When he drinks, she’s the target

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q from American teen: i’m 15 ad live with my father who drinks and every time he gets drunk i am always the target of his anger i was wondering can you tell me a way to get out of being his target ?

A: This is such a hard situation. You are too young to live on your own. You can’t make your father quit drinking. And he’s hurting you, if not physically, certainly emotionally. You aren’t totally helpless, though. If we were talking in person, the first thing we would do is figure out if there is any adult in your life who can speak to your dad about how he is treating you. Then I would try to connect you with a local chapter of Alateen. Alateen is an organization for children of alcoholics. They can offer you support and some practical help about how to stay out of your dad’s way. If there is no meeting locally, you can find them on the web. Go to www.al-anon.alateen.org for more information.

If your dad loses control to the point where he hurts you, you absolutely should tell someone so that both of you can get the help and support your need. Your doctor or a school guidance counselor or a teacher can help you. You could also call the hotline at 800-621-4000 for advice.

No kid should live in fear of her own dad. I hope you are able to find some support.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jul 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). When he drinks, she’s the target. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/06/when-he-drinks-shes-the-target/