My mom is terribly abusive and violent. Is she a toxic parent?

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female high school student. I live with my mother, who’s in the middle of divorce proceedings.

My mother is gentle when she’s in a good mood, but when she’s not, she’s terribly abusive and violent. She verbally abuses me by saying things like, “Why were you born?” with a serious expression. She also hits me and throws things at me. So I spend my life trying to gauge her feelings all the time.

I thought every family was like this until I entered junior high school. When I learned that’s not true and stood up to my mother, she became more violent. She even kicked my leg while I was asleep, and I had to miss gym class at school because of the pain. I couldn’t tell the school why I was in pain because I didn’t want to create a big problem.

In my heart, I think it would be wonderful if she died soon. Every time I see an ambulance or a police car go by, I hope my mother is in it.

I’ve thought about killing myself in the past. My school knows about that. Is my mother a so-called toxic parent? How can I make her change? Do I have to put up with this?

— T

Dear Ms. T:

Thank you for your letter. I want to commend your courage in talking about your suffering.

I hate to tell you this, but your mother is definitely a toxic parent and you are a victim of abuse. Get away from her immediately. Distance yourself from your mother and protect yourself.

I recommend you visit a child consultation center run by your local government. Explain to your homeroom teacher or school counselor in detail about the violence you’ve suffered, and ask for their help and cooperation.

You can go to the police in an emergency if you feel your life is in danger. If you’re injured or bruised, it’s a good idea to take a picture of it.

The cause of your mother’s irrational violence lies with her; you are just a victim of the circumstances.

Even if her violence subsides, it’s obvious that she will be emotionally dependent on you if nothing is done.

You may think you’re a terrible daughter who accuses her mother. Or you may think you shouldn’t embarrass your mother. But this is also a necessary process to make your mother face her own problems.

Adults will take care of the rest. There are many adults who want to protect your precious life. To that end, get away from your mother immediately.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer