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To Sam

is my sister abusive?

i'm 17 and my parents divorced when i was young. up until a couple of years ago, arguments in my family usually only happened now and then. but the enviroment in my mums house is so unbearable it has made me move out.

my sister is the sole route of these problems, the whole mood of the house is effected on how she is feeling. She is minuplative and controlling. She has threatened me with knives on a couple of occasions and broken my nans hand but most days it consists of punches, slaps, kicks and throwing objects from around the house at family members and myself. she always puts you down on how you look, your friends and the things you do/have done.

we have all tried to stand up to her but it makes her worse and now my nan and i are frightened for how her mood will be every waking moment she is in our company aswell as how it is effecting everyone. especially my mum, it has pushed her so far and i'm worried for her saftey.

is this a normal in every household?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you so much for telling me what you’re going through. 

It’s really good that you felt able to write to me. I can tell that the situation at home has become worse recently and it sounds as though the way your sister is behaving has been causing lots of problems. You described how she tries to manipulate and control people and this seems like it’s having a big effect on your life and is stopping you from feeling happy at home. It is very wrong for your sister to threaten you with knives. This is a form of abuse and it is also against the law. If you ever feel in danger around her, you have the right to call 999 for emergency help or to seek help from someone, possibly an adult, who you know could help.

Nobody’s allowed to make you feel unsafe like this. I’m concerned to hear that she’s made threats to you and has been hurting you and other family members. When somebody tries to put you down, control or manipulate you or when they make threats, these are all forms of emotional abuse. When somebody punches, slaps or kicks you or throws objects at you, this is physical abuse. I’m wondering how it feels for you to hear that. If you’d like to talk it through a bit more, remember that you can always speak to a ChildLine counsellor.

I can hear that you and the rest of your family are afraid of your sister and what sort of mood she’ll be in. It also sounds like you feel worried about your mum after everything that’s happened. If you’d like your mum or your nan to get some advice and support, they can ring the Family Lives helpline on 0808 800 2222.

If your sister is still a young person, remember that she can also talk to somebody at ChildLine confidentially about the things that are making her feel like behaving this way and to get support to stop hurting other people.

You’ve done really well to get in touch and I hope you and your family all get the support you need.

Take care,


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