Category Archives: guilt

Be True to Love


Over a month has past since I’ve been here, but for me no time has passed at all in some senses. The weekend of Bashir’s nikkah was life-changing for me, in more ways than I could begin to describe. Since then, I have been faced with undeniable truths about myself, life, divine decree, and the purpose of our existence in ways I could never have imagined before. It seems as though that dua I made to be shown how to live more honestly was answered in the fullest way possible.

When I asked Bashir to give me a divorce, I believed I was doing the right thing. I was looking at the situation logically, and shoving all emotions and attachments aside. I saw black, and I saw white, and I thought that’s all I needed to see. I made my decisions out of will and determination, because I believed that making decisions with the heart would sabotage me. I figured I could let my heart get with the program in its own time, as long as I kept focus on the direction I had set for myself.

Even when I found out Bashir had moved on to someone else, I tried to pack up my wounded pride and keep moving forward. I took it as a test of my resolve and gritted myself to make it through the blizzard. But when I found out he had actually married her, I was snapped back to the resonating truth that I had never, ever stopped loving him.

Not for one second.

I realized that I did not love Bashir because of what he did or did not do. Or because he failed or succeeded. I loved him because of who I am. I remembered how pure and unconditional my love for him was when we began our marriage. Whatever he gave in return, it sufficed me, because I was fulfilled in being true to who I was- in lavishing him with attention, affection, and obedience.

Obedience. Yes. Something that had slipped through the cracks over the years of our marriage, taking the other qualities with it.

Here I had spent several months parted from him trying to “find myself”, thinking it was about my personality, my roots, my hopes and aspirations. How daunting to see that what I really needed to find was my lost character, that aspect that actually develops us to the maturity needed to enter the next life without empty hands. I had lost sight of my character, my core essence in being a loving, supportive, humble wife and Muslimah.

All of a sudden the past nearly 10 years of our marriage took an entirely different view. Until that time, I saw the years in terms of his failings, his shortcomings, his wrongs toward me. Everything was myopically focused on him-him-him, and the mistakes he made had built up into a mountain I kept between us. I am not saying he didn’t have the responsibility to make certain choices or treat me certain ways. He did. But I saw that instead of encouraging him, being patient with him, actually trying to help him by being appropriately submissive, I rather became increasingly arrogant, harsh, unyielding, controlling and rebellious to his God-given authority. My pride had been blinding me, convincing me that I was blameless and flawless and entitled. I saw how I began treating him in demeaning ways, which probably only made him more inclined to seek solace in his own maladaptive responses. I was only happy when I was in charge, and he was on his belly.

Yes, by the time we had divorced, I cared more about whether he was following my rules about not eating in the bedroom, than how he was feeling with his anxiety attacks. I became entirely ungrateful, and I only saw it when I realized how far I had gotten from just being true to the love I had for him. For so long I had been wrapped up in how he needed to change and improve, while I became a worse and worse person in my adab and taqwah. I had lost sight of the fact that my day of judgment will be for what I did, not what he did.

As all of this clarity flooded me, I knew that I had been dealing with Bashir based on how I saw him as a human, not how Allah saw him. Allah knows Bashir through and through, and Allah knows what Bashir is worth more than I do. I had to consider that perhaps I got it wrong- that idea I had that I was somehow rescuing myself from a “bad person” and that it was only I who deserved happiness and love. Perhaps the magnitude of my arrogance that had grown made me the one who deserved to be alone and drifting as though lost, while Bashir was actually the one Allah saw deserved mercy and promptly provided him a companion and all other means he needed to have a peaceful life. The ayat came to mind:

“It may happen that his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your stead wives better than you, submissive (to Allah), believing, pious, penitent, devout, inclined to fasting, widows and maids. “(Quran 66:5) Also, the hadith which says, “They (women) are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.” indicates that such women will make up the majority of Hellfire.

I realized what a serious mistake I had made, and how much was truly at stake. All at once I was broken in a way I had never been broken before, and in the recognition of my folly all I wanted was the chance to repent and do it the right way- not the way that would please me or my nafs, but Allah only. I wanted a second chance.

….to be continued….


10 Day Time Bomb


Sometimes some of us are given a situation in life that forces us to take a hard look at ourselves, and reluctantly admit that we are not the person we thought we were or had hoped to be. I am at that place.

The past 10 days have been like the rapid-fire sequence of bombs detonating inside my mind and heart. Sure, it may have all began with what I referenced in my last post about my ex husband wanting to remarry, but it recently culminated with his nikkah yesterday. In between those two crazy-making revelations I endured a severe illness which left me completely weak in my body and mind. Ironically, the ex who was causing the great heartache with his choices was also the only person helping me while I was sick, so in the end my emotions and thought processes were left severely short circuited and unreliable.

I admit, finding out there was someone else out there who cared about him, and who he cared about, made me jealous. I would try to salve myself in various ways, but the bottom line is still the same: they are happy with one another. They are happy because they found love and are no longer alone, and I am unhappy because I am alone and don’t foresee any love life in my future. I resented them both for it, and that showed me how pathetic I really am when it all gets boiled down.

It’s been years since I’ve felt jealous of anyone, so I was really caught off guard by how strong it can be, and how compelling. Jealousy wants to tear down the happiness of others, or somehow inject itself in where it doesn’t belong to feed off of what it can’t destroy like a parasite. Jealousy isn’t even satisfied if you give it what it wants, because it has to give up what it has now just to take it….and jealousy never wants to let anything go.

I went through all those reactions about my ex; not just once but multiple times. In fact, I can still feel the burn inside my nafs from where it is still smoldering, like the underground coal fire in Pennsylvania. It feels at times completely out of control, where my emotions have raised a coup with their drive to have my ex husband back for myself…for him to belong to no one else. Yet I know that chasing that idea down would make 3 people miserable in the end, and perhaps two of them (though it’s hard to admit) deserve the chance to find a renewal of happiness with one another. I was wronged by my ex in various ways, but perhaps Allah will be merciful and keep them from wronging each other.

It is a very difficult thing to accept, to move forward from, when I believe as I do that I won’t get any such redemptive chances (in the context of another relationship). All I have is a hard look at how low I can really go when life gets that real. I can only hope that the illness I went through -as severe as it was- served as some sort of expiation to offset the ugliness I’m seeing in myself.

A Tornado Unleashed


It’s hard to believe it’s only been about 2 weeks since the course of my future changed (at least in my awareness).  It seems like it’s been so much longer, but perhaps that’s because so many things have been going on that it gives the feeling of time stretching out.

I have been working on trying to identify and set up my own boundaries in life. I have recognized my tendency for being codependent and I plan on start going to CoDA meetings (codependents anonymous) because I can’t figure out on my own how to not be that way. It’s been such a lifelong orientation, I really don’t know any other way. But I don’t want to be this way anymore. I want to be my own person. I also plan on starting back with a counselor who can help me work on not “spinning my own reality”.  Someone probably with a strong background in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).  I will do this at the beginning of the year when our new benefits kick in, which will happen to allow mental health visits/counseling with no copays! Plus I will have my annual EAP visits to use then as well.


I have been taking the time to turn to Allah whenever things get overwhelming. So, I have been turning to Allah pretty much on the hour, every day.  Before, I would turn to myself or creation for solutions to my problems, and I want to get away from that maladaptive pattern too. So I have been doing a lot of work on myself, but I still have a lot more to go.


All of these details, plus still getting ready for the closing on 11/19, and some recent events with my youngest son, have been keeping me very busy. I have a great girlfriend I talk to almost daily, and she’s a wonderful support.  With all of this the “pain of being alone” is softened.  Though this is a lot of work and sacrifice, and yes I lose too much precious sleep, I can safely say this is certainly not the worst thing I’ve been through in life.


There are a lot of times I want to reunite with my husband. I want to go back to all the familiar comforts and dive back into the dreams we built, to keep chasing them. One thing I tell myself every time I notice I get carried away with those ideas is that to do so would be going back to living a lie, and the lie is namely that the behaviors he demonstrated in the marriage (and that I ignorantly overlooked too many times) were acceptable. They were never acceptable, I should’ve never tolerated it past the first time.  So going back to that would be sending the message to myself, to him, to our children, and to society that abuse is OK if you can justify it or find a way of living with it.  That’s just simply not true, so no matter what I might feel or want I commit myself to that truth and the response it merits.


One of the more difficult challenges I’ve been facing has to do with my baby, Jabiyr (gosh, how hard it is to work my mind around the fact that he will likely be the last child I birthed).  Jabiyr, who can be the sweetest, most interesting and engaging boy, has always had a temper problem.  I’ve often felt he genetically inherited that makeup from his father, because even as a baby he seemed angry. Where other babies (even my older children) would cry with needs, sadness, and plaintively, he growled. He was mad!  He never seemed satisfied with any of my attempts to soothe him and he would just roar his frustrations out until he was exhausted.


As he got older, he was aggressive as a toddler. Some of that is to be expected at that age, so it was hard to distinguish which things were “personality” and which were developmental, because it wasn’t extremely severe. But when he started pre-K at age 4, his aggression took a specific form. He was suspended several times for hitting other kids and responding to stressful situations with violence. Other reprimands were given for him not listening or following directions, or hiding under his desk.  In the end, he was actually expelled a week before the school year was over because these behaviors had just gotten to be too much.


I was hoping that perhaps these extremes were because he wasn’t used to school, and happened to be one of the youngest kids in class. I hoped it was just immaturity, and that with time and adjustment to the routine he would outgrow it.  He always had a hard time adjusting to change, and has very particular preferences about how things should go.  Yet, these trends continued into kindergarten and first grade.  I don’t think there’s been a year he hasn’t been suspended at least a couple times for aggression or defiance.  However, it did seem like the incidents were decreasing in very small amounts, as last year he didn’t really have many episodes of trying to hurt others. It was mostly just the “not listening” stuff.


This year he had some very patient and understanding teachers. He started off doing great, with a structured reward plan for every day he did well (10 days got him a prize, and 100 days is a big prize. So far he has had 44 good days).  I really thought this would be the year we see a big difference with him, as his reading and writing skills began to blossom rapidly as well.


Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when he came to understand what was happening with me and his father.  I expected this, naturally. I knew this would be a painful adjustment for him, even though the parting is amicable and we are both working toward supporting the little boy as best we can.  The small things that would “set him off” became even smaller, and the reactions even larger.  In the past 2 weeks, I have been called to come get him from school 3 times for essentially disrupting the classroom with a tantrum and refusing to stop.  He would throw chairs, scissors, pencils etc, and not stop when requested.


Even at home with me, I’ve lost a lot of leverage I used to have with him.  When I used to be able to sit with him and soothe him, or give him a consequence that would deter him, now those things don’t work. He is almost impossible to redirect, and he just doesn’t seem to care what the result might be.  It makes me very sad.


So, a few days ago the school called again for him to be picked up. His classroom had to be evacuated because of the havoc he was causing. Students and teachers feared for their safety, and he was suspended.  I also had begun fearing for his safety, because not only has he punched himself in the face when he gets upset but now he is so impulsive when he is in that kind of state I’m not sure what might enter his head to do to himself.


I took him to his afters school provider on the day of his suspension. Within an hour of being dropped off, I got a call to come get him because he was tearing things off the walls, cussing, and hitting the other kids.  I was heartbroken, and I have run out of ideas on how to manage these outbursts.  The school is at their wits’ end too, and I obviously can’t take off work several times a week to get him each time.  I had not looked at medication as an option because it is not FDA approved in children under the age of 7, and he just turned 7 this past August.  However, at this point it seems that he cannot control his emotions on his own, and I don’t know what else to do.


So I took him to the closest behavioral hospital for an evaluation that day.  After the assessment, they recommended an admission so they could observe these behaviors themselves and formulate a treatment plan. I’ve also met with the school administration to come up with some clear objectives while he is there. Today we will have a family session with the hospital staff, and I hope we will have some strategies going forward to help Jabiyr work out his feelings in a healthier way.


Taking him there was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I have always been the one on the the other side (at my job), taking the admission clinicals for children so young. I never thought I would have to  take my own, but between my professional expertise and maternal instincts I’m flat out of answers.  I cried all the way home that night after leaving him.


The doctor I spoke with yesterday said that since he’s been there (a little over 24 hrs) he has been compliant, agreeable, and not at all aggressive or obstinate.  I was very surprised at this. I am not sure if he is trying to be on his best behavior so he can come home, or if he just hasn’t been “triggered” yet.  Either way, it makes me wonder if he can in fact control this behavior, but just chooses not to. If that’s the case, I wonder what could entice him to make the right choices when needed?


I have to admit, seeing all this play out brings a temptation of reuniting with his father. I think, “see, if you hadn’t pursued a divorce, your son would be still doing ok and not acting in the worst of ways.  If you get back with him, he will stop these behaviors”.  But then on the flipside I think of all the things he’s witnessed from his dad in his short life that maybe modeled these behaviors to him to begin with.  Ya Allah, please help my son and bring him peace of mind, heart, and body.


I will forge ahead, and I will continue to try to make the right choices as best I can assess. I will not give up just because it gets hard, and insha’Allah time will straighten all that seems crooked right now.

Falling at Fajr


It seems like all day, maybe even all weekend, I have been carrying around a feeling of dread.  It feels like in some realm a line was crossed, and things which may have been reversible up to that point are now fixed.  I fasted my 10 days for Rajab, concluding Saturday night. At maghrib I made salat and then made dua, pouring out my fears and desires to Allah.  I had so many things to say, and particular things to ask, and I laid it all before Him.  Since then, I have been feeling guilty, and I don’t even know why.  Do I feel bad for wanting anything at all, because it betrays a certain lack of sabr?  Do I feel guilty for wanting something that might be bad for me, even though I do the best I can to use wisdom to discern what I want and need? Do I feel guilty for asking Allah for ease, because it means I can’t handle His tests?

This morning I woke up just after 3 AM, feeling horrible.  I was dreaming about my husband’s relationship with his shaykh, which currently seems to be in a questionable standing. I guess what has been going on has been making him rethink his beliefs and spiritual course, which is understandable.  Even though he is coming to conclusions (in some ways) that I had already established, I am troubled at how far a departure this is from the person I’ve known him to be.  I already was feeling like life as I have known it was shifting in ways I couldn’t keep up with, now I have to adjust to my husband going though an intangible metamorphosis.  Maybe that was the final piece that dropped my heart into despair?

I feel like things are not going to work out….at least not in the direction I would prefer them to.  I had two pictures in my mind of the outcome for my husband’s situation: him leaving and I being left on my own to redefine my future; or him staying because we were able to get a house and move on in some semblence of normalcy (even if it meant him being on probation). Now it seems the option that is being leaned toward is him starting the probation now, without a proper home, without security that his mother will continue to finance his living arrangements if he is unable to find a means to do so on his own, without a reasonable assurance that will we be able to get a place of our own.  Of all the possibilities I’ve been sifting through since his arrest and trying to plan around, this was not one of them. I feel very upended about this, and with the fact that we were not given very good vibes about being financed for a home this past Friday I feel like my heart is stuck in a tar pit. I can’t say that my dream the other night about my job helped that in any way.

Hope lives by being able to create a picture of a future we can believe in, and anchoring ourselves to it during difficult times. I have to admit, I did have a lot of futuristic panoramas to hope in. Being the planner-girl I am, I thought I made sure that every possible outcome had an “after” I could invest in, to keep my spirits buoyant through all this.  With what’s shaping up, I find I didn’t have a scene for this one.  I know time will pass and outcomes will be revealed, and I will move through this to the next phase inevitably. However, I feel like I’m travelling that path hopelessly, because I had not put together a back-up plan for what’s actually taking place.

I’ve already prayed fajr, and I have to work later today.  Tomorrow is the pivotal day, and I expect my husband will continue to deliberate between his options until he has to actually go in and declare a position.  His choice will affect me, whatever it is.  I am not even really sure if I am ready to handle any of the choices he might make, so long had I hoped this day wouldn’t actually come. Even during my dua Saturday night I asked that all this be made to disappear.

I even feel guilty for wanting a generous rescue.  I feel guilty for being frightened when something can’t be changed.  In some ways, the way I am feeling now, the terrifying dreadfulness and ache of regret, is almost exactly the way I felt when I lost my daughter. No matter how much I wish and wish something would alter the events that have already passed through time, I am faced with the conclusion that nothing is going to change back to what it was.  Nothing is going to look the same as it did before, and the only option before me is to try to find a meaningful place in my new reality. Either that, or get stuck in my attachment to memories of the past and live a life of counter-productive fixation. That’s really not my style, though.

I know this is a rambling sort of post, but I need to do it for my own sake because I’m just not ready to lay back down and try to go to sleep with all this heaviness inside my soul.  I remember when I was a child, I had one of those books that come with a 45 speed record (actually I had several of them). The one I am thinking of in particular was Disney’s The Black Hole. I remember in the story how the captain and his crew were basically trying to deal with the inevitability that they were being sucked into this black hole, which they feared would take their lives.  They were not sure what was going to happen or if they would survive.  As they got closer and closer, it became harder and harder to believe they might be able to escape it (although they had been trying all along).  In the end, they passed through the black hole, and made it to the other side safely.  They were in a totally unfamiliar realm, and they realized it was going to be very challenging for them to move forward and continue to survive, because for all they knew they were the only living creatures in this new universe. However, they were thankful to still be alive, and hoped they could make a way forward somehow.

I feel like that now. I feel like the black hole was something I had been falling toward, but hoped I might be able to escape somehow.  Now it really feels like escape is a non-option.  I don’t know if I’m going to survive this transition (emotionally, mentally), but I have no choice but to try.  Even in my best attempts of trying, I have no idea what it will look like until it happens. It feels like trying to drive while blind, and yet hoping I get to my correct destination safely.  It seems like even if that were to happen, the route there will be perilous either way.

I’m still not ready to go to bed. I still feel sick inside. I know staying awake will only sabotage my ability to concentrate at work later today, but I don’t know what else to do. I was hoping writing about my state would draw out the infirmity, like it has so many other times.  I guess this is one of those instances where there is more emotional poison inside than I have words to expel it with. If I could cry I would, but my feelings are more along the lines of “horrified” than depressed.

Ya Allah, I praise you and may blessings surround Prophet Muhammad SAWS.  I already feel like I ask You for too much, and can’t repay all that You have already given. I feel ashamed to even ask for one more breath.  But you are giving me breaths, you are giving me hours and days and a future as You like.  Ya Allah, please give me some glimpse of the beauty in my future, so I can cling to it and survive what’s present.  Please show me a bit of what awaits me on the other side of this test, so  I can continue to be brave and patient and fighting with all my strength; so I can find enough motivation to not give up when it feels like giving up is the only option left. Amin.