Concerned About Divorce Effect on My Child

Question and answer details
R (39_female_US)
Salam ‘Alaykum. My children and I have been abused for several years, and I am finally going to leave. My 6-year-old adores his dad, and despite that he hits him and yells at him or tells him I am not your father, he is attached to him. On the other hand, my 10-year-old from my previous marriage wants to leave. He is a true Muslim child and attends a full-time Muslim school. He tells me that dad treats us like slaves and he should be the one working and supporting us not you. Why he also puts us down and has different moods. My 10 old has no contact with his real dad and to him that is the only father he has. My sister-in-law asked to adopt my son since she feels her brother is treating him so bad and she feels sorry for him. I told him last week that I am leaving and he said I can take my son and he will take his. Of course I refused. Now, he acts ok but for how long is the question. We already separated for two years before, but he hasn’t changed; each time he loses a job he comes back.
Aliah Azmeh, MSW

As-Salamu `Alaykum Sister,

Thank you for sending us your question. May Allah help you and your children through this difficult situation. It seems there is a lot of instability in your home, especially for the children. May Allah assist you to make the right decision for the wellbeing of yourself and your children.

I would like to emphasize the fact that there is absolutely no excuse for abuse. Of course, marriage is not always easy and wonderful, and the couple will experience hardships and difficulties. However, no matter what differences there are between the husband and wife, abuse must never be used or tolerated. Allah did not create us to be humiliated and hurt.

From your question, it seems you have been dealing with your husband’s abuse for several years and you are tired of it. You have mentioned that you decided to leave your husband and you let him know of your plan. Since you have told him that you want to leave, he has calmed down and is not causing conflict in the home. However, you don’t know when he may return to his old ways.

From this description, it seems that deep down inside your husband may still want you to stay since he has changed his behavior and has gotten better. You also mentioned that he has mood swings and is at times very aggressive. These kinds of behaviors may indicate a need for professional help. I would highly recommend that you and your husband seek both individual and marital counseling.

Individual counseling is needed for the both of you, because it will help each one of you reflect on your feelings, the source of your pain, and create new goals in order to overcome these hardships and find happiness within yourselves. Individual counseling should give each one of you more clarity and peace of mind.

I would imagine that your husband could benefit greatly from individual counseling, because it seems he does have positive feelings for you and his children but may not know how to express these feelings as well as how to cope with his anger appropriately.

Marital counseling is needed for you and your husband because it will assist the both of you to talk openly about your feelings and frustrations within your marriage. Through this type of counseling, your counselor will help you devise ways to overcome the hardships that you are experiencing and educate you on how to communicate with each other more effectively. Both these types of counseling are definitely worth your time and effort.

I do not know the exact extent of the abuse that you and your children are experiencing from your husband, but no one should be exposed to such humiliation and pain inflicted upon them. As mentioned earlier, Allah created us to go through hardships to become stronger and more resilient individuals. Allah did not create us to be hurt and humiliated over and over again.

If there is no change and the abuse is still taking place, then it is your responsibility to take care of yourself and your children’s physical and emotional wellbeing. It is not healthy for you or your children to live in a household full of violence and abuse. The instable environment and constant humiliation can cause damage to your children’s psychological wellbeing and can continue to haunt them into adulthood.

If the situation calls for separation or divorce, then I would also recommend divorce counseling so the process can take place with fewer conflicts.

May Allah assist you and your children and grant you courage to choose the best decision.


For further guidance, kindly check out the following links:

Abusive Husband, Is Divorce the Right Choice?

I Can't Love Or Respect My Abusive Father!