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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / How to help my mother leave an abusive relationship she's financially dependent on

Topic: How to help my mother leave an abusive relationship she's financially dependent on

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Scottish-Parrot Jaimie
    Scottish-Parrot Jaimie avatar
    16 posts
    26 May 2019

    So my mum is 58 and been living with her boyfriend for a few years now. I know from visiting them and seeing them fight in person that their relationship has been problematic for a while now. Its recently been getting a lot worse though as a result of his worsening alcoholism and a combination of new medications he's been put on. He's becoming more paranoid and erratic. He has always been walking that line between just a general ass hole and an emotional abuser in the way he would speak to her, intimidate her, demand too much of her and even gaslight her on occasion, but now he's jumped way into obvious abuse territory that him attempting to physically harm her is a genuine concern of mine. Now, its worth noting that both him and my mother are physically disabled as a result of work injuries, but my mother less so, and she is more mobile and can move quicker, so I have no doubt she could take him, which is a little reassuring but that doesn't make this whole situation any less concerning.

    Now the main road block in her leaving him is that she has nowhere to go and no money to support herself. She got unjustly let go from her job as an aged care nurse about maybe a year ago (she was injured on the job and they proceeded to fire her for being unable to do heavy duties as a result- she was unsuccessful in getting compensation outside of small insurance company payments that wouldn't even come close to supporting her) and our extended family (her brother and sisters and their spouses) aren't the sort to offer help. I'm currently unemployed (which is driving me insane) and living on Newstart so I can't even afford my own expenses most of the time let alone be able to offer significant help to her. I also live about seven hours away and live with housemates so I don't even have a place for her to easily get away to and stay, which, given that this is my mother, feels awful. To top it off, she doesn't have access to her super (she's explained to me why but ngl I'm a little too stupid to understand it all), and she doesn't qualify for Centrelink for some reason, hence she doesn't have access to any extra support they offer.

    I don't know what can be done here. My mum suffers from depression and physical disabilities and is without access to an substantial income. Hey partner is getting more and more abusive and is using her financial dependency on him against her. What can be done to help her? Is there something I'm missing?

    Advice is much appreciated.


  2. Alexlisa
    Alexlisa avatar
    196 posts
    27 May 2019 in reply to Scottish-Parrot Jaimie

    Hi there,

    This sounds like such a tough situation for you both to be in. I can sense how hopeless and frustrating it all feels and I wish there was an easy way out.

    I was thinking it might be best to get in touch with 1800RESPECT. This is the national domestic and family violence organisation. They have a 24 hour helpline on 1800 737 732 and also an online chat service.

    They are likely the best people to get in touch with because they’ll know of all of the resources out there for people in a similar situation to your mum. It’s a common issue to be wanting to leave an abusive relationship, but be trapped by the financial implications, so they are bound to know what the options are and be able to refer to suitable services. They also offer counselling, which might be a good idea for your mum in the meantime.

    I really hope they can help you. No one should have to be trapped like this if they want to leave. Please remember to take care of your own mental health in this too - it can be stressful trying to help others while you’re not doing so well yourself.

    Take care,


    1 person found this helpful
  3. Scottish-Parrot Jaimie
    Scottish-Parrot Jaimie avatar
    16 posts
    27 May 2019 in reply to Alexlisa

    Thank you for your reply. I'll definitely look into 1800RESPECT and ask them about what they think would be the best thing to do. My mum isn't too big on counselling but I know she's seen psychologists in the past so its possible. Fortunately I see a psychologist regularly which is good for me right now, although I only get ten sessions a year and I think I'm close to running out.

  4. Scottish-Parrot Jaimie
    Scottish-Parrot Jaimie avatar
    16 posts
    27 May 2019 in reply to Scottish-Parrot Jaimie

    Also want to add that they have a dog. He technically belongs to mums boyfriend but she is the only one to take care of him. He's a good boy but if mum leaves he won't get fed or looked after at all. I know this may not seem like a huge issue compared to everything else but is there a way she could take him? I know pets are considered property but if he won't be cared for if he's left there.

    Also, a positive, my mum is coming down to visit me in a few weeks so we can talk more about her options in person then, and it'll be good for her to get away from her place for a while.

  5. Bec b
    Bec b avatar
    7 posts
    1 June 2019 in reply to Scottish-Parrot Jaimie

    This is a hard situation. Sorry you’re both going through that. We have a similar situation with my nanna.

    Some questions you could talk to her and your family about: is there a way for family to pool a little bit of $ to help her leave? Or if she left and found a rental, could people chip in $20 a week (example) towards rent? Is there ANY sort of work her injury would allow?

    for the dog - probably not legal to take her/him but it’s also not legal to be abusive and also not care for a pet. Sooo, if it comes down to it, I know what I would do for the dog (it involves cuddles and a nice warm spot on the couch, away from the boyfriend) xxx

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