Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Dear Counsellor | Mom accepts abuse

Published:Tuesday | September 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Q: We are worried about our mother. Our father has been abusing her for years and she accepts this as normal. She claims that she is married for better or worse. She points out that in the first eight years of marriage it was good. In fact, in those days we did things together as a family. He was very supportive. He was a good provider. We went to the country on road trips to visit our grandparents. Those days, they went overseas every year. They had a blast. Our father is in a very good job and our mother is economically independent. She manages her own business and earns better than our father most times. Now our father will use indecent language to her and she accepts it. Sometimes he tries that with us, but we will not stand for it. He thinks we are rude and threatens to pull us from university, since he claims he is the man of the house. Mom knows that he is cheating. He is very jealous and falsely accuses her of cheating. He likes his friends from work more than us. They meet every weekend for games and drinks. They all smoke. She seems happy just to be married. She is from a humble background and did not go to university. What can we the children do?

A: It is good that you are standing up to your father's abuse and will not accept it, even if he is paying the school fees. The problem is that your mom understands that she is in an abusive relationship but accepts it as part and parcel of marriage. She needs to understand that for better or worse is not about her husband deliberately making it worse. She needs to work on her self-esteem and self-worth outside of being a wife and mother. She needs to have a limit. There are things she should not tolerate.

It would be good to ascertain what happened why he has changed so drastically. He needs to see a counsellor. In fact, both your parents need to see a professional counsellor.

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