My Boyfriend's Mother is Abusive

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    And I don’t know what to do. I want to confront her so badly but I don’t want to act beyond what is appropriate for me, his girlfriend. I’ve been dating this wonderful guy for three and a half years. I know the ins and outs of his parents’ lives, since I spend most of my free time at their house. My boyfriend is 21 years old, I’m 19, his mother is 65, and his father is 71.

    His mother is abusive to his father. His father had a stroke a few years back and has diabetes and also suffers from shingles. He is handicapped, he uses a cane to get around.

    She is verbally abusive. She shouts and swears and screams at him.
    She is emotionally abusive. Every time they fight (a few times a day) she tells him that he’s useless and stupid and any other insult she can think of.
    She is physically abusive. If the fight goes on for a certain amount of time, I will hear her get really quiet (kind of like whisper shouting?) and I will hear him scream in pain. She then shushes him. I once heard them fighting while he was trying to get to the bathroom. She grabbed his cane from him and he fell over. She told him to shut up.

    My boyfriend knows what’s happening, too. He’ll go out there and say something like, “Mom, please don’t hurt dad.” or, “Mom, please stop calling dad useless.” And she will manipulate him. She’ll start crying and say, “Oh, so now I’m the villain.” To which my boyfriend can either agree, or more likely, assure her that she is not the villain and he is not siding against her.

    I know it probably seems like I don’t like his mother very much. I guess I don’t, if I’m going to be honest with you. I feel so terribly for my boyfriend and for my boyfriend’s father. My boyfriend and I tried to get them to go to counseling. His father was all for it, saying it’s worth a shot. His mother started shrieking, “Oh, the therapist will just side against me.” “I’m not going to pay to have someone sit there and tell me I’m a villain.” So therapy is out of the question.

    He is a crippled, elderly man. One of these times I will call the cops. I’ve already been tempted. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t understand her and I just can’t. Part of me doesn’t want to call the cops on her. I think she’s mentally ill because she also hoards everything.


    “You’re not a villain. You’re not a bad person. But you’re doing bad things, and I want to help you stop.”

    This is a really tough situation to be in. I think some outside help is definitely needed, but I’m not sure the police will be the best first step, if only because it’s such a serious thing to do. His mother won’t take it well, and I’m not sure the police would be able to do much. It depends on what his father would say, but as he’s not called the police himself, he may downplay the situation to prevent her being getting mad at him. Abuse victims will generally try to calm and appease their abuser, even when it’s obvious that this is not a strategy that gets them anywhere.

    There may be a domestic abuse helpline or organisation that would have a better idea of the services available in your area in this situation. Find out who and what organisation might be able to help, then take that information to his father. You’re in an awkward position as the son’s girlfriend, but doing research and talking to both the son and the father about their options is completely within your range of appropriate things to do.

    I don’t really feel fit to advise on this. Find someone who is and take their advice. Calling the police is not going to be an easy fix. You may end up making things worse. Move carefully.

    And look after yourself and you boyfriend. This is not easy on either of you.

    I hope you’ll find a way forward.


    Dear Kelley: Thank you for caring for your boyfriend’s father and for wanting to do something so to help him. I feel sadness and distress over such injustice and cruelty that is happening in so many households such as the one you describe. Will you google “Elder Abuse hotline” and see if there is an agency, a phone number to call and ask for help- something that can be done? Something similar to child abuse hotline… after all the elderly and the handicapped (and your bf’s father is both) are DEPENDENT and need help to protect themselves.

    It doesn’t matter that your bf’s mother might be mentally ill- it doesn’t matter unless she seeks help or is open to getting psychological help- which she is not. No matter her mental health status, she has no right to abuse another, especially a dependent person. it is CRUEL. It is cruel to intend to hurt him, proceed with hurting him and on top of these two elements, REFUSE to get help and learn the skills she needs to stop abusing him.

    I would like it if you google, call, see what you can do and post your progress on this. There is a saying about people who watch evil take place and do nothing about it. I have done it in my past. I do not want to do it again- be a passive participant to evil. Pleaase post again,and again, as a person familiar with the effects of abuse- I thank you for caring!!!


    DEAR Kelley:
    What is happening with your bf’s abusive mother and abused father? Any progress? Did you do anything about it???

    Take care:

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