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Emotionally abusive father


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My problem is that my mother is living with my emotionally abusive father. They have been together since she was 16 which is 42 years ago so this has been going on long before I came into the picture. I am in my 20s and for years thought he was just a depressive but now I have the sense to know that he has been emotionally abusing my mother for years. Everything that has gone wrong in his life is blamed on her, even the past before he knew her. Everyday he is miserable and complains about everything and anything even trival things most people would get over. he sought help in the past for his depression but only saw a therapist for a short while and somehow thinks his problems are over yet he is only getting worse with age. My mother has to be around his negativity all the time and when she is away from him all she does is complain about him. I am at my wits end as she says, and has been saying for years now, that she wants to leave him and doesn't love him but she says she doesn't know where to start. It is the only life she has known and I am scared that she is going to put up with this for the rest of her life. She says he will follow her if she leaves,as he has in the past, and that she feels trapped. I don't know what to do for her or what to tell her. I am now living at home after a breakup from a long term relationship and I always knew it was bad but the reality of living in it is a nightmare. What can I do for her? Has anyone else experienced similar?

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Hi, I'm in a really similar situation and also in my 20's, so it's comforting to find another person who understands how awful this can be. I don't think you can help either of your parents, it's been 42 years. I can't even imagine the psychological damage that has been done by that point.


I know you want to help, and that you are an adult, but you are still her child in her eyes. She might not take what you say that seriously or find ways to rationalize the abuse. You are not her therapist and being the child makes the dynamic very complicated. Our family members often see our most vulnerable side that we usually don't show. Your mother might not be motivated to change her circumstances because she is comfortable with you in some ways.


If you want to help your mother get away from him, I really think you need a third party to help negotiate and facilitate the conversation. A trusted friend or a therapist (one that really knows what they are doing. You have to be totally straightforward and distant in a way.


If you have the time and no serious issues of your own then I'd say you could give it a shot. However, if you are anything like me you should just focus on saving yourself first and foremost.

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