How mothers can support daughters coping with an abusive relationship

Are you a despairing mother whose daughter is in an abusive relationship and you’re at your wits end trying to work out how best to support her?

Have you opened your home time and time again, then your daughter comes home and you and your family try and help her through the drama she’s having with her abusive partner, but then she goes right back to him?

Is watching the way he treats your daughter breaking your heart?

Judy, whose heart was breaking witnessing her daughter living with an abusive man, made a comment about her daughter under my post Warning Signs that your Male Partner is Controlling you:

“We hardly ever get to see her …. It’s all a lot of small things — calling her names, abusive to the max, being unfaithful. It doesn’t matter what this boy does she takes him back.”

Another mother told me:

“My daughter and I and her dad are really close and love each other loads. My husband and I have always found his behaviour to her to be selfish, sexist, uncaring, disrespectful and at times cruel. When I visited her to talk about what we were seeing, her reaction was withdrawn and non-committal, she was very loving, but said we had blown it out of proportion.”

This mother was advised by Domestic Violence organisations not to push her daughter to take any action and to leave such decisions to her. Current research shows this is the best action in cases where coercive control is involved. But that may seem counter-intuitive to you. I’ll explain how to support your daughter below. Meantime, this mother went on to tell me some ways she tried to support her daughter. This mum’s approach is the recommended way, despite her daughter minimising her experience:

“I tried to keep checking on her — she always said things were fine and they were getting on well. Their wedding went ahead, he behaved very nicely in front of all the guests. All my friends said we were worrying needlessly — however he is very convincing. As time’s gone by my daughter became pale and ill looking, and seemed deeply unhappy. We noticed behavioural changes including she is now saying and doing things to try to please him even when totally against her character and interests. . . . . Recently she seems to be withdrawing from me in particular — doesn’t reply to my emails and avoids taking my calls. Again we told her our concerns about the changes we were seeing in her and about his behaviour towards her. But this time she vehemently denied everything, said she was happy, accused us of having it in for her husband and judging her marriage, and mostly refused even to hear our reasons for concern, so it was all very difficult. Taking her denials as a cue we didn’t mention the word ‘abuse’, we tried to keep it calm and play it down a bit, and at no time did we criticise her husband as a person – only some of his behaviour. I have to confess that I am finding it all a terrible strain and miss my daughter very badly, but realise that there is not much else that we or anyone can do at this stage other than, whenever possible, to monitor the situation, fight against the increasing estrangement of our daughter from us her family, give her a bit of relief from the relentless abuse every now and again if we get a chance to do so, and make sure that if we get a chance to let her know we are there for her.”

Have the impacts of abuse led your daughter to . . . .

  • become defensive and push you away?
  • be jumpy, hypervigilant, and walk on eggshells round her partner?
  • appear to bury her needs and her pain, minimise the harm being done to her?
  • modify her behaviour to fit in with his wishes, demands, commands?
  • seemingly not assert herself, not challenge or confront her partner?
  • do whatever it takes to avoid or reduce his abuse?
  • avoid revealing the truth of her situation to outsiders?
  • develop fatigue, exhaustion, confusion, depression, anxiety?
  • live with shame?
  • consider herself as unworthy, not good enough, inadequate, and that something is wrong with her?
  • ignore her own voice and intuition?
  • lose her perspective and adopt his?

One mother told me that as time has gone by, she and her husband feel in a catch 22 situation because their daughter has drawn back from them even more, is less communicative and in less and less contact. This mother said that:

“if we try to overcome this with lots of phone calls, emails and suggestions to meet up it seems to feed into her husband’s smear campaign about us. He has made up fabricated stories about us to our daughter — that we are pushy, intrusive, over-protective and jealous of our daughter’s closeness with him and his family.”

What is he doing that’s causing your daughter to reject you?

His month-by-month smear campaign slowly, but surely, divides and conquers the loving relationship between daughter and mother . . . .

  • He instils stereotypes into your daughter’s head by telling her that you are a lying, interfering, overbearing and meddlesome mother-in-law who needs to back off.
  • He uses a system of rewards and punishments — rewarding her loyalty to him and punishing her for reaching out and connecting with you.
  • He fosters distrust in her by manipulating her belief system, her interpretations and perspectives about you by telling her that you’re extremely controlling.
  • In conversations and arguments with your daughter he consistently degrades, insults and criticises you, slowly teaching her to hate you, others in the family and friends.
  • He constantly tells her that his perspective is right and her family’s perspectives, beliefs, behaviours, and lifestyle are bad, wrong, false, etc.
  • He lowers your family’s status and talks up his own family’s status. Many mothers I’ve spoken to who are going through these experiences have observed that the man’s entire family supports his divide and conquer strategies.
  • He restricts her relationships with her family by saying he loves her and wishes she’d spend more time with him and his family.
  • He may outright prevent any alliance between your daughter and you by restricting contact in any form — phone and Skype calls, and time spent face-to-face. He may insist she move towns or countries with him, isolating her from family and friends.
  • And finally, he brainwashes her into believing she needs to grow up and separate from you by telling your daughter she’s just a ‘mummy’s girl’.

Rachel, who rejected her mother whilst in an abusive relationship gives advice to mothers:

“I did that to my mum – didn’t talk to her for 6 months. Sadly she passed away. I had only just begun talking to her to be honest. My ex hated my mum and I didn’t talk to her as it was easier than getting him angry with me. She was a dragon and I stayed away, coz if he knew he went over and threatened her. My advice is never shut the door on your daughter and know she loves you but it’s hard.”

Failed attempts at supporting your daughter?

Instinctively you might have tried to get your daughter to leave her partner, tell her you don’t like him, tell her to assert herself and stand up to him, tell her to meet her own needs and stop kowtowing to him. You might have become angry and aggressive and threatened to cut off support. In exasperation you might have told her she’s stupid, obviously can’t think for herself and you might have confronted him. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a coercively controlling person, they believe they are always right and are driven to get their way at all costs. They deny wrong-doing, minimise harm caused, and they blame and manipulate the victim. If anyone tries to interfere in his “territory” he will retaliate — he will turn your attempts into an excuse to further degrade you and he will continue to coerce your daughter into taking sides — he will do what it takes to make her be loyal and dependent on him, and to be disloyal and break away from you.

Your daughter is doing the best that she can in these abusive circumstances

Research shows that while in relationship with a coercively controlling man, women are constantly safety planning, constantly managing ways to keep herself (and her children if she has any) . . . . keeping as safe and sane as possible. And she manages this whilst also dealing with his tactics that have distorted her reality and perspective. It is often safer to stay in the relationship than to leave. Leaving a controlling man is the most dangerous time for many women. The chance of further control, and further violence rises when she leaves, or threatens to leave. If he has not used violence in the past, the chance that he will do so at this time is high because coercively controlling men, for various reasons, cannot stand it when they lose control of their partner. Leaving is the most common time when a controlling man murders his partner — many controlling men threaten to kill their partner if she leaves, which is one reason women refuse to talk to outsiders about the abuse they’re experiencing. Check out my blog on assessing danger here.

Two rules of thumb when you support your daughter

  1. Firstly, she is already being controlled by her partner, so some of your instinctive reactions might seem controlling to her and will drive a wedge between you and send her more deeply into dependency on him. Therefore it is not really what you say to her that’s important, it is how you support her that matters.
  2. Secondly, find ways to support her that keep the doors open and that let her know you are there for her in the long run. Offering a loving, kind compassionate, concerned and non-judgemental presence creates trust.

Here are some suggestions to support your daughter

Keep the doors of communication open:

  • Let her talk
  • Just listen
  • Be empathetic
  • Let her get things off her chest
  • Ask questions aimed at helping her hear her own story out loud
  • She is not stupid — women gain deep insights when someone just listens without any agenda
  • Don’t try to convince her of anything
  • She needs you to believe her
  • She needs to trust you and she needs to make sense of her situation in her own way and in her own time
  • Tell her that you are there for her when she is ready
  • Create a welcoming safe atmosphere for her to come to (even if this is only for one hour, one day, or a one minute phone call)

Keep conversations casual:

  • Chat to her about what you’re doing in your life
  • Chat about funny things
  • Chat for short times
  • Chat about general stuff — nothing to do with your daughter’s relationship

Things to say to her:

  • I’m afraid for your safety
  • I’m afraid for the impact his abuse is having on the children
  • Research shows that many boys who witness this kind of abuse copy their fathers and grow up to abuse women and many girls learn to be doormats
  • The ways he behaves towards you are not your fault
  • You do not deserve to be abused
  • You deserve better than this
  • Use praise to build up her healthy behaviours and ignore the behaviours you see as destructive
  • Use praise that connects her personal worth with qualities she’s using to survive
  • I know you want to help him because of the weaknesses and vulnerability you notice in him, but research shows that the pattern of coercive control only ever gets worse
  • Lots of women stay because of a compelling sympathy for his vulnerabilities. Women say they don’t want to hurt him, so they choose to stay and suppress what they really want. It is okay to leave a man who refuses to take responsibility for his abusive and controlling behaviours.
  • Anecdotal evidence shows that when you draw this line in the sand, it is only then that he might start to take responsibility for his behaviours and get help to change
  • Abuse is not respect and it is not love

Ask questions to try to draw her out:

  • It must be confusing for you living with a man you love who abuses you, what is it like for you?
  • How can I support you?
  • When he calls you names how does that affect you?
  • If he continues to treat you this way, what do you predict for your future in 5 years time? And for your children’s future?
  • I notice you believe the words he says, but you seem to separate that from the reality of his behaviours. Would you like support to deal with that?

Safety always comes first:

  • Check with her when it’s a good time to call
  • Hang out with her at a safe place
  • Ask if she’d like to brainstorm a safety plan to use while she’s in the relationship and one if she ever decides to leave
  • Keep yourself safe, because some men abuse anyone who supports your daughter, and many men will abuse you if you confront him.
  • If she abuses you, assert yourself and make your boundaries clear to her.

I make the following suggestion with a vehement warning:

You could suggest good books you’ve read that might give perspectives outside the perpetrator’s mindset. However, I must warn you that if the controlling man discovers her reading anything about domestic violence and power and control, it is common for those men to hit or otherwise abuse her and it is common for him to up his game and isolate her from you even further. And a second warning: If you offer reading materials to your daughter, she herself might refuse to take the information, and the offer may drive a wider chasm between you.

Remind yourself that manipulative mind games lead to a double bind:

  • She loves him and he cares for her AND he despises and disrespects her and abuses and controls her.
  • He flexes his muscles, puffs out his chest and clamours for continual power over her AND he regularly reveals his vulnerability, anxiety, shame, weaknesses and fears. This causes many women to try to not want to hurt him and to want to help him. He uses this mix of power and powerlessness to keep her hooked in.
  • She entered the relationship with hopes and dreams AND she still has hopes and dreams that the relationship will work.
  • She used to trust him and she used to trust you — remember the ways controlling men manipulate and distort her belief systems.
  • Your daughter is experiencing the same impacts as those experienced by prisoners of war, people who have been sucked into cults, and slaves who are whipped into shape.
  • Unfortunately it is not straight forward trying to encourage her to leave. The daughter you used to know is still there. It is a natural survival strategy for anyone experiencing coercive control to tuck away large chunks of themselves in order to survive the abuse.
  • She trusts you AND he’s played mind games aimed at making her not trust you.
  • She goes through stages in making sense of the abuse — check out this series of blogs to help you understand her processes: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5.

No matter how much control he has over your daughter — full control over her is never complete…. there is hope

old woman young lady SpeakOutLoud about Psychological AbuseYoung women controlled by their partner struggle between believing in their own voice – and believing in his voice. She switches back and forth – as demonstrated in this picture of the young lady and old woman. Notice how it’s extremely difficult to see both women at the same time. Women describe not being able to hold tight to their own voice. Empowerment entails a long process of reclaiming her own voice, reclaiming her intuition, re-developing the ability to critique what’s been going on, and the development of independent thoughts that differ from his. Your aim is to let her know you are always there for her no matter what. And that you love her no matter what. Her rejection of you might mean you are not able to tell her that directly, but it can be indicated to her just by your presence. Or, depending on your intuition — you can say it directly and explicitly.

Getting your lost daughter back might take much longer than you hoped

Unfortunately all of these suggestions for supporting your daughter may appear as if they are not working. One mother told me that when she confronted her daughter, her daughter:

“vehemently denied everything, said she was happy, accused us of having it in for her husband and judging her marriage, and mostly refused even to hear our reasons for concern, so it was all very difficult.”

Watching your daughter suffering is painful in the extreme. But don’t give up hope. Many women have told me that just one thing that someone said to them months or years before had made the difference to them being able to eventually seek a way out of the relationship! Planting one small seed can make a very big difference. Some seeds take time to sprout. Seeds need the right nourishing conditions. You can be one person who offers those nourishing conditions. For many mothers you have to take care of yourself, have clear boundaries, know your limits, and seek support for yourself. If you have given all you can give and you know you’ve fully informed your daughter and extended your hand one too many times, you might need a huge dose of self-compassion and to stop providing active support. You have every right to step back and leave the door open when your daughter decides for herself to return, and you have every right to close that door if your health is being impacted detrimentally.

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{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Gloria June 9 2014, 7:06 am

    OMG, all of this had me in tears cause it’s all I have seen in my daughter but I’ve become the person she blames for all that’s going on because she says I never knew how to communicate with her. This is so hard to believe cause as a single parent and her illness as a child w/epilepsy and 2-tumors removed, all my attention was on her, it was my son I neglected so much cause all my attention was with her. My husband, their father, left us when she was 11 and my son 5, and he didn’t physically abuse me. True there was a lot of verbal abuse, and this I hear with my daughter. And boy is it true how we need to take care of ourselves as mothers cause I’m currently going through a lot of stomach issues, and a lot of depression. Thanks for letting me vent and read about how all caring mothers have felt like I feel today and have going on now 4 years.

  • jo June 16 2014, 12:11 pm

    I suffered many years of domestic violence and stayed for all the wrong reasons and now I’m watching my daughter go through it. It’s heartbreaking to watch as she defends him and lies about the bruises and holes in the walls. I fear for her life and my grandkids are showing signs of fear. What can I do besides attack him myself. He is gutless.

    • Clare Murphy PhD June 17 2014, 4:49 pm

      Hi Jo… Lots of women beat up on themselves for staying for all the “wrong” reasons. I bet if I spent time talking with you, you will be able to name many many reasons why it was important to stay. It can be a long long process making sense of what all those tactics used by your partner actually meant. Being controlled entraps women from any and every walk of life and such entrapment and mind control has multiple psychological, physical and spiritual effects. Unfortunately that then leads some women to believe there’s something wrong with them. Any decisions you made would have been NORMAL in response to an ABNORMAL situation. No one knows what that is like, but you. Don’t beat up on yourself. Celebrate the insights and growth you’ve gained and have compassion for yourself. It’s clear to me that the fact you’re on my website means you are still pushing for growth and insight. That is awesome. Clare

  • sarah June 16 2014, 6:56 pm

    I feel like I am living a nightmare, I have been seeking advice and found this page very helpful. My daughter is only 16 and dealing with a very abusive violent controlling boyfriend of the same age. She is currently living in a hostel and won’t come home because her boyfriend forces her to stay away from me. The occasional times she does come and spend time with me and her younger sisters he stalks her and convinces her to go meet him. Every time she plucks up the courage to leave and come home he stalks her constantly and she then becomes very abusive towards me and then leaves again. And in a way I am relieved because the abuse from her is unbearable. She verbally abuses and attacks me and of course I have 2 younger daughters and want to protect them from witnessing this. I’m constantly worried, stressed and upset. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    • Clare Murphy PhD June 17 2014, 4:37 pm

      Sarah….Subtle continuous coercive control is a living nightmare. You are not alone. Hopefully you’ll be inspired by some tips for coping from this blog post. Also you could check out the posts describing possible ways to provide support depending on which stage a victim might be at. See these posts….
      How to help women abused and controlled by male partners: —Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5 … Clare

  • Linda Campbell August 19 2014, 12:09 am

    Someone please help me. I have read up on this site explains my 28 yr old daughter to a ‘T’. There were children involved last incident. I got a phone call from my daughter very scared upset wanted me to come to her work to talk to her. She informed me she found boyfriend kicking his 14 yr old son in the ribs and punching him. She told me …..mom he stopped hitting me, and now is doing it to my step-son and threating to do it to her own children. The boyfriend is very controlling who I call an over sized bully. I asked her to get her and the children out of there. I felt I needed to report what she told me to the police for their safety. She told me he got everyone to lie to the cops, so of course nothing was done. So now the boyfriend of course has turned this on me. My daughter won’t speak to me. I can’t see my grandchildren. My heart is in pieces please someone tell me how to handle this. This has been going on for about 4 years. I would greatly appreciate any advice.

    • Clare Murphy PhD August 19 2014, 11:32 am

      Linda — It was the right thing to go to the police. You could also call Child Protection Services and you could notify the police of the reality of the situation so that it might be put on record. Unfortunately, whilst your daughter is being controlled by him it will be difficult for you to change anything. You could also contact your local domestic violence support agency to seek support and advice. My list of tactics might be helpful to give to your daughter — although ONLY IF YOU THINK IT IS SAFE.

  • Linda Campbell August 19 2014, 12:12 pm

    Clare thank you for getting back with me and the helpful information. I understand that I can’t do anything for my daughter as long as he is in control. She will have to make that step her self. I know one day she will. I pray for it everyday. My main concern is my grandchildren. I did contact social services after reporting it to the cops as far as I know nothing is being done. My best friend heard the 14 yr old cussing the smaller children outside yesterday my main concern is getting the children out first but I feel like my hands are tied.

  • Empty and heart broken August 28 2014, 10:20 am

    My daughter is also in an abusive marriage. I too am the focus of his anger. He blames me for his anger and I live 1900 miles away and I only visited my daughter 2 times in the last 17 years. Once for her wedding and once for the birth of my only grandchild. Both times he abused me and the second time he abused me and my daughter while she was breast feeding my 5 day old granddaughter. She is also in denial. I am heart broken and seeking professional help to deal with this. It is beyond my comprehension how someone would stay in this situation. I can not understand this loyalty to someone who is so angry.

    • Clare Murphy PhD August 28 2014, 12:10 pm

      Hi Empty and heart broken — It’s a nasty situation you’re dealing with. You must have been experiencing grief and stress over this for a long time. I wish you well in finding professional support. If you can’t find someone close to help, I offer online Skype support to mothers who are coping with situations like yours. Warm wishes, Clare

      • Heart broken August 29 2014, 9:16 am

        Clare, this web site has been a big help. Knowing I am not alone in this is a big help, except I wouldn’t want anyone in this position. I do have one question, I do not understand why we should take no action on such a violent action toward another person. All my instincts tell me to get her away no matter what it takes. Everyone tells me to leave her alone or it will destroy our relationship. I don’t understand not doing anything.

        • Clare Murphy PhD August 29 2014, 9:10 pm

          Heart broken — I agree it’s really confusing. I’ve known some mothers/parents who’ve swooped in and taken their daughter home and their daughter ran away and returned to their partner. You might know something about cults — maybe seen TV programmes on ways people become hooked into cults and the ways they act when outsiders try to get them out of the cult — this issue you are facing is very similar. I’m glad you’re finding my website a big help — it makes it worth doing. If you ever need to talk more deeply remember I offer Skype counselling. Warm wishes, Clare

  • whatnow September 5 2014, 7:44 am

    My daughter married a man who hurt her when they were dating. We tried to get them to break up and she married anyway. We didn’t go to the wedding. What should we do now? He is being nice now and she seems happy. Should we say we were wrong and be friendly? She broke up with him lots before they finally got married. He said he was real sorry and would never do it again. She is mad since we didn’t go and tried to get her not to marry him.

    • Clare Murphy PhD September 6 2014, 7:59 pm

      whatnow — I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. Unfortunately the strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ is commonly used by people who wish to be top dog and control others. Just in case it’s helpful, you might want to look at the 5 blog posts I wrote showing potential stages that victims may go through in making sense of their entrapment and loss of liberty. These outline recommended ways of supporting victims at various stages. — Clare
      How to help women abused and controlled by male partners: Stage 1
      How to help women abused and controlled by male partners: Stage 2
      How to help women abused and controlled by male partners: Stage 3
      How to help women abused and controlled by male partners: Stage 4
      How to help women abused and controlled by male partners: Stage 5

      • whatnow September 6 2014, 11:11 pm

        Should we include him in family things now to take away the power? How should we act around him? He left bruises on her. He is so manipulative but my daughter doesn’t see it. Should we say we accept him so he can’t divide and conquer? His family is “understanding” and we “don’t forgive.” At one point my daughter left “for good.” Now they are married. It is a nightmare for me as her mom. What is my strategy? I do talk to her but she is mad.

        • Clare Murphy PhD September 14 2014, 3:15 pm

          whatnow — It’s not wise for me to give you advice about a strategy because every person’s situation is complex and everyone’s specific issues will be different. I offer Skype or phone counselling in such situations at AUD$110 an hour. If that is something you are not able to afford, I suggest you contact people within domestic violence agencies in your country to support you. — I wish you well, Clare

  • HelenG September 7 2014, 12:13 am

    My daughter who is severely visually impaired because of diabetic complications and suffers from many health issues, met a man twice her age just over a year ago. The first time I met him warning bells sounded in my head and I cannot explain what it was but I felt something bad about him, which I know sounds silly.

    My daughter told me she was no longer seeing him, but used staying with friends as an excuse to meet him. I later found out that he was coming to my home whilst I was out as well, purely to have sex with her.

    Her behaviour changed dramatically and she became rude and cheeky towards me, something she never was before. At New Year, everything came to a head. She, in a fit of temper, packed her bags to go and live in an unfurnished cottage, miles from anywhere and be on her own all week. Social work became involved as did police and all agreed it was not feasible due to the amount of care she needed and support.

    She found a flat with twenty four hour care which was the best solution in a really difficult situation. This man, we found, was staying during the week whilst she also had carers looking after her.
    I was contacted on Facebook on April by a lady who said she had been engaged to, living with and sleeping with this man for four and a half years and had been up until the end of December when he moved out with no reason. So he had been with the two of them for over four months and sending both of them the same “loving messages”. In fact he talked of marrying this other woman and setting the date.

    He told my daughter he was divorced but single and a pack of lies about his children whom his ex wife had abducted and taken away and he did not know where they were. He knew exactly where they were but refused to contact or see them. I told my daughter all this to no avail. The ex fiance said he was manipulating and controlling and very persuasive. She should have been vindictive but has been supportive and concerned for my daughter and I’m now thankful she had a lucky escape. Her father, who lives abroad came to visit a few weeks ago and went to see our daughter who we found out had moved in with her then partner. She barely spoke to him or her older brother. Two days later they got married. We found out by chance. It was a well planned white wedding which we as a family knew nothing about. We are so hurt that she has done this and she still has not told us that she is in fact married.

    His ex fiancé went to the Police in her area and they took her concerns about her safety seriously. They spoke to me and told me to go to my local Police station, which I did and was treated as if I was a criminal. His ex wife has been in touch. Far from the evil person she was made out to be, she is someone who was very scared of this man and so happy to be away from him and safe. She has described him as sexually depraved and ill. He was constantly seeing other women purely for sex. We found texts to my daughter which were so pornographic in content that we felt ill and these were extremely worrying. He posted naked pictures of himself on the internet and either his daughter found them or was shown them — his ex wife has not made clear. She has told us he did bad things to his children who wish never to see him again. He was abusive towards her and has said vile things about me and my family and was also aggressive and abusive to friends. He is a complete loner who seems to have no friends and is now isolating my daughter who has not contacted me for over a month.

    I am so concerned for her safety as this is the first proper relationship she has ever had and she has no experience of how to deal with this kind of person. Knowing what we know, and there are things I cannot say, we are afraid and do not know where to turn for help. The professionals have slammed the doors in our faces and we have nowhere to go.

    If she did not have so many problems and especially with her eyesight which means she has to be taken everywhere I would not be so worried, but now she is socially and emmotionally isolated having abused her friend in getting help to see this man and lost them as well as her family. I still love my daughter greatly but feel she hates me so much. What do I/we do as a family to help her? I really do fear for her and know this will end badly.

    • Clare Murphy PhD September 14 2014, 2:37 pm

      HelenG — I’m sorry you and your daughter are having to deal with this kind of ‘divide and conquer’ form of coercive control. It is ugly stuff. Although the story you tell is extremely common, the answers do not lie in a short generic written answer. The issues are too complex and specific to each person dealing with this type of situation. I offer Skype or phone counselling in such situations at AUD$110 an hour. If that is something you are not able to afford, I suggest you contact multiple domestic violence agencies in your country and also people working within the disabilities field. It is common for people with disabilities to be vulnerable targets of coercive control. Some people in those agencies might be trained in domestic violence and be able to support you. — Clare

  • KAY September 16 2014, 9:21 am

    Hello,

    I am an angry frustrated mother of a daughter who has been abused mentally and physically by her so-called husband for the last 10years. He threatens her with a knife she runs out of the house and he threatens to kill her 3 little boys so she goes back home time and time again. He threatens to kill the boys by beating, or setting them on fire. Anyone who tries to help or step in to pick my daughter up he threatens to kill everyone.

    Recently this year he has poured gasoline all over the living room and kitchen. Last week he beat my daughter up and today I found out that she was beaten and gasoline poured all over her.

    I cried out load for some kind of justice. My daughter didn’t call the cops because he has some kind of threat over her and her kids. She feels sorry for him and stays for her own messed up reasons that she has been mentally broken down to where she has no self worth.

    What is a mother or her family to do when the authority said nothing we can do since she is the one not doing anything about it. In a case like this do we just wait until he kills her in way or the other?

    This country when a situation calls out for help, no one can do anything . . . yet when the person is killed by her abusive husband we all try to reach out and said we all could have done something.

    I am afraid my daughter will die one day when her husband just feels like lighting the gasoline he pours on her, and light the house on fire while the kids are there.

    If anyone knows how to help my child I beg and pray for some help.

    • Clare Murphy PhD September 17 2014, 10:59 am

      KAY — What country are you in? It is horrendous that the police are not doing something. I think you should call police in other jurisdictions and also domestic violence organisations in your country to get advice and support urgently. You should also called child protection services. —Clare

  • Scared September 17 2014, 10:01 pm

    My daughter is being abused mentally and physically, she denies it, but I see all the signs. When I go to her house I call first. He knows that I’m at the door he yells at her makes her cry then he opens the door and says oh I thought I heard someone at the door. They have a new baby, she is only four months old. He made her go back to work and he is staying home with the baby. I’m scared he is going to abuse the baby. Also I am going to try to talk to her today to get her to leave him. She can only talk on speakerphone. He won’t let her use her computer, it is his now. He has done sexual things to her that sent her to the hospital in the past. I know she is scared of him.
    I hope she will leave him today but after reading all of the stories on this site I think she will not. All I can do is pray that today is the day. When she gets money for her birthday he takes it. When she needs new clothes she has to try it on for him and she can only get it if he likes it. Holes in the walls from door knobs, breaks things in the house and that poor baby home alone with him while she is at work. My heart is broken.

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