Dad Issues Affecting Relationships?

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

My family issues started when I was 9 years old. I was in the McDonald’s drive through with my father when he told me, “Your mother is cheating on me.” Being 9 years old, I did’t know how to react to that situation and I just now realize you shouldn’t be telling your 9 year old daughter that. Time went on and my dad became an alcoholic. My parents kept on having issues that my mom and dad would tell me about. Mostly my dad because he never had any friends. Well over the next 5 years they split up 3 times and finally last year in August they made it official. I was so happy. I was the only one besides my mom who didn’t cry. ( I have 2 sisters). Later on my dad would proceed to tell me that It was my fault that my parents split up. I was the one that made my mom make the decision to leave. When I told my mom she told me that the reason she left was because he was seeing some other girl named, Amy. My dad and Amy were having an affair for a couple of months. Amy is also married and has 2 kids. My mother then told me that my dad was planning on leaving us for Amy and move to Florida to take care of her and her 2 kids. When I asked my dad he told me that, “We could have skyped.” I never really liked my dad all my life, he has always been so emotionally abusive towards me and my mom. He would always put me down and make me feel like I wasn’t good enough or that I was stupid. So when I heard about my dads affair, I was done with him entirely. Do you think that I have a good reason for not wanting a relationship with my father? Out of all of this, I have came out as a very independence and strong person. Seeing my parents relationship and how bad my dad treated my mom, I believe it has effected my outlook on relationships with boys. I believe/want to be a teenager that, “falls in love” or goes on dates, but I can never gain feelings for anyone. & when I do, they don’t last very long. It scares me that I won’t be able to have a family or have a healthy relationship. I’m scared that I will feel so empty and alone like this forever.

A: Your letter is so clear and the clarity makes it painful to read. Sadly, everything you have said in the letter makes so much sense with regard to your concern about future relationships. But the good news is there are many teenagers who have witnessed something like this.

You might want to check out Alateen. This organization is free and operates groups that are likely to be near you. It would be important for you to go and hear from others about what it is like to grow up in an alcoholic home.

I think it would also be good for you to get counseling but you may want to ask the guidance counselor at school rather than your parents for help in this matter. Alateen is your best bet for now.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Dad Issues Affecting Relationships?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/02/dad-issues-affecting-relationships/