advertisement
Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » Family Breaking Down

Family Breaking Down

Asked by on with 1 answer:

When I was 15 years old (I am 30 today) I sat on the edge of the 16th floor window seriously considering to jump because I couldn’t handle what my father kept saying about me not achieving the scores he wanted me to score in high school. The 2 only things that stopped me were my religion, I am a Muslim, and in Islam; taking your own life will send you to hell fire. The second factor is I was worried about my mother, she is too sensitive and I was almost certain she wouldn’t be able to handle and live with such an action.

Until this day, I can handle the most of stressful situations with the an ice cold calm, except for confrontations with my father, I either cry hysterically or revert to violent self-destructive actions (I punch walls a lot, and most recently because my hand hurts from wall hitting I started punching my face), the only thing that calms me down is listening to the Quran.

When I was 15, I left home for graduate school, and I was a big academic failure (noting that I was an A* student, at elementary school and I declined consistently as I grew up). When I used to come back home for vacations, I discovered a hidden file in my sisters documents that seemed like some sort of a resolution description. She cut her wrists and laid in the tub and almost lost consciousness when she got scared and jumped out to stop the bleeding … she then mentioned that she couldn’t bare with the stress she was subjected to at home, but thankfully she also wrote that she decided to become stronger and she won’t let anything get to her until she is out. Again, Quran was her savior, she is a very religious, helpful and successful member of the society.

My second sister, 19 years old today, is a marijuana abuser, a major academic failure (she used to score above average scores throughout elementary school), and when I asked her a few questions about suicide and suicidal thoughts, she admitted that she thought of it before, but the problem is she doesn’t trust anyone of us her family, and if I am to count on our religion to helpfully guide her to inner peace, I can’t because she didn’t have the proper education about our religion that we had (me and her older sister). When we as a family try to talk sense to her, she blames us and says we are the reason she is doing what she is doing, and again I read that same sentence “I can’t wait till I leave this house” in one random scrap paper I found in her room by accident. I specifically asked her a while later if is she ok to live either with my dad or mom and she said no (they are not separated but for financial reasons each lives in a different country, more on that at the next ¬†paragraph), and when I asked her if she’s willing to live with either me or my older sister she said definitely.

I was 21 and in a different country – sister(1) 17 – sister(2) – 12 years old when that separation happened, the girls went with my mother to America, and my father stayed home for work because he couldn’t get the same wage at the States.

I have another 10 year old sister who is like our little angel, I am really worried about her, and I want her to grow healthy and stable.

My question is … is there even a 1% chance that my father has anything to do with the dark days we lived? He is a physician, I am a physician that barely passed any exam from the first trial after the age of 15 (before that I used to be on the 90th percentile), and I am not stupid, I had an IQ of 135 at 15 (I started questioning my brain when I started failing exams), I had an online personality test within the past 6 months and I got an INFJ-T, why did I do the personality test …. I thoroughly analyzed myself and my household and I came to the conclusion that my dad might be the root of all this, and when I politely and respectfully implied that, he simply said that its all in my head, and as the years past by (I broke the fear barrier 7 years ago and started talking to him), he is more convinced that I am the problem, why? Because when I saw the way he resisted any sort of character enhancing advice from my end, I asked my mom and eldest sister to also talk to him (only
¬† after they confided in me and started complaining about his character), hoping that he’d consider. Today, he is convinced that “I brainwashed my mom, and I am trying to ruin the relations between him and his family”.

I love the guy to death, he is a great man, I learned a lot from him that made me the man I am today, I help anyone in need irrespective of their background or type, I barely have any savings but I always give charity. When I see something wrong I speak-up, and when I see good I compliment. I started talking to him because I want to have a better connection with him, because whenever I see him I remember all the bad memories I had throughout my life … good memories (I can only remember a handful).

He was raised an orphan, in a very rough environment, and in my opinion, he negatively affected my mom. He was 30 and she was 18 when they got married. She literally said to me “I never questioned his actions for many long years because he was much older than me, and educated doctor, I thought he knew what he was doing and saying”, another quote from my mother was “I stayed with him because I was worried about the well-being of you guys”. My mother is loved and highly respected wherever she goes, same as me (I think the majority of genes I inherited from her), I have hundreds of friends, always wanted and always approached …. my father has no friends, he always complains about people and his co-workers.

My friends who specialized in psychology always ask me to consider the specialty because I have a thorough eye and I can read people very well (I haven’t practiced any medicine in 5 years).

Based on the latter few points, I asked him to just consider visiting a marriage counselor, just to prove me wrong …. after persistence (crying, throwing myself at his feet and actually crying, and alotta other stuff), he agreed, and when I booked the appointment on one of his cyclical visits to us in the States .. the appointment was a few hours away when he said “I am not going” and then he started dis-credentialing the counselor based on her name and origins (I choose someone who is US educated, but from our cultural background, not same ethnicity, but same culture).

I, on another occasion, asked him, whom would he consider an appropriate person to include into this situation, I exemplified options for him to comprehend “a doctor, a professor, a religious leader, a family elder, brother, sister … etc”, I got no answer from him, when I repeated the question a few times his answer was “God”.

My mom, and 10 year old sister are moving back with him very soon, and history repeats itself for us to learn from it. I deeply wish that I am deluded and at fault, but I don’t want to leave anything to chance.

Help me and if anyone passing by this message believes in karma … karma is real (we Muslims have an explanation for it). I pledge the rest of my life to lift the sorrow from mankind, and will try my best to formulate my kids to do the same, and as Islam says (bear with me if you have any ill-feelings towards it), “whomever helps a person in need God Almighty WILL be at his aid when he/she is in dire need”, provided that you acknowledge his presence in the first place (not necessarily a Muslim).

WHAT IS MY NEXT MOVE?

Thanks for your time, and may happiness and peace takeover your life.

Family Breaking Down

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for the detailed explanation. There is a lot here and it sounds as if there are some unresolved feelings and issues with your father. My encouragement is to try some individual therapy. Talking about this with someone who is trained to listen can be very helpful in sorting it through. I understand your faith is deep and I believe the help of a therapist will give you a perspective that is beneficial.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Family Breaking Down

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Family Breaking Down. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/02/03/family-breaking-down/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 3 Feb 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.