How can I help my mom?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hey…I am a 22 years old girl I com from middle income family…
all my life I’ve witnessed my father abuse my mother, he yells, curse, and hits her in a very aggressive way(he’d slap, punch, kick and sometimes uses anything that comes to his hand)
they were divorced once, and my mom left the house several times but after a while they get back together.
Am sure you’re wondering why would she come back to such a man??!!
The main reason for my mom is her children, she cant live away from her children and in my country the man always gets the children, the house in other words the women gets nothing!!!
though the beating have stopped recently ( I hope it’ll never happen again) but the verbal abuse is the same and he treats her in a very bad way ( yells at her, never calls her by her name, he’s always right…etc)
I see my mom crying everyday! and it hurts me very much! and it have effected me deeply I have nightmares, I have trust issues….etc
I don’t know what to do!! divorce is not an option from where I come, because the women will be homeless, without a penny, away from her children!!
please help me!!

A: I’m relieved that at least the physical beatings have stopped. As hard as this is for both of you, it does sound like your mother is making the best of bad options. She has made the decision that seeing her children is more important than being free of abuse. It’s understandable that she would return. All you can do for your mother now is love her, listen to her, and let her know that she is important to you. Please don’t minimize the importance of your support.

Your generation is working to change the position of women in your country. The best help you can be to your mother and women like her is to get your education and to be part of that change. Anger can be transformed into energy instead of depression. That energy can fuel your efforts.

Finally, I have a guess that you are feeling guilty that your mother stays partly out of her love for you. Guilt isn’t going to help either of you. Loving her will help your mother. Loving yourself enough to keep moving forward will help you. With hard work, you may be in a position someday to offer your mother alternatives that she doesn’t have today.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Aug 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). How can I help my mom?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/13/how-can-i-help-my-mom/