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Dealing with Mental Torture

Dear and Respected Sister Arshi,
I would like to vent here and I am okay with it being published so that many out there can benefit, in shaa Allah.
My case is a marital one and I have lived with my husband for more than 16 years now, Alhamdulillah. The problem with our marriage is that I do feel that I am experiencing depression every now and then. I am being psychologically tortured without my realising this habit of his for all those years. I came across some books that I read and found out about this very recently. I feel I am being psychologically tortured as that had led to affecting a lot about my personality. I became scared of every act I make. He does not use physical torture but uses mental one. He throws hurtful words to me and can make me see everything that goes wrong it’s because of me or maybe my decision. He acts like as if he is Ma’asum (sinless) of every act that goes wrong then the finger is pointed at me.
This has affected me for years now and I keep crying to him to stop this but he doesn’t take heed. It’s like he knows my weaknesses and that is a mistake that I made years ago when I explained to him about my drawbacks with the intention of being helped by him to cope up. I am a very emotional and sensitive person. These two characters I never had before marriage but after marriage with his psychological torture, I became like this. I don’t know what to do to get out of this mess.
I need help! I really need help!
What can a person do to get out of mental torture? I don’t know as my mind is just closed due to his hurtful remarks or maybe he might use indirect words but since I know he always targets me then I know those indirect words are targeting me.
Please help.
Jazakumullah Khairan Team IR.
Assalamualaikum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu,
I pray to Allah to help you cope with all of the problems that you are and have been going through for years on end. May Allah reward you for your patience, He is the Most Generous and Most Kind. Aameen.
Before I even begin addressing your problem, I would like to address one of the most important things:
Abuse is not allowed in Islam. As I am not qualified to give an opinion of fiqh, I am linking one article so that sisters going through abuse may gain an insight. In sha Allah. Click here
Many times, husbands take out the stress of the world and their daily life on their wives in the form of mental or physical abuse. Many women, in general, begin to feel like they deserve to be mistreated or abused because somewhere the abuser makes them feel that way. So, I must begin to underline the fact that you, my dearest sister, are not the one at fault.
I understand that there is a depth to your emotions beyond what you have shared with me. Oftentimes, there is guilt, shame and even fear of  losing everything. Your abuse has predisposed you to feeling guilty and weak over matters and instilled a fear because you might feel like feeling guilty is not the most logical reaction. I am here to say, I understand.
We must choose to be completely honest to ourselves, if not with our counsellor when we begin our therapy. Opening up for help is already a very, very brave step. And I must highlight again that you are not at fault. You have been going through what is known as emotional abuse.
What is emotional abuse then?
A person’s behavior may fall into the category of emotional abuse when:

  • The behavior does not stop or even pause when the recipient begins crying or asks for time to cool down. In fact, abuse may escalate as the recipient of the abuse becomes more vulnerable and upset.
  • The behavior is frequent, occurring several times a month or more.
  • The person uses vulgar and demeaning language, or they make baseless accusations.
  • “Arguments” are one-sided: one person does all the talking and never listens.
  • The person threatens violence.
  • The person does not apologize after engaging in abusive behaviour.
  • The person who is abusive will not recognize the validity of anything their victim says.
  • Sexual abuse or physical abuse is also present.  (Source: GoodTherapy)

One other thing that needs to be highlighted is that usually a person committing abuse and a recipient of abuse are known to have mental health concerns. This could be depression, anxiety, OCD, self-harm, narcissism, stress, substance abuse and other problems.
Establishing all this, let’s come to the solution of your problems.
1. Leave the abuser
I think this needs to be addressed, you have spent almost two decades with your husband but if you still think that there is no way your husband would improve then you can opt for khula. The details of the process can be found here.
Even if you decide for a khula, I would strongly suggest to talk to a Muslim therapist or counsellor to resolve the effects that years of abuse on you.
2. Therapy
You have reached out to us and that means that you acknowledge the problems you are facing and the adverse effects it is having on your mental health. Sometimes, the abuser also has many unresolved mental issues that may lead to the abuse and proper therapy and resolution of problems may actually lead to a change in his demeanour. But you must be warned here that first of all, he would be very reluctant to go to a therapist. Many therapists specializing in marital counselling may help you in this regard, you may tell him that this is for you – and eventually, involve him in the therapy. Secondly, he may not change. Thirdly, the change, if it happens, will be a slow process and may have relapses. You will need to be patient through it all.
3. Handle your husband
It must and will be very hard to have compassion for your husband after everything that you have been through. But an attempt to get a deeper look may help you gain an insight on why he is acting the way he is – is he insecure? Depressed? Under stress? I had a case where the abuse was a way to deal with the inferiority the husband felt about his financial condition. Most of the times, the abuse is not even about you, but about them. Stand up to him. Or find positive ways to interact with him if that does not work. If you decide to stay with your husband then hold on tightly to the positives of the relationship.
4. Practice mental strength
If you have ever encountered strength training exercises in the gym or the internet then you must know that you need to exercise the muscle many times – you break the muscle with fatigue and then it is rebuilt stronger. I will link another resource for you to practice mental strength here.
Apart from this, remember:

  • This world is only temporary- dunya is a journey and not an end for the believer.
  • Be patient- Indeed, Allah is with the patient.
  • Pray- there is nothing beyond Allah’s reach.
  • Devote yourself to bettering yourself as a Muslim.
  • Either, this is a trial- which has only rewards. Or it is a reminder for you to come back to your Lord.
  • Keep in touch with the Qur’an- learn the stories of the prophets.
  • Stay positive, prepare with aakhira on your mind, be willing to change as well as discipline.

After all this, if you still feel like you are unable to cope – remember that there are many organizations that would be ready to help you. Don’t ever feel hesitant or ashamed to reach out.

Written by- Arshi Dokadia
Edited By- Mariam Kamran
Team IR


11 thoughts on “Dealing with Mental Torture

  1. Love this never seen an article like this that gives complete answer to the problem
    All love to sis arshi

    1. Jazakillah Khair dearest sister ❤️

  2. BaarakAllahu feeki Arshi. You have done perfect justice to the problem mentioned or else everytime I read about the only solution I read was leaving the man but you gave many wise options. Kudos to you and the IR team

    1. Wa feeki barakAllah!
      I am glad to hear that. I wanted to make sure to address that leaving the abuser is not the only solution and even when when does leave the abuser – they need to be mentally strong so that they can face the society and the world.
      Jazakillah Khair ❤️

  3. 💔💔💔💔💔💔💔 this is so heartbreaking….. i feel like physical torture is better than emotional torture at least people will understand that ur husband is being violent. But mental torture is something which kills a person from with in. He can neither explain it to others nor can handle it alone.💔
    N the best answer ever🌼🌼

    1. So true.

  4. Mashallah

  5. I perfectly understand the sister and I’m amazed at her patience. I myself went through a very short difficult marriage and I ended up leaving the man because it started to affect my physical and emotional health. But that life event was a blessing in disguise. It made me a stronger person. It made me realise that the only one worthy of unconditional love and trust is Allah. May Allah grant her relief from this difficult situation.

  6. I m also in heavy mental torture by husband please help me

    1. Sister, our sincere Duas your way. May Allah help you and make you strong through this, Ameen. However, we do encourage you seek help dear sister. If you wish to talk to a therapist/approved counsellor we can connect you to one of our IR counsellors. Expect an email from us. May Allah help you and make it easy for you. Baaraka Allah feeky 🙂 After every dark tunnel, there’s bright light! This too shall pass! But, you’ve got to do something about it. Seek help and that’s what Allah tells us to do.
      Al-Baqarah 2:45

      وَٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱلْخَٰشِعِينَ

      And seek help through patience and prayer; and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah]

    2. Also sister, do check out this other counselling post about marital discord, in Shaa Allah it will benefit you.
      This one above ^

Jazaakumullah Khairan! Thank You! We appreciate your efforts to leave us a comment :)