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I’m Scared My Father Will Hurt Me

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As a kid, my parents would physically punish me for doing bad behavior. They stopped about eight years ago, but I always have a lingering fear that my father will hit me when he’s mad. Somedays he’ll come home and start screaming and get in my face. It’ll be something over chores, maybe someone forgot to put away a shirt or toy. Just recently he came home screaming and threw a step ladder to the floor. It looked like he wanted to throw it at me. Some things he would say are “I work, and I come home and nobody does shit for this house or for me.”; “You guys don’t deserve anything.”; “ pay for everything and this is what I get.”; In general, he tries to make my siblings and me feel bad for existing, like our lives are a chore that he has to deal with and that we owe him. He got into my face and picked up the stepladder and said that as the oldest, I should know better. I’m physically disabled and can’t walk so I told him that I do as much as I can but he only repeated that as the oldest, I should know better. On many occasions, I’ve been compelled to call CPS because I genuinely don’t feel safe with him, nor my mother. The only thing that would stop me is my younger siblings and pets because I don’t know how we’d take care of ourselves on our own. (From the USA)

I’m Scared My Father Will Hurt Me

Answered by on -


Living in fear that your father will hurt you because he has in the past isn’t healthy. You list your age as 17, which means you may be close to leaving your home. I would highly recommend you contacting Child Protective Services (CPS) not to repost all of this, but to ask about your options. Here is where you can get this information, and here is the information about each district within your state so you can talk to someone close by.

The important thing is that you have someone to talk to and help if need be. The fact that you have a physical disability, which may limit you protecting yourself, is an important factor. In addition, it doesn’t sound like your mother is much of a protector, and that she may be someone to fear as well.

Talk to the people who can most help you and your siblings. You’ve done well reaching out here — now it is time to continue by reaching out to the CPS.

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

I’m Scared My Father Will Hurt Me

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. (2020). I’m Scared My Father Will Hurt Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Apr 2020 (Originally: 25 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Apr 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.