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How Do I Protect My Sisters from My Mother’s Abuse?

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From a teen in the U.S.:  I was born in a third-world country and moved to the states when i was four with my parents. Afterwards, my two younger sisters were born. From a young age, my mom was always the highly-tempered and kind of chaotic mother while my dad was the emotionally-unavailable. Once I was ten years old, I had depression and anxiety. It wasn’t until 4 years later that I seeked professional help.

Now, my mom is very, very religious (not exaggerating). And she tends to use religion to shame everyone around her like she enjoys telling people how they are going to hell. My dad doesn’t have a religion so she continually tries to convert him. On top of this, when I told her about my depression and how it was progressive getting worse, she just shrugged and told me to pray about it. When i told my dad, he really didn’t care about it either. Which is when I seeked an actual therapist. And to be honest, she isn’t that much of a help since she just talks about herself and tells me to meditate.

The thing is, my mom is very unmindful of others. My sisters, who are not even 7 yet, are completely witnessing all this and it just breaks my heart. She hits them, cusses at them daily, and just make them feel worthless. The worst thing is, my dad just sits there and listens to her yell at them everyday. Sure here or there he intervene but then gives up. He doesn’t care anymore and she doesn’t either. I don’t have any family within the state and getting others involved will just make things worse.With language barriers and a broken family, its just going to be she said she said.

I’ve tried to explain to her countless times, even wrote it out for her literally, about how what’s she’s doing is wrong. But i’m just belittled and told to shut up because she sacrificed so much for me to be here and gave birth to me. Like somehow deciding to have a baby and actually having to take care of it is something I have to thank her for everyday. Why give birth to me if your going to treat me this way?

My mom has verbally and sometimes physically abused me my whole life, and I just can’t bare to watch her do the same to my sisters too.
Thank you for taking your time to read all this! Any advice is appreciated.

How Do I Protect My Sisters from My Mother’s Abuse?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m sure this is very difficult for you. Not every kid gets the parent they need or deserve. But knowing that doesn’t help you, does it.

Your little sisters have something you don’t — a big sister who cares about them and who can provide a supportive presence in their lives. Don’t underestimate the power of your love and caring. You may not think you are doing much, but in an environment like this, you are providing an essential support for them.

Since you already have a therapist, the place to start is with her. Have you told her about your concerns? You didn’t share the specifics about how your little sisters are being abused so I can’t offer direct advice.

I can tell you that if a therapist knows there is physical and emotional abuse going on, she is required to report to child protective services. A report does not necessarily result in removal of children. Ideally, a report is followed by supportive services to improve the parents’ parenting skills and to keep the family together. Talk to your therapist about what usually happens in your state.

If you are worried that even talking about it will trigger a report, begin with a hypothetical question llike: “What would you do if you knew that there is physical abuse of little kids is going on in a home? What would child protective services do?” Her answers will help you make a decision about how to move forward. I hope you will think it over very carefully. If your sisters are being harmed, I hope you will work with the therapist to find a way to put a stop to it.

I’m sorry that you feel your therapist isn’t much help. I hope you have talked to her about your perception that your therapy isn’t helping you and that meditation isn’t useful when abuse is actively going on. Unless you’ve talked to her about it, she doesn’t know. I hope that once you have that conversation, you and your therapist will make some changes in your sessions so they are more helpful.

If not, it may be time to think about a change in therapist. Sometimes a client and therapist aren’t a good “fit” for each other. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. No one can be all things to all people. It’s okay to ask for a transfer if you continue to feel that your therapist doesn’t understand you or doesn’t help you address the problems in your home in a useful way.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

How Do I Protect My Sisters from My Mother’s Abuse?

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). How Do I Protect My Sisters from My Mother’s Abuse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/05/23/how-do-i-protect-my-sisters-from-my-mothers-abuse/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 May 2020 (Originally: 23 May 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 May 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.