How to deal with abusive parents
Abusive parents suck a lot of energy out of their children. The child often feels tired in the presence of such parents. Because of this, it can be quite a challenge to deal with them on a daily basis.
It is helpful to know that there are really good ways to deal with an abusive parent. These techniques ensure that the child will have the ability to prevent extra burnout, high stress levels and fatigue.
1. Minimize contact
It often is the case that the child automatically tries to reduce contact with his abusive parent. This is an automatic strategy to try to avoid potential damage as much as possible.
It is a challenge to reduce contact with a abusive parents, because you cannot always escape them on a daily basis.
When you notice that your health is declining, it is important that you try to protect yourself from further damage.
Give them short responses and do not try to reach out except in an emergency. If you live with this parent, you try to spend as much time as possible with people who appreciate and respect you. Reach out to friends, other family members, or schoolmates.
Minimizing contact is intended as a temporary solution. This technique is ineffective in the long run because it will tire you out eventually.
2. Study your abusive parent
You can avoid potential problems by studying your parent. For example, find times when this parent is most irritable. At these moments you do not want to be anywhere near.
Perhaps your parent has psychological problems that worsen their behavior. If this is the case, it is important to get an idea of what these psychological problems are and what this parent may have as a disorder.
Many parents who display bad behavior and disrespect their children suffer from personality disorders such as narcissism, borderline or psychopathic tendencies.
For example, if you strongly suspect that your parent is a narcissist, it will not do you any good to keep hoping for a change of their behavior, since narcissism gives no ability for change.
When you find out your parent is the problem, then that may give you some relief. They are the problem, not you.
3. The realization
You eventually reach a point where you can see that your parent has behaved unacceptably. You also let go of the thought and hope that they will change, now that your know what kind of person they are.
If you are completely tired of being mistreated, abused or harmed, then it is time to distance yourself. You reach the point where you understand that what was done to you is unacceptable, and that nothing can make up for it.
You embrace the reality of your abusive parents and start taking steps to distance yourself. From an Islamic perspective, this is your right when you are getting abused. Allah does not require any person to stay in oppression. You have the right to distance yourself from oppressive and abusive parents.
There are boundaries in Islam too, and no parent can cross them. If they are doing you that much damage to the point of a decline in your health, then it is time to step back and protect yourself.
This is one of the most difficult stages in dealing with abusive parents, because here you accept the reality that your parents behaved with hatred and dislike.
Abusive parents claim to love their children, but at the same time their actions show the complete opposite. You start to see that what they were saying all along was a lie to get you to stay longer.
4. Go no contact and walk away
This is the hardest stage in dealing with abusive parents. You accept the reality of your parents and let go of the lie that they love you.
You may choose to cut ties with your abusive parents completely or distance yourself temporarily. Whichever option you choose, this will not be an easy decision to make.
If you live with your parents, you start taking steps to move out. You look at possibilities: living with friends, other family members or on your own.
The ultimate option is to live on your own, as you would then not be dependent on others and can have your own space to heal and process your experience.
It may not always be possible to move out, but you do not give up. You keep looking, because that is always better than staying.
When you are fully committed to moving out, you will find that the process will go more smoothly. It can work against you when you enter this phase without fully being committed to it.
No contact is no contact.
If you are really done with your abusive parent, then what good does it do you if you would reach out to them again? This will only invalidate your hurt and experience after their abuse.
Not everyone should deserve a second chance. A person that abused you greatly to the point you felt disgusted about yourself does not deserve to have you in their life any longer.
Going no contact means blocking their social media, e-mail, telephone number and to move out to another city. You do not deserve to be abused.
Extra tips on dealing with abusive parents
It is and remains difficult to deal with such people. Of course, you want the abuse to stop and to be treated with respect and love by your parents. Unfortunately, that is not always possible with every parent.
Bring some ease into your life by engaging in hobbies, seeking joy and relaxation, or interacting with people who appreciate and respect you.
Make supplications and ask Allah for relief and a way out of your current situation. He will certainly answer you if you do this out of sincere intention.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
"Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no veil between them and Allah."
[Sahih Bukhari 4347]
It can be helpful to share your experience and situation with someone else who is trusted and able to help you.
In addition, we are available to hear your story and experience. Our counselors strive to provide you with relief and assist you in the process. Get to know more about our online counseling service.