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A Wronged Step-Mother

A Wronged Step-Mother


Published in February 12, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy



 We have received this lengthy email message, but instead of replying to it in our fatwas section, we have reconsidered and then decided to publish it along with our reply within an article. It is from a wronged step-mother; we quote below some paragraphs of her long message; we have omitted some inappropriate lines which cannot be published in our website; we have edited some of her phrases without changing their meanings.   

firstly: parts of the long email message:

1- (... My first husband divorced me after two years of marriage because I had to undergo hysterectomy and thus will never be able to bear children ... Because I felt depressed because he divorced me while I was not to blame, I thought about marrying a widower with kids because I love children so much and I wished I could be a mother ... When I met and married a divorced man who has two daughters and two sons, as no woman would have been able to put up with his four children and the troubles caused by their mother (the ex-wife) to their father ... His four children hated me for no reason however hard I tried to get nearer to them; I was like a maid or servant to the four of them and even my husband was amazed by my endeavors, but his children hated me and wanted their mother to return to them! Their mother divorced her second husband and desired to return to the father of her children as man and wife! She made her children pressurize their father to accept to marry her again, and the children turned my life into hell to get me out of their way! My husband decided to marry her and keep me as his wife; after some deep thinking, I accepted this because I loved him and I felt that he loved me back; yet, the mother of his children insisted that she will marry him only when he divorces me first! In fact, he divorced me unwillingly to please her in order to please his children! I remained hospitalized for two months, as I suffered depression after this divorce ... I decided that marriage is hateful and I will remain single for the rest of my life ... Later on, a wealthy widower proposed to me; his only daughter is married and she is 15 years younger than I am, and she is married and has a three-year-old son; I readily agreed to marry him while hoping that nothing dreadful will happen this time and that his daughter would be like a daughter or a younger sister to me and that the age-difference between this widower and myself is of minor importance ... Soon enough, after the marriage took place, I've discovered that I've committed the worst mistake of my entire life ...).

2- (... These events occurred before my marrying this widower, as per his narration... My husband's daughter is very selfish, pampered, and lazy! She thinks of herself as the center of the universe and that everyone and everything is at her service. Her late mother pampered and spoiled her so much because she had a son before this daughter, who died during infancy ... Her late mother was like a chamber maid or servant to her; she clothed and fed her, she did everything for her; this daughter never lifted a plate, made her bed, or washed her own clothes! Her father (i.e., my husband) used to serve her daughter in every possible way; thus, she grew up while getting used to laziness and she can do virtually nothing in her life; she cannot serve herself; she dropped school after the other girls in class ridiculed her and could not put up with her selfishness and because she is foul-mouthed; her laziness made her never study at all before exams. I know from my husband that no on proposed to marry her; until he bought a house for her and chose a young man to marry her; this young man never spend a penny in this marriage! My husband paid for everything: the dowry, the furniture, the ring and jewelry, etc. My husband told me that one week after the marriage ceremony, her husband came to him co  complain of her selfishness, laziness, dirtiness, negligence, and very bad-temper; she yells and screams all the time. Her husband is the one who cooks, cleans, etc. After long negotiations between my husband and the husband of his daughter, my husband agreed to pay the husband a hefty sum of money every month and that the daughter would spend the whole day inside the house of her mother and father until night, after the poor husband would return from his work and do all the house shores; he would see her everyday only before going to bed ...).

3- (... When this pampered daughter gave birth to a baby boy, the problems exacerbated; her father would haul her with the baby daily from her house to his own, so that he and her mother serve her and her child literally in everything! Meanwhile their daughter, (the Lady), would watch TV while eating cashews and peanuts and drinking juice! Once day, her mother told her she was too old to go on within such drudgery and she demanded that her daughter must at least wash the dishes and so on, but the Lady screamed at the top of her lungs and fainted! Special ambulance was brought to her at once! Doctors said she had a nervous breakdown because she felt insulted! She suffered severe depression, they said! Since that incident, her mother and father took great care never to provoke her anger! Both spent hours serving her on a daily basis! Her mother (the late wife of my husband) was fatigued and frustrated, until she fell ill and died. May she rest in peace. The father could not put up with serving his daughter alone; he confessed to me on our bridal night that he married me only to serve this Lady his daughter and her son! ...).

4- (... I'm sure the most unlucky woman in the world! Though my husband promised to help me serving his daughter and her son, such promises evaporated days later; her son never stops yelling and smashing things in the house and demanding too many things all the time; I think he needs a babysitter of his own! His mother treats me with deep scorn as if I were a mere chamber maid or rather her slave! She yells at me all the time for no reason. Weeks later, I threatened my husband to commit suicide if he would not divorce me! In fact, he kissed my hands and feet so that I would not leave him! I agreed to remain with him only on one condition: he will serve his daughter and her son and I will never contact both of them; I will serve him and myself only as a dutiful wife – this way, I get some comfort and never be yelled at or drudge my way into an early grave! ...).

5- (... Here is the problem: months later, my husband fell ill and he is bedridden now; he assumes that he may die of fatigue like his late wife: the victim of their cruel daughter! When this Lady found out that her father fell ill, she screamed and yelled for finding no one to serve her! My husband is depressed because of this; when he was hospitalize, I served him faithfully and his daughter refused to help him ... When his daughter and her husband and son would visit him at the hospital room, nurses would get them out because of the screams and yelling of her and her son! My husband is now bedridden at home! Hi daughter expects me to serve her daily instead of her ill father! I will never do that again! ...).

6- (... My husband approves of every word I've written here in my message to you; he's begging you to suggest any solution to our problem ... Please reply to this message as soon as possible ... Thank you ...).

Secondly: our reply:

1- This young woman is a victim of bad upbringing and spoiled childhood; she has become a curse which torments her father, step-mother, husband, and child. If this young woman goes on like that, she will destroy herself and her child. The husband might flee for his dear life, but what about the helpless child. What will happen to her when her retired, bedridden father dies? This very selfish, ungrateful, good-for-nothing young woman is still very dependent on her father and other people; she expects her father in his old-age to serve her all the time; she will never find anyone to bear patiently with her ways at all; even her husband has been bribed by her father to accept her return to his house; once this monthly bribe stops, he will find nothing enticing to live with such a woman under his roof. When this young woman loses her father and her husband, no one will support her and she cannot take care of herself – she will perish and so will her child.    

2- This young woman is not using her good health and youth to learn to be independent and help herself and others; indeed, her selfishness and laziness have overcome the natural instinct to remain alive. In times of severe crises and extreme situations, human beings tap all their energy sources to remain alive. This young woman never faced any hardships, problems, or obstacles all her life since she has been too much pampered – even after she got married and gave birth to her child.

3- The solution we propose here is hard but not impossible: she must be forced to face life alone in order to tap her energy sources and depend on herself – by making her father muster all his emotional strength and never to see her face again and never to let her in his house. 

4- We strongly advise that your husband would rewrite the contract of the house where you live with him and make you the owner of the house; you must never let her in however hard she knocks at your door; this young woman must hear your voice (and the voice of her father) yelling at her to go home to the house he bought for her, and he must tell her he will never see her again for the rest of his life. You must threaten her to go away before you would call the cops, as her presence poses a threat to the health of her poor father.

5- This young woman will have no other option but to return to her house and she will be forced to serve herself, her child, and her husband. Changing her ways will not be easy or fast-paced; yet, her conditions will force her to serve her own needs: she must eat when feeling hungry and she must feed her child, and she will have to wash clothes, cook, etc.

6- This plan will succeed only when she loses hope and realizes she can no longer depend on her father or her husband and feel for sure that her father has changed and will no longer serve or care for her, as he must now take care only for himself and his own health.

7- This might be a difficult solution, but it is the only one (apart from seeking psychiatrist help) before it is too late to reform and correct the behavior of this young woman.



 In the West countries, children are taught to be dependent and reply on themselves, from brushing their teeth and making their beds to carrying their schoolbags and keeping their things in lockers; this is not to mention scouts and their camps in the woods to learn self-reliance and cooperation with others. 

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