My abusive stepdad

No happiness, no friends: how can I deal with my stressful home life? 

Reach out to someone who can help, says our elder – starting with your brother. 


Dear EWC

Hello, I really don’t know what to do about my life anymore. I have my mum, my stepdad, my two younger sisters and an older brother at home. Along with my dad who lives separately. My dad is an incredible man. He’s caring and the best person you could ask for. However, my stepdad is horrendous. He’s verbally abusive as well as occasionally physically towards my mum more. My mum does not have a job or another home that she could move to and I personally think this still would not get him out of our lives. I hate the life I’ve been put in, I hate being at home where I’m supposed to feel happiness. There is no happiness there. There’s no love. Currently I feel the worst I’ve ever felt – that’s why I’m writing this letter. I have no one else to talk to. I don’t really have friends because I’m too scared that they are going to be bad people as well. I don’t particularly have the best experience of good friends either. I’m just at a very low point as well as trying to deal with sixth form, A-levels. I always miss deadlines and everything. I can go into more detail about everything if that’s necessary. Thank you.


G-Ma-Lynn replies

Your letter touches on a few different issues and it is good that you are open to sharing about what is happening in your life. Our job at Elder Wisdom is to provide non-judgmental support and caring guidance to all of our advice-seekers.  Let me offer you some observations and a few things for you to think about.

Right now you are trying to deal with a pretty stressful home life, mostly caused by this abusive stepfather. I get the sense that you are a pretty strong person, who wants to protect her mother. You are aware that your stepfather is very controlling and that your mom is not standing up to him. Your best course of action is to reach out to some people who can help. 

You say that you have a caring and loving biological father. How often do you see him and is he aware of what is happening at home? You also have an older brother who should be your ally. You and your brother need to team up here and get with your dad and try to talk things through. I think that is a first step that you must take. It is really important that the three of you keep getting together and trying to come up with ways to change the dynamics at home. You need to feel some support and you may need to be the one that keeps asking for it. 

Has your mother tried to find some kind of employment? I realize that this is very difficult right now, but even to work part-time would give her some independence. You also should try to get her to seek some counseling. Does your mom have any close friends in whom she can confide? If her husband is emotionally and sometimes physically abusive, she needs to get some help for herself.

Based upon what you say about taking your A-levels, I am guessing you are 16-17 years old. When a teen is having problems at home and one or both parents are not able to help (or is part of the problem), I often suggest reaching out to some local area churches. Most congregations will have a minister/priest/pastor and an administrative office from whom you can seek some guidance. Most clergy have dealt with a wide range of problems and will be sympathetic and able to suggest some ways you might get help in your local community.

I can understand your reluctance to form new friendships but you need to try to move past that. If you have had bad karma with friends in the past, you need to chalk that up to life experience. Friends are a lifeline for us all and are very, very necessary for our own emotional health. All of us need to have peers of a similar age with whom to share our feelings and our struggles. So I would urge you to try to nurture some of your current relationships or find some new ones. Again, a bit challenging given the current limitations of the pandemic. You will need to be a little creative right now in terms of connecting with other teens and trying to get some new people in your life. But it is so, so important.

Are there any other family members such as aunts or uncles or close family friends that you could reach out to? You may be hesitant to do this but there are people who want to help you. Don’t be embarrassed. You did not create this home situation and you are a very young person who is carrying a heavy load. Reach out to the adults in your life and get them to listen.

I wish you good luck and hope that you can find some support within your immediate family and community. Even though you are very young, trust in your instincts and keep moving forward!!

Best Regards,


Article #: 465855

Category: Family

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