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My parents fight a lot

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Aunty Julie,

I grew up to meet my parents fighting a lot . I think my dad beats my mum for no reason.

My mum cries everyday and I hate seeing her like that. It also affects me and my siblings psychologically. Sometimes, I feel like we are not like normal children or our family is different from other families. My social life is suffering and I fear I will grow up to be like my dad and a wife beater. I feel so helpless.

Fabian, Lagos 

Dear Fabian,

That’s a terrible situation to be in. You clearly worry about your mother a great deal, and it’s not easy knowing what to do. It also sounds like you’re quite angry about how they fight. Sometimes, in relationships, issues come up which couples find difficult to agree on. There may not be easy answers, and sometimes, a compromise can’t be reached. Some couples find it helpful to get counselling together, to help sort out differences. You haven’t mentioned whether this is something your parents have done. If they haven’t, it’s really difficult as a child to suggest such things. I wonder though, if your parents know how upset you are over them fighting? If this is a conversation you are able to have with either of them, it may be helpful as a starting point to look at getting further help.

I do understand that you might not necessarily be able to talk to your parents about these things. If so, you may find it helpful to get advice from someone you trust, like a family member or close friend. Sometimes, such people may have a different perspective on things, which could help you understand the situation, or they might be in a better position to talk to your parents.

You said something about you turning out to be a wife beater like your father. That is why you also need counselling so as to live a separate life different from your father.

You’ve talked about feeling helpless and having thoughts of killing yourself. It’s understandable to feel hopeless when faced with such a difficult situation. It might be a good idea to see a professional on your own to get some support.

And do you ever get caught up in the fighting? The most important thing right now is safety. If you’re worried that anyone, you or either of your parents are physically threatened in anyway, it’s important to call the police.

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