’ve learned is that we need to do everything for the sake of Allah, love for His sake and forgive for His sake…Even if know one appreciates you, Allah definitely will

    1. hadiamin9@gmail.com'
      Hadia

      I always believed that I’ve been stay patient and calm even if they hurt me or make me feel like their slave. I made myself have a good opinion of them even then. I never spoke about their wrong behaviour to anyone considering it to be backbiting but in the process I suffered a lot, I have lost my peace of mind, its affecting me as a person, as a Muslim…I need your advice, I am ready to forgive and forget the past for the sake of Allah but what if a similar situation arises in the future. What should be my response? Should I allow myself to suffer and let them crumble my self respect as I did in the past?

      Can I mail you and share with you my story?

  27. asiyah345@gmail.com'
    Amuslimah

    Amazing response. Clearly a topic that has been neglected in our community. May Allah reward you Sumer for you hard work and taking time to respond.

    Sad to see so many are being tested by toxic family members.

  28. taralin84@yahoo.co.uk'
    linia

    Assalamu alykum. it’s really amazing that I’ve found your article exactly when i need it,Alhamdulillah. lately i am really depressed regarding toxic relationship from my in laws. i really feel like talk to with somebody who can show me right path according ISLAM.is it possible to discuss my problem details with you somehow, SISTER?

  29. safarazdilli@gmail.com'
    sarfaraz alo

    Whatever is written in this article I was practicing Alhamdulilah but I was not sure whether I am correct and just for my behavior but after reading this valuable article I have come to know I am doing no wrong with toxic member of my family . I have discovered the self-centered ness of my toxic person and now I am diagnosing with care .

      1. shbalkish2014@gmail.com'
        Balkish

        Assalamualaikum. Subhanallah. Alhamdulillah Dear Sister Sheima, a great article. In my culture these issues of reality in a society is often being neglected, or to a certain extent just being avoided to talk about. As for me these are chronic issues that needs attention of its own, because a home is a nucleus of community. This is particularly where shaytan works to destroy the strength of community, relationship, etc.

        So if we ignore, neglect the reality, how we may improve the real circumstance, and we may just live with falseness. On the other hand, if we don’t face reality, this will also may give more room and space for the people who are in authority for example, continue to do what they do, taking advantage and hide behind the Hadith that he should be treated with respect. There are need to be exposed with this issue and listen to the truth…… or….the more harden the hearts will be…..

        Indeed, discussion of how to deal with it is of great benefit and healthy. May Allah reward you.

        1. Wa alaikum As salam wr wb Balkish! Thank you so much for your kind and wise comment. I totally agree that the home is the nucleus of the community and that shaytan’s greatest pleasure is to break up families. You are right that ignoring reality is not helpful. May Allah bless you too.

  30. hadiamin9@gmail.com'
    Hadia

    I always believed that I’ve been stay patient and calm even if they hurt me or make me feel like their slave. I made myself have a good opinion of them even then. I never spoke about their wrong behaviour to anyone considering it to be backbiting but in the process I suffered a lot, I have lost my peace of mind, its affecting me as a person, as a Muslim…I need your advice, I am ready to forgive and forget the past for the sake of Allah but what if a similar situation arises in the future. What should be my response? Should I allow myself to suffer and let them crumble my self respect as I did in the past?

    Can I mail you and share with you my story?

  31. thomas_dona@yahoo.co.on'
    Falak

    As-Salaamu Alaykum Wa Rehamathullai Wa Barakaatuhu Sister…. Jazakallahu Khairyin for this post… I am a revert and this post was truly a guidance….Filled with hurt my heart feels so heavy due to Mental Abuse. After reading your post, feels supportive n my lonely feeling has gone… In Shaa Allah I will try to implement these points. Once again Jazakallahu Khairyin. Love you for the sake of Allah Sister

  32. du_did_done@hotmail.com'
    Annu Annum

    Assalam u alaikum.
    Yet this article made me feel good as i am doing the same to deal my family members. I have religious clashes with my family. I am an unmarried girl and i am trying to follow Quran and ahadees. But my family wants me to live life as normally girls are living…they are forcing me to adopt the fashion and to be as modern as the girls are. They force me not to wear hijab and they are planning to stop my studies and job(teaches in a girls school) my younger tried to kill me..he attempted 3 times by grabbing my neck and 3rd time my body became cold and i recited kalma. They use abuse words for my mother as well just because of me. They blame her that i am her unofficial daughter. They say very bad about my character. I am @ 4/5 siblings yet i cared each of them even when i was not doing any job. But whenever i neened any financial help there was no one with me. 2 Elder brothers are enjoying their lives with their families even of them is in u.k having his own home. But they and their wives and my younger brother keep pushing my father about me. My father said to me many times to go out from this house but i am here for my mother. What should i do if they will make me the prisoner at home?

    1. Wa alaikum as salam, Annu. Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry to hear that you are facing so many hardships and injustices from your family. May Allah bless you for trying to follow Islam. I understand that you are staying in the home to help your mother. This is a difficult situation. I wonder what your mother thinks you should do. I don’t think you should stay in such an abusive situation.

  33. ikramsanee@yahoo.com'
    Ikram

    Jazakillah khairan for this wonderful piece. I have question though. What if their behavior induces so much hatred in you and you just can’t stand being with them? How do you relieve yourself of that feeling?

    1. Wa iyaa kum, Ikram. Thank you for your comment and question. If their behavior induces so much hatred in you, then that’s a sign that you need to take care of yourself more. You need to try to avoid them as much as possible so that you can become more calm and at peace. Of course, make a lot of dua and do things that help you to calm down, such as exercising.

  34. maisaab73@gmail.com'
    Sarah

    Does this also apply when the toxic family member is your mother? I know that Jannah lies at the feet of your mother, but it’s really hard to keep sabr and please her when her behavior is toxic and dramatic. I always feel like I’m walking on eggshells because she’s very emotional and when I stick up for myself she takes it as a personal attack and starts crying to guilt trip me. It’s very mentally & emotionally exhausting and I find myself suffering from anxiety & panic attacks & many health problems manifesting from the stress. sometimes I fear that I won’t enter Jannah because she is always reactive and upset and I’m losing my cool and patience is wearing thin. Any advice for this?

  35. Sufiyanqureshi84@gmail.com'
    Sufiyan

    Jazakallah for this article which means for for me a lot because I really need this my family is very rude on me everyday because I do not follow their tradition of being in firqh ,follow their imam, etc

  36. Jana.zivalj@hotmail.com'
    Jana

    JazakaAllah for such a great article. Me and my husband are facing some family issue . It’s my husband brothers and their wife . They are giving us hard time . Couple of days before something happened and they were accusing me for the things that I’m not even aware of. My sister in law called my husband and use very bad abusive words and said she will come and will bash me as well . It was very upsetting because for years we were quite and not saying anything just for the family sake but they don’t care about any of that. They talk behind my back and blame me for things that I’m not aware off. I did request them to leave us alone but they don’t care. Why people are so unkind. As a good human being we should help each other, love, respect and support each other but no . There is so much jealousy , hate and anger in people’s heart. I get very bad depression and sadness. One old saying was, u can choose friends but not family which is so true. I’m trying to forget as I have a small baby that I need to look after but things are really eating me inside and I feel like I can’t protect my self . I hope I can get out of this situation soon . Please sister prayer for me and for my little family.

  37. saimasn@hotmail.com'
    SSaima

    JazakAllah for this article. I was literally crying as I was reading this in my office. I will not get into the details of the toxicity I have been facing from my own parents for the last 20+ years but can honestly say that for the first time ever, my heart has lightened a bit. I love islam and strive like any other to become a better person InshaAllah but rarely is a topic like this covered by any cleric, sheikh or imam. The quotes regarding obedience to your parents etc are repeated over and over and offer no counselling or hope on how to deal with situations like this, which in my case, involve my parents. Every day I am in a dilemma. Depression, anxiety, worthlessness and despair about my aakhiraa and the impact on my own children tear me apart. As is there is no way out, I must admit, it has often lead me to have unislamic thoughts about this dead-end life for me. I cannot protect myself, my family or my children from its impact. Afterall, I have a duty to be nice with my parents and to date have had no choice but to bear their injustice and hurtful behaviour. As I sit here and take some deep breaths after reading this article, I feel I have some relief and am reminded of the existence of my Best witness, Allah swt Himself. Alhamdulillah. Thank you again for this article. May Allah have mercy on us all.

  38. mehnazakbar1524@gmail.com'
    aana

    My in laws are very bad. My husband is having an affair with his sisters daughter. He asks for forgivness but keeps on continuing the same. When i said his mom about this she said that its a wifes responsibility to hide their husbands wrong deeds. She also said that men can do anything. When i protested my husband told me to be nice to his gf n his sister n he beat me n warned me if i dint stop he wud divorce me.. but i feel hatred towards the girl. What should i do.. what should i feel towards their family ?

  39. Qhafeez26@yahoo.com'
    Q

    I was molested by an older cousin when I was younger. To make a long story short, when my parents found out they didn’t care. My mother’s maternal instinct was to defend him. “Remember he didn’t have an easy life,” she said. My father didn’t say anything. My uncle, my cousin’s father, lives in denial that this happened and my mother and father are completely fine with this. I absolutely hate them for this. My mother says I need to be more understanding of my uncle’s position. No one needs to be understanding of me. They don’t care that I burn with hate when I see my uncle. Him being in denial and them being ok with it is WORSE than being molested. I’ve become the bad person in the family for refusing to be anywhere where my uncle is. I’ve completely stopped attending any family functions and have very little contact with my father’s side of the family.

  40. khaleel.umair@hotmail.com'
    AaaaA

    My father is an angry man. He manipulates everyone in our family and convinces them into getting what he wants. Yes he provides for the family sufficiently bit it’s not money with which we have a problem. He blames almost every bad thing on my mother and compares her to all other working mothers who bring a second income to the house. He has a problem with all people on my mother’s side due to which meeting them or even speaking to them is not possible. And the best part is he tells us tosinton relationships. They can’t be broken. Anyways, He says what ever he wants to , no matter how wrong he is. The worst part is he is a very pious man. He prays tahajjud almost everyday. He prays all 5 times in the mosque. Yet he is this arrogant and illeterate. His concept is to suppress the wife and girls since they are burden to him or who I don’t know. And he threatens us by saying that Allah will always accept the prayer of a father.
    I am 29 years old, male and have been living with my father since 4 Years now. Our work places are nearby so we share a house. I neve knknew my father had this hatred towards my mother. Initially how is at rede started telling what a useless wife my mother is does no job and simply spends time doing nothing. Let me twll you my mother is a very pious lady always reciting Quran reading Quran and praying sslah or teaching us children what our deen is (we are 4 siblings including me). This being started saidy problems started coz I couldn’t bear these taunts and lies. All my father wanted was me to agree with him. Onviously I did not and I was subject to mental abuse. The very first time i dint agree with him he did not speak to me for 3 days. I cried and beggeed him to talk to me and then he showed his anger and told ur mother has spoilt u and other stupid things. He called my mother to KSA where he lives and works, and when my sister requested for a new bed since the one shes sleeping on was very hard and caused her backache he became so angrry on her amd blamed even this on my mother that she has not raised my sister properly. What fault is it of my mother or my sister who had back pain because of the hard bed she was sleeping from 3 weeks straight without complaining. And the one time she requested this is what has happened. My sister cried for a week and nothing we said could console her since she’s the smallest in the house and with great love and affection she came to KSA with my mother to be spend time with father.

    The sam year my fatehr got a huge bonus so my mother asked my father normal like affection wife would IF he could buy some jewellery for her. My father became so mad and angry that he threatened her with TALAQ. For asking him to buy some gold. Let me again tell u my father has a very good salary Alhamdulilla . Plus on top of this even my Salary is very good Alhamdulilla but my father does not allow even Me to buy for my mother nor my sister. When he threatened my mother with TALAQ I stepped in and stopped him from doing anything or telling more that would be impossible to take back. From that day I became his worst son ever because I supported my mother here in front of all our family. These all are just a few instances of abuse done by our great father to me and my mother. I have slowly and steadily faced these kinds of abuses which have affected me mentally and psychologically to this the extent that I now have no emotional feelings towards my father anymore. In these past 4 Years he has fought with me and emotionally abused me just so that I can start supporting him and also begin to abuse or look at my mother in a degraded way I guess.
    There were many time when my father talked bad about the relatives on my mother’s side. I knew them well and I knew they aren’t bad at all. But to just make my father happy, I would accept what ever bad he told about them and would also add a few more lies and my father would become so very happy. These things would eat me from inside but it made father very very happy

    Recently I was blessed with a baby girl. Well all my afamily were happy a family nd so was my father. All seemed so good. We all were searching for a good name for my little princess. The day my wife was supposed to be discharged from the hospital we all got together and started the process of finalising names. Since the very start I made it clear to my father that he will be the one to finalise and select the name since he is the eldest and we actually did not want any problems. He finalised 2 names in the end. Asked us all members regarding name 1 and name 2. Name 1 my wife didn’t like. So we moved to name 2. Name 2 we all loved. So we selected this name. At this point I confirmed to my father in front of all what we will do, to go with name 1 or name 2. He selected said go with name 2. And I did.
    The very day late evening he became mad with anger that I his eldest son don’t hAve any respect for him and this that stupid things. He said I don’t care for what he feels and that I don’t respect his age and experience in life.

    That day I lost all my temper and gave him an earful for the next 15 mins. I told u have no respect in my view and u r a stupid person. U don’t know how to behave with ur own family members and u only continue to state the importance of father in islam. I told him off very badly in and voice louder than his, he there’d there do go outside the room but islam locked there do he door and nd prevented him from going out.

    Now it’s been 15 days my little princess my daughter arrived into our family. He has not spoken to me at all. He daily tells my sister that he will have his revenge on me and he is making baddua and wants to see me suffer. He has told told that im his enemy now. Told my sister to tell it to me. Told my mother he’ll not even shake my hand on the upcoming EID day.

    I really don’t care to all the threats he is giving me indirectly. The only thing and my question for which I’m afraid is

    1. We aren’t supposed to even tell UFFF to our parents but I yelled at him and it felt good. And now i don’t care he lives or dies. But If father is unhappy then Allah is unhappy. Im afraid of this.

    2. He is not ready to even speak to me I have tried everyday since the past 2 weeks. What should I do now. Please reply in detail.

    I am afraid of my akhirat. My mother says I did good standing up for myself after all these years but am still wrong to have yelled at him. Please guide me what to do

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