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Violent traditional middle eastern father

Community Member

My father is a traditional middle eastern man that protects his “honour” at ANY cost.

he came back home to find my sisters boyfriend at home. He severely physically abused her until my brother came back home and interfered to stop while my mum couldn’t say anything fearing him as she was cleaning all the broken glass and hysterically crying. I was at work when this happened.

I understand that it’s not acceptable in our culture to be involved with the opposite sex but I can’t accept the physical and verbal abuse my sister enduring and seeing the bruises and her moaning pain. I’m scared for her, we are both adults I’m 25 and she’s 22 years old We should be able to make ur decisions in life. She should feel loved and safe in her home, that’s why we came to Australia. It’s a struggle trying to balance these stupid traditions and culture in a western society.

we are always scared, I don’t know what to do, I can’t speak or reason with my dad his so stubborn, Everly doubtful and suspicious of everything you say or do. Nothing is ever good enough.

I’m getting married and moving countries and I can’t leave my family like this. I’m torn. Sometimes I wish he was dead and we won’t have any fear or problems.

I am writing this with my sister in my room sleeping in absolute pain and I’m silencing my cries. I don’t know how to help my family, what is the solution..

5 Replies 5

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Lily, welcome

This is a difficult situation for you all.

Unfortunately you are dealing with such inground mental determination that your fathers actions of needing control is not reversible. It is in his nature. How inground is it? Well google this and real the first post

Beyondblue topic the frog and the scorpion

What is your best action? Well clearly you both should break away from the family unit. The fear you both have is immeasurable so you should in my own personal view move away and not give contact details but do contact your father (in a neutral safe place even outside a police station etc) and spell out clear boundaries he has to adhere to like zero violence, zero abuse. This will give him a chance to redeem himself even though that is unlikely to happen. That chance of redemption will help both you and your sister cope with minimal guilt. Guilt has and will build because he has, as a parent, placed his dissatisfaction on you that you are not good enough for his standards. Unfortunately he doesn't see good in you both, likely his own fears that you will fall to the traditions and attitudes of the youth of the western culture- is too much for him to bare. Yes he has difficulty in that area and doesn't acknowledge that your difficulties are your own that are just are complex.

I wouldn't confuse his unacceptable actions as lack of love. Two totally different things. In fact he loves you both very much, but you need to be the leader for you and your sister and even your mother if she needed you but I'm afraid I cannot see any other way forward other than separation and taking control. The only other course is to contact your religious leader if you have one and get his support. But I'd still move away.


Beyondblue topic Controlling your life – how important is it?

Beyondblue topic narcissism

Beyondblue topic Abusive parents and their effect on us- their children

I hope they help. You are safe here. Reply anytime.


Hi Lily,

Tony has given you some great advice. My heart breaks for you and your sister... Unfortunately I agree that you should begin a plan to break away from your father. You need to break the cycle, I understand that your father was likely raised in an environment that sadly normalised violence and control. I worry that you will crumble with worry and guilt when the time comes for your wedding and you must leave your sister in this toxic situation. The lines are blurred when you love someone but you also fear them. It's OK to love your father but refuse to tolerate his behaviour. Be strong and brave. Reach out and get all the help and resources you can and make a plan. Stay safe and if you need to call the police Xx

Beyond Blue Staff
Beyond Blue Staff

Hi lily

I am so sorry to hear about this most awful and difficult situation that you and your sister have encountered by your father.
I am of Middle Eastern background too, I am familiar with this awful violent behaviour over 'honour' as I have observed it within my community. You have received some good, solid advice here from our other valued supporters but, I would like to add something to support you.
It may be that you could be reluctant to seek law enforcement at first because of fear of exasperating the issue ( although I fear you may need to at some point}, can you try banding your mother, brother, sister, other family members and perhaps any close friends to talk to your father first.

I think that he needs to hear that this situation is what it is, your sister is entitled to choose what she wants in life and as difficult as it is for your father to accept her choices he cannot change them.
Your family will be key to explaining that your father needs to look at his Middle Eastern community in Australia (and overseas because everything has changed there too) and notice that these situations are becoming increasingly acceptable and no longer a big deal. Someone needs to tell him that he is free to hold a grudge, be unhappy about your sister's choices and not partake in any of her events but he cannot stop her from doing what she wants.

There will come a time where he will be fine with this situation even if you cannot see it happening right now. I think that if your father's violent behaviour continues, your sister needs to remove herself from this situation by leaving.

Please keep talking to us here so that we can know that you, your sister and family are safe and so that we can keep supporting you as best we can.


Community Member
Hello there, thanks for sharing. It depends, lots of middle eastern people are westernised. But I would definitely get the authorities involved. You and your sister do not have to see him making threats and acting violently. Was your dad born here or overseas? If was born overseas, he could be sent back of they authorities deem it appropriate.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hey Lily,

What your father did is not right at all and should not be normalised even though he did it out of extreme anger. I am so sorry that your sister had to deal with that and that you feel a lot for her. If it continues and gets worse than it already is then it needs to be reported to the authorities or your sister can leave the house and live with someone she trusts.

I also come from a middle eastern background and I completely understand how you feel. My father is stubborn and has anger issues and there are times where he cannot control himself sometimes.

However, he has changed significantly. He was a lot worse when I was younger. The reason for the change was due to going to family counselling, we personally went to a middle eastern heritage psychologist. So I recommend you do that.

I hope everything is fine and please message me if you need support.

Hope this helps.