As Ramadan draws to an end, British Author Misbah Akhtar shares with us how divorce and abandonment of a father affects emotional development in children.
The Uninvited Friends of Divorce
Divorce is said to be one of the hardest things to go through. It affects the whole family; both close and extended. And children are undoubtedly hit the hardest. From having two parents they share a home with, they suddenly go to living with one. The uncertainty of what happens next scares them. Children need stability and yet they are now thrown into the black void of the unknown. The heartbreak is imaginable, perhaps even akin to the death of a loved one. How then would rejection of a parent’s love by way of abandonment affect a child?
My Personal Experience
My children were young when I became a single mother. I greatly underestimated the impact the divorce would have on them. Sure, I knew they would be upset by not living with their father. At first, they seemed very ok. Of course, this could have been because after we moved back to the UK from Dubai they thought they were still on a holiday for a while. The exuberance of being reunited with my parents who they were close to may have acted as a temporary balm. The lack of crying and screaming for their father I thought meant they had adjusted extremely well. Unfortunately the pain of loss went deeper than I could imagine. Years later, we are slowly coming to terms with the impact of that loss. Had I known sooner, so much heartache could have been avoided.
The Remnants of Absent Parents in the Ummah
There is a trend that is sadly becoming prevalent within our Muslim society: absentee fathers. Their father left them to stay on in Dubai and later moved and married in Hong Kong. I could never understand what could possibly mean so much to anyone that they would abandon their own children and only visit twice a year. No phone calls, no emails, no letters. They had no father for 50 weeks of the year. And when they did see him, he was aloof and distant.
My heart broke over and over when they searched for him during school plays; when they told me other children were making father’s day cards and asked what they ought to do. My son entering puberty was particularly hard. I tried the best I could to research and answer questions, but I could tell he longed for someone who could validate him by actually understanding what he was going through. I couldn’t give him that. I could never replace his father.
I have watched my daughter change from a bubbly and lively young girl to a withdrawn teenager who dislikes showing her vulnerability. She pushes people away and tests their boundaries to see if they too, will abandon her. She told me she doesn’t want to ever get married and does not have a high opinion of men. I initially put all of this down to just hormones and puberty until one night she broke down in tears, my daughter who is fearless and hates to show her sensitive side; and told me she missed her father. “He left me, because he doesn’t love me,” she sobbed. The pain never went away, instead it made her insecure and resentful. I had no words; no amount of words could change that her doesn’t make an effort. I tried telling her it wasn’t about her that he has to find his own path and that of course he loves her, but truthfully, my words sounded hollow and stuck in my throat. I couldn’t convince her, I couldn’t convince myself.
Ronald Rohner of the University of Connecticut, co-author of the new study in Personality and Social Psychology Review conducted research into the effect that parental rejection and acceptance has on shaping children’s personalities. His findings showed that a father’s love contributes as much – and sometimes more – to a child’s development as does a mother’s love.
In other words, abandonment of the father can be detrimental to a child’s emotional upbringing. Upon delving deeper into his research he also consequently found that rejection activates the same part of the brain as physical pain does, indicating the seriousness of abandonment. “Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years,” Ronher said.
Furthermore, Rohner found that children that feel rejected by their parents are more likely to suffer from anxiety and insecurities, they behave more aggressively and with more hostility towards others.
Abandonment and rejection has a lingering effect which overlaps into adulthood. This in turn makes it harder for these individuals to form trusting and secure relationships with their spouses.
Rohner’s study is based upon 36 worldwide studies featuring 10,000 participants. Participants completed surveys about their parents’ degree of acceptance or rejection during their childhood. They also answered questions about their personality dispositions.
Fatherly love and involvement is crucial for a child. When compared to a mother’s love, over 500 studies found that the influence of a father’s rejection can be much greater than that of a mother.
Fathers need to be encouraged and motivated to be more active in their children’s lives in a nurturing capacity. The loss of a father has deep psychological implications upon children even if they seem to be “ok” at face value. This concept needs to be recognized and addressed in order for our children to develop into mentally healthy and confident adults. It takes two people to create a child, it takes two therefore, to raise them.
Bio: Misbah Akhtar is a mental health and social issues blogger, author and single mother of 4. She is the founder of Single Muslim Mums and Editor – in -Chief of Mumspiration. Her children's book Ramadan Without Daddy which tackles the concept of divorce from a Muslim child’s perspective, is available to buy through Amazon and Djarabi Kitabs Publishing.
1. A. Khaleque, R. P. Rohner. Transnational Relations Between Perceived Parental Acceptance and Personality Dispositions of Children and Adults: A Meta-Analytic Review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2011; 16 (2): 103 DOI: 10.1177/1088868311418986
Originally appeared at Hayati Magazine.
Bringing up past arguments during a disagreement is not unhealthy. We have to understand why this occurs; the underlying issues and not the specifics brought up during the current argument. If your spouse always accuses you of a certain behavior, it doesn’t mean that your spouse is unforgiving or won’t get passed your shortcomings. What your spouse’s accusations actually show is the lack of security your actions have caused your partner to endure and lash out. Perhaps your spouse is complaining because you don’t show enough compassion, jumps to conclusions, don’t show any sign of vulnerability, and the list goes on and on. Naturally, humans marry because they beseech a strong sense of security whether it be by love, social status, faith or financially. So check out a list of things you shouldn’t do when the past is rethatched in your marital fights.
1. Don’t argue the accusations
When your spouse grossly starts throwing up accusations heated out of boiling emotions, stay calm and listen to what your spouse isn’t saying. For instance, your spouse said, “You never take me out to eat or don’t kiss me anymore.” You perhaps immediately thought, “That’s not true, I kissed you goodbye this morning and just last week we ate out.” What your partner perhaps truly meant was, “You aren’t romantic anymore. Your moves are more robotic and out of habit rather than having thoughts and meaning like during our honeymoon phase for instance.” Sure some facts will be utterly misstated but that’s what emotions make people do, exaggerate things.
2. Listen and Ponder
Just for a moment, take the time to listen and understand why your partner feels the way they feel. Be patient even it kills you inside to gaze into their mind and see the way they see the full picture. It’s rewarding when your partners allow themselves to be vulnerable with you. You must understand that they let you gaze deep into their souls and revealed really personal and intimate thoughts to you that you should value. Why? Because they have totally unveiled themselves to you without reserve and you should be grateful. I mean on a daily basis, we have no idea what our spouses think unless they speak their mind. A free ride into your spouse’s mind is a rare trip one should never pass on! If you act accordingly upon such a generous offer, they will trust you more. They will also come to rely on you a little more and stop bringing up the past because you would have both grown and understood why you had disagreed in the past and strive to avoid making the same mistakes that caused these arguments going forward.
3. Don’t Be a Sore Looser
Yes, it felt like pulling teeth to not argue and let your spouse whine on and on and on. Congratulations for being the bigger person and actually listening and making concessions to be better even if you both need work. Also say it. Yes, say it that you understood where your spouse’s insecurities stemmed from and why your spouse kept bringing old issues up. In short, the real issue wasn’t properly discussed and resolved. Now, don’t hold a grudge after your therapy session is over because you felt bamboozled or compelled to listen to your half when you had no room to argue your stance. You will have your time to be heard. You can do it after your spouse is done talking by requesting the floor the same way you yielded it without interrupting.
Above all, bringing up past arguments if we really listen to the complaints fosters the beginning of a new era of peace and understanding in a marriage. If you believe your spouse is guilty of always bringing up old arguments, try to be emotionally intelligent with your partner like we suggested in this article and tune out the old details brought up which are truly a distraction. Let us know in the comments what happened when you changed your attitude. Good luck!
Bio : Papatia Feauxzar is an American author, publisher, and barista of Ivorian descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son. You can visit her websites www.djarabikitabs.com and www.fofkys.com .
Originally posted at Bella Naija.
“If you pray to Allah so that Shaytan doesn’t get between you and your spouse and he still does. Be sure to know that he will get between you and your friends regardless.”— Papatia Feauxar Abdul al-Mutakkabir wa al-Haseeb
NEW ILLUSTRATED SHORT POETRY COLLECTION IS AN EMPOWERING PIECE OF ART
Unveiled is a riveting poetry collection with a short essay on the author's journey to wearing hijab.
DALLAS, TX - November 26th, 2017. DJARABI KITABS PUBLISHING has officially released Unveiled a short poetry collection by Rumki Chowdhury. The eBook version is free on Djarabi Kitabs' e-Store. All proceeds from the eBook and the paperback will go to charity.
The author shared her noble reasons and motivations for penning her first poetry collection in a tense climate of Saving Muslimah Syndrome (SMS).
"Debate surrounding the veil/headscarf/hijab has become so prominent that even the European Union has given employers the right to implement a policy, barring religious symbols. This so-called attempt on assimilation is really an annihilation of personal identity. I am a hijabi and I should have the right to create and develop my own, personal identity. The hijab gives me wings so that I can fly!
I aim to contribute to the termination of the misconception of the hijab. My goal is to show hijab as a symbol of freedom rather than the commonly, misunderstood notion of it being a symbol of imprisonment. "Because of this thing on my head," I am, indeed, free! I have decided to write for purpose rather than profit as all proceeds will go to the charity that gives "voice to the voiceless," Restless Beings." — Rumki.C
Unveiled has received a myriad of praises from respected sources.
"A richly, imaginative lyrical anthology, which is unapologetic in its prose. And will leave every Hijabi energised for the future! ...This collection is a profound meditation on the tempestuous and unpredictable relationship Muslim woman have with Hijab."— Fatima Shah, SISTERS Magazine.
"Rumki describes the thoughts of a veiled woman in the form of delicate and well-formulated poems, while portraying the daily struggle of a hijabi in the western society. A beautiful, educational anthology, serious in its message with hints of humor. This has to be read by everyone!" — Shama Vafaipour, Svenska Hijabis (Swedish Hijabis)
"A diverse, yet integrated collection of poetry, each told in a very fun and exciting way. Rumki elegantly encapsulates the ideology of wearing the hijab told in a quirky and empathetic manner! She offers food for the mind, body and soul." — Rima Rouf, BBC TV/Digital Media Producer
"Chowdhury writes about the hijab from her own perspective, as a symbol of choice and empowerment, as opposed to than one of oppression; her writing provides an authentic voice, which is extremely necessary when it comes to the discussion of such topis; we are in desperate need of having more genuine, witty, and sincere female Muslim voices like hers to be at the forefront of our discourse." — Sadia Ahmed, Sincerely Sadia
"There are several lines that hit me like “WOW” and if I could I’d quote every single line on here but you’d have to purchase it to see for yourself (support the community, thanks x)."— Su'ad, The Millennial Muslim
"Rumki uses poetry and illustrations for readers to easily capture the daily struggles of veiled women while offering words of inspiration to be proud of who you are. I was left empowered and I couldn't help but smile throughout reading it." Kaity Assaf, Opinions Editor, Rutgers Observer Newspaper.
"Unveiled is a unique expression of what Muslim Women Struggle with on a daily basis. Having to embrace the hijab in the modern society that we live today. Rumki Explores the spiritual and worldly connections alike. What are your identities as a Muslim woman wearing the Hijab in this day and life as there are different levels of hijab. Does any of those make you less of a Muslim and the struggles of being veiled as well as being unveiled. Any Muslim woman would enjoy the collection of poems as well as the good feeling factor of all proceeds going to charity, Mashallah." — Musart Ellaahi, Motivational Speaker/TV-Host, THE LIVE SHOW UK
Join DJARABI KITABS PUBLISHING on Facebook @djarabikpub for the official launch of Unveiled on November 26th, 2017.
About the author:
Rumki has a Masters in English Literature from Queen Mary University of London and a Bachelors in English Writing from William Paterson University of New Jersey. She is now a licensed English teacher in Stockholm, Sweden. You can learn more at www.rumki.com .
Djarabi Kitabs Publishing
PO BOX 703733
Dallas, TX 75370