My dad abuses me.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My dad has abused me emotionally physically and verbally since i was born and i am now 13 1/2. The physical abuse has stopped but the verbal and emotional abuse hasn’t and i am scared! I threatened my father that i would call CPS but I was too scared to. I am so scared he will start getting worse again! I have thought of suicide, but that scares me too much! I also have thought of asking a judge for less time with him, but i still love my dad because he is my dad and i know that that would really hurt him badly. What do I do (since i can’t leave the house because i am only a young teen)?

A: Very few people are all good or all bad. Even though your dad has abused you, he probably also has a kinder side that you really do love. That’s what makes situations like this so tough. If he were a totally awful person, you could just walk away. I do understand why you don’t want to hurt that nicer dad you sometimes see under all his anger and abuse. But here’s the thing: No kid should be scared in her own home. No matter what good father-daughter feelings are there, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he scares you to the point of wanting to hurt yourself. That’s just not okay.

You don’t mention your mom. If you have a good relationship with her, that’s the place to start. I’m guessing that your parents aren’t together and that they separated because he couldn’t be nice to her either. If that’s true, she’ll understand why you want a different arrangement for when you are with him. She could go back to court and make his visits with you be supervised until he can get his anger issues under control.

If your mother isn’t able or available to help, it’s time for you to get some support. A counselor can help you figure out the best thing to do in your particular situation. If you would like someone anonymous to talk to, you can call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-621-4000. (Don’t be put off by the name. I know you’re not a runaway. The counselors there talk to any young person with troubles.) If you ever feel suicidal again, please, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. They also have counselors who can help you figure out what to do.

If you are feeling ready to confide in someone who knows you, please consider talking to your school guidance counselor or your doctor as a place to start. They will know how to refer you to a counselor who specializes in family problems like this.

Please do talk to someone. This situation is unacceptable and it’s simply too hard for a kid to handle all on her own.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). My dad abuses me.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/15/my-dad-abuses-me/