SunniPath: Dealing with in-laws and a difficult marriage situation
Answered by Wajihah Gregor


I have a brother in law who is disabled. Because of this he has a very hot temper and is very hard to get in with. He gets very sensitive about issues and hard to have a conversation with or a debate in a calm manner esapecially if one does not agree with his point of view. I had patience with him before he got married, however now that he is married his wife tends to make a lot of complaints about me to him and he in return loses his temper with me with no regard to wether I am right or wrong. My father in law won''t say much to her as they say she looks after their disable4d son and has taken the pressure off them. His wife will not come to me directly if she has a problem she just keeps complaining to my brother in law or my father in law. I do not know what her complaints even are about and I do apologise to them but it just keeps carrying on.

I have two children and since that things between my inlaws have deteriorated because of my brother in law losing his temper with me and I find it very difficult now after having so much patience to stay calm they have told me not to come over again or accept his temper and his wife as she looks after their son and to apologise to them even if they are wrong and keep having patince with them. I find it very difficult to allow my husband to take our children over to their grandparents house as they now ask me why I do not go over and do I hate my in-laws. My husband will not say anything to his brother that he cannot speak to me like this he just says it is because he is disabled he cannot walk is why he is very aggressive.

What should I do in this situation. My husband has given me two divoreces because his brother gets angry with me and he expects me to stay calm and I do not. I find it very hard as my husband won''t say anything to him. Can he speak to me like that and is it acceptable. I have to protect myself with him all the time. I feel I am getting no protection from my husband in this regard. Islamically is m brother in laws attitude acceptable. Is it an exception him talking to me very agressively and his wife causing trouble. Do I have to have patience with this?


Your situation is, no doubt, challenging and tough. This is an opportunity for you to turn to Allah for help, strength, and emotional stability. Your husband has already given you two divorces and should the situation escalate again your husband may give you a final divorce and you run the risk of losing your children.

Therefore, our intention should be to keep your family together while protecting the rights of everyone involved.

Your brother-in-law''s behavior is a common response to physical disability. His anger and temper result from the pain and frustration he faces every day. The limitations he has, and the dependence he requires, are a heavy burden for him and those responsible for him. His wife, being his care-taker, is likely to bear a lot of stress and heartache over the daily challenges involved with physical disability.

However, you absolutely do not have to tolerate verbal abuse from him or his wife. If your attempts to repair and apologize have been met with increased animosity and harm, it is probably best to remain distant, without cutting them off completely, as this could potentially make things worse. Though they may ask about your whereabouts, maintain a polite and fair but distant relationship with them. Remain patient and steadfast for the sake of your children.

Your husband''s parents have a right to see your children and you should allow them to spend time together unless you feel that they are in harm''s way. If this is the case, you must solicit your husband''s support, and see to it that they are not a target for physical or verbal abuse.

It is a rule of wisdom in dealing with in-laws is that the husband should deal with his family and the wife with hers. This is because the family can easily forgive their own family member but not so easily an outsider. Instead of dealing with your husband''s family directly, discuss the issues with your husband and do your best to win his support and understanding.
I suggest that you sincerely focus on your relationship with your husband and do your best to strengthen your relationship and bond with him. With his support, your situation would improve.

There are many resources and specialists that can offer you additional help. Below are two online support group links that you may look into below for starters. These groups are for people with disabilities and for family members of people with disabilities. You may consider joining one or both of these groups as to talk to people who face these issues every day for additional advice and emotional support.

I pray that Allah Most High grants you patience and success. Please contact us here at SunniPath if we can assist you further.

And Allah Knows Best.

MMVIII © SunniPath.

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