The Ego and Control

We all want to be in control – it’s a natural instinct. When things are out of our control, we feel helpless and frustrated. We feel injustice may be carried out on us. Inside of us is our ego, which tries to look out for us, to have our back, but sometimes it makes things worse. What if we controlled our ego, stood back from always having the upper hand and being right, and look at the bigger picture?

A typical example of this in polygamy where our ego can be triggered is if a man says, it’s my right to marry again, I don’t have to ask my wife’s permission. Of course, it is good manners and advisable for a man to consult his wife on a major family-affecting event such as marrying again, but actually gaining her permission as opposed to support or at least acceptance – who is in control here? So say a husband doesn’t marry again because his wife says ‘no’, has her life been bettered for that? Her ego is not bruised, unlike her husband’s no doubt, but long-term, how is her relationship with her husband affected? Does he feel resentment to her for her unnecessarily denying him his rights? If you ever have read The Surrendered Wife, you’ll see how belittling a husband really isn’t the way to go. *Ducks from feminists throwing said book at me*

 

By the way, all the above is easy to write when you are not currently in that situation of prospective polygamy. When you are, and the emotions are taking hold and the ego is taking a battering, it is so hard for many women, including myself to think in a logical, long-term way. I get that. So this is a reminder mostly to myself if I ever find myself in this situation again.  

But how much are we really in control? One of the most useful things I learnt after going through all of the trials of polygamy is to remember to say ‘Qadr Allahu wa Masha Fa’al’ (which means: Allah has decreed it and what He willed has happened (Much like the common phase, ‘que sera sera’, but obviously with more depth.)

Continuously fighting and struggling against your destiny leaves you drained and will not change anything. Your ego wants to always have control but it’s not necessarily doing you any favours. Of course stand up for your rights, express how you feel, but if things don’t always turn out how you want or have planned then remember, you may well look back and see that things had to happen that way for you to be in a higher place, mentally and insha Allah in the long-term, in akhirah. This is what really matters.

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Polygamy is Not Gonna Change

Rock. Hard Place.

I have often thought of myself as being a resident of this No Man’s Land, the place between these two locations. The Rock is Polygamy and the Hard place is leaving it all and being single.

But No Man’s Land isn’t somewhere you can reside, settle down and feel content. It’s somewhere you need to leave as quickly as possible, for the sake of self-preservation.

So how?

Polygamy and its legitimacy isn’t going to change, and so the only thing that’s going to work is a change in myself. But it’s a big change in mindset that’s needed, one that’s has been cemented in place by society, culture and the ego. But we are all changing –  growing,  adjusting – it’s  part of our nature. We are not made of cement but of soft clay that can be remoulded. I once thought I could never have a decent night’s sleep if I cosleep with my baby, but I now do this all the time – I changed. I thought I could never be happy and stress-free in polygamy, but now I think there is a chance.

There are certain things that can’t change: the need to eat for example – our basic instincts. Jealousy is a natural trait and it doesn’t help to deny that and try to change this. But we can change perspectives on the triggers of jealousy – realising love can be shared for example – and also reconsider our overwhelming reactions, which can often lead to regret. How could giving the cold shoulder because a husband spent one hour extra at the other wife’s place actually increase our husband’s love for us and cause him to consider our feelings more?

Change is hard, and it hurts, like a marathon runner hitting the wall and getting through it –  you won’t expect a smile beaming from their face, but rather a grimace of pain. Change means feeling uncomfortable, and that’s OK, because to move forward and move upwards will be worth it insha Allah.

The No Man’s Land I inhabited was certainly not a comfort zone which is why I knew I had to change. But how was another matter; I knew I couldn’t just snap my fingers, smile serenely and feel ‘Hey! Polygamy is cool by me.’

So this is a big part of why I started this blog, and so I hope some of my thoughts are helping anyone else who is a position that they too have to change, and get out of the monogamy comfort zone and away from any hard places.