How to Deal With Your Mother's Abusive Boyfriend

Two Methods:Witnessing Your Mother's AbuseBeing a Child Victim of Abuse

Your mother found a new boyfriend, but he doesn't treat her well at all. Maybe he even curses you, calls you names, and hits you - the same things he does to her. Abuse in a household affects the whole family, so, know that it's okay to be sad or scared. Getting out of an abusive situation can be difficult, but you can find help for your mother, and yourself.

Method 1
Witnessing Your Mother's Abuse

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    Offer your support.[1] If you have witnessed the physical, verbal, or sexual abuse of your mother, you should go to her and express your concern. Tell her what you saw or heard and explain your feelings as best you can. You may be scared, worried, or sad about the abuse.
    • It's possible that your mother may not want to talk to you about the abuse. Respect her wishes, but let her know that you are there for her by offering loving support. Tell your mother you love her and go out of your way to spend quality time with her.
    • When she is ready to talk, listen without making judgments or telling her what to do. Your mother will have to be the one who takes action to get herself out of an abusive situation.
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    Develop a safety plan for when the abuse happens. Even if you have not been abused by your mother's boyfriend, witnessing her abuse puts you in danger. You and your mother (and any other siblings) need to sit down and talk when the abuser is not home. In the midst of the abuse, you might discuss ways to protect younger children and yourself.
    • To prepare for possible abuse, you might have phone numbers handy of emergency services, domestic violence hotlines, local shelters, family members, or your mother's close friends who may be able to help. You may decide on a safe place in the home to take yourself and any younger children that is close to exits or that has few potential weapons.[2]
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    Create a safety plan for leaving the home. When your mother is ready to leave the abusive relationship you can discuss ways to keep everyone safe when leaving, or after leaving. Leaving a domestic violence situation is one of the most dangerous times.[3] Your mother's boyfriend may lash out in anger or hurt your mother to stop her from leaving. Follow these tips to protect yourself when leaving:[4][5]
    • Gather a bag of personal items for everyone, including money, credit cards, keys, extra clothes, medications, birth certificates, social security cards, school and medical records, insurance documents, mortgage/lease agreement, other important documents, and special mementos like photos. Give these items to a trusted person in advance.
    • Identify various ways to get out of your home and practice your exit strategy when walking the dog, taking out the trash or going to the store.
    • Think about a few trusted friends or family members who might take you in or get you to safety.
    • Open a checking account or get a new credit card.
    • Get a cell phone.
    • Tell your new location to only a few trusted people.
    • Open a post office box for mail.
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    Encourage your mother to take care of herself. As a victim of abuse, your mother may feel unworthy of love or care. Ensure that she makes an effort to do things that nurture her physical and mental well-being, such as exercising, participating in a hobby, or reading.
    • Self-care is a way to promote healthy coping during stressful life situations like abuse.[6]
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    Do not confront the abuser. It is common to feel angry when witnessing the abuse of your mother. However angry you may feel, you should never approach your mother's boyfriend or attempt to intervene in the abuse. It's not your responsibility to "rescue" your mother. She is the parent, and you should trust her and stick to the safety plan.[7]
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    Call for help. If you are worried about your mother's well-being or think her life is in danger, you should reach out to an adult you can trust. Possible options are to talk, in confidence, to your school counselor, a supportive teacher or coach, or an adult in your family like an aunt or uncle. Explain the situation and your concerns and see if this person can persuade your mother to get herself and you to safety.[8]
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    Seek support. Millions of children around the United States witness domestic violence in their homes. Beholding such horrors at an early age can have drastic consequences on you and your siblings in the future.[9] Be sure to take time out to care for yourself and accept support from others. Remember, you cannot pour support into your mother if your cup is empty.
    • If you have a trusted friend, you might talk to this person about your thoughts and feelings concerning your mother's abuse.
    • You can always call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to speak with someone anonymously 24 hours a day.

Method 2
Being a Child Victim of Abuse

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    Recognize the signs of abuse. There are many ways that a child or a teen under the age of 18 can be abused. It is possible that your mother's boyfriend is abusing you in ways that you are not aware of. There are five types of abuse that happens to children or teens:[10][11]
    • Physical abuse. This type of abuse consists of hitting, punching, slapping, pinching, kicking, choking, shaking or pushing. Offenses may leave marks like cuts or bruises.
    • Sexual abuse. This happens when an adult or someone much older touches your private body parts (e.g. breasts, buttocks, penis, vagina). The abuser may touch your private parts or tell you to touch his. No matter if you are curious or it doesn't hurt, sexual touching from an adult is not okay.
    • Verbal or emotional abuse. This kind of abuse happens without a touch. You may be verbally or emotionally abused when someone calls you names, makes you feel bad about yourself, or makes threats to leave or send you away.
    • Physical neglect. This happens when you are not having your most basic needs met. If your mother's boyfriend refuses to see to your basic needs, such as bathing, eating, and having a warm bed to sleep in.
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    Know that it's not your fault. No matter what the abuser tells you, abuse is never the victim's fault. If your mother's boyfriend is hitting you, calling you mean names, or touching you inappropriately, it is his responsibility. Remember, you are not to blame.[12]
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    Talk to your mom. The first person you may want to tell about the abuse is your mom. Go to her when her boyfriend is not in the home. Describe to her the way he has been abusing you in as much detail as possible. Ask for help.
    • Unfortunately, there is a chance your mother will not believe you or tell you to keep the abuse a secret. Don't listen.
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    Remember the safety plan. Until your mother can get you and any siblings out of this situation, it's important to protect yourselves as best you can in the circumstances. Come up with a safety plan for yourself and your siblings if your mother's boyfriend is treating you abusively.[13]
    • Go over the plan with everyone. Agree on a "safe place" in the house or the neighborhood where you all can get out of harm's way. Identify friends or relatives you can call for help.
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    Tell someone else you can trust. If your mother does not attempt to help you or stop the abuse, do not give up. Keep telling an adult until someone listens. If you are afraid to talk about this in person, you can call someone on the phone or write a letter. Just be sure the abuser does not find out. Others you may be able to confide in may include:[14]
    • Family members such as older siblings, aunts/uncles, grandparents
    • Teachers, counselors, or nurses at school
    • The parent or older sibling of a friend
    • The person who answers the phone on the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD
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    Know that you are not alone. Sadly, many kids go through similar situations of abuse in their homes. They may grow up to experience emotional, psychological, or behavioral problems. The earlier you tell someone and get help for abuse, the better your chances for recovery.[15][16]


  • Do not plan on getting even with the boyfriend. He could become even more hostile and violent if you do that.
  • Nobody, especially a child, deserves abuse. Contact The National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (or 1-800-442-4453).


  • If your mother's boyfriend beats you or rapes you, call 911 or the child abuse hotline immediately.

Article Info

Categories: Relationship Issues | Child Abuse