Posted by: thestruggle4akhirah | August 28, 2009

Screaming for Appreciation

Screaming for Appreciation  Broken_marriage

Internal Communication Network Series pt.3

By Megan Wyatt

“Why can’t you ever remember to do the things I ask you? All I wanted was for you to pick up a few things from the grocery store on your way home from work. How hard can that be? You remember meetings and phone calls, or emails you have to reply to day and night for your company, but when it comes to something I ask you, you always forget. I’m sick and tired of doing everything around here and you never helping out at all!” said Iman as her husband Farhan walked in the door empty handed from work.

“Ok OK…I will go and get the things now. “ he replied looking a bit stunned at her state of anger and frustration.

“That’s not the point! I don’t want you to go and get things now! Just forget it!!” And with that Iman stormed upstairs, and slammed her bedroom door, sobbing on the way.

“Fine….FINE!” Farhan screamed back at her, as he proceeded to throw down his briefcase, and head to the living room to turn on the T.V.  Their children looked up silently from a puzzle they had been doing on the floor, and knowing not to speak, they glanced at each other, and proceeded to work so that they didn’t get yelled for something too.

Many couples argue weekly, if not daily, over things that, while minor, are emotionally charged.

This could be your marriage, someone you know, or even the state of other relationships you have with your family members close to you.  What is great about this problem is that it has a solution. What may have seemed like a never ending slew of arguments and fighting can and will come to an end when you discover the true message behind the emotions being played out.

Part of understanding how your Internal Communication Network functions is to realize over and over again that your emotions are transmitting a very specific message to you. Most people are so wrapped up in the emotion, they aren’t able to quiet down and understand what is really going on inside.

Why is this so important? Because if you can’t understand what you really need beneath all the surface issues and feelings, then you will continue to use “surface” problems as a way to express what you most desperately want. The problem with this, of course, is that you are transmitting another message to your partner instead of the one your own emotions were transmitting to you. Talk about a communication break down!! No wonder it is so hard for people to get out of fighting!

Let’s look at the example of Iman and Farhan at the beginning. Both of them decided to work with a coach to figure out how to solve their fighting and constant disagreements. Home life was becoming unbearable, and as a result, tension seemed to increase as the week went by. By the weekend, they would have a huge fight, make up on Sunday, and things would start all over again.

What was going on?

Their coach had them each replay this argument in their minds, and asked them to consider what the real message was that each of them was feeling inside. It took a few minutes of questioning and digging, but after 22 minutes to the dot, the truth came out.

Iman’s internal message was that she didn’t feel appreciated or special. All of her complaining and arguing was a desperate attempt to be comforted and validated for how much work she put in running their home.  Every time her husband forgot something, she chose to translate that to mean he didn’t care about her as much as work. She imagined that if she were special and truly valuable, she would be at the top of his list each day, and never miss a beat with her. More specifically, she missed the moments where he couldn’t wait to talk to her or see her, and when she felt that, nothing else mattered.

Farhan’s internal message was that he didn’t feel appreciated or significant. Yup! Pretty much the same thing as Iman. After working so hard all day, he felt exhausted leaving the office. His mind felt drained, but on his ride home he cheered up looking forward to an evening with his wife and children. When he saw her angry at him, he felt completely disrespected and totally underappreciated for all the hard work he put in day in and day put to provide for his family. He missed the moments where he could walk in the door, see his wife’s smile, and then be willing to catch the moon for her if she asked.

The challenge they were given, after learning how to tune in to the message behind the emotions, was to spend the next two weeks aiming to share their real wants and needs instead of the scapegoat comments they usually threw between one and other.

The result was a 180 degree change. It took both of them being willing to let their ego and pride fall away, and as a result, their communication not only improved, but the smile on Iman’s lips returned, and the softness in Farhan’s eyes came back. Feelings of love, respect, and appreciation flowed.

Don’t forget to note the effect all of this will have on their children too.

If a person doesn’t take the time to learn more about themselves, and what is going on internally, then they may be setting themselves up for many disappointments down the road.

Here are three things you can do to utilize your Internal Communication Network!

1)      Make a daily commitment to let go of false pride and be vulnerable. In vulnerability there is true strength, so express your real needs and wants instead of hurting someone else and hoping they “magically” figure out what you really need.

2)      Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Give yourself the time to digest a feeling until you understand it. The payoff will save LOTS of time in the end.

3)      Accept. There are no bad feelings or emotions, only bad actions. Do not resist your own needs or wants, nor of your spouse’s no matter how “illogical” it sounds.  When you let go of resistance, you allow yourself to truly articulate the real message in your emotions.

Ever since starting coaching with Megan, alhamdulilah, my life has been transformed. Through her patience, expertise and wisdom, she has helped me uncover and then deal with long-standing destructive beliefs about myself – beliefs which have only held me back. She has taught me crucial life skills and new, healthy ways to view myself and my challenges. I have now learned to forgive myself and am now moving on to greater heights. Coaching is an absolute must for every single person who wants to heal from past hurts. I thank Allah for sending Megan to me. InshaAllah she will continue to become a catalyst for others! – Raidah Shah, Australia


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Posted by: thestruggle4akhirah | November 20, 2009

“The Only Thing I Regret..” Domestic Violence: Part 1 –

“..My husband started drinking then, and became an alcoholic and abuser. During that hard time, I then got pregnant with my son, and that was a tough time. We all have  hard times. Financially, no money, no food, and I was pregnant. It was also a tough time. I was 19 or 20, with two kids, with no speaking English, I knew no one, no job, and an abusive husband.

In the daytime was two bottles of beer, and after that he would use heavy drink until midnight. He would come, beat me “why are you sleeping.”

Sometimes he kicked me  out on a rainy day, with a baby in my lap. Spending the night in the stairs…” – narrated by interview

I have had an amazing opportunity to interview different Muslim women from various backgrounds, searching for the experience, wisdom, and knowledge they have from their rich and vibrant lives. As with many people, we all have hardships, trials, and tests that has been sent our way.

One such sister, who’s story you just read at the top, moved me greatly. Her story is a tragic one, no doubt. At the same time, she has also become a success story, learning about herself, growing in her faith, and now being willing to share her story with others, specifically a group of teenage girls where she was interviewed, of her advice on living a better life. She remarried, has a wonderful husband, and now is a mother of  4 children masha’Allah.

When looking to write a post about this subject, I found within her story an answer I wanted so much to convey, so without edit, here is her reply when she was asked what is one thing in life she regrets:

“When my ex-husband was abusing me, I asked myself. “why I didn’t get help, call the police, why I kept letting him abusing me?” I never called the police, I never told anybody. When he beat me up, my face got scratchy. No one could see me, I put on a lot of make-up, And the neighbors couldn’t see me. And I asked “why did I do that? Why didn’t I call the police, and put him in jail?”

That is my culture. Muslim culture is (should be)  totally different. Listen to me. One day, you will  be married. If your husband abuses you one time, don’t be quiet. First call the family, and tell them, your son is abusing me. If he doesn’t listen, call the police on them. That’s why I am always thinking “why is he abusing me a lot and I didn’t call the police?”

Culture is good, but don’t let it lead to abuse. In my culture, we were told “whatever your inlaws, your husband say, you don’t say nothing. Don’t talk back to them, you must respect them no matter what they do.” This is always what our parents told us….

No, this is wrong. I don’t want this for my daughter. This is not ok, you must stand up… ”

*********************

SubhanAllah. Many women will stay in an abusive marriage for years suffering because of culture. Their children watch and hear them get abused, if not getting abused themselves. The woman is a prisoner in her own home and she keeps handling this over and over again  – and the question for everyone is why?

In the survey I did, the “why” gets answered.

No matter the why, though, this woman I interviewed desires so much to not let anyone else go through years of abuse for a false notion of honor in the eyes of people. There are many factors that contribute to the difficulty of leaving an abusive marriage, and cultural expectations is one of them in the Muslim community.

(We will discuss others in future post insha’Allah)

Action Steps:

1) If you or someone you know is being abused, speak to someone you can trust. Find a close friend, an imam, a therapist, or someone in your family.

2) Remember: you can call the police – but they cannot help you if you don’t help yourself.  No matter who someone is, if they are physically harming you or your children, its a crime, its illegal, and its haram, but you hold the power in your hands and voice as to whether it continues or not.

3)  Never look down upon yourself. We all go through tests and tribulations, but you are still important to Allah, special, and belong to Him. Allah is always there for you, turn to Him, seek His support, and remember the famous hadith “Tie your camel and trust in Allah.” There is always an action to be taken on your side too.

4) Allow Islam to guide your decisions, and not culture alone.

(coming up insha’Allah – how children, finances, beliefs, and emotions hold women back from leaving an abusive relationship)

Posted by: thestruggle4akhirah | October 3, 2009

Why My Laugh Gets Me in Trouble

Bismillah

I have this tendency to laugh or giggle in moments that are not necessarily happy, moments that should be serious. For example, I may be in a serious conversation, but giggle at the end of my phrases. For the first time ever I became aware of this when I was doing my coaching certification.  The other day I had a chance to become even more deeply aware of this trait and to discover what was underneath.

Many people suppress emotions without realizing it and as a result wear the face of many masks, but rarely allow their actions and expressions to match up their true and deepest emotions.

The result of doing this can lead to an endless list of issues. It could mean never learning how to open up and truly experience joy. It can create marital discord as one spouse or both are never able to articulate all of their deepest emotions leading to either a lack of intimacy or built up resentment. No matter which way you put it, not allowing ourselves to feel, truly feel, is cutting off an opportunity to be fully present in our moment. The message we send to ourselves internally is “Whatever I am feeling is wrong, and it must be stopped.” How we got that message is a different story, but through the years we have trained ourselves to force a response different then the real emotions present.

As I sat across from a teacher who teaches and heals in this amazing combination of holistic practice within the Sunnah, he asked me to slow down, to get in touch with the different physical sensations in my body, like my breathing and the placement of my hands.

I kept giggling quietly, feeling I could not stop. I apologized, telling him “I’m sorry, I can’t stop.”

With the same directness I usually dish out on my own coaching calls, he said “Yes you can. What would happen if you did not laugh?”

I paused, and said I am not sure. At that moment, almost at the same time his question came out of his mouth, I began to formulate the answer.

“You would cry.” he said confidently, yet softly.

And at that moment, I did indeed feel like crying.  Crying because I had come to explore something, to search for answers, and there was a sense of relief, of being understood and validated.

But I would not and could not cry. Because then I would be vulnerable.

I have coached countless sisters who have been in my shoes exactly. I have realized in my own self and hundreds of others that being vulnerable is one of the greatest risks we will ever take, and one of the most essential to living fully authentic and present in each moment.

Yet we are afraid to be vulnerable because somewhere in our lives we were hurt for “wearing our heart on our sleeves,” and as a result we changed.

Choosing to keep our feelings hidden, though, will bring about far greater consequences. Not just in our relationships, but even in our connection with Allah, ‘azawjel.

Allah knows, sees, and hears everything, and even with Him, we are afraid to share the contents of our heart, and make du’a from the deepest corners of our hearts.

How to Create Awareness of Your Emotions

1) If you happen to giggle and laugh to in strange moments – focus inwards and ask yourself “If I wasn’t laughing right now, what would I feel?”

2) When you are in a happy moment, ask yourself “Am I truly expressing my joy and happiness to its fullest level right now?”

3) When sad or hurt ask yourself “Am I letting someone close to me know exactly how I am feeling with no extra layers in between ?” so that you provide for them an opportunity to fix, support, love, or change.

No doubt, there is a balance that must be discovered between ourselves and people of what we will share of our innermost emotions. Yet at the same time we must learn that if any of our relationships are not where we want them to be, whether its with our children, spouses, parents, or friends, the very people we hold dear and the very people who should be a safe place to be vulnerable, then we must first look to ourselves to see how many masks we are wearing.

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