My Abusive Boss Is My Dad

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boss is my dad and he is mentally killing me. In 2012, my son and i stopped talking, i fell in love for the 1st time and he left me, my house burnt to the ground…all in one yr. my dad is my boss, I’m a single mom of 2, he’s a multi millionaire and pays me enough to live pay check to pay check, (10.00 per hour) i went to him told him why i’m so sad, and all he got out of my words was that i was after his money..when all i wanted was security. he and i have never been close, i don’t have a family, other than my kids…he talks to me like i’m a dog, his girlfriend’s daughter, my age, has not had a job in 12 yr. My mom died when i was 13. He has been real nasty and so mean for the last 8 mo. I take so many drugs from dr to help me…..if i quit, then he will never speak to me….if i stay, i’m afraid i will lose my mind. he hurts me with screaming cuss words everyday and wants me to work 7 days a week and only get paid for 40.

A: I’m so, so sorry for all the terrible things that have happened in your life. Sadly, it’s not going to change until you make some changes. You are living in a constant toxic situation. Although your loyalty to your dad may be seen by some as admirable, it really is killing you. All the drugs in the world aren’t going to help if you use them to help you tolerate an intolerable situation. If you can’t stop letting his treatment bother you, then you need to get out. If you have the desire to leave but not the strength, please consider seeing a therapist to help you. If you can’t afford a therapist, locate the domestic violence program in your area. They can probably offer you some assistance.

It certainly isn’t worth $10 an hour to stay in your father’s employ, especially when it comes with cuss words and nastiness. I don’t see why the idea that he won’t speak to you if you go is a threat. It seems to me it would be a relief. You can make the same or better money (and without the verbal abuse) doing almost anything. Almost anything will have better hours.

I worry that your self-esteem has taken such a beating that you don’t think you can do anything else. You can. Remind yourself of the dreams you had as a young person. Start looking for other work — any other work — just to get free. Then look for classes to develop some new skills. Once you are on your feet, you can start looking for work that more closely matches your interests and talents.

At 40, you still have a long life ahead. It’s up to you to make the next half of your life different.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 May 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). My Abusive Boss Is My Dad. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/11/my-abusive-boss-is-my-dad/