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Learn About Coercive Control and Psychological Abuse

How mothers can support daughters coping with an abusive relationship

– Posted in: Helping victims/survivors SAFETY of Women & Children Why does he do it


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 One
    Stage Two
    Stage Three
    Stage Four
    Stage Five

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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  • cwv 27 March 2016, 4:32 pm

    Our daughter married a man, who didn’t trust her. They are high school sweethearts. She is his. But he is not hers – as he doesn’t know healthy or mature love. He knows love as manipulation – no trust – jealously – cursing – belittling – everything is every one else fault, but never his and bad behavior is acceptable. His choices are never his consequences to answer for. Because it’s always someone’s fault or someone else to fix for him. His family does it for him though.

    His lifestyle is completely different than ours. We’ve raised her to respect others. He does not. He uses people. He’s 23. Tried Army and couldn’t do it. Has only been employed once and couldn’t keep the job. Our daughter tried to end their relationship as a Senior before graduation. She couldn’t. She cheated on him. He forgave her. They got married month after he forgave her. It was not even a month after her high school graduation. She moved out with his family. Lived with them. Broke her dad and my hearts. He’s controlling and not trustworthy. They were pregnant a month into marriage. Tried to live together while he worked. He couldn’t even keep a job. They got evicted.

    She moved back in with us the last few months of pregnancy. She decided he would not go on birth certificate as Dad because he says he needed proof of DNA to be certain. I was with her in delivery – labor and 20 hours from a natural birth attempt to an emergency c-section. He didn’t want to be there and still doesn’t. She goes to him. She put his name as biological dad on birth certificate. He still wants proof of DNA. He has yet to buy even a pack of diapers for his son who is two weeks old now. She still sees him and calls him and tries to get him to bond with his son.

    I am so distraught and hurt. I have explained the signs of abuse to her. His family only instigates the situation. They pull her in and spit her out and our grandson – as the dad does. It’s sad. I try to make small talk. Spend as much time as I can with our grandson while she lives with us. I know when her c-section heals in 6 weeks, she will go back to her job that pays barely above minimum wage so she will have funds to move out and have her fake family.

    Her dad and I are trying to convince her to think long term of the 18 years for her son’s sake. To set a plan for her life and her son. If she wants to help her husband, then let him get counseling and mature. But she deserves all the time she can right now to be with her baby and do for him.

    I know the attraction of “bad boys.” Fellas that are everything your parents warn you of. But life is not a game. Abuse is not a joke. If you can’t find strength to get out for self – do it for your children. They need one parent to stand strong to protect them – love them and put their best interest first; not your own over a partner who doesn’t know what love is.

    Love is abuse and control to an abuser and nothing more. People are their property. Not human beings – including their children. I’ve seen so many children suffer who grow up to become broken adults because of dysfunctional homes. I survived my own. I made a promise I would never do that to our daughter. I never broke that promise. She was always loved, protected, and taken care of. But they are only ours for a little while. The 60+ years of their life is on them.

    All I want to say to everyone is please focus on those first 18 years for your young ones. Focus on the 20-40-60+ years waiting ahead of you. Abuse never controls you without your willingness to consent. I say this – as a former victim of abuse – who chose to get out – even if I died in the process and lost everyone and everything I know. It was worth it! And please – do not let your abuser traits of manipulation, control, using people, and abusing people become your own game for sympathy or empathy to think it’s okay behavior. Get out. Get help. Bad choices and bad behaviors are not okay.

    Sadly, many victims use these tactics to survive their abuse and they don’t even realize they pick up these traits they hate in the abuser. But it is true. It’s not love. Love does not lie. Love does not steal. Love can be trusted to the do the right thing every time. Love is only about actions. Love is never about words. So let your actions be of truth – sincerity and love. But never allow abuse to harm you or your child because that is not love. Those who abuse love only their self. Get help. Grieve the mistake. Grieve the fantasy. Learn to love reality for what it is. Move forward in your life. Abuse not only hurts those in the abuse – but it also hurts and grieves those who try to love a victim who is not ready to admit they have a problem as an abuse victim either.

    Don’t enable abuse either. Be brain smart and let your brain lead you more than your heart. That’s what it is for in situations as devastating as these. That’s all I wanted to share. No matter what happens with our daughter and her hard situation and ours; I have faith and hope all will work out. She’s home right now. Our grandson and her are safe. But whatever she decides, I will respect her adult wishes, come what may. I love her enough to let her learn the hard way and let her go.

    I’ve seen it go both ways when kind people try to intervene into dysfunctional homes and the kids get more hurt and torn because they think the truth is at fault – not their parents. I won’t do this with our grandson. He will already suffer enough to find himself whatever our daughter chooses for him. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But for some, they do have to learn the hard way to value life and sadly, some never do. Stay strong. Focus on love. Show love more than giving words. Maybe it will work out. Maybe it won’t. The hardest part of loving your children and grandchildren is admitting you have adult children that you must trust, respect, support, and allow freedom to try to do the right thing. Violence does not stop abuse.

    Being kind. Being firm. Being supportive without enabling and knowing when to let go does stop abuse from ruining your life – even if you can’t save others from their abuse – because they choose not too. It’s not giving up. But it is knowing when the brain says to draw the line. Sometimes, victims will abuse others – so they can keep the abuser in their life. Be brain wise. Heart smart. To do the right thing – even if it hurts. Whether decisions are good or bad – each adult has the right to choose; just as each person – has the right to say yes or no and choose if they will allow some one in their life.

  • Terri H 16 March 2016, 2:44 am

    It’s a horrible place to be in. Situations like yours and mine (and everyone else posting here) are toxic and drain us emotionally and physically. I don’t know what I would do if my daughter left with my granddaughter.
    My specific situation has taken quite a turn. Following the birth of my granddaughter, my daughter did return to her apartment with the FOB (father of baby). My daughter eventually discovered the FOB had been seeing someone else. The relationship was quickly deteriorating and her threat to end things with him resulted in him assaulting her on Christmas Eve. He is currently facing felony charges of strangulation/suffocation, false imprisonment, intimidation of a victim and criminal damage to property.

    Feeling like she was actually going to die that night in front of her 1 month old daughter seems to have shaken her to the core. There is a no contact order for herself and the baby and she never speaks anything remotely close to feeling the desire to speak with him or ever see him again. I pray every day she never gets herself tangled in that kind of web again, but I fear it could happen again because these abusers are so very clever with their words and actions. Once an individual realizes the situation, they’re in too deep. I pray every day for the victims of abuse.

    My cousin and her daughter were strangled to death 12 years ago by her ex boyfriend. I’m so very thankful I did not have to plan my daughter’s funeral the week after Christmas.

    Mary, I pray your situation gets better and some day you can have your daughter back in your life.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 15 March 2016, 10:27 pm

    Sherri, I highly recommend you go to the police and your local domestic violence service to seek support and to develop a safety plan. Clare

  • Sherri 15 March 2016, 1:11 pm

    I have a daughter whom just turned 22 she’s in an abusive relationship physically and emotionally. She still lives at home but this guy has got total control over her she does his homework for school. If she doesn’t he makes her feel bad. He’s 26 and still in a two year community college. He slaps her, chokes her, he also ran a red light one day with her in the car threatening to kill her…he abused her out in public which someone saw him and contacted cops. He got locked up she didn’t file charges. She does have several scars on her from his abuse there’s nothing I can say and do. She will say this is it and go right back as if she likes it he controls her. He’s also trying to convince her to move from home and get an apartment with him. She’s afraid of him also because he shows off on her in school he embarrasses her and the abuse went from private…to public…to around her friends. He’s very obsessive. I don’t know what to do, how to help her, or how to get her out of this situation. I tell her she’s worthy, she deserves respect and love. He also works on her self esteem. I’m afraid he is gonna kill her because he has threatened to do so and he has done things to put her life at risk.

  • Mary 26 February 2016, 10:42 am

    Terri H, Reading your story made me feel like I was writing it myself. I had my grandbaby on January 27th 2016. She came home to my house and was still on track with college. Recently and abruptly she decided to leave and go with him. Taking my grandchild along with her. I feel so betrayed. I was there for 19 years, not him. He didn’t even support her financially or mentally during her pregnancy. I’m wondering how your situation is going with your daughter? Is there hope for us?

  • Gina 26 February 2016, 8:27 am

    All these comments, no resolution. I don’t know what to do.

  • Leigh 31 January 2016, 12:07 am

    I am going through a very similar situation with my daughter who is a junior at a University 2 hours away from me. She has been in an on/off again psychologically, emotional and verbally abusive relationship for over 2 years. I recently had a school official admit that he is aware that my daughter is a victim of his violence yet now that she had finally taken a stance, this “little boy” – as I like to call him – has filed charges against her at the University and she is looking at possible suspension or expulsion!!

    Regardless of the proof she has provided, they only hear what he says and look at fabricated stories and lies. She has even asked to have him charged with filing a false report which she has proof of and I was so very proud of her for doing, and the school responded by telling her that filing a report would be deemed an act of retaliation which violates their Code of Conduct! I’m at a loss as to where to go for help. How dare this institution not support her efforts!

  • K. R 21 January 2016, 2:23 am

    I have a daughter who is in her last semester of college. Since May, 2015 she has been abused by her boyfriend. They live out-of-state so it is difficult to get to her. I have flown out there several times when the violence gets real bad and they break up. You may think, “why the hell does this mom allow this to happen?” “Just pull her out of there and bring her home.” Yes, you are very right, but she won’t go. She claims that she is an “adult” and can’t be forced into leaving.

    This past weekend she wound up in the emergency room, having staples put in her head, after he slammed her head twice into a wall, splitting the back of her head open. He, on the other hand, was stabbed in the arm by her, in self defense. She won’t press charges, because “they really love each other!” Crazy! I can’t press charges because she is an adult. I am going out of my mind. She has blocked my calls, and refuses to speak to me. I have tried the nice, supportive approach, but all has failed.

    I told her that the next time, one of you will go to jail for life, and the other will be dead. I became so infuriated and enraged with anger, that she will no longer speak to me. I am so fearful that I can’t sleep or eat. I feel the depression coming on, as I cry. I know I am powerless over this situation, and that the only person I can control is myself, and how I react to this situation. I am communicating with his mother, who lives in Mass, as I live in NJ. My daughter lives in SC. I am beside myself with inner turmoil. My ex-husband has no relationship with her, so he is useless. She is bright, beautiful, going to school full time, working part-time, and has an internship. She will not leave South Carolina until she graduates in May.

    My fear is that something horrible will happen before that time. I appreciate any feedback regarding this situation. I start intensive therapy tonight, with other parents who suffer from this emotional nightmare. #barely breathing in nj.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 2 December 2015, 9:49 pm

    Sorry Salexander, I don’t give advice via the comment section. Every situation has its own nuances. Any advice I give in my blog posts can only ever be generic. For me to go more deeply into giving you advice tailored to your specific issues, it is important to go into depth to help you. The way to do this is to speak via Skype. If you’d like to pursue this please contact me https://speakoutloud.net/contact-me

  • Salexander 2 December 2015, 4:08 pm

    Please look at my comment at the top of this thread and let me know what you think. I’m not sure if all the tips given apply to a 15 year old as they would a grown woman. I need some help. I feel I’m gradually losing my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up thinking this kind of relationship is ok. Thanks for any advice!

  • Salexander 30 November 2015, 11:46 pm

    I have a 15 year old daughter who has been in a emotionally abusive relationship for about a year. I made them break up a little over a month ago because he was so mean at homecoming. I stopped letting her ride the bus because he rides the same one and they can’t see each other outside of school. They still talk and text constantly though. Of course now that they are broke up he is saying these over the top sweet things to her and she falls for it. Both of them telling each other they love each other and so on. But they are supposedly broke up.

    I have her in counseling with a social worker, not sure if that’s helping yet. I’ve laid off a lot after researching all this. My question is being that she’s 15 do I stand back and just be here for her or do I shut all communication between the two of them down? Another guy has started to text her but she goes back and tells the abuser boyfriend everything even everything the social worker says. Please help! I am at a loss. She thinks he has changed. I would say maybe he could but not in a month plus his dad is emotionally abusive to his mom, so that’s all he knows. Why won’t he just go away! Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  • Anita 27 November 2015, 12:56 am

    My daughter is 20 has been in a 2 year relationship that is destroying her physically and emotionally. I had her admitted to a clinic in February for anorexia, and anxiety. He controls every part and everyday of her life, As a family we are trying so hard to do all of the above, but he has a hold on her that we can’t seem to crack. It is destroying to see this .. It’s not just her self esteem, but her health that is at stake. I’m afraid for her life from him and herself…. Please anyone with any help ideas is greatly appreciated ..

  • Sharon 22 November 2015, 6:17 pm

    It has been so good to come across this website. My 20 year old daughter has left home and is living with a young man of 22years. He has abused her, calling her degrading names and he is abusive to me too. Lately, contact from her has been more difficult. He reads all her text messages from me then pretends he is her (I know it’s not her because his english is so poor). He has convinced her that she needs to change religion to repent for past sins. She is due to finish college in four weeks time. My only salvation at this moment in time is that she still seems committed to finishing the course. I’m doing everything I can to support her with this as it will lead to employment and some freedom for her. He has told her she can’t work, he will support her financially, no need for her to save for her future or for retirement. I have been trying to figure out which stage she is currently at within the relationship. Just being able to put this down in writing has been enormously helpful. The comments from other people have proven to me that I am not going mad, he is an abuser and he is controlling my daughter, isolating her from everyone that cares about her and has an influence on her. Thank you.

  • Terri H 7 November 2015, 8:36 am

    Reading this has been both validating and distressing at the same time. Mostly distressing. My 20 year old daughter has been in a relationship with a narcissistic and abusive person for 2 1/2 years. He is controlling, manipulative and mentally/physically/emotionally/physically abusive. He abuses alcohol and can’t hold a job. He has recently filed his second fraudulent workman’s comp claim. I had a bad vibe from him from the day I met him. He has stolen from her, spent her graduation money, pawned her valuables, bought her jewelry and later pawned it, convinced her to open credit cards to purchase things for him and the list goes on and on…..

    My daughter dropped out of college half way through her freshman year after he spent the entire time living with her in her dorm room and keeping her isolated. Eventually, she wasn’t even attending her classes. He wasn’t working at the time, so she was never alone without him. Shortly after leaving college, she moved into an apartment with him.

    My daughter is now 34 weeks pregnant with his child (her first, his third – three different mothers). He is minimally involved with his oldest child and not at all involved with his second. He has isolated my daughter from her friends and her family. The only time she is away from him is when she is at work or he has taken off to spend a night in a bar drinking alone while she’s at work…….which would explain why she recently sent me a text message from work saying “Why is it that I’m all on board with plans to move back home with you and dad when I’m at work but as soon as I’m away from work my thoughts change? It’s like I’m not in control of my own emotions and I feel like a puppet.”

    It was 12 days ago that my daughter showed up for an OB appointment and broke down as soon as I saw her and asked if she was ok because she looked exhausted. She immediately began sobbing and told me she couldn’t take it anymore. She confided in me that “he” had a drinking problem and had been drinking the night before. He was talking nonsense and when she demanded he just go to sleep he threw her down and put his hands on her throat and wouldn’t let her up. She was so distraught that day in the clinic, I requested a social worker come talk to her and with their help she agreed she needed to leave and go somewhere she was safe. She came home with me. She remains in our home but everyday is like living inside a pinball machine. She worries about him and wants to go back. She’s afraid he will hurt himself. She feels like he can change. She worries he will have no one. UGH!!! So many worries about him……what about herself?!?!?!

    Since coming home she has told me of other similar episodes she has experienced with him. This was not the first time he has thrown or tackled her to the ground, put his hands to her throat, given her a bloody lip, damaged her property or held her against her will. And this has happened multiple times during her pregnancy. I was aware of one time, while she was in college, that they had a physical “scuffle” in her dorm room and security had been called. I foolishly assumed it was an isolated incident since she told me she “kind of started it.” Why didn’t I realize she was covering up for him?!?! Although, I now know it wouldn’t have mattered. I feel that she was in way deeper then and is now closer to wanting to end the relationship than she would have been at that time. But I’m terribly worried that she will eventually go back once this baby is born because he will convince her that it is the right thing to do for the baby……to have her in a home with a “mom and dad.” Even though he has walked away from his first two children.

    She has returned to their apartment multiple times in the past 12 days for visits, has gone to dinner with him and just yesterday they attended a childbirth class together. I realize this is “normal”, but I’m feeling such despair and so helpless.

    My daughter has had struggles with mental health issues for the past 3-4 years. I don’t feel she ever received proper evaluation to determine an accurate diagnosis. Now the effects of this abusive relationship in addition to her already existing undiagnosed mental health issues complicated by a high-risk pregnancy and the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy have her in a confused state of mind. She is a complete mess emotionally. Some days I don’t think she knows if she is coming or going. She is simply existing and going through the motions of getting through another day. I fear for the days following delivery of this baby. The fluctuations of hormones during the post partum period, baby blues and strong possibility of post partum depression all cause me deep concern for her emotional well being.

    In the past 12 days I have said and done EVERYTHING WRONG!! (according to the advice I have read). I don’t know how to “do this.” I read how to support a victim of domestic violence but when the time comes to actually DO it I struggle TERRIBLY! It’s so hard for me to not say things that I HATE about him in the heat of the moment. She told me 2 days ago that I am “so overboard” and “running her life.” It’s “ridiculous” that I HAD to go to her appointment last week. I told her that I know she’s not angry that I went to that appointment but rather that I went to that appointment and she told me what happened the night before. (Actually hours before, as this had happened about 4 hours earlier around 4 AM).

    I guess I don’t know that I’m commenting for anything more than somewhere to “vent” my thoughts and express my emotional despair. I don’t want to screw this up! But I am struggling. Our whole family is struggling. And again, she’s terribly angry that so many people know about this. I simply ask for prayers from all who believe in prayer. I pray my daughter can put herself first and the safety of her baby first and be courageous enough to walk away for good. Likewise, I pray for all others involved in abusive relationships.
    This is a form of hell on earth….

  • Lori 5 November 2015, 5:07 am

    Sharon – I truly feel your pain and I hope that your situation has resolved, or is at least on the way. My daughter is a 21 year old beauty. Had her head on straight and is in college. The “boy” she has been dating for 3 years is verbally and emotionally abusive as well and makes her feel bad about herself. She was so confident and I see that disappearing. While in high school he was accused of cheating on her and had just been told on again – this time by the girl herself. I confronted him and he swears it isn’t true. I really thought that this time my daughter would leave him but to no avail they are still together. His family loves her – and they too are supportive of this relationship. I’m at my wits end and I don’t know how to convince her that she deserves so much better. The last confrontation he and I had he was very disrespectful but in her eyes he was just mad. HELP!!

  • jojo 31 October 2015, 8:06 pm

    My sister who has just turned 17 has been with her 18 year old boyfriend since February 2015. She is now currently pregnant and is due in December 2015. The very first time she introduced him to the family there were problems. My sister would act strange when he was around. She would get very defensive over nothing. He would say things about my family to her, which made her argue with my family.

    My mom and dad are very genuine nice people. They would never judge anybody without knowing them and welcomed my sister’s boyfriend with open arms. They would take him back home because they didn’t like him walking back on his own. They would pick him up so he didn’t have to walk, offer to pay for him to come out on family days, which he would never come. But he would always be onto my sister phoning her every 10 minutes always texting her asking what she’s doing, what time will she be back etc., and he would make my sister feel bad for spending time with her family even though he could of come many times!

    This was very hard for me to see being her big sister. I would ask her ‘why does he keep phoning you?’ constantly she would snap and tell me to mind my own.

    Then I started to realize my sister became very emotional and would always be in her bedroom so I took it upon myself to see if she was pregnant. I’d asked her the question and she said ‘no’ so I went and bought a pregnancy test which she agreed to do. I became a mom at 18 so this was the last thing I’d want for any of my sisters. It turned out to be positive. Deep down I was gutted but didn’t show it. I told her I would be there for her through whatever.

    I told my mom. She was extremely upset that her baby girl was pregnant, but yet again she didn’t show it. She told my sister she would support her. Her boyfriend didn’t want the baby, he had no interest, and his attitude towards my sister changed.

    He would get very angry at her. He would shout at her over nothing, which made her upset most of the time my mom told him he can’t be treating her like that. Well they decided to keep the baby and it was said that they were going to get a flat. I told my sister that it probably wasn’t the best thing to do right now because they were first time young parents so they need all the support they can get. She agreed it was the best thing to do.

    At this point her boyfriend started to show his true colours he would make it known that he has my sister where he wants her. He would pick and pick and pick at my sister and eventually turned her against her sisters. Life at home wasn’t enjoyable any more because of him I’d never see my sister at all because he wouldn’t let her out his sight. He became vile.

    My parents stood up to him as they really had enough of his demanding controlling ways. But things just got worse and worse to the point my family was falling apart. My sister would spend more and more time down his house. Any appointments she had she had to have them down his house which is a 45 minute walk from ours, which she had to walk with speed as no-one was around to take her. We would try talking to her but she would always think we’ve got it in for her which that is not the case at all.

    Well she came home 4 weeks ago went straight upstairs locked herself away as she does. My mum went up to see if she was OK she said she was fine then out of nowhere she stormed out the door with 2 big bags. My dad run after her she told him she’s going and she’s not coming back. My mum and dad run to their car got in and by that time my sister had vanished my mom phoned me in bits this just came out of nowhere she didn’t understand what she had done. I told her it wasn’t her it’s my sister’s boyfriend. He wanted this since the day they got together.

    I phoned my sister straight away he answered her phone told me I wasn’t allowed to talk to her then put the phone down. I tried several times but they wouldn’t pick up. The next day I would phone and phone eventually she picked up told me she didn’t want anything to do with me or her family and could hear her boyfriend telling her what to say.

    We have tried literally everything to get in contact with her but he’s not letting her. He speaks for her. He literally has full control over her she has no friends because he’s destroyed it. I just don’t get why, what have we done so bad? We’ve offered love support everything. We’ve never been horrible, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. She just went without a bye. His family are letting this happen but how would they feel if the shoe was on the other foot? My mom and dad are in bits as they still to this day haven’t heard anything. We’ve been told we can contact social services, but that will only make things worse.

    Sorry for this rant. I just wish she would see sense what she’s about to let herself in for is one of the hardest things ever and I know it will kill her not seeing her family especially her mom. My sister is usually bubbly and hyper but since being with him she’s changed. It hurts even more that I may not ever see my nephew. I just want my sister back :(

  • Vicki 25 October 2015, 9:12 pm

    My daughter turns 20 this week and has just left college. She has a boyfriend whom she has been seeing for 2 years. I have watched her change from an outgoing happy confident girl into a quiet, moody woman. She now spends 85% of the week at his house! She barely contacts me and if I call her when he is in the room the conversation is stilted. She has in the past told me not to text her as he reads them. When they are at our house, she makes all his food and drinks and presents them to him. If we have a disagreement, he ‘gets to her’ with his opinions before we can input and she won’t listen to us. More recently, she was in a work situation where she cuddled another man. She felt so guilty she told him and he flipped out breaking her handbag and kicking her car. He has just phoned to say the car will cost too much money to fix properly so he will get as much of it repaired as he is willing to only pay nominal amount. He told my husband he would rather come and cut his throat than pay to get it fixed as he only dented the car because of her actions and we wouldn’t be able to take it any further as my daughter would back him and not us. Trouble is, he is right. Husband furious and wants to take the car away from her. I think she will just move in with him and I will lose her completely. So stuck. She doesn’t see any of it. I really don’t know what to do.

  • Joan 20 October 2015, 12:09 am

    My daughter was in an abusive relationship that turned into him strangling her till she almost passed out. The college not only gave him his diploma but they ruined my daughter’s education. I tried everything but when she was a baby I used to sign to her I’ll Stand By You by the pretenders…. I have let her down….. I did not protect her…. My heart aches every single day, I cry every single day, I don’t think I will ever be ok again. I read of other families and it breaks my heart, society gives these men the benefit and makes our children who are the victims then become the accused. Shame on society shame on colleges.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 17 October 2015, 8:43 pm

    Denise, you could read through these suggestions, as well as reading this blog “How mothers can support daughters”.
    — It is very common for coercively controlling partners to divide and conquer in this way — very sad for her and for you. You may find some useful tips in this series of blogs: — Clare
    Stage One
    Stage Two
    Stage Three
    Stage Four
    Stage Five

  • Denise 17 October 2015, 6:38 pm

    My daughter’s been with this jerk for 4 years. She lived with him and his family for the past two but recently finally got her own place and broke up with him. 4 months ago she agreed to go back. He promised he’d changed. She told me he had. He’s been terribly abusive to me and is sneaky and does his best to keep my daughter from me. I met him to talk and he tried to play me by apologizing non stop. Then continued the same garbage. He actually told me that he makes ALL the decisions. That’s as it should be. He has severe depression. ADHD. Can’t keep a job. He is always out thrill seeking instead of working. For Christmas he convinced my daughter to go away for the week on a trip and leave me completely alone. She didn’t even tell me but I found out completely by accident. He doesn’t give her gifts or celebrate occasions.

    If she married him it will be worse. He’s kicked her and verbally abused her. Because she actually got away from him but is now giving him another chance and of course he’s trying to show her he’s changed. But she’s buying it. As she’s currently trying to make up her mind about him is there anything I can do or should not be doing?

    If she stays with him it will be harder. Children will come. I’m all alone having lost my other two children in an accident. My parents are dead and she’s all I have left. Right now she still listens to me. A little. Less and less. He pretty much runs the show and she waits for his directions and tells me to be careful around him. He’s sensitive.

    …he’s wanting her to move to another country with him. When we talked, he actually told me what he would and would not let her do. Of course everyone likes him and would think I’m crazy and of course she just tells everyone how nice he is….any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Teesha Denniston 13 October 2015, 7:28 pm

    My 17 year old daughter is dating a man that is 20. He has been in her life for 2 years supposed to be engaged. He violently tried to attack me and my husband I thought for sure my daughter would dump him did not happen. Now he’s putting his hands on her

  • Julie 12 October 2015, 8:15 am

    Almost every one of these comments could be our story. My daughter is 27 with 4 beautiful children whom she absolutely lives for. She’s beautiful and smart. Her whole situation is text book. Her boyfriend constantly verbally abuses her and puts her down. His abuse of her physically appears to be escalating. This weekend he is in jail because she called the police on him, but she’s already saying how she’s going to court on Tuesday to tell the judge she doesn’t want him punished, only for him to get help. She constantly makes excuses for him. My husband and I try to be there for her as much as she’ll let us, but I’m quite sure he is doing his best to separate us and isolate her. He’s a very smart manipulator and narcissistic. Everyone is wrong in his eyes. There is no mediating with him. We have changed her locks and she’s had him back and given him a key. Pretty much everything I’ve read on here pertains to her. I don’t know what to do or how far to go to help her. When they’re separated she texts me almost everyday, and calls. When she’s with him I don’t hear anything from her for days. From reading this, it doesn’t appear there’s much we can do except be there for her when we can. I pay special attention to the children’s behavior, I don’t believe he has done anything to them apart from what they witness, which is bad enough. They seem to love him and be happy to see him. Is there anything we can do?

  • DaisyDi 27 September 2015, 11:32 am

    My 28 year old daughter is in an abusive relationship (3rd one). Her second abusive relationship lead to IV drug abuse and the birth of my granddaughter (who I adopted). I so appreciate the sadness, frustration and fear the other moms here have expressed. Because I am her daughter’s legal parent I cannot open my door to her always. During the adoption process I as told there would be times when I will have to choose between my “eldest daughter’s” safety and wellbeing and that of my “adopted daughter.” My precious 3 year old has no choice about her circumstances whereas my daughter does, and I cannot risk my youngest one’s safety by continuing to open my door to my eldest, who brings with her potentially violent retaliation by her abusive boy”friend.” Thanks for listening everyone. I wish you all the best.

  • Monica G. 21 September 2015, 4:20 pm

    I have a 27 year old daughter who has an abusive boyfriend. She has been with him more than two years. They have a two year old child. I have seen bruises on my beautiful daughter. I have been in the emergency room with my daughter where he ran over her with four wheeler and never apologized ever. Just recently I received a phone call from a stranger that he had picked up my daughter on a major highway because her boyfriend had practically choked her and then made her get out of the car. My daughter now has an alcohol problem in which it has become increasingly worse.

    I am still getting in the middle of the night phone calls of her crying hysterically because he has hurt her. I know she is in deep depression and uses the alcohol to take the pain away. She is barely coping. I’m so scared that I will get a phone call I don’t want to receive. I try to remain positive, I have always reminded her my home is always open to her and my grandson (I have gone out to rent a two bedroom apartment just for her), and I always remind her that I will pay for her counseling. I pray everyday that things will get better. I really feel for my daughter’s boyfriend sometimes. My daughter is not the easiest person to live with. My heart aches for him because his mother has cancer, which I know he’s hurting, but it doesn’t give him the right to lay his hands on my beautiful daughter. It’s agonizing.

  • Ana 13 September 2015, 3:29 am

    My daughter is 21 and has a son with a boy who has been unfaithful a million times, who denied throughout her pregnancy that the child she was expecting was not his. They fight all the time, he kicks the house, his son, and every time she comes home, gets the whole family in a stunning stress, but all continue helping her.
    I do not know if he hits her because they live in another State.
    We’re all tired of this drama.
    What can I do?

  • Damaris 8 September 2015, 12:56 pm

    You’re so young and have a whole life ahead of you. I’m trying to get out of my abusive relationship; it’s similar to yours. I am 22 and gone through hell and back with this guy. My family hates him and his mom hates me. It’s a self destructive relationship, but by God’s grace I am finally seeing how horrible it really is. I work and go to school. I’ll be graduating next year. I’m scared that this relationship will ruin my life. I am also on probation; if I get in any trouble I’ll go back to prison. If I stay in the relationship I know that is where I’ll end or dead; he’s physically abusive, as well.

  • Barbara 29 August 2015, 9:01 pm

    My daughter is also in a coercive marriage, 2 yrs ago I escaped similar and since then I have been alienated as have all my family. My son was the first to be alienated 5 yrs ago. I send texts, write etc apologising for anything I may have done but I get no response. I now have 4 grandchildren, the newest one I only heard about recently. The oldest who is 9 used to always stay at my home at weekends and school holidays. I miss them all so much. How do I get information to her if she has nobody in her life to turn to? x

  • pamela 18 July 2015, 8:15 am

    I am a mother whose daughter was experiencing everything the other posters have described. The big difference is that she finally had a brain stem stroke from stress. I have been thrown out, along with my other children. He is a narcissist, like all these other men. My daughter came to me twice, talking about a divorce. I never denigrated him, even though I wanted to.

    Since the stroke, 3 years ago, she has been unable to walk or talk. I never get any reports of how she is doing. I have spent thousands on lawyers, and even saw the Power of Atorney, he drew up and forged, giving him all her powers. The notary, a true notary, is a friend of his. She could not even hold a pen when this happened. Lawyers and police think it is a forgery. Then he took that notarized Power of Attorney and went to a new notary, and, as her agent, signed her half of the house over to himself for $1.00.

    Social services and police turn their back on women in domestic situations. He has taken my beautiful daughter, and my two grandchildren away, and spread lies and hate to everyone. He also banned all her friends from “his house”. I am in fear for her and the children. He works from home, and is the gatekeeper of all telephone calls and emails. He uses her children’s phones to contact me with bad messages. They know this, but cannot go against him. He has sued many people, Doctors, equipment makers of her therapeutic devices, and informed me that he is now worth 1.8 million dollars, and could I go the distance in a legal fight… I cannot.

    I pray every day for her and the children. The same signs were present in her before the stroke, i.e. standing up for him all the time, but talking divorce. His father tried to beat me up once. I did go to police, but did not file charges. I have to weigh any action that I do, as I know he will take it out on her and the children. This is the most horrendous and unjust situation. He took her confused mind after a severe stroke, and spoke horrible lies
    about our family to her.

    At this point, I truly believe she stays because he has threatened to divorce her, and he would get custody. Physically, she cannot leave, or tell anyone about how she feels. My honest feeling is that he will eventually divorce her, take the children, and put her in a nursing home on medicaid, because she has no assets now.

    Ladies, tell your daughters this story. If they stay until they are ill, have a stroke
    or heart attack, etc., they will experience a hell that no one should go through.

  • Anne 15 July 2015, 2:09 am

    Dulsey, It’s time consuming and tedious, but whatever State you live in check the current DV laws. In Oregon just recently if a victim takes out a restraining order and it is awarded by a judge. My daughter finally did this after twelve 911 calls no arrests five plus years ongoing escalating like a textbook. Yes a now 4 year old granddaughter, a new grand baby on the way, I have felt almost every emotion from every response on this site, have abided by the ‘what to talk about what not to’. I have looked for any and all possible ways to have criminal charges brought.

    The perpetrator cycled (raged) must have been a four alarm fire for my daughter to actually file a restraining order but the order reads even if petitioner changes her mind which almost always happens in Oregon it doesn’t matter the Order still stands. From day one he would not comply give up all that power he just believed he was entitled and above the law. As I have since 2009 the beginning of this I’ve been diligent in every detail. So I just started educating myself with what I could do within the laws boundaries. A no contact also is in place. Ok I know these are just pieces of paper the police can’t be everywhere and the cat and mouse game can go on and on.

    I also found this out by reporting perpetrator to be in direct violation of the 2 orders. If anyone believes one call will accomplish anything it won’t. Yes they will check if no one answers or the victim lies for the perpetrator which my daughter did. I called again and again and again also finding out if the officers do interviews with a neighbor that can say yes. I saw him there this morning.

    You become more credible not a disgruntled mom, gramma and so on. Don’t stop calling. Be prepared to be buttoned up during these calls even if you want to scream, cry yell help please. My daughter and grand babies lives are at stake and DV is to be taken seriously life and death. I found out with probable cause this info can be sent to the DA’s office – find out who yours is. This can lead to a search warrant the cat and mouse game ends. In Oregon violation of these 2 orders is a crime mandatory 1 year. (Once again Oregon check your State.)

    Also with the grand babies I live very close to my daughter If you know DV takes place in front of those kids go to CPS, get an Attorney. Ok I can’t make my daughter leave but I can enforce the law and I also can take temporary custody from my daughter. In my situation she is awarded full temporary custody because of RO and No VO but allows perpetrator back in so she is not making good choices while all the chaos, violence, drama, all the emotional ugliness as stated by others.

    A year in jail to me means a year my daughter is safe and my granddaughter is safe. Then a new whole bunch of work starts. But listen follow your hunches and intuition. I found out about RO and No contact order 6 months after it was in effect. This may be your case. These are often taken out by the victim but yet again kept secret. You must be proactive when it’s time it’s not easy but I know I can’t be the only gramma out there possible just coming upon “Orders”. Don’t just wait for the law, they have hundreds and hundreds of these cases stacked. They are doing the best they can but you can be a voice for your daughter when she can’t and when it is critical.

  • rene 9 July 2015, 2:09 pm

    My daughter has gone back, yet again, to the man that tried to kill me. They were living in my home and I walked in to find him choking my daughter. My daughter was totally blue. As I was calling the cops he pulled a box cutter on me. Once he was in custody, he ran from the work release program and shot up my house and my car. My daughter went willingly back to this monster…and now, for MY own life and the lives of my other children, I can no longer be in her life. How am I supposed to get over this???

  • Rita 6 July 2015, 8:08 am

    I was in an abusive marriage, I managed to get the help I needed, but now I have a daughter that I’ve seen all kinds of signs of abuse. But my daughter refuses to admit. One day she decides to relocate with her boyfriend to New Mexico because her boyfriend got a promotion as a general manager of a hotel and I get that call, “Please mom come and get me, he choked me and punched me all over my body and put a knife to my neck, please mom… I’m scared for my life and my daughter”.

    I immediately contacted the police to check on her and her baby who isn’t his daughter and at the same time stop what you’re doing to go rescue your daughter. I stayed on the phone with her for over 2 hours talking about what is going on and she mentioned to me that she is really scared of him and if he shows up she would have to deny everything because he would beat her again. Next thing when he shows up to the hotel (remember he is the general manager) he asks for her, and while still on the phone I hear him say “What’s going on?” and my daughter says “I’m leaving you, I’ve told my mom everything.” Then I heard him say “You’re going to make me lose everything.” Then the phone hangs up. After driving for 8 1/2 hours to get her but he keeps them inside. Now my daughter refuses to talk to me, tells the officers that everything is okay and I’m doing this because I hate her boyfriend. She denied everything she told, not just to me, but my family and friends. I don’t want to wait till my daughter gets killed and that is when the law gives me permission to take her lifeless body. I feel so helpless…

  • tania 4 July 2015, 4:26 pm

    You will be tall and strong again! Dig deep and find that inner strength. It’s there. You know right from wrong and soon you will have had enough and you will leave.

  • Dianne 1 July 2015, 9:42 pm

    I truly feel your pain. My daughter is also in an abusive relationship; has tried to leave many times but keeps returning to this monster of a controlling man. My heart breaks for her and all you other women in this situation. But please, please remember you are beautiful women, you have been strong and you can be strong again; you deserve to be happy, your children deserve more than this. These men’s behaviors are sick, they think that by making you feel bad about yourself that no one else will want you; that they can control and bind you to them by stripping you of your soul. Please don’t believe this; keep telling yourself you are beautiful, deserving, strong, important women. Much love to you x

  • Veronica 21 June 2015, 4:50 pm

    All you can do is stand up for yourself. When I told my mom my husband hit me after she picked me up from the hospital where I was treated for him biting my nose, I thought I would get the motherly support you expect. Instead she said, without looking at me, that’s what you want? So that’s when I knew I was in this alone. I made up my mind in that instance to say the hell with you I don’t need anyone but myself! Sometimes mothers are just not meant to be mothers? Be strong and fight for yourself you don’t need her. Yes it would be nice, but it is just not going to happen. Good luck, hope it all works out.

  • Veronica 21 June 2015, 4:42 pm

    I am sorry you’re going through this. I myself am going through something similar. It feels as if I am drowning and my hands are tied. I am afraid not only for my daughter, but for my first grandchild. How can you help when they don’t want your help? I was always ready to strike at anyone who hurt my child and now she is a woman I am not able to fight her battles any longer. Good luck, no advice, just know you’re not alone in this fight. There are other mothers in the same situation.

  • Nina 20 June 2015, 5:23 pm

    I am one of these daughters, and it is impossible to think clearly. You lose all sense of yourself. You are nothing. I was highly educated, tall, strong — and now I am a mess.

  • Sarah 16 June 2015, 4:16 am

    Ella, I could have written your post, the exact same things are going on with my daughter and it is killing me, I’ve also tried everything and nothing is working. I am also beyond angry and don’t know what to do. I actually told a friend of mine this guy is winning!! He is terrible, abusive and controlling and my daughter has changed so much but won’t talk to me about anything when I can see it all SO clearly, I cannot sleep and feel sick. He gives me the chills when he looks at me and I feel like running over there and pulling her out of the house! This is a nightmare and I am beyond upset.

  • Patricia 29 May 2015, 7:36 am

    My daughter is in a controlling relationship with an older man. He was 26 and she was 16 when he started pursuing her. I told him to stay away. Instead he got her pregnant and convinced her to leave home. We are back involved in her life, which I know he hates. She is now 18 with a 2 month old. Instead of graduating, she is changing diapers. She told her older sister she wants to come home but he and his mom have threatened her if she leaves. They are keeping her son. What can I do? He is a pedophile as I found out he has been grooming her since she was 11. I’m at a loss what to do to support her and get her and her son away from him.

  • susie 26 May 2015, 8:16 pm

    I have a 27 year old daughter, who is pregnant. Her boyfriend is verbally abusive, is a methamphetamine IV user, a thief, very selfish, he doesn’t work, lives off my daughter’s food stamps and her unemployment. He’s never bought anything for her or the upcoming baby, is always in trouble with the law (worried he’ll drag her into the criminal life) and the worst is I just found out that he made a porn film staring them, and is selling it in our small town. My daughter denies everything evil about this man. I am literally sick because of this relationship… I am a single mom, my daughter and I have always been close, but he has destroyed us. She is cold and emotionless, and becoming more like him and is stealing now, and disrespectful to others. I am at my wits end, and feeling depressed even suicidal at times because I don’t have a clue how to handle this situation, I want to drag her out of this horrible situation… but when I say anything negative about him, she just draws cold to me….any advice ?

  • Clare Murphy PhD 24 May 2015, 6:33 pm

    Karen, These are only suggestions – there are no exact answers. It is up to each person to follow their own instinct with respect to your personal understanding of your daughter and her partner and others who may be influencing her. Some things work for some people and other things work for other people. I wish you well in finding useful ways to support your daughter….. Clare

  • Karen 15 May 2015, 9:00 am

    I want to support my daughter. I am cofused by the advice here: On one hand is the keep things casual do not talk about the relationship and then in the next two sections to say or ask her are all about the relationship. Please clarify. In many years I have said absolutely nothing until recently. I would really like some guidance how to support her. She is in denial. Thinks they have a “communication problem” and she needs to try harder. He is addicted to alcohol, pain killers, snuff, energy drinks and is verbally abusive to her plus just recently she said he is now slapping their young children in the face. She puts her own values character on the side and defers to him. HELP

  • Sharon 2 April 2015, 11:11 pm

    This article spoke so much to me. It was supportive and discouraging at the same time. I have a daughter who is in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and she just cannot see it. The more we try and talk to her about it, the more she pushes us away. I can also see the evidence of the boyfriend driving that wedge more and more between her and us (her parents). It is becoming more and more difficult to find an opportunity to nurture our relationship with her as she continues to spend more time with him. And the more time she spends with him, the more distant she becomes toward us.

    His family LOVES that they are back together again because they know what a wonderful influence she is on his life. That makes things even more difficult – his family is welcoming and supportive of their relationship and we are not. I think he works at driving that wedge too. My husband spoke to him recently about a very disparaging public message he put out to several of her friends and family via FB messenger. He simply didn’t get it and only responded to my husband that there was nothing he said that was not true. My husband’s response to him was perfect – he told him he made something public that was intended to denigrate the very person he claims to love.

    I have spoken with a family therapist about this for a few months now. A month or two ago my daughter’s Dad and I had a talk with her as the counselor said we cannot control her but we can influence. It seemed to have no impact at all. At this point the counselor is telling me the only thing I have left now is prayer. I do not think I have ever prayed so hard or so much for anything. I love my daughter so very much and know she deserves so much better than she is getting.

  • mary 28 March 2015, 4:08 am

    Help I’m at my wits end. My daughter left her husband because of abuse and went living with someone she knew from school. He’s a horrible troublemaker and turns things to his advantage. He recently threatened her 24 year old daughter. When I asked her why, she just sat there and let him do it. She put the phone down and hasn’t contacted me since. In fact he sent a message with my grandson saying they didn’t want anything of me for my grandchildren again and they were moving away. She doesn’t flinch and backs him up, which hurts like hell. She has stopped her 17 year old son from staying with me by making him stay in his bedroom. He wants to come and live with me but is scared her partner will start hitting her. I told him this is not his problem. He is depressed and unhappy. She used to hug me when she came to see me. It’s like there is just emptiness inside her.

  • Dulsey 23 March 2015, 9:18 am

    Hi Denise,

    I myself have just found out about the physical abuse to my daughter. I am sick with worry about what my grandbabies are going through and no one seems to understand the fine line grandparents have to walk. Report it to child protective services, you risk losing all visiting with the children and nothing happens, or they possibly take the kids and it would be detrimental to the children…who or what do we choose?? Wanna chat?

  • Anne 17 March 2015, 9:17 am

    I have a very close cousin who is in an emotionally abusive relationship. She is not a teenager but 52 yrs old, he is 63! They have been together probably 5 yrs, living together now 9 months. He is (in my opinion) borderline autistic/OCD…. He cooks, cleans, laundry, everything — because she is too “stupid’ a “slob” and he is trying to “educate” her on doing everything…but she’s too dumb and stupid to learn (his words). She has become a nervous wreck to be around….she doubts her ability to do anything. She believes EVERYTHING he tells her because he knows EVERYTHING. It is driving me crazy. He is awful to be around and quite frankly I am finding it hard to be in his presence. She is losing her friends because of him, he’s rude and obnoxious. How can I tell her that I don’t want to be around him anymore? I don’t want to lose our relationship (we are very close) and she does come to me for advice when he’s abusive to her, but then won’t talk about it the next day. I have read that I should just be there for her and I will….but I don’t want to be around him. Do I just tell her that???

  • Treva 2 March 2015, 7:21 am

    I have a similar situation with my daughters…notice 2 of them. I raised them to the ages of 7 and 3. My second husband molested the oldest and a huge thing went on with DFS, fought for years to gain them back but to no avail lost the fight. I truly tried and I still know making the mistake of marring the wrong person was horrifying, but not a great reason to take my kids away. We all are human and guess what – it’s not tattooed on the forehead “I am a child molester”. So years later I waited until my children got older and could find me or vice versa. I found them the eldest first at 19 and of course there was nothing but hostility and anger “even though she remembered what kind of mom I was”, but still in the back of her head DFS told her tons of stuff that was lies. Lots of people are accused of things, but are innocent. Now the eldest said the middle child would never know about me she did not want her to meet me or have anything to do with me, due to jealous behavior on her part. However, yes the youngest finally found me with her boyfriend at the time. She is a wonderful person but her boyfriend is abusive in every way… I have tried over the last 5 years to understand, deal, help, hope, pray and throw my hands up on this situation. I moved 1400 miles to help her, to no avail she moved within 5 months after breaking up with him calling cops my having another heart attack she moves back in with his family, his aggressive mother who was put in jail for 8 years (felony) for beating a woman near to death. Moves back with me, gets job and going to fight for children as he took them away put a restraining order on her so he can continue to control the situation. My daughter got very ill so ill she goes into a coma while with me, she is hospitalized and tubes run down her etc… the worse. Due to her being still married to him he takes control keeps me out of hospital and out of the loop in general along with his mother causing so much pain on my side. Once she finally wakes up they lie to her and tell her things that make her angry with me. I no longer am involved at all by this point, yet again total control on his side, his mother’s and now her sister is involved getting on the side of them….such a mess. I don’t know what to do or where to turn. I feel I have to give up for my own sake…she is an adult now what more can be done. I have another child to finish raising who is 16 years old (raised him the whole time). I am depressed, angry, pissed off and completely feel helpless in all of this.


  • Cindy 23 February 2015, 9:08 am

    Thanks Clare, we can’t get a thing done. He leaves no proof and at this point it is all emotional as far as we know. We have contacted the police and they will go do a well check and she tells them she is fine and they leave. They went this morning and called to tell us the guy acted so calm and wasn’t even concerned with why they were there. But again they told us there is nothing we can do because she tells them everything is ok….it’s the worst feeling in the world and he appears to be very good at this, if you will. He seems to say he is going to beat all of us up and kill himself most…but no one will do a darn thing to help us.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 22 February 2015, 12:20 pm

    Hi Cindy, threats to kill a woman by an extremely controlling partner (which is what he is) must be taken seriously. It’s important you report everything to the police and get advice from police and from your local domestic violence agency. You could also read these blog posts here and here about risk factors that lead to a man who uses coercive control to murder his female partner . —Clare

  • Cindy 22 February 2015, 11:43 am

    Wow, this may be a life saver for me after these last few days to find this site. My 21 year old daughter got involved with a 29 year old man when her twin brother went into the Navy. This guy got her at a vulnerable time and it has been a nightmare. First he got her fired from a really good job, because he kept confronting her boss, he made her stop college with only two credits to graduate. Moved her into an awful place with his elderly grandparents. Then he spent all of her money made her lose her car then started turning her against all her family. Then he started threatening to kill everyone and her and him then he started placing ads on Craigs List and offered her for sex and videoed it and sold her. She escaped and came home went to the crisis center then he contacted lots of her friends, sent the videos, threatned to kill and she got scared and went back. She called two days ago wanting to leave. He now supposedly has her pregnant. Would not let her take birthcontrol and made her have sex with anyone while pregnant. She wants to leave. He has girlfriends. Leaves her alone with no phone and she lost her car, so has no transportation. I am in fear for her life. She is emotionally drained and I honestly think she has lots of mental damage from all of the emotional and body branding he has done. At what point can something be done? She says she wants out and wants us to come get her then we don’t hear from her…it is so scary.

  • Tess 21 February 2015, 6:53 pm

    This is a difficult one. Instinct would make me want to call the cops and get this animal arrested, but that’ll be another sure way to put more distance between you and your daughter. You need to keep her close, and as hard as it is, talk about normal things and she may want to be open and want help to get away. When you’re in an abusive relationship you make excuses, thinking you are going to ‘fix’ them, that doesn’t happen. She will leave when the time is right for her, it’s a dangerous wait though. I’m so sorry, what an awful time for you and your daughter. Men like him have a clever way of brainwashing you, making you think that they are the only ones that care and your family are trying to cause trouble and act jealous of what you have. Mind boggling but it’s true. Keep in contact, I’ve just found this great website and it’s some kind of comfort for you to know you are not alone.

  • deb 21 February 2015, 1:03 am

    Recently my daughter’s abusive husband hit her and pushed her into her car at my house. He’s given her punches to the chest, face and she even wore a black eye the day they were married. I don’t want him around my house anymore, but she won’t come where he is not welcome. She is only 22. What should I do?

  • Denise 16 February 2015, 6:55 am

    How do mom’s survive not knowing if their adult daughters are being abused again by their husbands? I go to sleep every night wondering if she has been hurt that day, and if my grandchildren are okay. I’m just not sure how to keep doing this.

  • Elizabeth 15 February 2015, 9:38 pm

    Hi John, I think it would be a good idea for parents to communicate with each other for support and encouragement.
    Warm Regards

  • John 14 February 2015, 4:14 pm

    Nancy, I read your story last night to my wife. We both felt like you were writing about us. We feel your pain. We also are going through a very similar circumstance with our daughter. Almost wish there was a way we could communicate with each other for support and encouragement. Lord bless you and your family’s situation.

  • Elizabeth 12 February 2015, 8:52 am

    Hi Nancy, I know how you feel. My daughter is in a bad relationship with a man whose family is controlling and it breaks my heart.

  • Terri 20 January 2015, 3:50 pm

    My daughter moved in a man who is a tattoo artist. She found videos on his laptop of him cheating on her with many women in his tattoo shop. The women didn’t know they were being filmed. She called the police and he was charged, but then within a few weeks had quit her good job, sold her house at a loss and lied to all her friends and family to move several states away with him. She was in an abusive relationship before and kept taking that jerk back as well. She is smart, pretty, educated and yet she moved away from everyone and everything with this loser, who says, “he doesn’t do families,” so we will never again have a family Christmas, Thanksgiving… All her family is devastated. I am tired of her asking for help to get out of a bad situation, only to jump into another one. Am I enabling or helping?

  • Clare Murphy PhD 12 January 2015, 1:43 pm

    Hi Nancy, I’m sorry you’re experiencing this. It’s heartbreaking. I do not give advice as it would only be generic, for example you could read https://speakoutloud.net/helping-victims-survivors/mothers-concerned-for-daughters-in-abusive-relationships. If you ever want specific support tailored to your particular situation, I’m here for that. https://speakoutloud.net/counselling ….. also I just wrote this blog that has very similar elements to what you’re dealing with: https://speakoutloud.net/intimate-partner-abuse/why-do-men-use-coercive-control/uk-legislation …I hope you have some good friends who believe and support you. Clare

  • Nancy 11 January 2015, 5:12 pm

    This is an amazing website and is spot-on with the way my son-in-law treats our only daughter. They have been married 7 years and this all started the day she said “I do.” He has methodically put a divide first between my daughter (31) and me (mom), then my husband and also my two sons. She has separated herself from almost all of our family members, her (our) church and we know of at least one couple, whom they used to be close with, who are no longer friends with them. She isolates everyone who questions her decisions to make amends with her family.

    My daughter had her first baby 3 years ago and it seemed my son-in-laws hate grew ever so much deeper for me. I was in the delivery room when my granddaughter was born and routinely cared for her two days a week while my daughter went back to work. No other baby could have gotten more loving care. I quit “babysitting” my granddaughter when she was 18 months old because they were greatly disrespecting my schedule. I told her I just wanted to be a grandma and would be happy to fill in when her mother-in-law needed time off. My son-in-law, who made up his own work schedule, would see to it that I wasn’t needed (last minute) – his excuse being he had the day off. It was all part of his manipulation to get me frustrated and hurt to the point where I would quit…and I fell into his trap. There are so many tricks he has pulled – much too long to post here. He is the master puppeteer.

    Over the last 3 years we have seen our daughter become very angry and hateful toward us, especially me, and very stressed. So untypical of her! I’m sure because she was always walking on eggshells trying to keep peace with her husband. We have always been a close and loving family and it is clear he has brainwashed her. He would avoid coming to our home at all costs, even though he was always welcome, and 99% of his demands always came through my daughter. He said nothing. They started greatly limiting our visits with our granddaughter and when she was 18 months old, after I said I didn’t want to babysit on a regular basis because of their disrespect for my time, they stopped letting her come to see us. Everything has always been about my self-centered son-in-law and his family, who live 20 minutes away. His parents support his behavior and my husband and I, and our two sons, just kept getting pushed back further and further. At first we were reluctantly invited to our granddaughter’s first birthday party (at my son-in-laws parent’s home), but were not invited to her 2nd and 3rd birthdays.

    To make matters worse, our daughter gave birth to her second baby, a girl, 3+1/2 months ago and we didn’t find out until a week later. We are not allowed to have pictures of our grandchildren, or know ANY details…name of new baby, etc. We have absolutely NO contact with them. Words cannot begin to express the depth of the pain of losing the relationship with our daughter, and our two granddaughters. We have previously told our daughter we love her and will always be here for her. But for the last year she does not respond to emails, phone calls, etc. When we call her cell phone, the calls are immediately directed to another number. Emails are not responded to, even when I send them to her work. I reach out about once a month just to tell her how much we miss her and love her and hope that she will contact us. We occasionally send greeting cards (birthdays, holidays, etc.) but fear they never reach her because the first one was “return to sender” – written in our son-in-law’s handwriting. So all in all I have no way to reach her. My heart is so broken and at 60 years old, I fear my husband and I will go to our graves mourning the loss of the love and relationship with our daughter and granddaughters. To make matters worse, her in-laws fully support this behavior, which enables my son-in-law to carry out his master plan.

    How can we possibly reach out to our daughter when she doesn’t respond? Or should we stop reaching out and give her what she wants (to be left alone)? As deeply as she has hurt us, we love our daughter and our door and our hearts are always open but I fear she no longer knows or believes this. We just don’t feel she loves us anymore and our hearts are so broken. We have almost given up hope this will ever resolve itself. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.

  • Renee 4 January 2015, 8:07 am

    This is all so scary. I also fear for my daughter’s life. He put her in the hospital after beating her up while 8 months pregnant with their child. She lied and said someone attempted to rob her. But, we found out the truth. This wasn’t the first or the last time he has hit her. They now have a 2 month old child. She had to go back to work 4 weeks after the baby was born since he won’t work. Now she depends on him to babysit. She says she is done with him physically since she found out he cheated on her in her car while she was having their baby. But he is still around abusing her physically, mentally, and verbally. I can’t babysit since I work also. I just don’t know what to do. He destroys everything of hers breaks her phone cuts and burns her clothes. She doesn’t make enough for child care and rent. She won’t move in with her dad or me. She says she wants her independence. I just don’t understand it. I so want to just hurt him in so many ways. I know that’s not right but it is how I feel.

  • wanting her mother's support 29 December 2014, 9:58 am

    I have a question – I have a kind of opposite problem. I am the daughter being verbally abused by an alpha-male husband. I know it’s not the worst kind of abuse, but in bursts, degrades me, questions my reality, accuses me of paying too much attention to myself (that I am the “most selfish, presumptuous person [he] has ever met, that has ever walked the face of the earth”), and yells loudly in an aggressive tone, among other things (occasionally he hits the wall or throws things, which freaks me out). I feel trapped in the relationship because he doesn’t do it every single day, so I have that whiplash feeling (short periods of intense pain followed by longer periods of intense relief), and I’m completely financially dependent on him. The problem is that I DO tell my mother everything and reach out to her desperately for comfort, but she doesn’t respond much, never has anything to say besides that what he does is wrong and she’s sorry. At least she’s not saying anymore, “But the two of you make such a good couple”. I think she thinks I’m crying wolf because, get this, I’m a “strong” person and a feminist. So this is the problem: how to convince someone you are a feminist actually being abused? I don’t want anything else from my mother than emotional support now, while I get my bearings and figure out how to end this untenable situation.

  • Lesley 29 December 2014, 12:58 am

    Omg some of the things I have read remind me of my daughter. She is 18 and going out with a 29 year old. He is very controlling. Back in June she left him after phoning to say pick me up from the doctor’s. I found out that he has gripped her up and slapped her round the face. She was here for her 18th birthday. But unknown to me he was still in contact with her. After staying with me for 3 weeks she went back to him. All I can remember is the last words I said to her about her staying here and seeing him then her saying no you will control the relationship. Then in anger I said fine have it your way I will wait for a phone call from the police or hospital. Between her dad and my ex partner they seemed to bow down to him. But I stood up to him and now I’m the one paying for it as my daughter is allowed to see and talk to them but not me. It’s been 6 months since I’ve seen or heard from her and it’s killing me as we were always close. I really don’t know what to do. Please any advice is welcome.

  • Billie Jean 27 December 2014, 7:05 am

    This outline gives me hope. I needed something, anything, to steer me in the right direction to save my daughter’s life.

  • Susan 25 December 2014, 12:12 pm

    My daughter’s husband is very verbally abusive. He kept accusing her of having a workplace affair. After a year of his accusations she got mad and told him she did. Now life is hell, he has made her quit her job, moved her to the side of a mountain, took her phone. When we call her she puts us on speaker. She called me today from the neighbor’s house crying. I went to pick her up and he told me I was crazy and to take my whore with me. I told him what thought of him, “mistake probably”. She is home for tonight but I know she will go back to him. Now he has a lot of anger towards me, well because I was like a mama bear, spared no words….HELP!

  • Caz 6 December 2014, 8:56 am

    Thank you Clare for being here.
    This is an update of sorts.
    My daughter is really beautiful, bright, funny, popular, artistic. Her husband however is a 40 year old teenage boy – spoilt, self centred, lazy, greedy, only interested in X box and video games and TV sport. Always puts himself first, daughter and baby last.

    They live on a country farm. He leaves all the heavy physical work to her, she has to organise all the household affairs, manage the bills, shopping, housework, cooking, cleaning, repairs, gardening, cooking, pets, childcare – everything except the income, he works – mostly from home – at a couch potato office job.

    She’s a young slender girl with a tiny new baby, but he’ll happily sit in his office idling away the hours while she lugs sacks of compost or barrows of firewood about, cleans drains and sewers, takes out garbage, whatever – he does nothing but his “day job”.

    Nevertheless, she cannot make a move without his express permission. She has to run every little thing by him, from sitting in an icy house with no heating till he says it’s ok to put it on, to going hungry (while breast feeding) till he says she can go shop, and cook.

    They have no social life except his family and a few of his old school chums – though we see a lot of her and baby – only through constant and careful plotting and planning and utter determination not to be rebuffed.
    We’re very close to our daughter, have great fun together when he’s away, and we adore little baby – who he seems not to notice.

    He doesn’t beat our daughter, actually he doesn’t touch her as far as I can tell. My beautiful, lovely affectionate girl. He never goes near her.

    As parents, me and her dad are constantly stepping in, picking up the slack so our daughter isn’t left shouldering all the heavy work alone – sometimes little baby is at risk, with our daughter forced to do heavy work with babe in arms – so we step in. Constantly we are taking over tasks because she simply cannot manage them without help, and because without his say so she won’t act alone, even on essential stuff like heating, food, medical appointments.
    We are exhausted, we have our own jobs and responsibilities, and are stretched to breaking point trying to support daughter.
    And her husband pushes it so far, my husband is so angry at my daughter’s subjugation and we both feel we are being abused by proxy, because she is a hostage basically, and so is baby.
    Me and my husband fight – he says he can’t bear to have to hold in what he really feels, not to say exactly what he thinks of her lazy slug-like husband – honestly, he is slug like.

    But if we say anything she backs off, backs him up, and he smears us as “against him” and jealous.
    What choice do we have?

    We have tried confronting her, openly and honestly, but she insists he is just a hardworking devoted husband/father. He cannot connect to baby, and doesn’t like the fact the baby is a girl.

    Our most successful strategy is this:
    Love our daughter and baby.
    Act as secret conspirators with our daughter, supporting and loving her but never openly mentioning her husband’s “shortcomings”, as this just prompts immediate defensiveness and denial.
    Make our home a “home from home” for her and the baby, so she feels they both have another place to be.
    Try to show our concerns and give reality checks, by deeds, not words. Saying anything explicit is usually counter-productive, unless couched as a casual joke.

    Our friends and family see no problem with him and we have stopped confiding in them as we just hit a brick wall – they say “she loves him!” And “don’t interfere” and “he isn’t beating her”, and we have been accused of being paranoid, and of being “bored” and “making it up”.
    Unfortunately the strain is affecting us both, and our health.

    All of that aside, our strategy, we believe, has supported our daughter enormously.
    She used to live miles from us, immersed in his (abusive) family.
    Now she lives just by us and we see each other constantly.
    She’s taught herself to drive, and gained huge independence.
    And we’re really close and tight together, where for a while it seemed like we would get estranged.
    I tell my husband, count the good things, enjoy the good moments and the joy of the baby, and feel good about helping our daughter and making her life happier and safer.
    We both do feel joy in that, but it is hard. We have little time or energy for ourselves, each other, or our own lives.

  • Ella 2 December 2014, 2:20 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but, as I see this situation, your daughter is still under age and this man is committing a crime at his age. You still have control over your daughter’s wellbeing.

    She is far too young to be able to do what she pleases so, I think your continued control over this situation through legal channels is likely your best bet. Eventually, one would hope that she will mature and see why you have done what you are doing.

    Honestly, I don’t think that these rules apply here to your situation as your daughter is not of age to make up her own mind with any true mature thinking.

    Perhaps, getting her to accept counselling would be your best bet as well as pursuing legal charges, perhaps a restraining order and court orders that he and his family be kept away from your daughter, Please keep records of every call, every threat, every date, and record as many of them as you can.

    One day, hopefully, she will thank you for this. If not, well at the least, you know that you have done all that you could to keep her safe.

    I applaud your tenacity and I say…keep up the legal routes to keep him and his parents away with a restraining order or peace bond or whatever your place of residence laws permit.

  • Ella 2 December 2014, 2:13 pm

    Anon November 20, 2014….
    I think this article has said that it’s OK for you to take a giant step back and NOT be party to this as it can also make you ill as well.

    I think as parents, there comes a point where we have to think of ourselves as well. It certainly sounds to me as though you have reached that point.

    Your daughter is making her choices. In spite of having had the “distance” from him and having had the ability to live elsewhere (with you), she is choosing to go back to him again. This is a choice she is making, coerced by him and his abuse or not.

    Remember that she is being controlled by him. He’s playing mind games with her and she may want this to work out as this article has stated. She keeps “hoping” that it will.
    However, that does NOT mean that as parents, we need to allow it to continue to spin us into knots and tie up our lives and health (physically, mentally and emotionally) too.

    These men not only have our daughters in their grasp but, also us! In effect, they are affecting OUR lives as well…not just our daughter’s lives.

    In your case, you have given her a place to be. You’ve been supportive of her many moves in and out again. While I am not a professional and there might be a different slant/opinion from the professional on this matter, I’d say that you have done more than enough. Your daughter knows that you are there for her and that she has a place to be. I, personally, believe that you do NOT need to help her move anything out of your home again and that doesn’t make you a “bad mother”. It only makes you HUMAN.

    Do yourself a favor this time. Resist helping her move this time. Tell her that you respect her decision and while you don’t agree with it, you accept that it’s her life and her choice. However, the amount of changes she’s made this year has tired you out and she is free to rent her own moving truck and pack up her own belongings but, you’re too tired to do this again this time. And, don’t help. Get busy with other things in your life and ignore the moving aspect. You might even want to suggest that she find some friends or friends of his to help her move again but, not you.

    That’s just my personal opinion and I may be incorrect but, I am with you on this one. I don’t think you are in need of having to move her yet again or any further times. Let her make other arrangements and go on with your own life. You need some peace in your life as well. There’s nothing selfish, “bad” or wrong with that as a mother.
    Best of wishes!

  • Ella 2 December 2014, 1:58 pm

    I know that my daughter is in an abusive relationship. Not so much physical as psychological and control. I grew up in a household filled with abuse and I recognize the symptoms in her from this article.

    I have tried everything from telling her that I see the dangers and why, listing them etc., to simply giving her space, time, room and NOT putting him down in any way as it does drive a wedge where she didn’t speak to me for over a year.

    I see the workings of this man’s mind and I am beyond angry.

    I worry constantly about her wellbeing, seeing her physical appearance drastically change as well as her mental and emotional appearance. She doesn’t even resemble the woman that I knew or raised. Nowhere even close to it.

    I see the dangers in what he’s doing and why…because…I also lived through it in my own household and, no…I am NOT projecting my childhood onto her. Others from the family see it as clearly as I do but, we all feel helpless in being able to help her with it.

    I’ve maintained an open and welcoming relationship and doors for her. I’ve let her know that I will always be here for her. I’ve listed her attributes, praised her for her abilities, talents, beauty and worth. I’ve done everything possible to encourage her to go back to things that she used to love doing, friends she used to love being with (she is now totally isolated with NO friends and only extremely measured time with her father and me). I’ve tried to encourage her to go back to school and offered to pay for it. I’ve offered to pay for any counselling or medical care she may want or need *IF* she wants it and even encouraged it when SHE has brought up the idea that she doesn’t know what’s happening to her. I’ve let her talk, listened and not been judgemental. I’ve tried to let her know that I’m concerned with her constantly feeling “ill” and the sheer amount of time that she’s constantly feeling ill (all of the symptoms listed in this article).

    I’ve tried to talk to her about my concerns over her changes, bought her new clothes when she’s been embarrassed at the inability to afford clothing to go to work. I’ve paid for her to have a car to have her independence and encouraged her to do so. I’ve encouraged her to do things for herself that make her feel good about herself (ie: hair, make-up, her artwork etc.). I’ve paid for everything that can help her BUT…I REFUSE to pay for anything that has to do with her living arrangements with him or those costs as he works very little and uses drugs.

    I’ve done pretty much everything that is listed in this article…even (at first) being emphatic about his treatment of her being detrimental to her well-being. That, of course, only resulted in him working his way into creating monsters out of us and her backing away from us totally for over a year. No contact.

    We have gone the other direction. We have accepted him into our home and family and treated him with respect and kindness, letting her see that we are not “the bad guys”.

    NOTHING WORKS! And, now…he has become abusive with us (my husband and myself as well as family members).

    I am now at the point, where after nearly 7 years of this, I am close to telling him that he is NOT welcome in our home because of his abuse and rude obnoxious behaviour with us and our family. But, I fear letting him “win” in terms of the isolation that he’s built around her. I fear losing her into the dismal abyss that he provides for her to be in and her sinking further.

    I am at a loss as to what to do??? I am at a loss as to how to help her. I am fed up with his abuse and do NOT want him in our home anymore but, we also risk that she will be turned once again away from us totally and be unable to see us.

    What do we do? I see our daughter in this scenario fully. I see it very clearly. What do I do? Do I accept him into our home and take the abuse from him (not accepting it means him turning to her and making her believe that we are sick monsters, trying to ruin their “love”. What do I do????

  • Sue 1 December 2014, 10:59 pm

    I have such a hard time talking to my daughter and explaining how I feel. Should I let her read this article?

  • jennysweeney 30 November 2014, 3:53 pm

    My 15 year old pregnant daughter was badly beaten by her 17 yr old boyfriend on Thanksgiving. She is 5 months along. She had to have staples in her head, her nose was broken, no harm to the baby, but she cried for my help and I ran to her and called the cops. They haven’t picked him up yet because he is hiding. The next day she ran to a friend’s and messaged me talking crazy about how he was sorry he made a mistake. I warned her not to believe him. I need help I’m worried about my daughter’s and grandson’s safety. I told her it’s just words, it will happen again but she refuses to listen.

  • worried 28 November 2014, 2:54 am

    I don’t even recognize my own daughter anymore. She is not only being controlled but she seems to stoop to his level.

    He seemed loving and caring and after they got engaged his behavior started to change. We heard him make rude comments to her about us and she just sat and nodded with tears in her eyes. He wanted to move their wedding date up a year and she agreed even though his behavior towards her and us was deteriorating. It got so bad that one day she was crying in physical pain due to illness and he sat in front of us and told her not to answer us when we asked if she was alright. He took her to a doctor and then told her she had to go get her own prescription, he was too busy. My husband and I told her that wasn’t the right thing for him to do and she attacked us.

    Not long after they left our home the police showed up. Turns out he was downloading porn. This was not child pornography, he did go to a couple of those sites but the police where not sure if it was accidental or not as he did not download that stuff like he did with the other sites, and I’m not against adults enjoying some porn but these women looked like young teens, the age she was when he met her. The police told us he accessed these sites more than 10 hours a week over the course of a year, the year of their engagement. When we confronted her (we could have got arrested if they had decided the visits to the child porn sites were not accidental) she asked him about it. Turns out he was doing the same thing with her computer and hiding it from her. He tells us not to talk to her about certain things and even interfered with her job to a point that her boss wouldn’t give her a promotion because he wasn’t sure if she wanted it or he was pushing her to ask for it. She used to have a lot of friends but now she only has one and this girl believes my daughter’s husband is perfect and that there is no such thing as controlling relationships.

    After their child was born he seemed to change for the better and I was so happy. I then started seeing issues. I believe she was suffering from post partum depression and he was doing everything he could to help with the baby. This then turned into him criticizing everything she tried to do. If I told her she was doing fine she attacked me. I have seen the baby being put in dangerous situations and my daughter looks at me to say something but if I do they both attack me for it. He takes more and more control of raising the baby away from her and she is just backing off and allowing it. Her child now looks at her as the occasional babysitter. I haven’t seem my daughter smile in more than 2 years, she used to be very particular about cleanliness and now she wears the same clothes for a week at a time, and she constantly lies to us.

    I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in months because I worry about her all the time.

  • Court 21 November 2014, 12:31 am

    It’s hard to be truthful with your parents in a situation like this because you don’t want them to say the wrong things to make you feel even worse. It is also hard to talk to him about it because of the reaction you will get. My advice to you would be to print off exactly what you just wrote on here and make an appointment with your doctor. Hand him/her the note and go from there.

    Ultimately my secret advice to you would be to leave him. I’m sure you are a beautiful girl and there is much much much more out there to offer that what you are having to deal with. People like him are, I wouldn’t say hard to find, but there are definately way more good guys out there than bad. The reason you feel attached to him is natural… It is the natural feeling of breaking up and being alone and not having that piece of you that you have become used to, which you would have in any relationship, good or bad. The hard part is being able to see past that. With experience it could take 2 weeks or 3-4 months to get over that feeling but it does go away and when it does, your life begins. The best thing that I found to help with that (and most people wouldn’t give you this advice because it’s not safe) but I signed up for online dating sites… not out of expectation of dating, but to get that attention that I needed when I was vulnerable. I didn’t meet up with anyone but it was nice to hear good things and to know “I still had it”. It gave me more confidence and I began to see my friends again and go out and have a good time.

    I don’t want to scare you, but I have seen many other people in the same situation as you and unfortunately the path you choose to take will affect your life greatly. If you stay with him, he will prevent you from doing things you always hoped of doing in your life ie. travel, career, hobbies etc. you will always have that feeling of emptiness while you are with him, however if you take the other path a lot of doors will open and you can make your dreams happen, you will feel emptiness for a short time during the “break-up” process but I promise you, you will live a much happier life. It is not you that he wants, he wants a pet, he wants the opportunity to control someone. So when you are finally gone… I can assure you he will be on to seek his next victim. I really like how you recognize the symptoms and are able to see that something is not normal… that is a step that most people in your situation do not recognize. I have full faith that you will pull yourself through this. :)

  • anon 21 November 2014, 12:03 am

    I am going through the exact same situation with my daughter. She is 21 and had a baby earlier this year with her mentally abusive and controlling 25 year old boyfriend. Here is a brief history: He grew up in a dirty home with druggie parents whose dad controlled his mother and has beat her up twice, most recently this year. He got out of jail 3 months later and the two of them have managed to sneak behind the authorities to live within the same building to be together once again, cause you know, what they have is TRUE LOVE! tisk tisk! So anyways this abusive boyfriend believes that everything that his parents have done to one another is okay and now does the exact same thing to my daughter. Has threatened to kill himself countless times, we called the police the last time he did this he was taken away and assessed in the hospital for 24 hours, was told he needed further assistance (therapy and medication) left the hospital and never went back. He works a sh** job at red lobster as a dishwasher part time and spends the rest of his day playing video games and watching things on YouTube while my daughter cooks, cleans and takes care of the baby. He will purposefully walk in the house throw his things on the floor and smirk at my daughter as if to say “you pick them up!” He gets mad at my daughter and starts arguments when she doesn’t want to have sex with him, they live in a small basement apartment so when they argue she has no one to go to, if they argue and she wants space she will move to the couch for the night, but out of badness he will follow her and practically sit on her the entire time so that she cannot get away from him.

    After the 5th time of moving her out we thought we had finally cracked her, she was finally saying things she hadn’t said before like, “I don’t want my life to be like this” and “I don’t want my daughter around him and growing up like that” she was good for about 4 days but this is because we were able to be there 24/7 setting up her things in my house and spending time with her and the baby… however the second we all had to go to work, was the day she decided to answer his phone calls and he brainwashed her right back to him. Saying terrible things about us and how we are just trying to break his family apart. She then starts feeling bad and goes right back to him. LEAVING all her things at my house for 2 weeks and that poor baby with nothing.

    At what point do you start to get aggravated after paying for things all the time, helping them move, doing everything at the drop of a hat when they need it, only in the end to feel disrespected that she a) allows him to talk badly about us and wants to still be with him and b) gets brainwashed enough to turn around and tell me the reason why she’s not with him is all my fault. In your case however he is 18 and she is 14… he can be arrested for child rape and molestation which is exactly how I would have handled that from the beginning whether consentual or not. He is not allowed to have sex with a 14 year old. She is a child. And by charging him with that and assuming you are living in the States he will be put away for a very long time and you won’t have to deal with him.

    I have predicted everything that has happened so far from the beginning of my daughter’s relationship until now, including the baby and the scenario we are in right now. My next prediction is the physical abuse will start happening next year…

    The only advice I can give you right now because your daughter is so young and under the age of 18 is to keep her away from him, if this means moving far away where it isn’t as easy for him to just show up, I would consider that because at her age… if you can just keep him away from her for at least 6 mths to a year within that time she will meet someone else and she won’t be concerned with him anymore. Her mind at her age is very easy to manipulate, so I would use that to your advantage while you can. It gets more and more difficult as they get older.

  • anon 20 November 2014, 11:41 pm

    To be quite honest with you.. all this “support” that you speak of.. is nonsense. You can only move your daughter in and out of a home so many times within a year before you decide to say f*@;% it! Currently her stuff is at my home and she wants it moved back in with him for the 5th time this year, she does not drive and has no friends because she’s sheltered herself from everyone except him, she makes me feel like if I don’t rent a moving truck and help her move her things back in then I’m a bad mother. Am I not enabling her abusive relationship if I assist in moving her back into his home? I would really appreciate some advice on this as the supposed move back in date is this Saturday. Thanks.

  • Sharon 8 November 2014, 2:01 am

    We are dealing with the same decision about the holidays. My daughter has been separated from her abusive husband the last 4 months. He has recently had his 3rd affair during this separation. Now he is acting nice, showering her with gifts and attention and it seems she will be going back to him before the holidays. We feel he wants back with her to make the holiday rounds with the families, and presents etc. We are not ready to reconcile our family relationship with him, until we see real change over time but she wants us to treat him as we did before the separation and the truth showed itself. Do we have to reconcile just because she does?

  • Niki 3 November 2014, 8:16 pm

    I have somewhat the same issue but so different at the same time?! Can someone PLZ help me! My 14 year old pregnant daughter doesn’t undertand why I’m keepin her from her 18 year old boyfriend who is the father of her unborn child! He has threatend to kill himself, and also his mother has threatend me so much to the point it terrified my daughter to stay there with them. He has just shown up at my home on several occasions even after I have made it very clear he was NOT to just show up at my house without me saying it was ok. He has ignored everything I have said just because HE WANTS TO. I have had to call the cops just to go get my daughter from their house after being threatend by him and his mother after being lied to about his age and also his place of living. He has admitted to pretty much “STALKING ME” saying he is taking note of when I DO go home and when I DONT go home! I have tried to explain to both him and her that he NEEDS professional help before I even consider him being around my daughter and grandchild! He is bipolar and refuses to get help like I have suggested! I did not know he had issues like this until now. He will go from yes maam to I’m done with your daughter and want nothing to do with her and the baby. And then turn around and say, “I will collect the kid when it’s born through my lawyer”. And she insistes he isn’t dangerous he’s just upset because he WANTS to see her and when I try an explain that it’s not about what he WANTS it’s about her and the baby’s saftey and just because he WANTS something doesn’t give him the right to ignore what I’m saying.Especially when it comes to MY HOME. He can WANT all he wants but until he gets the help he needs he will never be able to be allowed anywhere near her or my home!
    Please please can someone help me make her understand that he IS n fact very dangerous right now and im not just being the bad guy cause i can still press charges against him !!!!

  • anna 3 November 2014, 5:41 am

    I’ve been seeing this guy for two years, I saw all the warning signs… He cries when I have to go home, he throws tantrums, he says I don’t love him enough, he punches walls… There’s just so much. I left home for a week and spent all my money on a hotel for 3 nights. To be with him. I’ve been arrested for assaulting my brother (kicking him in the stomach because he was trying to stop me from leaving home). My mom has stayed up for nights with the police searching for me, because I’ve ran away with him. His parents don’t care, he doesn’t live at home, and he doesn’t care that my family is falling apart because of it. He calls my mom a c*nt, and other words. He says she’s psycho and controls me… He made me delete all my facebook friends, except him. He rolls his eyes at me like I’m stupid, every single night he tells me to come over, so I ask him if he can meet up with me, but he says he’s in bed, so no. And get the f*ck over here, so I walk in ANY weather to his house, stand on the porch in rain/snow/shine until he answers the door. Because if I leave… I don’t know what would happen. When I’m inside, I crawl into his bed, and watch him play Xbox, or we have sex. He says it’s my fault if sex doesn’t go his way… Our last argument started because I couldn’t sleep over… I’m 16, my mom wanted me home.. Pretty normal.. He threatened to throw me through a wall, and he yelled, and he smashed this glass ornament I was holding on the ground. I tried so hard to not cry, I just stared at the ground in shock, choking on my tears, and he kept saying nasty things under his breath. A part of me wants him to hit me. I want to go home with a black eye. I want him in jail, I want to be free, I want my mom. But the other part of me feels attached to this monster. I’m so scared for my life.

  • Lisa 28 October 2014, 6:56 am

    This information is helpful, but what do you do if your daughter has been with a controlling, verbally abusive husband for 15 years… and all she does about every 6 months to a year is say she’s had enough. She tells him she’s done, but he always sweet-talks her into staying. I see my grandson starting to treat my daughter the way their father treats her. I’m afraid my granddaughter will grow up being a “doormat.” Her husband is also controlling to the kids. She decided to leave him again three weeks ago, but has changed her mind again! At this point, I can’t be around him. Is it mean to tell her he’s not invited to family events, and not wanting to sit with them during my grandchildren’s sporting events? Me and my other daughter have helped her out financially, because her husband can’t hold a job. We’re done providing financial support. I am at my wits end. It’s heartbreaking to see how he treats her and my grandchildren. I don’t think she’s ever going to leave him!

  • Clare Murphy PhD 14 October 2014, 12:31 pm

    Lorrie, sorry you are having to deal with a situation that lends itself to feeling powerless. You could contact your local AlAnon programmes and/or domestic violence agencies to see if you can find some support. – Clare

  • Clare Murphy PhD 14 October 2014, 12:30 pm

    joie — This must be so heartbreaking for you. One of the pressures on women comes from a long history of dominant social messages about how to be a woman and how to be a “good” wife. Messages such as: It is the woman job to do the emotional work, to make the relationship work otherwise she is considered a failure. The other influence is the subtle incessant ongoing deliberate tactics of coercive control that male partners use to stop women from flourishing. We need HONEST MEDIA CAMPAIGNS to change the dominant messages about how to have relationships. – Clare

  • joie 14 October 2014, 11:25 am

    I am doing all and more than is suggested above. I have become very frustrated and just want what is best for my daughter and granddaughter. She just called me tonight crying that he called her worthless and doesn’t love her and a whole bunch of other crap. I tried calmly to ask her to come over to spend the night but like usual she refused. She feels she needs to fix her marriage that it is something that she did wrong. I am glad I found this site. At least I can voice my frustrations. I pray she and all our other daughters get out of these horrible situations and realize just how wonderful they truly are.

  • Lorrie 14 October 2014, 12:46 am

    What happens when drugs are involved. My son-in-law just got out of jail after being in for 3 years for using drugs. They got married and it lasted about 3 months before he started hiding money, not paying bills and blaming it all on my daughter. He is using again. She says it’s her fault. He constantly verbally abuses her and threatens to throw her out unless she leaves him alone and not worry about what he does. She is constantly asking if she can come home but then doesn’t. (I know she would just go back anyway). He refuses to pay any bills and she is trying to go to school and work 2 days and raise her 4 year old. Do I just sit back and wait? Is there anyone I can call?

  • Beth 5 October 2014, 7:53 am

    I didn’t think there was another person on earth that knew what I was going through. I read the comments by these other moms and sat and cried. This is my story. This is my daughter. I fear for her safety but especially for the safety of my 4 year old grandson. Her abusive boyfriend is not his father and has already started slapping him around. She leaves her child with this man 4 nights a week while she works her 2nd job. Why would a mom do this? My grandson won’t even go to her anymore when he is abused because in his words “she’ll think I am lying”. CPS will do nothing. They believed her lies about me. She told them that I hated her boyfriend and that I made up all the abuse. When my grandson comes to visit, which is only when it is convenient for her because she needs daycare, he begs me to let him stay. He doesn’t want to go back home with her and she knows it. I don’t understand why she allows her son to be with this terrible man. Why she lives with this man’s abuse is one thing why she subjects her son to it is unimaginable to me.

  • Annie 29 September 2014, 9:37 pm

    My daughter is at stage 5 in this hell. I do not feel better because other Mums are going through this, it actually makes it worse because at the end of the day, WE CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, and that is what has to change. There has to be a law protecting these women whether they want the help or not, especially if there are children involved, because they don’t have a choice or a voice in all of this.

  • Maggie 25 September 2014, 8:57 pm

    My daughter is in an abusive relationship and has now permanently cut me out of her life. I have tried to re-establish contact over and over again but this has been ignored. I do not know what to do from here. Please can you advise me as I desperately worry about my daughter and miss her. Thanks

  • Sue 25 September 2014, 9:19 am

    My daughter is married and her husband is abusive and has driven a wedge between her and her family. We have always been so close. There was an argument, things were said and now she has cut all of us out of her life. She has two little boys who I worry about. I have nearly had a breakdown over all of this, I constantly cry. I love her and my grandsons and will be here for her when she needs me. I am now worried because she has cut us out of her life. Is there anything I can do or do I just wait and hope she comes back to her family that love and miss her so much.

  • Scared 17 September 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.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 17 September 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

  • KAY 16 September 2014, 9:21 am


    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 14 September 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 https://speakoutloud.net/counselling. 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

  • Clare Murphy PhD 14 September 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 https://speakoutloud.net/counselling. 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

  • HelenG 7 September 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.

  • whatnow 6 September 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 6 September 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. Take a 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 One
    Stage Two
    Stage Three
    Stage Four
    Stage Five

  • whatnow 5 September 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 29 August 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

  • Heart broken 29 August 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 28 August 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

  • Empty and heart broken 28 August 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.

  • Linda 19 August 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.

  • Clare Murphy PhD 19 August 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.

  • Linda 19 August 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 17 June 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

  • Clare Murphy PhD 17 June 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 One
    Stage Two
    Stage Three
    Stage Four
    Stage Five

  • sarah 16 June 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.

  • jo 16 June 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.

  • Gloria 9 June 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.