Family Forum: Controlling Partner

Wanting a daughter to leave a controlling relationship.


It’s been seven years and my daughter remains trapped by the worst narcissist. He’s turned her against me and the rest of the family. She’s run away several times and last time she promised she wouldn’t go back to him, yet once she is in his presence, she weakens and falls back into his web.

Now they have two kids, a baby and a five-year-old, and he’s on the run from the police, again, yet he continues to control her (and his mother does too) but my daughter can’t see this. She won’t answer my calls or return messages. In the past, she has sent me messages but I know they’re are from him trying to act like it’s my daughter writing.

How do I get through to her and convince her to leave? I have always told her I’ll be there for her and it’s not the life she should be living. She is only 24, he is 28.

I need my daughter and grandkids away from that family. But how?


If your daughter or grandchildren are in immediate danger, notify the police. If your grandchildren are being mistreated or neglected, you can report this to the Child Abuse Report Line on 131 478.

The report line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but it can take some time to get through, so be prepared to be patient.

It’s important that all women living in abusive relationships are made aware that they can call the 24-hour Domestic Violence Crisis Line on 1800 800 098 for crisis counselling and for advice on how to leave an abusive relationship safely. Often women in this situation have lost their confidence and may feel that they have no options but to stay, but services are available to assist women and children get to safety, and to commence new living arrangements.

It is very good that you have told your daughter that you will always be there for her. Think of ways that you can let her know that you care. Perhaps a neutral family member can deliver birthday presents for her and the children and/or food hampers.

Consider sending an email or dropping a letter in your daughter’s letterbox offering to babysit the children while she does her grocery shopping. It’s important to attempt to re-establish regular contact and to be supportive.

In the short term, it may be a good idea not to impose your views that she should leave her partner.

Anyone who is in a controlling relationship should be encouraged to maintain contact with their friendship group and family. It is of great value to get an outsider’s perspective on what is “normal” and acceptable behaviour. Controlling partners know this and do their very best to prevent their partners having contact with friends and family.

The panel believes it may be useful for you to attend counselling to get other ideas how you can re-establish a relationship with your daughter and grandchildren.

Submit Your Questions

Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

Use this form to submit a question to the Family Forum panel.