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I Hate My Step Father and My Real Dad

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My mum and dad divorced when I was around 9, and for years he took it all out on me and did things like starve me, hold me to the ground and lock me in my room for days. I don’t see him anymore, and I still feel guilty. I feel as though I could have stayed there longer, could have been less prideful and tried harder.

My mother ended up remarrying another man, who I despise. He stands for everything I hate, including being homophobic, bigoted and thinking that his opinion in the only the only opinion. I hate coming home to him because, after what I went through with my dad, I’m really nervous around men, and my step dad’s a massive jerk to me.

I’m just lost between feeling the issues between my relationship with my father is causing the bad relationship with my step dad (my fault) or just that they’re both jerks (not my fault). I’m also growing to resent my mother for marrying him and not standing up for me. She didn’t believe me / help as soon as she should have when I was 13-ish and dealing with the worst of my troubles. I think my step dad I disagree on many things, regardless of him supposedly being a father figure. He thinks gay people shouldn’t have the right to be married, transgenders don’t exist and loads of conservative catholic stuff that I think is wrong. I think everybody should be equal, and this has led to many heated arguments. Of course, being the adult, he always “wins.”

After years of being emotionally bullied by my father, my anxiety around my step father, and men in general, is growing and I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t talk to my mum, I’m too scared to talk to my teachers and I just feel like I can’t tell anybody… Please help! (From Australia.)

I Hate My Step Father and My Real Dad

Answered by on -



A:  I deeply admire the courage it takes to ask for help. I’m sorry you were treated so poorly by the people in your life who were supposed to take care of you. You didn’t cause any of these things to happen — and it sounds as if you are not likely to cause them to change.

Instead, I am going to recommend you make a profound investment in yourself. You are at the beginning of your high school career and I would put your effort into finding support and challenges for yourself outside of your family. I’d begin talking to teacher and counselors about your interests and join clubs and organizations within and outside the school setting that will broaden the network of people with like-minded interests. This can become your vehicle for support.

I’d also begin formulating a plan to be independent and away from your family by the time you are 18. Invest in your education and training. If you inclined toward college, I would work toward that goal. Every moment you can invest in your future should be helpful.

While your mother and father and stepfather have not been there for you, it doesn’t mean that others can’t be. Find the people who support and believe in you and let them become your family of choice.

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

I Hate My Step Father and My Real 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 Hate My Step Father and My Real Dad. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.