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Dysfunctional Family and a Bad/Drunkard/Abusive Stepfather

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I was 4 when my father died and about five years later my mother married my father’s close friend. I was extremely attached to my mother after my father’s death and she also showed all of her love and protection. After she remarried, there had always been problems in our home something that i never imagined. Initially that guy was nice to us, and we also kind of accepted him as our father. Soon enough he started showing his real face of a drunkard and abusive man. Our home was like a pond of abuse, quarrels, fights, that would go on days and nights. Even at school, playground, or any other place i was always worried about my mom being alone with him and feared that he might do something to her. I always used to pray and pray and pray. He used to scare us with life threats and we ran for our lives on several occasions.
Now, he no longer lives with us as my mother divorced him about two year ago. This was the biggest happiness that was hard earned because my mother never wanted to leave him. I always wanted that and demanded every day for 12 years to leave him but she always gave us a false hope and never did it. Because that guy was nice and bad off and on. The problem is that i do not feel attached to anyone, like deeply falling in love or feeling the emotions. My emotions are kind of dead in me, If someone even says that they like me or love me i just don’t feel it. I feel like they are just saying it and do not mean it. I cannot express my feelings to anyone. Most of the time i hide them in me.  I always have a regret in me that my mom should have left him and we would have been in a good home. Always cried alone and never talked to anyone about it. Now i feel like everything in life is fake and relationships, marriage, friendship they are all fake. I love to travel and it is like my pass
ion but people think that i am lost that i want to travel to places. Deep inside i want someone close to me but then it irritates me and lack of trust and interest comes in.

Dysfunctional Family and a Bad/Drunkard/Abusive Stepfather

Answered by on -


Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry you had to experience so much pain and loss. First your father, then the abuse of your mother’s husband, and then your mother’s connection to you as well by her not making a better choice sooner. These are difficult experiences and the fact that your emotions are as you’ve explained makes perfect sense.

What you are feeling came as a result of your circumstances. The real you is underneath all of that protection. As you list yourself as a junior in a university I would explore their counseling services. They will have low or no cost services available to students and you can begin the healing process by talking to a therapist about what has happened and your emotional reaction. They can help you find ways to make the changes you are looking for.

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

Dysfunctional Family and a Bad/Drunkard/Abusive Stepfather

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). Dysfunctional Family and a Bad/Drunkard/Abusive Stepfather. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.