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How to deal with toxic parents?


Al salam Aleikom,
My question in a brief is how to deal with toxic parents?
My mother is a narcissist with a violent ,hostile self centered personality. She believes that she must have full control over my life, needs and actions.
After a long sad marriage I filed for divorce from the father of my children. With no help from anyone but Allah it passed smoothly and we agreed on separating in a civilized matter. My mother didn’t care about my marital status as long as my husband and I were in conflict so that she could conquer over my life. She suggested I stayed separated for the rest of my life as “men are useless anyway” . I thought that would not be fair to me so I went on with my divorce alone.
When I later asked to get married to someone of my choice my mom objected violently , but I insisted so to scare me off, she threatened to accuse me of having an affair with this man and that he was the reason behind my divorce . And she actually went on with her plan, she told that to my family members and even tried to convince my children .
Having the full support of my children I decided to remarry but this time to the person of my choice. As she has never taken a no for an answer and is used to scare people away by her terrible behavior, only after one month of my new marriage she forced my new husband to divorce me ,claiming that she would die if he didn’t. She is now 70, and since I feared that she would die because of me I had to surrender, but I feel bitterness inside my guts and cannot tolerate to see or talk to her anymore. She has always been hard on me not allowing me to have my normal rights in life and now believes that I have all that I need , such as money ,children and “amazing parents” so asking for a husband that loves me is not only “dirty” or “cheap” but is being greedy and un-thankful to Allah . This was not the case when my brother got married three times as he is the golden child.
I fear Allah but I cannot tolerate her presence as she makes me physically sick and emotionally unstable. I don’t know how to deal with her. She accepts nothing less than taking full control over my live and thinks I have too much already. I tried to explain to her several times how hard life is , especially when I am raising three teenagers on my own and work full time. I tried to explain the importance of companionship and how much I need it now. But being a Narcissist makes her unable to see any needs than those of herself . She lacks empathy and remorse and after playing “sick” she got “cured ” when my husband was forced to divorce me in front of her.
I know I cannot cut her out of my life , although I wish I could , but how can I have her in my life yet avoid her toxic effect?
She has a personality disorder , which is also a “disease of the heart” as we call it in Islam, so I confused of how to solve this equation.
All I want is to live in peace with my husband and children and avoid being traumatized by her .
Please advice,
Jazak Allah Khairan


Wa Alaykumussalam

Thank you for your question

Naturally, you have divine will and authority. Respecting the mother does not mean obeying her unconditionally especially if the factors of the mother’s orders and recommendations end up harming the daughter, then it is not permissible to obey the mother. If you live with your mother and need support and backup then you can keep staying with her but at the same time you should have your own plan for your life and not allow your mother to interfere. Allowing interference means not being influenced by the mother and her interference because you cannot make your mother not speak on different matters.

In your case, there is no prohibition for separation especially if you pay your own living expenses.

Mother has a respect and status, so try not to be irrespective towards her. Remember, intoxicants will have their own affects and you can’t kill them by just wishing. A narcissist has to fight herself to get out of this state.

If you want to get away from this toxic environment, then first of all you have to make her realize that what she is doing, is against Islam and affecting her mind and health badly and along with this affecting your and your children’s life. Even non-Muslims wouldn’t support the idea of being intoxicated while making decisions.

If making her realize works, it would be good but if it doesn’t work then you can separate.

You can stay away from her but on the same time be kind to her. You can change your place but stay with her by heart and other means of communication. Less interaction makes things easier

Make her realize that your staying away is because of her intoxication. This may make her get away from intoxication.

 ideally, make her realize first and then if required you can separate. At the same time, pray for your mother and always ask Allah(swt) to help you and her in this matter so things can get better.

God knows best.

May Allah(swt) grant you success


Syed Haider