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My Boyfriend’s Parents Blame Him for Problems They’re Causing

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From England: My boyfriend and I met at university, and since graduating we have lived with his retired parents. They are comfortable and are helping us find our feet. I work part time and make a small contribution, my boyfriend is given a small allowance until things pick up. We are very appreciative of their support and respectful in their home.

Yet, the relationship with his parents is strained. His father ignores him completely, responds to any friendliness with animosity, and only makes contact when there is an opportunity to admonish his son. My partner tried to open a dialogue with him, his dad simply responded by telling him he didn’t want a relationship. My partner believes this is because he was (mildly) difficult as a teenager. His dad is also emotionally abusive to my partner’s mum, barking orders at her and treating her like a servant. His mum refuses to accept anything is amiss, and won’t challenge his behavior.

They took on a lodger to raise extra money because his dad won’t contribute to the household at all. The lodger is shady. He makes sexually inappropriate/ threatening comments towards my partner and our male friends. They refuse to accept this is a problem, possibly because they’re afraid of being considered homophobic.

He is a known liar and has a different face depending on who he’s talking to. He has pressurised me for loans in the past. He has started skipping work and spending lots of time in the house, dominating it, but he only when the parents are away. My partner and I got a bad read from the outset, which caused a huge argument and we were told our opinion of him didn’t matter, it’s their house. Now, whenever this guy’s behaviour is mentioned by us, he is defended as an upstanding citizen, and my partner is asked to question his own mental state for not liking the man, and accused of being a homophobe etc.

His mother has recently decided I am coming between her relationship with her son, because we spend a lot of time together, not with her (we are trying to start a business!) Now every time my partner asks her for emotional support or understanding, she finds a way to bring me up in the argument despite me steering well clear!

It feels as though his mother finds any excuse to scapegoat and avoid the real issues. His bullying father is effecting his self esteem. How can we move forward?

My Boyfriend’s Parents Blame Him for Problems They’re Causing

Answered by on -


You move forward by moving out. Nothing about this arrangement sounds healthy. To stay because of finances means that you will be sacrificing your emotional well-being. Make a plan to move out and do everything you can to make this happen sooner rather than later. His mother, father, and the renter are making your life miserable. Set your goals on finding a way to get out from under this. Abuse is abuse. Nothing is worth having to watch it or be victimized by it.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

My Boyfriend’s Parents Blame Him for Problems They’re Causing

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Boyfriend’s Parents Blame Him for Problems They’re Causing. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 18 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.