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  1. #1
    anonymous's Avatar
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    Dealing with a manipulative mother

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    Assalaamualaikum everyone,
    I'm 31 years old, married with 2 kids, alhamdulillah. I've had quite a blessed life and was never actually in want of anything as my father toiled hard to make that sure. However, I got married when I was 21 which was approved by my parents at the time, but after my marriage things just went sour with my mom in all ways possible, and it got to a point where I separated my wife from my family and she had to start living with hers. In the initial years, I discussed moving out with my father but he was against so I didn't persist. However, when even after my wife living with her parents, I realised that our problems were far from over. As a matter of fact, I took her to her parents when she was pregnant with our second one and basically her pregnancies made my mother an even bigger predator, maybe because of the more care and concern she'd get. However, my second child ever since her birth has not lived with me full time. I would be alternating 2-3 days between my parents house and her parents' house. Couple of years ago, I decided to fly abroad to pursue higher studies and also look up some immigration options, and I thought that maybe realising that she's losing me at the end of all this will melt my mother's heart, but to my gross shock, it didn't. Due to lockdowns, I've had to travel back and live with my parents again, and my wife is also living with us for near 4 months now. Sorry for this long detail.

    The problem is that among the issues that repeatedly keep popping up at my home, I recently had this epiphany that my mother is very manipulative. She's obviously possessive about her children, but she has this self-glorifying belief that she's the reason for my father's success and whatever good has happened in me and my brother's life. In terms of a career and finances, I haven't been a role model, but I've made it a point to not ask my father for money unless absolutely necessary such as paying for my quarantine when I was returning as I had run out of funds. On the other hand, my brother is a doctor and he moved away much earlier than me and is in a good position in his career (can afford foreign holidays), and everyday just an hour of video call with him is enough for him to be the ideal son for her. Whereas my wife and I have lived through humiliations she's thrown at us and still we service her. My brother moved away because of my mother as well, for same reasons.

    Now the problem is that ever since I had that epiphany, everything has made more sense, like all the pieces have finally come together. My mother doesn't want anyone to get along in the family. When we were little, she'd keep pushing our father to hit us, but he would just reprimand us. After I left, my father almost broke relationship with my mother and they had massive ugly fights. Whenever I would come to visit, she'd keep pushing me to take her side and even bully and threaten MY OWN FATHER to be respectful to her. I never budged and that only made me an even more disobedient son in her eyes. My brother and I had our fights in childhood, due to which we just parted ways and just live with the usual desi awkwardness between brothers. Basically, no buddy buddy relationship with him. During this lockdown visit, I had an argument with my little sister who's much younger than me and instead of making peace between us, mother made the fight worse by taking my sister's side and attacking me vigorously. She took my sister's side, because my sister does insult my father when he fights with mother. So, it's been a bitter to swallow but in reality my mother doesn't really care for me, and whatever concern she shows, I feel is for keeping a good image in people's eyes. I've had a couple of accidents in the last 2 years when I was abroad, and she just used them as excuse to attack my wife. Because of you, he left and had these incidents blah blah blah.

    The text has become much longer than I anticipated. Finally, now I'm actively maintaining distance from her because all these years I actively aggressively optimistically pursued winning her heart, and my wife and I would do things to make her like us, but it has become to real in this visit that that is never going to happen. I can't think of a proper phrase or proverb, but it's like baiting someone with something that doesn't exist. Her affection for me has evaporated, and she's brought me to blurt out the words "I hate my mother" in front of my wife. My sister has grown to be a mini version of her and I already feel like her life is not going to be any rosier. Mother has been a bitter, argumentative and ungrateful person all her life, but it's taken me 31 years to see it. I don't want another 31 years wasted way seeking her approval. She's cursed me and my wife the worst things imaginable. There are far too many obnoxious and insulting experiences that my wife and I have had. My father in law passed away earlier this year and she's not shown any mercy in that regard towards my wife. I didn't expect her to, but seeing it in action hits differently.

    I'm keeping my distance from her now, and alhamdulillah it's like successfully completing a gauntlet everyday. However, she's looking for an opportunity to pounce on my wife and I daily, and we just keep dodging them. My question, I guess, in the end is how do I maintain this relationship this way. She even throws around these emotional "you don't sit and talk with me these days" questions occasionally and I can't do that anymore. I feel going back to even a resemblance of what it used to be before will only expose me to a humiliation down the way. I know now how she operates, it may not be an actually planned strategy, but I know what the end point is every time. I've fought with her asking her why she favours my brother over me, despite everything, but now I don't even care anymore. I want to keep the relationship alive, but with conditions applied. So how do I honour her when I hate her? How do I be a good son and a good Muslim whilst doing it? How do I live with this conundrum? I'm far from an ideal son, but I'm also not even close to the monster she calls me.

    In terms of moving, we're just biding time for now. I have plans to take my wife and kids with me when I have to fly out this time, so we're just kind of waiting for the flights restrictions to lift off. My optimistic ETA is January in sha Allah.
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    Dealing with a manipulative mother

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  3. #2
    Studentofdeed's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing with a manipulative mother

    I am in the same scenario. I'm the only practicing and better eith character then all of my siblings. My sister is good but when she helps people out she reminds them of her favors. She rubs it on people. She at time misbehave. My brother ever since he became a doctor and moved out...he has been negligent and indifferent. He was indifferent when I was having health issues and didn't make an effort to stay in touch. He only calls my parents when he needs money or to send photos of himself enjoying. He doesn't call otherwise and doesn't go out of the way. I went out of the way for my family but never remind them of my favors. So they forgot all the great things I did...

    At this point...just acknowledge that you are a good person. We can never truly please our toxic families. They bad or indifferent child is always the golden child compared to the one actually is golden. What matters is if your wife thinks you are good...you kids look up to and love you...what more do you need?

    Parents will always look down on you and compare if they are toxic. Best thing to do is try to move out but stay in terms of respect. This is reminder for me and you.
    Insha'Allah may things be easier for you
    | Likes Islami.mu'min, Imraan liked this post

  4. #3
    Islami.mu'min's Avatar
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    Re: Dealing with a manipulative mother

    Wa alaykum assalam.

    Its horrible that your mom has to act like this. Some people will just always want to have drama like how you said even when you left she kept verbally abusing your dad. It really sucks when your spouse is also caught up in in-law drama too. Alhamdulilah it seems like your wife is putting up and trying like you are.... I hope you guys stay strong and make sure not to let your mom get in between your relationship.

    You are a grown man with a family to take care of. The best thing to do is to move out. Be there for your wife and children because they need your support. You also need to make sure to keep your mother and wife at a distance.

    I don't know whether you are moving out long distance or nearby. Either one doesn't matter. But you do need to make sure to check up on your mom sometimes. (if you are long distance then at least call her sometimes).

    Try not to let her emotionally manipulative words get to you. It isn't easy to love a toxic person, but you can still respect them. Just talk to her nicely even if she is being cruel. If she tries giving you unreasonable demands, kindly reject and explain. You need to have a more positive mindset and just ignore what she does. Even if you can't love her, try not to hate. If a family member is abusive towards me, I'll still try to just feel nothing towards this person rather than hating them. I've tried to feel love towards these people but its nearly impossible.

    Your emotion will be uncontrollable sometimes. What matters is that you change your attitude and at least try to make a change in how you view your mom and try to forgive her.

    But the bare minimum is that you still respect her and keep contact with her. You do not have to tolerate her abuse though. Since your moving out inshaAllah itll be easier.

    So every once in a while check up on how shes doing (whether in person or over the phone). Hear her out, see if she needs anything REASONABLE from you. Do not fall for her abusive or manipulative words. Don't let her get in between the relationship of you and your wife or children. Don't allow her to abuse your wife or children.

    And respect your father too. I don't think you mentioned any problems with him so thats good. Make sure to check up on him and see how he feels. He might want to rant and talk to you over the phone if your mom is abusing him when you are gone.

    And always make dua to ease problems and grant you patience with your family.
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