Help please! I’m disabled and my parents hate me

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I am disabled and have to rely on my parents, especially my father for a lot of my basic needs. I can’t walk so my father ends up having to lift me in/out of my wheelchair, help take me to the bathroom, etc. My mom spends most of her time working so she doesn’t help me as much. The problem is that my dad ends up exploding at me whenever I forget to do something important, like my homework or if I’m not organized enough and can’t find an important paper. I can understand him being upset, but he always takes it too far. He ends updating stuff like I’m stupid, that I don’t deserve to go to college, that I’m evil and that I’ll end up dying because I’m so dumb. I know I’m far from perfect and that I can be really bad at organizing, but I’m an honors student and have taken all of these AP classes in high school. If I don’t go to college, I don’t know what I’ll do! What even worse, I’m scared that he’ll get so mad one day that he’ll end up making himself sick or accidentally hurt me. My Mom refuses to get involved and, anyways, I really love my dad and it hurts so much when he says stuff like that. I don’t know what to do. I can’t distance myself from him since I have to depend on him to help take care of me. I don’t like messing up, either, but I always end up making some sort of mistake or another. I wish that I didn’t upset him so much because I feel as if I shouldn’t even exist when he says that he hates me. I don’t know how to stop this vicious cycle from happening. Please help!!! I don’t think I can keep living this way…

“The only disability is a bad attitude.”
Scott Hamilton

Your parents seem to have a much greater disability than yours because of their attitude. That having been said, I would encourage you to be direct in confronting them about their treatment of you.

Use “I statements” to convey your feelings. Rather than blame your father, let him know that you have a feeling or a reaction when he calls you names or his behavior is offensive. “I don’t like it when you call me stupid” or “I was hurt by the way I was treated by you” can have a powerful impact.

You mother needs to be told as well and she gets the same “I statement” treatment. “I feel ignored by you when I ask you to help.” “I am upset when I ask for your help with a family problem and you don’t respond.” At the very least this will allow you to have a voice. This is not something likely to change without you changing.

Finally, I am concerned about the fear you have about your father’s potentially aggressive behavior. I would take a precautionary step. Each state has a Division of Family Services or Division of Social Services. These agencies have a helpline and often a hotline. I would make a call to them and explain your situation so they can tell you the services available to you. You can be anonymous or give your identity with these agencies. Don’t wait until there is a crisis to have the number or website available.

Being prepared is the first step toward being empowered.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Aug 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Help please! I’m disabled and my parents hate me. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/15/help-please-im-disabled-and-my-parents-hate-me/