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Mother Abusing Father as a Child

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I just had a very vivid dream about my mother abusing my father who passed away in 1989. I was ten when he passed but from what I can remember, he was very loved by everyone and a very gentle soul. He used to drink a lot which embarrassed my mom at the time and often resulted with her physically abusing him. The dream I had was about my mother repeatedly punching my dad with anything she could find in our bedroom as I tried to hide it from our arriving guests. It reminded me of one particular instance that the bedroom door was locked and I could hear my mother hailing abuse at my dad while hitting him. He just kept pleading for to calm down and relax. After the door opened, my dad was laying down on the bed naked with some blood on his lips and torso. I remember being very angry at him and immediately taking my mothers side without saying a word. I am still not quite sure of my dad’s cause of death but the story is, he took a bad fall on a ship he worked on as an engineer and refused medical attention. A few days after he got home, he took another fall while taking a shower and was rushed to the hospital. He seemed to be recovering well but died a few days later from an internal bleeding in his head which was missed by the doctors. At the time, we lived in Africa and the hospitals were pretty bad so it was common for the doctors to be negligent without any consequences.

After my dad’s death, my mother went above and beyond to provide for me, my cousin who lived with us and my half brother. She migrated to the U.S, struggled hard and brought myself and my brother to join her. Fast forward, my mom is very known in the community for being super generous to the point where she will literally give you the clothes off her back. Equally, she is known for her wrath which has pretty much pushed most of our family, friends and some people she helped away. I love my mother and we talk almost everyday, however our conversations are never deep. We argue a lot because I am quick to be on the defensive about pretty much all of her suggestions. I have also confronted her numerous times about the horrible way she spoke to some of the people whom we are not as close with anymore. On my part, I am more embarrassed to reach out to them because of the way they were treated.

Again, I love my mom and will be completely devastated if anything ever happens to her. But, how do I begin a new, deeper, transparent and loving relationship with her? I am afraid she will end up alone with no real friends which she seems to have settled on due to her actions and some comments she makes. My dream also brought up a lot of emotions which is making me wonder if my dad was accidentally killed due to my mothers physical abuse of him. Honestly, I rather not know if that was the case, but could it be part of my mother anger issues?

Mother Abusing Father as a Child

Answered by on -


Your dream may signify that you are ready and open to hear the truth about your parents. Alternatively, it may have been a safe way for you to express your feelings regarding your mother and father and their relationship.

One interesting element of the dream is how you were attempting to hide your mother’s abuse of your father from guests. It would be interesting to know if this is analogous to how you had behaved previously with your mother or how you presently behave with your mother. Was it your nature to hide her behavior from others and or apologize for her? I suspect that is a possibility especially given the fact that you took her side during the instance in which you learned that she had been abusing him. Perhaps your perspective, at the time, was that you are angry at your father for his drinking. Of course, that is a guess because I don’t know the nature of the relationship between your parents and why she ultimately ended up abusing him. Perhaps he drank because he couldn’t deal with her treatment. Again, that is pure speculation because I virtually have no information regarding the type of relationship they had and why it ended up the way it did.

Currently, you’re very worried about her ending up alone. You want to avoid that outcome by attempting to have a deeper and more transparent relationship with her. You’re attempting to fix the problems that she has caused for herself.

You mentioned that you would not want to know if she were guilty of causing his death. You should want to know. You should want to know the truth no matter what it is. Not knowing the truth further complicates this already complicated family dynamic.

You can try to have a new and different relationship with your mother but she would have to be open to it. If she’s not receptive, then you may not have a choice in what type of relationship you have with her. Relationships are not one-sided affairs. She would have to want to have a deeper, more transparent and loving relationship with you. She may not want to have that type of relationship and or she may not capable of it. That’s yet to be determined.

I would recommend consulting a therapist. The therapist might have ideas about how to differently interact with your mother, how to approach her, and so forth. You mentioned that you argue with her due to your defensiveness. Therapy might help you become less defensive with her which might then make her receptive to a more meaningful relationship with you.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you may not be able to have the type of relationship you want with her. You mentioned that she has driven away most family and friends. It’s possible that she may have anger problems or other personality problems that make it difficult for her to have intimate and close relationships, even with her son.

You might suggest counseling to her. She does seem to have aggression issues which are amenable to counseling for those willing to try. If she’s not willing to try counseling or making any changes to her behavior, then there is no hope. The type of relationship you have with her right now might be all that is possible.

Try counseling and ask her to try it with you. Start from there and see what develops. Hopefully, she’ll be open to it and you can have the type of relationship you desire. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Mother Abusing Father as a Child

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Mother Abusing Father as a Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 16 Apr 2020 (Originally: 17 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 16 Apr 2020
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