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Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

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  • Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

    Bismillahir rahmanir raheem, as salaamualeikum wah rahmatullahi wa barakatu.

    The sister is approximately old enough to be my mother and reverted many years before me. She was also married to an imam at one time. One can deduce from this that it is likely that she has a great deal more Islamic knowledge than I do, plus life experience. I certainly hold this view.

    However whenever we talk, she never talks to me as a sister. In most cases, I will never get to point of what I'm trying to say, because she will cut me off and derail the discussion. She always lectures me, and in a condescending way, cutting off my every statement, repeating that I haven't learned enough yet, and when I know more I'll understand. Regardless of my comment or the topic. This has been going on for about a year.

    I try to be patient with her, keep quiet and listen. I appreciate that sometimes you learn important things, even if it isn't what you want to learn, if you listen to others. However I often want clarification on something and try to re-direct the discussion to my actual point, but she just continues to talk over me. I know my eyes betray my frustration but I honestly try to not let it show.

    Finally today: This had been going on for about 20 minutes or more. Then she states that she had been reading and studying Islam since X year and "not just a couple of years". To which I finally said, "Sister, I'm sorry but that is so rude." I just could NOT take it anymore. She then went on to say that I talk down to her (when do I talk?), that I blast at her (?!) and that I need to learn to have patience. I immediately started to apologise to her, but she cut me off AGAIN, lectured me some more and was more condescending than ever. I tried again to apologise and she cut me off saying she had to leave, she didn't have time, she didn't want things to get worse between us, (continued for a few minutes) refused again to allow me to apologise, expressed disbelief that anyone could find her rude, and turned to leave. I said ma'salaama and left.

    I sent her an e-mail that simply said 'I'm sorry I hurt you' because I am, and I don't think a lengthy e-mail will get read or understood. Not today, anyway. What can I do to improve this situation if the sister won't allow me to apologise and won't consider that she's doing anything wrong? Do I get a third party involved? I work with her, I'm in a program with her, I can't avoid her. And Islamically, I should not be in an argument with her, and honestly, I try to stay out of them. Clearly we aren't a good match as close friends, but what am I to do? I don't really know what the Islamic ruling is for friendships that aren't working out, coworkers, misunderstandings, etc. I hope some of you can help me out.

    Jzkhr.
    Last edited by Juvegirl; 07-10-11, 08:33 PM. Reason: typo
    "Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2

  • #2
    Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

    :wswrwb:

    The most you can do at this point is apologize, or maybe even gift her something. Giving gist is form the Sunnah.

    Why not try to invite her to your home for lunch or maybe just for a visit? She'll get to know you more.

    If she refuses, then :insha: be patient, sis. Since you have to work with her, you really can't avoid her. However, if I were you, I'd just stick to important matters that are related to work. If you feel she's putting you down, then only talk to her when necessary. At least, it won't cause any arguments or it won't give her a chance to be like that towards you.

    Make Dua'a if you sincerely feel that she can improve.

    Being a wife of the Imam or being a revert for x number of years means nothing to me, really.

    May Allah reconcile the situation.
    Secure few moments, everyday, to reflect upon the innumerable blessings of Allah and thank Him for bestowing them upon you.

    "A person who is blessed with the ability to be grateful, shall never be deprived of barakah and increase in blessings."
    - Rasulullah (صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم)‎

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    • #3
      Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

      :wswrwb:,

      You've said sorry, and tried to say it in person too, what else can you do? Maybe repeating it when you see that she's in a good mood might help, just don't try to get her to understand her behaviour is off, leave it at apologising.

      There are some people we just won't get on with, we don't need to force ourselves to be around them; even if you're in a course with her, you don't need to be together all the time, just be nice when you do talk and don't try to go our of your way to avoid her. Basically, give her some space, but try to be nice about it. Clearly she doesn't seem to like you much and you've tried, forget it. This is what I'd do.

      Either way, consider whether you can improve yourself in reflection over what's passed. Lately, I've been getting a little miffed over something, but when I thought about it I realised that though what the person - in my case - was doing wasn't right, my automatically getting annoyed was somewhat uncalled for, too. Idk, I basically felt about it because I felt I should have exercised more patience. =/
      Last edited by Soliloquy; 08-10-11, 02:51 AM.
      Ya Muqallib al-Quloob, thabbit qalbi 'alaa Deenik
      O' Converter of Hearts, make my heart steadfast upon Thy Way
      We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

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      • #4
        Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

        Sister Juvegirl, why not see less and less of this person ? - if by talking to her and being in her presence makes you feel 'worthless', surely the best thing to do would be to keep the relationship to an absolute minimum ?
        'Nor say of anything,"I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow" without adding, " if Allah (SWT) Wills" (18:23-24)

        QuranExplorer.com, where you can Listen to the Holy Recitation and Translation online in Arabic and English : http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/ :)

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        • #5
          Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

          You've apologized, sis. She needs to apologize as well, inshallah.

          Why don't you just not really talk with her anymore? Of course be friendly and such but try not to really go out with her or anything since you both clash.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

            You need to stop apologising to this woman, you've done enough of that already and she's not even acknowledging what you're trying to say. I think you've misunderstood her from the outset. Just cos' she was married to an imam x number of years ago and claims to have studied all those years, doesn't mean she is the fount of all knowledge and you, the newbie Muslim can be treated like something stuck to the bottom of her shoe and should be grateful for her rants and lectures that have nothing to do with whatever you want to discuss with her. If she truly had such immense knowledge of the deen, she would know a thing or two about modesty and humility.

            If the Prophet (saw) didn't talk down to people in spite of his immense knowledge and considered that attitude to be the wrong approach; who is she? Also according to hadith evidence, the person with even a mustard seed's worth of kibr will not enter Paradise. Kibr means ego. If she really believes accumulating knowledge gives her the right to talk down to others then it means her kibr is destroying all the potential benefits of her good deeds and knowledge and she can risk going to hellfire over that. Do you know how TINY a mustard seed is? It's smaller than a pepper corn.

            One other thing... ask others who know her closely about what she is like. Read their facial expressions when they speak cos' sometimes out of politeness they might not want to badmouth but their face will slightly wince at the question. Don't speak badly of her yourself, just ask around. If I give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she wasn't always like this, I honestly think this could be an 'old woman' issue. I'm not saying all old women are like this at all, but with some individuals, reaching a certain age can cause them to become a bit forgetful, lose patience more easily and go off on a tangent talking about irrelevant things when you ask them questions. She is probably finding this phase of her life very scary and instead of admitting it or addressing it, she's trying to cover up her flaws by sidetracking all discussions and blaming everyone else for these issues to deflect responsibility away from herself. Such people dont' necessarily have dementia (which is more of a worst case scenario), but they can become a bit immature and regress a bit to immature behaviour.

            I've often heard that in old age, some people regress back into childhood and can start behaving more like children in spite of being adults. There is Qurani ayah about lowering the wing of mercy towards elderly parents precisely because it's well known that this behaviour is very exasperating and frustrating for those who come into regular contact with such people and it's very easy to lose patience or get upset about it. I have ample experience of what my mum and certain other women of her generation are like and can draw several parallels. It's hard cos' they're neither children, with whom you can exert your authority and set them straight, nor are they like rational adults who can be reasoned with. I'm sure it's also the cause behind a lot of MIL and DIL disputes, even in families where both the MIL and DIL are decent well meaning people.

            I suggest that if you need advice on an Islamic issue and this woman keeps going off on a tangent and not answering you properly, then it is better to seek advice elsewhere otherwise you'll keep getting frustrated. I suggest that you shouldn't put up with abuse or put downs and should just stick to interacting with her as far as the work related issues are concerned, not in any other way so as to minimise your contact and hopefully minimise your frustrations. As she's an elder person and might not be 'all there', don't raise your voice with her or swear, but at the same time, don't put up with abuse or put downs. People make the mistake of ranting and raving about 'sabr sabr sabr' as an e xcuse to put up with abuse and ruin your own mental health which is frankly a load of rubbish. If she is using her position to be bullying and verbally abusive then she will be accountable for it and possibly punished by Allah (swt) and you will be accountable for not setting her straight whilst you have the chance. Draw a line and if she crosses it say "don't speak to me like that" and leave the room. InshAllah when you develop the skill of drawing that line and enforcing it, she'll develop a sense that she can't just push you around and should behave a bit better, but if she doesn't then you'll have to report this and discuss it with someone else in the organisation to see if anything can be done about it.
            The Lyme Disease pandemic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5u73ME4sVU

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            • #7
              Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

              She certainly is not old enough for this to be an "old woman" issue (she's maybe 50) and is sharp enough. I've also seen her with other, born Muslims, and she doesn't talk down to them. So this is specifically between us, apparently.

              Thank you everyone for your advice. I suppose I have no choice but to create some distance between us. I was under the understanding that you HAD to keep in contact with the Muslims you know, whether you liked them or not, so I continued to put myself through all this. I certainly would enjoy a long break from her, if possible.
              "Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

                Originally posted by Juvegirl View Post
                She certainly is not old enough for this to be an "old woman" issue (she's maybe 50) and is sharp enough. I've also seen her with other, born Muslims, and she doesn't talk down to them. So this is specifically between us, apparently.

                Thank you everyone for your advice. I suppose I have no choice but to create some distance between us. I was under the understanding that you HAD to keep in contact with the Muslims you know, whether you liked them or not, so I continued to put myself through all this. I certainly would enjoy a long break from her, if possible.
                May ALLAH (SWT) Reward you for your intention and sincerity, Sister.

                And there's a fine line between keeping contact to an absolute minimum and that of ignoring the person altogether. Insha'Allah the following link might shed some light on the issue :

                http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/h...17/chap280.htm
                'Nor say of anything,"I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow" without adding, " if Allah (SWT) Wills" (18:23-24)

                QuranExplorer.com, where you can Listen to the Holy Recitation and Translation online in Arabic and English : http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/ :)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Need advice regarding a difficult relationship with another sister

                  Originally posted by Peacenik View Post
                  And there's a fine line between keeping contact to an absolute minimum and that of ignoring the person altogether. Insha'Allah the following link might shed some light on the issue :

                  http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/h...17/chap280.htm
                  Thanks for the link, it was indeed helpful. May Allah swt reward each of you for reaching out to me on this matter, it has greatly distressed me, but I see there is little more I can do besides pray for her and pray for my own faults on this issue.
                  "Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2

                  Comment

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