Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My mom needs a divorce

My mom is currently married to an alcoholic man. He's a good person when he's not drunk but thats not often anymore. He screams insults at my mom and is very verbally abusive towards her and often manipulative. Yet she refuses to get a divorce. I mean she promises things will change but it's been over a year.

They argue often and it's gotten to the point that I had to leave because mom had to call the cops. So I don't believe my home is safe anymore with him around.

How do I approach my mom about getting a divorce?


Ask Sam


Hi there,

Verbal abuse is a type of emotional abuse and it shouldn’t happen to anyone, no matter how old they are. Living with emotional abuse can be stressful and make you feel unsafe, even when the abuse isn’t directed towards you.

It can be tough to see your parent or carer in an abusive relationship and hard to understand what makes them stay with their partner. It’s often easier to see the abuse from outside of the relationship than it is from within it.

Someone experiencing domestic abuse might believe what’s happening is their fault and want to try to make things better. Sometimes it might be difficult to face the changes that separation or divorce will mean or the abuse can affect the person’s confidence and make it harder for them to leave an unhealthy relationship.

Parents separating or divorcing is a decision only they can make when or if they want to. It’s okay to let a parent know how things are affecting you and what you would like to happen. Remember though that you can’t control what they choose to do.

You could write a letter explaining what things are like at home for you and how it’s making you feel. If it’s hard to write down you could ask a trusted adult to speak to your parent for you. You aren’t responsible for your parents' decisions or for their behaviour.

When a parent is drinking too much it can be confusing and scary but their drinking is not your fault. There are services for alcohol and drug misuse and anyone who is concerned about this can see their doctor for help. Organisations such as Alateen can support you as well.

It’s important for you to feel safe where you live and other family members or friend’s parents might offer a place to stay if you need some time away from home. If you are in danger or have nowhere to go, you can contact the police for help.

You can also always chat to Childline – our counsellors are available whenever you need them.

I’m glad that you wrote to me, take care.


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