Case Study K1 – Resentment and Anger – Contemplating Divorce after 28 years of marriage

By: Khalid Iqbal, Founder Rahmaa Institute

Prophet Mohammad SWS said “Anger is like fire that not only burn itself to ashes but also burn anything it get in touch with”
This case study was written after I dealt with multiple cases on anger and resentment in the past few years. The names, location and scenarios has been changed to protect the identity of the people. Only the facts are real. We have witnessed an increase in cases with anger and resentment in families.


After 28 years of marriage Zaid and Saima want to call it quits. They had already made up their mind but on the insistence of the Imam Ahmed form their local Mosque they wanted to give their marriage one last chance. That is when they came to me seeking marriage counseling and anger management.
Zaid and Saima came to US 17 years ago with their three children Azam 9, Uzma 8 and Lubna 5. They told me that they had issues with their marriage from the start. Zaid’s short tempered nature created a hostile environment at home. Before arriving in US he also had physical violence issue, but here in US under pressure from family elders he stopped being physical. Zaid just cannot let go the small issues of the past. He still remembers and repeats all the negative things that he felt went wrong starting from their wedding night. The list has grown larger and larger in the past 28 years. He had repeated those things each time they had an argument that would continue that seem like for hours. His wife and children would walk away from him when he started his anger spell. That would make him even angrier so much so that he started to yell and shout and neighbors called the police a few times.

Saima also had her share of issues in exciting Zaid to the limits and push the wrong buttons. Coming from a well to do family she was pampered and a demanding person. She developed an attitude of pride and sarcasm that would bother Zaid.
Before coming to US, Zaid had a good position in the engineering firm that he was working in. The amenities were great with driver and servants and life was very comfortable. Life changed after they moved to US. Zaid could not get a job in his profession, after struggling for months, he finally landed a minimum pay job at Walmart. Saima who had never worked in her life also had to look for a job. Both used to come home tired and frustrated and would take their anger on each other and children.
Two of their children,  Azam and Uzma, had left home and the youngest one Lubna was also thinking of leaving. They told me that they lost two great proposals for their daughter Uzma because they could not hold a reasonable discussion between them to come to a consensus. Uzma threatened them not to interfere in her life any more as she will find her own life partner.

When Zaid and Saima came to me I had to stop our first session with them twice just for them to calm down. They had no problem at throwing nasty punches of sarcasm, resentment and anger at each other right from the get go. I had to spend a whole session with them just to set up the ground rules of engagement during the session with me. Both are anxious to change for better but are lost how to go about it. They are seriously contemplating separation hoping that will help them overcome their marital issues.

1. Where will you put the blame of their marital problem?
2. What are the problems with Zaid?
3. What about Saima?  How is she contributing to the marriage problems?
4. Does anger and resentment create a poisonous environment at home? How?
5. What effect does physical violence have at home?
6. How does anger and domestic violence affect young children (Under 12 years old)?
7. How does anger and domestic violence affect teenage children?
8. How does anger affect adult children and family members?
9. What would you suggest for Zaid?
10. What would you suggest for Saima?
11. What if Saima was a submissive wife taking all the anger and violence patiently? Is that recommended and healthy for the family environment, her and for the children?
12. Is Separation a good idea for them? If yes for what reasons and for how long?
13. What should they do during the separation period to overcome their issues
14. What effect the separation may have on the children?
a. If the children are under 12 year
b. If the children are teenagers
c. If the children are adults
15. Any other recommendation you have to both Zaid and Saima?
16. Any other recommendation you have for their children?

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