How to deal with violent family members

katie1234 asks: I’m a 15 year old girl, with no violent past, who all my friends know as a very peaceful person, accused of beating up my step mum and sister. I had a fight with both of them the night before and in the morning was attacked by my older sister (who has done this many times before and both parents know this) who got angry about another argument. She then called my step mum (who also has been in many physical fights with this same sister where police and social services had to come round multiple times) up to say that I attacked her. My step mum came back home and immediately took my purse. I struggled and took it off her, which I admit wasn’t the best thing to do, but then she threw me on the floor and wrestled me for it, hurting me. I pushed her off me time and time again. She eventually got it, sat on it and said she was farting on it (she’s 41). I took it back off her and she said, “fine take your stupid purse” and threw it at me. I of course rushed out of the house as soon as possible, but just when I got to the door and opened it she said “no you’re not getting away with this,” and yanked my hair up then threw me to the wall, which left me dizzy on the floor for about two minutes. I was so scared I rushed out to the road opposite a school (this was just before I left for my school), where little children were walking, crying, hair all messy and trying to put the shoes my step mum threw at me on in the middle of the street. The side of my head hurt for the rest of the day. However, this was not the most hurtful thing in the situation. The worst thing was coming home to my father and stepsister, who believed I attacked both my step mum and my sister, even though both were much stronger and angrier than me. I was punished of course but the worst thing is my dad believing I was beating them – especially when I thought he knew me as a person. Forgetting all the manipulation and psychological abuse my sister and I have suffered from her in the past, my step mum has broken my close relationship with my dad and my sister. Someone who I was also very close to has hurt me, and I don’t know if I can trust her again. What can I do?

Hi katie1234 –



There is so much here that I don’t really know where to start.


First of all, I don’t know where you live, but in many places, your stepmother could be arrested for this – even if they say you were the instigator, you’re still only 15 and she’s not supposed to get into fights with you.


Second, there’s something very odd in your story about your sister.   You say your stepmum has broken your relationship between you and her – but it sounds like your relationship with her was just awful already!  If I read you correctly, she’s starting fights with you first thing in the morning, and then blaming you for it.  This frankly stinks.


Third, your home sounds really unsafe.  Is there somewhere else you could live, at least for a while?  Is your mother still around, or maybe an uncle or aunt?  Because this situation is simply wrong.  No one should have to live with this much violence and fear, not to mention the manipulation of your dad, which I understand hurts more than anything else.


And so, fourth:  Your dad.  He might feel he has to side with your stepmum in order to keep his marriage, as awful as that sounds (How long ago was “Cinderella” made up?  A thousand years?  Two thousand?  And the fundamental situation can still exist all this time later!).  So what can you do?  Well, the kindest thing you can do for him would be to avoid all conflicts with your stepmother (which, again, might mean living somewhere else for a while).  But if that’s impossible, you might need to sit him down somewhere (not at home!  Somewhere away from your stepmother and sister and everyone else!), and talk this out.  And as difficult as it is, you probably will accomplish more if you explain that you understand that he really wants to keep his marriage going, and that you’re not trying to get in the way of that (this will help keep him from getting too defensive about his wife).  But that it’s impossible for you to stay in this situation, that you’re in actual physical danger now.  So you need his help, to make it better somehow.


katie1234, I wish I had better advice for you.  But if your stepmother is being this violent with you, and then lying about it, it just sounds like she’s not someone you can count on in this situation.  So your job is to work around her instead.  And to see how to best create a different kind of life – one with good, supportive, friendly, loving relationships.  One which, I’m sorry to say, she sounds incapable of living, at least now.


Be strong, let your love lead the way – and please let me know how things go!


Good Luck,




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Business-Man - June 12, 2012 Reply

Dear katie1234,
Your story is very saddening to me and my advice is to call the police because if any person is physically abusing you, that is horribly unethical

Good Luck!

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