Physically abusive father

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Okay before I start I’m 20yrs old, living with my mother and father and 4 other siblings. As far back as I can remember, he constantly abused me mentally and physically to the point I’m traumatized and scared all over my body espically my face. I don’t want to turn to the police because he is only like that with me alone. he is a great father to my siblings. However when it comes to me, he hates me. He said I was a curse brought upon him by god and one day he will kill me and get rid of it. and indeed he abused me to the point I blanked out and passed out, and became crippled for a while. I would move out, but I don’t have the money for that nor do I have the job. Whenever I get I job, I take too many “sick days” out because of the bruises and scarring on my face are hard to hide. also because of the same reason I’m failing college. I don’t do anything to aggravate him, in fact I try to avoid him seeing me (since just seeing me aggravates him) but he would find me and abuse me for any or no reason at all. I started cutting my wrists in order to numb the pain in the rest of my body. and I don’t know what to do. Please give me advice, please!

A: What you are describing is domestic violence. You are being victimized by one of the very people who is supposed to love and protect you. Instead, you are being hurt. No child should feel this unsafe in her home. No child deserves what is happening to you. Apparently, your mother is also a victim or potential victim so she hasn’t been able to intervene. You need to go outside the family to find a place to stay and to recover from the emotional and psychological consequences of physical assault.

You are fortunate to live in the New York City area. Please contact the counselors at Safe Horizon. They are set up to help women like you. Here’s what their website says about what they offer: “Safe Horizon operates both emergency shelters for crisis situations and transitional housing where women move after several months to plan for a future free from violence. The shelters offer comprehensive services including counseling, housing assistance, life skills and parenting courses, childcare, and medical aid.” That sounds like what you need right now.

Please make the phone call. You’ve suffered much too long. At 20, you can leave the abuse behind and take steps to create a healthy future for yourself.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Physically abusive father. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/02/26/physically-abusive-father/