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Thread: How to have a relationship with my mentally abusive father?

  1. #1

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    How to have a relationship with my mentally abusive father?

    This is probably really long but I would greatly appreciate it if you read it because I really need some advice. My dad has been mentally abusive since I was a small child. Probably 4. Not just to me, my whole family but I was targeted most. Growing up was hard around him. He would take his anger out on me a lot. Blame things on me that I didnít do. And call me names. I was called fat, ugly, worthless and many more terrible names growing up. He would trash my room, yell in my face, and punish me all the time. I am 21 now and it has damaged me so much.

    Thereís so many more horrible stories, but itís too much to write. My parents would fight and my dad got even more abusive to my mom. Pushing her down the stairs, throwing things around the house, punching holes in the wall and he even kicked her out once. All of these memories will forever stick in my memory because I was young, (12) but old enough at that point to realize this shouldnít be happening in front of me and my siblings. My parents didnít get along finally and my mom divorces him. It has been 7 years of him harassing my mom through texts, calling her the most horrible names imaginable, him calling CPS on her, picking fights with her new husband, and putting us kids in the middle of it. If we say anything nice about her, he will get mad and yell at us, saying we are on his side. He will complain to us about her, just completely trash talking her and it isnít right.

    My brothers feel the same way as me, even though they werenít targeted as much they have seen the abuse and grew up with is as well. They are also scared of him. Lie to him to make him happy.

    A few days ago my dad calls me and says that he is scared he is going to be alone forever, he misses coming home to his kids and wife, and that heís depressed. He says he wants to talk to my mother to ďbe on good termsĒ. He says the relationship wasnít to the point of divorce! He kept repeating that. I usually go along with anything he says to avoid conflict. Itís like walking on eggshells, you have to be very careful with how you talk to him or he will explode. He calls her and it goes ok, then calls her again a couple days later and he picks a fight with her threatening to take her to court. Then gets mad at me saying that I am ďon her sideĒ.

    At this point I donít know what to do. He says he wants to have a relationship with me but if I am being honest, I am not comfortable with that at all. He obviously isnít changing into a better person. At the same time he is my father and I feel like I should. It would be impossible to tell him this. How should I go about this? What do I even say to him?

  2. #2
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    Im sorry you have experienced this.

    Maybe you can write him a letter, explaining how he has affected you and how you feel about this. State you really want a relationship but he has to seek help and go to therapy before you will consider this.

    You have to put yourself first in this, be brave and write out in a letter. Then he can reflect, read it many times and you do not have to be there if he gets angry. Then, he can hopefully calm down and reflect after the 'trigger' passes.

  3. #3
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    You didn't ask for him to be your father, so just because he is shouldn't oblige you to have a relationship with him. If you feel that he's damaged you enough and don't want to risk further abuse then you have the right to say so. At the end of the day you need to look after yourself and your own mental health.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Put down the hallmark cards, turn off Dr phil and realize evil can run in your own family and the only recourse is to sever yourself completely from that.
    Originally Posted by Jad619
    A few days ago my dad calls me and says that he is scared he is going to be alone forever, he misses coming home to his kids and wife, and that heís depressed.

  5.  

  6. #5
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    Have a little bit of a peruse around the captainawkward archives and the chump lady archives, thereís a lot of posts relating to maintaining or ending relationships with parents who suck.

    You absolutely have permission to go no contact with this man, he would more than deserve it. Actions have consequences! I really like the suggestion of sending the letter and requesting he get therapy before you reengage. He probably wonít (which will be valuable information) but if he does then maybe thereís hope for a relationship going forward If you do attempt to stay in touch, become god tier at setting and no maintaining boundaries and when he behaves in a way you find unpleasant, end the interaction. Try again another day

  7. #6
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    I suggest that you cut this man from your life. He is terrible for your well being, and will not change.

    He does not deserve a relationship with you. His reaching out is all about him, not his family, as evident with the behavior with your mother..

  8. #7
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    Be honest with dad. Even write a letter and say the reason he is alone is because he physically abused your mother and verbally abused you and your siblings. To please leave mom alone. If he cares about his kids, he will realize this and get help. I understand your dad is your dad and if you choose to see him, you should do so in a public setting where there is a start and end to the visit (ie, at a restaurant, an event with a set start and end time).

  9. #8
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    There is no law or rule in this universe that says that you must continue to maintain contact with a person who has harmed you in the past and will continue to use, manipulate, and harm you going forward, even if you are related to them.

    What he just did is tell you some emotional bs about being alone and you got sucked right into his abusive vortex. If you aren't ready to cut him off completely, then you must learn how to have and enforce strong strict boundaries with him and not get so easily emotionally manipulated. I hope that you are working with a good therapist on how to. Seems like you and your mother have lots of empathy, but not much in the way of sensible boundaries, which attracts abusers precisely because you don't know how to walk away. If you are all grown up, then your mother has no reason to ever have contact with her abusive ex, let alone pick up the phone any time he calls and keep taking abuse from him. Your mother is also demonstrating unhealthy behavior. If something has to be discussed, she can keep him to e-mails only. Don't get between your parents' toxic behaviors and ongoing drama that's sadly being sustained by both of them. Step far away, be sure to heal yourself and insert some sanity into your life. Most importantly, learn how to have and enforce boundaries with people.

  10. #9

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    Thank you so much to everyone who has replied. It has helped me immensely.

  11. #10
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I am pretty estranged from my dad. My dad was abusive in almost every way. Unless you have a real thick skin I donít recommend staying in contact. That is just abusing yourself, though not purposely. In my very late 40ís I learned that thick skin. When my dad starts acting like an ass in a phone call I will hang up and call 6 months later. He now knows there is no working me over . I am done setting myself in his way.

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