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Stepfather ruining mental health - move out or deal with it until uni degree is finished?

Community Member

Hi guys.

Context: parents divorced when I was 2, stayed with my mother, went no-contact with biological father 1 year ago (emotionally abusive). Mother has been with stepfather since I was 4, I grew up calling him 'dad'. I'm 19F (studying full time).

Many verbal fights between him and my mother over the years were about me, over irrelevant or insignificant things. I would be guilt tripped by him afterwards, being blamed as the cause of their fights, and reminded that I should be grateful that he paid for my schooling and other things because I 'would not have these things with my father' (who wasn't well off).

Recently he got worse. Last year I got a tattoo. He wasn't impressed but shrugged it off. I got another one (but really it was the second half to the first) and he screamed about how ungrateful I was, disrespecting his personal values, how I was ruining my life, and that he would pull me out of my private school and send me to the local public school. I left and stayed at my friends for a week, eventually going home after being guilted by both parents (at no point did stepfather apologise for anything he said).

Last week he yelled at me for turning the heater on when I was the only one home. This week, he yelled at me for having a messy room and for not paying for my own ice cream tub when I went to the shops with mum because I 'have my own money' (mind you, I have paid for household items in the past out of my own pocket with no arguments. I also offered to buy my own ice cream, mum said no). He seems to nitpick everything I do. I try not to leave my room (even if I am hungry) because the thought of seeing/talking to him makes me so anxious that I feel nauseous.

I got diagnosed with anxiety and put on antidepressants in 2021 (which I am no longer on) and I have lost my access to a psychologist (the one I attended was at my school). It feels like every day spent in my house is degrading my mental health, to the point where i'm afraid my emotions might get out of control.

I have tried many times to discuss things with him, with no results. Mum doesn't stand up for me in the moment, but talks with him afterwards.

I am 1 trimester into my 3 year degree. I want to move out but accomodation is expensive and i'd have to get a new job. After my degree I will be moving for another course. Do I stay and walk on eggshells for 3 years, or move out and hope I can remain financially stable?

- cattattoo (>'-'<)


4 Replies 4

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi cattattoo,

Sorry to hear you are living with abuse from your stepfather. If I was in your position I would move out. Sharing with others keeps the cost down. I just don't like the conditions you are living under, getting yelled at and walking on eggshells, it's just not right. You deserve better treatment than what you are currently experiencing.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi cattattoo,

Wellcome to our forums.

Im sorry that your stepfather is treating you this way. please try to understand this is a reflection of him and not you.

You could talk to your gp about seeing a psychologist.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Cattattoo, some kids get on well with heir step parent, while others are in the same position as you and find it very difficult and when this happens it affects you not only in one way but several ways and can stop you from developing your own personality by yourself.

At uni there should be a public notice board where other people may be looking for someone to co-rent with them in their house/flat and because the rent is split up between you means it would be cheaper for you to move in, alternatively you could put a notice up saying that you want to move in with someone.

Living at home with your step dad is not your best option, especially when you have little support from your mother.

Are you able to see your doctor and contemplate starting the AD's once again if they suggest for this to happen.

You can also contact Kids Helpline (5 years to 25) on 1800 55 1800 by phone, web chat or online, but hope you can get back to us.

Take care.


Community Member
Sounds to me like you are saying you got a tattoo without telling him and he was mad? Where is the tattoo? But I didn't catch much other than conflict and stress. You try talking to him. Have you tried directly writing him a letter? Sometimes that helps.