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I’m Contemptuous of My Emotionally Abusive Dad

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My dad is emotionally abusive to me and my mom, has been for years. I didn’t realize in till this year after a series of conversations I had with the school councilor. When the councilor asked if I had ever feared physical violence at home was kind of an AHA moment. She also pointed out behaviors I thought were normal as abusive. That combined with my own research on emotional manipulation led me to the conclusion that a lot of the behavior at home wasn’t ok. The problem is that before I realized that I was able to control my emotions. Im not really allowed to ever be upset at home. I’m required to be the adult in the household all the time and I have the lucky job of being marriage councilor and therapist to my dad. which means he gets to rant about his life to me, usually topics like our finances, my moms emotional stability, their sex life, his health and approaching death, etc. I’m expected to give advice about these things. I’m 17. It’s too much stress. I;m never allowed to talk about my difficulties without being yelled at but expected to help my dad figure out marital issues. This has led me to be incredibly depressed and anxious, along with suicidal thoughts and self harm. Im not allowed to go to therapy.

Anyway, my main problem is that during these “therapy sessions” with my dad I used to be able to give my responses neutrally or just kind of nod and agree in till he was done on the subject. But now sometimes I will respond to him and he will get explosively mad at me, usually over really trivial things. He says its because of how contemptuous I’m being. Like once he was talking and I said I couldn’t hear him and to please repeat himself. He screamed at me. We were in the middle of a restaurant too. It was awful. It first started happening when we were talking about his emotional state and now it happens all the time. I will respond to something, in what I thought was a normal tone and he will just start screaming at me. I think because the way I view him has changed to be more negative its appearing in my voice. How to I suppress the contempt I feel for him?

I’m Contemptuous of My Emotionally Abusive Dad

Answered by on -


As you are a freshman in college I would go to the counseling center at the university and explain your situation. They are professionals and can help you devise options for coping with your dad. This is important because you need support outside of your home. This is essential for you to make healthy decisions for your future.

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

I’m Contemptuous of My Emotionally Abusive Dad

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I’m Contemptuous of My Emotionally Abusive Dad. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 3 Jul 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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