Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Daughter of 15 is suffering because of Boyfriend's mother

Community Member

Hi i am new to this site and would love some advice from any people out there who may have experienced the following:

Our daughter of 15 ( turning 16 ) is dating a lovely young man ( 17 turning 18 ) and has been for six months now. The issue is the boy's mother who repeatedly loves to change plans, tell her son he can not attend functions etc. The boys mother is verbally and physically abusive towards him ( attacked him with a coat hanger recently in a rage ) . We have all tried to get him out of the situation as he can stay with us but the boy is absolutely terrified of his mother. Our entire family does not communicate with his mother as she see's us as the evil intruders. The level of control this woman has is unbelievable, this young man works full time, is only allowed to see our daughter 2 or 3 times a week, with a maximum of 3-4 hrs. I need help to get this young man the help he needs, as next time i fear it might not be a coat hanger but a knife the mother picks up in her rage. We are educating him on BPD ( as we all believe this is what the mother has, too many symptoms not to be ) Our daughter has tried many times to get him to leave but he is frightened to leave but also just as frightened to stay. PLEASE HELP!! This boy's mother is an emotional vampire and every day that goes by she is destroying this young man's life. This woman has no boundaries also, requests his phone and reads our daughters messages etc.

I am after

15 Replies 15

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Frazzled25

Welcome to the forums and for having the courage to post too!

From what you have posted this poor guy is in a really bad place literally considering his mothers behavior

Apart from getting the son away from his mum (good move) as much as possible, the only other option I can see is her son getting some basic counseling to allow him the chance to grow both emotionally and avoid any mental health issues later in life.

His mum is very controlling and has issues as per your post for sure. Nothing can be done with someone harboring that much anger, low self worth & insecurity.

Counseling for him would be great as he can then start to build a strong platform on which he can have the increased self confidence/esteem to put his own mental health first.

I have seen this happen before and he will benefit and then have the strength to leave any toxic relationship behind him

there are many caring people on the forums that can be here for you Frazzled, no worries at all 🙂

you are amazing to have reached out for this young fellow considering his toxic home environment..

my kind thoughts


Thank you Paul for your reply. Counselling is the answer absolutely. But how? We can't get him there as she controls his every move. I have literature that I have printed off that stays here for him to read and the young man is so grateful that he can finally put a name to what his mother has. Unfortunately he sees this as "just the way some people discipline their children", crazy right, his mothers words? We have explained this is abuse, but 17 years of this we all know is going to take some time. I am at my wits end of how to try to get him out of his environment but the young man is too frightened ( and obviously brainwashed ). The young man's mother is so cruel and verbally abusive, it is beyond belief. The young man is such a fantastic person who deserves so much better and treats our daughter like a queen but I need some advice on how to convince him to leave as we have all tried? He has told our daughter that he will be forced to choose between her and his mother, so very sad that a woman would emotionally do this to their own flesh and blood. This young man does not have his car licence also so it dependent upon his mother for transport also ( which she relishes and takes away at a moments notice ). If he does a small infraction ( like voicing his opinion, he is punished by not allowed to see our daughter for days at a time ). I need help!!

Hi Frazzled

Thanks for posting back.

A bit of what you wrote is a concern...." Unfortunately he sees this as "just the way some people discipline their children", crazy right, his mothers words?"

It really does sound like it. The difficulty is the age, at 17 its a hard one Frazzle.....you and your daughter have no option (recourse) except to invite him to a therapy appointment but that does seem even harder as what you have just written how he has passed it off 'as a way some people discipline their children'

My daughter quit school in year 10 and there was nothing I could do about it...zero.

Your daughters boyfriend obviously doesnt want to go if its about himself.......would he go to an appointment if your daughter was booked in for counseling and 'he had to go'?

Also...is there even one adult that his mum gets along with?

just trying to think here Frazzled.....


hello Frazzled, I am totally dismayed at what this young man's mother will do to be able to control him.
You say he's about to turn 18 so how long will this be before he can do what he wants to do, but he can apply for an Intervention Order through the Magistrates’ Court (or Children’s Court if you’re under 17) and should talk with the police on how he can do this and if need be have a someone who is an adult go with him, and then seek legal advice with legal aid.
His mother is toxic and there could be a time when she may take extreme circumstances where it could be too late to help him.
Please investigate this IVO a.s.a.p. Geoff.

Community Member
I have a slightly different take on this problem and maybe my approach might feel hard for you to see the logic of . Let's see...

I agree with much of what you and the forum members have postulated .. the mum may very well have BPD , one of the hall marks being an extreme sensitivity and overreaction to perceived abandonment . So when her son pulls away from her , she feels insecure and frightened and reacts in inappropriate ways.
I agree that without intensive therapy, she is unlikely to change.

However, we can't just disregard the mother- child bond so flippantly. Yes, her behavior is uncaring and intrusive etc but i am wondering that along side that "logical" analysis there is also an "emotional" response to his mum that sees her through a different lens.

He may very well have been raised to believe that these "displays" of possessiveness are signs of love . He may have developed a way of tolerating them and even on some level feeling that they show the depth of her devotion to him .

I know it sounds crazy to the logical side of the brain but it may be that "irrational", emotional side that is keeping him at home with her where on some level he feels totally adored and needed by her.

Now , don't get me wrong . I'm not thinking that the right place for this young man in the long run is stuck at home with a manipulative, controlling violent parent , however ... I think the way to get him out is to to the OPPOSITE of what his mother has been doing to him all his life.

His mum clearly has been telling him what he should or should not do . Where he should or should not be . What he should or should not think .

I wonder if it is time this young man is allowed the luxury and respect to make decisions FOR HIMSELF. That is the only way he will develop self esteem and trust in his OWN ability to sort things out.

Maybe just keep developing options for him ie. you could do this or this or this... but tell him ultimately it's HIS choice what he decides to do and you will support and respect him whatever choice he makes. At the moment he has on some level chosen to stay with her as he clearly could leave ( he works full time and it seems he could also live with you ) 

With your trust and belief in him , my hope is that he will develop trust and belief in himself to be able to step away from his mother and tolerate the inevitable distress that this will cause him and her.
Also please know that if she does have severe BPD , she won't make it easy for him to be independent from her and he will need to develop the internal strength to cope with the "punishment" she will throw at him .

It's really not simple and I don't envy his poor young mans position. Give him time , remember he is young and remember that as objectionable as you find his mother , that is the women who raised him and in some part of his mind he loves her, wants to please her , wants her to be ok and doesn't want to disappoint her, just like any child .

It's hard to step back when you see the "answer " so clearly but I feel that this young man needs to be trusted to do it himself when the time feels right for HIM.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello, maybe I can chime in here having been the child in that case and managed to develop all those BPD symptoms too, and what Dr Kim said really resonated with me.

I keep getting frustrated with my current psychologist because she often doesn't tell me much. So when I confronted her, I was expecting denial, anger, ambivalence...interestingly all the things my mother would show.

However, what I got instead was:

"I don't tell you what to do because, well, I wonder if you're actually here to avoid that and find your own way, since that's what other doctors and your mum have done all your life. And now you're here."

From my own experience, I can't really express how conflicted I am, but I know this to be true. I want to be told what to do because that's all that I've ever been given. Yet I know, deep down, that I will never accept what others tell me. That I will fight it with everything I have.

And so the only alternative for me is to explore things with someone who puts the responsibility over my life right back into my own hands. My previous psych told me I needed to get away from mum. I think it was probably the right advice but...it just didn't sit well with me. Perhaps that was a realisation I needed to come to on my own.


Thanks for the reply blondguy. Unfortunately I do not know of anyone that his mother does get along with ( his mother has a very abrasive personality ) what I have gathered through talks with the young man is "you are either with her or against her" type of person. And obviously because of our knowledge of how she treats her son( she is aware of this ), we are perceived as a threat to her and the abuse is unacceptable. Yes, we were totally gobsmacked when our daughter repeated his words of '' this is how some parents discipline their children'', the young man is nearly 18 ?? Our daughter explained that this is not unacceptable in any form and this is NOT the norm. This young man is such a fantastic guy who has been told what to do his whole life ( including on how he thinks, feels ) the level of manipulation this woman has over her son is incredible. I liken it to domestic violence in many ways ( my mother was a victim whilst I grew up ) that they are so scared to leave but also frightened to stay. We can only be here for support and let him know that we will never give up on him also. Just so frustrating to see someone under so much control and complacent on the whole situation. ( he isn't allowed to go away with us either for weekends away ).

Community Member
Hi Geoff, thanks for the reply. I will speak with our daughter about the legal side of things ( I have spoken with Social services just so we knew where we stood ). I do not believe he would go with us as he is absolutely terrified of his mother ( even though it could end in tragedy, our daughter has begged him also ) He has about 9 months before he is 18. I am at a loss to what more I can do? His mother is very toxic and cruel to him. I have done extensive reading on BPD and the person will sometimes identify with one of the four personality traits ( she is I believe '' the witch'' very nasty and cruel, manipulative with words that cut like razors. The mother is a supervisor in her workplace so control is her thing in all aspects of her world. The young mans father has passed away also. If the young man speaks his mind he is seen to be disrespectful ( needless to say that the mother can do and say as she wishes, which includes bad mouthing our daughter, even after the young man has asked her to stop ). I am so worried for his safety. I expect eventually when he does decide to leave the mother will definitely make all sorts of noise as she always gets her way.

Hi Dr Kim, thank you for the reply. I appreciate your input and have taken it on board. I have extensively researched BPD and have come to the conclusion that the young mans mother connects with '' the witch'' personality traits, very cruel and nasty. I do understand there must be some sort of ''pay off'' for the young man to be still there with his mother and it must be HIS decision to leave. No amount of pleading, begging etc. will help any of us ( believe me we have all tried ) I have difficulty with the complacency of him having to ASK if he can come to visit our daughter, be TOLD what time to be home and the list goes on. At near 18, really?? If the young man voices his opinion he is seen to be ''disrespectful''. This young man has told his mother that he ''does not understand her'' many times as her views on reality are skewed and mixed messages are a daily event. The young man lives in a world of fear, uncertainty but ultimately loves his mother ( then again, many child abuse victims do ) We understand that HE has to be the one to ultimately make the choice when he is emotionally ready ( I am keeping literature here for him to read on Narcissistic Personality Disorder/BPD etc and strategies to help him become strong ) Unfortunately I do not believe he is at that point yet, but when he is, we will all be here for him to support him through the turmoil ( which I believe without a doubt there will be lots of it from his mother ) Intensive therapy for the mother would not be an option ( many BPD do not believe they have a problem ) but once the young man makes the break counselling will be made available to him from us to help try and fix the damage ( will take a long time, 17 years of constant criticism etc. will need a lot of therapy ). Thank you again.