real life

'I'm a victim of family violence. The perpetrator is my 14-year-old daughter.'

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Content warning: This story includes graphic depictions of violence that may be distressing to some readers.

The first time my daughter pushed me, I was surprised by her strength and her aggression. When she held my bedroom door shut, trapping me until I managed to talk my way out, I felt vulnerable. And when she began to scream abuse in my face telling me to die, I was numb with shock.

Family violence is ugly, and I never thought it would happen to me or that my daughter would be my abuser. I never dreamed I’d have to document my injuries or call the police to protect me from my child. But one day I did, and it was horrible.

Watch: Even if they aren't physically violent with you, they could still be abusing you through. Story continues after video.

Video via Psych2Go.

My daughter is 14 years old. School bullies and COVID lockdowns pushed her into a place of isolation, depression, and fear. She self-harmed, wore long sleeves to cover the cut marks, pulled out her hair, ran away from school and suffered insomnia and anger outbursts. 

I sought professional help and medication for her anxiety. I spent sleepless nights talking her out of harming herself or driving her to Emergency only to be turned away without anyone seeing her. I would sit with her through panic attacks so bad she would almost pass out. 


After about a year, she stopped self-harming and saying she wanted to die. But the anger continued and rarely a day went by when I wasn’t screamed at, sworn at, or verbally abused.

The physical attacks began.  A push, a furious shove during an argument, a deliberately thrown hairbrush. Threats screamed in my face, threats to "f**king kill you". Her words became well-aimed weapons. I began to experience daily stomach pains from anxiety. One awful night she pushed me so hard I fell over a chair and to the floor. I was badly bruised for a week. I should have done something then, but I was too shocked and who could I tell?

A week later, I was watching television when my daughter announced she was going out. I said "no" as it was too late, she had been out all day and it was a school night. She looked at me coldly. "Well, I’m going, and you can’t stop me."

I told her if she went, I would have to take her phone away. She stood over me as I sat on the sofa, jabbing a finger at my face, and yelling she would "f**king end me" if I touched her phone.

I tried to stand, and she kicked me. I warned her to calm down or I would call the police, but she kept yelling into my face, trying to grab my arm even as I dialled 000, crying, asking for the police. She ranted and mocked me then ran out the front door.

The operator was calm and supportive, asking me her age, if she had a weapon, if she was still in the house, and when I said she had left, what she was wearing. When the police arrived, they were kind and respectful, checking to see if I was harmed, meticulously taking my statement. Then they brought in my daughter, who they had picked up whilst driving to our house.


They sat her down and calmly advised her that I had chosen not to press charges, but they warned her that if she continued to abuse me, she could be removed from our home or arrested. They asked her if she understood what had been said. She quietly agreed. I think she was shocked that I had taken action to protect myself. For the first time in months, I felt someone had my back. 

After the police left, my daughter went straight to her room and for the next few days we barely spoke. 

My daughter is not a bad person, but her behaviour is frightening. As parents, we weren’t told how to deal with a violent child; it didn’t come with the baby handbook, and she can’t or won’t understand that her constant anger and verbal attacks are wearing us down.

After hours of crying, countless sessions with therapists, a psychiatrist, family therapy, and having researched violence or aggression in teenagers, I have tried many things, and this is what I now know:

  • Leave the house if you must. Walk away or get in your car and drive off for a bit. If you have other children, take them with you.
  • Don’t continue to engage if the situation is escalating. Because by then, they are not listening to you anymore. Walk away or get out.
  • If they hit you, threaten you or their siblings or have a weapon, call the police. This behaviour isn’t normal from an adult and not a child. You need a mediator as soon as possible.
  • Video the behaviour if possible – watching it, you may recognise patterns. And it’s proof you’re not making this up.
  • Photograph injuries or property damage.
  • Call a trusted family member or friend if you don’t want to call the police. When your child knows you are telling someone, you are removing the power your child thinks they have over you.
  • Finally, always let your child know that you love them; that you hate the behaviour but not them. This is the hardest thing of all to do, but it’s so important if there is any hope for a future relationship.

I love my daughter and I won’t give up on her, but I am heartbroken. I now understand her abuse is family violence. I didn’t know who to turn to until I told my therapist and GP who were very supportive. Since I called the police, my daughter hasn’t hit me but sadly, the verbal abuse continues.

If this is happening to you, please talk to the police anonymously and get some advice. Ring Parents Helpline or Family Violence Response Centre. Tell a friend or your GP but please, always remember, you are not alone.

If you or someone you know is at risk of violence, contact: 1800 RESPECT.

Feature Image: Getty.