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Amaliah Agony Aunt: My Parents Are Bad People

by in Relationships on 8th April, 2023

We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.

We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.

Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!

Dear Aunt Maya,

My parents are bad people. They have said unkind things to me growing up but that I do not care too much about anymore. Rather, it is how they deal with others that brings me much grief and anguish. They are both extremely judgemental (a by-product of the cultures they grew up in, but they have had plenty of time to unlearn, have heard countless lectures on Islamic etiquette, and received constant guidance from their kids). My father is a lousy father and a lousy dad. He did not allow my mother to work, and I believe it is her lack of financial independence that has made her small- minded. My father is greedy, arrogant, and lacks manners. He bargains with the poor whilst simultaneously flaunting his wealth to his friends. My mother is judgemental, and makes unnecessary snide remarks about everything. She has told us things about our family that we never needed to know, and have only caused us pain. I constantly cry over my parents. Why are they like this? There is wisdom behind everything I know, but I am yet to derive a lesson from all this. How do I reconcile with these feelings? Are there stories of the companions/ prophets/ ahlul bayt/ I can go to for guidance? I feel so helpless.

Maya Areem Responds:

Salaam alaykum,

Insha Allah you are well today. 

I’m sorry you feel this way and have a difficult relationship with your parents. Understandably It seems that their behaviors really impact you and your life. It’s also very difficult and sometimes impossible to bring light to problematic behaviors in elders and especially parents in a way that they can accept and digest. May Allah reward you and your siblings for your intentions and efforts. Ameen

As always I advise you to make dua and continue to make dua for them, for them to be forgiven and for them to be guided to practice what they hear about being Muslim. I always keep in mind that Allah is the changer of hearts. Allah has the power to change the heart of any person, make dua for this change for them. 

It’s clear to see that you have and are impacted by the way they are and I would advise seeking professional support in the form of therapy to work through the feelings and challenges that you experience- therapy can be very impactful when it comes to issues like this that one has experienced since they were young. 

There is also a lot of literature and information online about healing the ‘inner child’ this may be some work that you may benefit from engaging in. Inner child work focuses on healing some of the trauma people experience and re-parenting oneself. When we reach adulthood the benefit is we have the agency and choice to begin to heal ourselves and this work may be beneficial. 

Grief is also a big emotion that comes up in this work and sometimes we have to grieve the ideas and expectations we have of people including our parents who may not have the tools to be as self aware and empathetic or loving as we needed them to be. Whilst this is difficult to fathom because it is natural to have expectations it allows us to meet our loved ones as they are and accept them as they are. Whilst there could be a myriad of reasons from their own traumatic experiences, the parenting they did or didn’t receive or the impact of culture sometimes seeking the answer may not help but seeking compassion for them may help reconcile your feelings along with the processing the grief.

I hope that you are able to reach a place of inner peace with this and will be making dua for you, your parents and family. 

I’d also like to share this dua with you that you could adapt and use for your parents.

“I said to Umm Salamah: ‘O Mother of the Believers! What was the supplication that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said most frequently when he was with you?” She said: ‘The supplication he said most frequently was: “O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion (Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik).’” She said: ‘So I said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you supplicate so frequently: ‘O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.’ He said: ‘O Umm Salamah! Verily, there is no human being except that his heart is between Two Fingers of the Fingers of Allah, so whomsoever He wills He makes steadfast, and whomever He wills He causes to deviate.’” (Source: Jami’ at-Tirmidhi 2140)

Love and duas,

Aunt Maya

If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.

Maya Areem

Maya Areem

Maya is a teacher by day and student by night. She hopes to pass on what she learns.