My Dad has Abused me for 36 Years

Posted by

Emotional manipulation can be subtle, persistent, and cruel. It is only when a person who is being abusive is struck by remorse, or guilt, that finally the truth can come out and healing can take place.

Christmas Day 2018 may have marked an important turning point in my life and in the lives of my family members. It was significant because I felt I couldn’t cope any more with what has been a lifetime of my father aggressively manipulating me. On Christmas morning I had a choice – it could be one more day of pretending, or I could muster up every ounce of courage I had, and tell my father how I was feeling, and walk out.

I know Christmas is a difficult time for so many families, because it is a time when repressed tensions and emotions can surface, often in the form of superficial bickering that fails to reveal the underlying emotional pain and deeper issues of emotional hurt and disorder that family members may be experiencing.

This Christmas there were three of us; my dad’s partner, my dad, and myself. After a night of disturbing dreams on Christmas Eve, I woke early on Christmas morning with a dread about how the day would unfold. I knelt down and said a few prayers, asking God what I should do. Should I put on a brave face and try to stick it out? Or should I leave and head back to my flat in London?

God indicated that leaving would be the best thing to do. After a few minutes I packed up my things and gathered my courage. I could hear my dad walking about downstairs, and I resolved to explain to him in a calm way how I was feeling. It was a terrifying feeling, but not as terrifying as the prospect of sitting through the charade of present-giving and playing happy families for another year.

When speaking honestly with my dad, there is always a tremendous fear that he will react defensively and aggressively, as he has done throughout my life whenever I have found the courage to share my feelings. On this occasion I felt no different. But, thankfully, the years I spent attending psychotherapy have given me some courage, and the ability to express myself calmly even when under pressure.

I explained to my dad that I felt angry, stressed, and upset, and that I didn’t feel I would be able to cope with another distressing Christmas. I said I was going to head back to London. My dad responded with what I believe was probably mock surprise – perhaps an attempt to make me feel guilty – and then briefly tried to keep me under his control, but thankfully, I made it out of the door without any drama.

The extent to which I have suffered at the hands of my dad for my entire life cannot be condensed into a short, or even a fairly long blog post. In the coming months I will share with you how events unfold, but for the time being I will simply share a few thoughts concerning what my dad has done to our family.

My mother became ill with cancer and died following many years of my father angrily and aggressively abusing her. I believe she died as a result of this abuse and my dad’s unwillingness (or inability) to empathise with her.

I believe everything I’ve experienced in terms of mental health problems is attributable to my father. I have felt as though I’ve been trapped in a prison for my entire life, because of my dad’s own mental health problems, which he has never admitted to, and which I believe may constitute a personality disorder.

My father is completely in denial. He never talks about anything to do with my mother’s suffering or her death. I have been fortunate to have processed a lot of emotion surrounding my mother’s death in psychotherapy, but my dad has never opened up about what happened and I believe he suppresses the truth, perhaps due to feelings of guilt.

My dad seriously needs psychological therapy. His house is in a complete state and he has an entrenched fear of any kind of change and of talking about anything other than what is very superficial.

My dad needs to cry. He needs to open up and confront the past. It doesn’t have to be difficult. I’m not angry with him at all, but I can’t be happy unless he heals, because his unexpressed feelings impact me every day. He needs the help of a therapist with emotional expertise.

I have never been more optimistic that healing can take place in our family. As I expressed to my sister recently, I believe that everything that has been hidden in our family will come to light, and as long as my dad doesn’t remain in denial, everything will be okay.

I know I’m not perfect and that I’ve made some mistakes in my own life. When I have made a mistake, I have always apologised and tried to make things right. When my behaviour has been erratic, I hope those who know me will be able to understand that it’s due to not having had the love and support of a father that every boy needs. Perhaps my father never had that kind of support either, but he has never talked about it, so how would anyone know?

Thank you, blogging family, for your prayers, which I have no doubt God has heard. Your support is deeply appreciated and I hope to get back to writing about my big passions of philosophy and theology before too long.

Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed 2019!

Love from Steven x

60 comments

  1. You did a very brave thing. Sometimes the hardest thing is to do what’s good for you, making your dad understand how you feel could be the first step in changing your relationship. But even if it doesn’t then you now know you have the strength to walk away. Well done x

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Congratulations on creating a boundary and sticking to it! I hope your dad will have the opportunity to get the help he needs and maybe one day you can have a healing conversation with him. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said maybe he did not have the support of his father.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes you’re so right. I don’t wish anything other than happiness for my dad, and he may have had a very hard time growing up, but he has never talked about it. Hopefully we will have that healing conversation one day. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, Steven. It definitely gives us some direction in our prayers for you, and now for dad, as well. God’s richest grace upon you, and praying 2019 will be a breakthrough year for you and your family. God bless!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Steven,

    I’m sitting here trying very hard not to cry. Our stories are similar and I hate that for both our sakes. Nonetheless, I am so incredibly proud of you for being brave and sharing with us and for putting up boundaries, as someone said above. It is not an easy feat to do when living in environments like ours.

    I pray God begins to chip away at your father’s hard heart by any means necessary so that healing may take the place of denial. I also pray that you yourself are strengthened in your mind, spirit, and emotions.

    I know this was hard for you to write about, but I’m glad you did. You’ve given me courage to share my tale and be honest with myself.

    Side note: I know I don’t comment on every blog, but I read them all. Blessings to you, dear brother in Christ. Peace be with you.

    ~Lydia

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lydia, that means the world to me, it really does. Although I’m very sorry you have had to suffer, too. Thank you for your prayers, I know that God is listening. I will pray for you, too. Love and blessings, and thank you so much for reading my posts x

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It takes courage to stand up like you have. Not only a man who plays such a huge part in your life and who is partly responsible for who you grow into as an individual but also for your own health and happiness. My heart is full and encouraged by what you faced and how you are choosing to move forward. All my love to you and your healthier journey forward.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Faith. Sorry to hear about the mixed feelings, though I can understand, as there was a lot in the post, and I don’t know what you’ve been through, and how much you can relate. In any case, please pray for my dad too. Peace and blessings x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Recently, I met my blogging mentor. I shared with her what I went through in the hands of my dad before I hit the streets at 14 and have not returned home since then. She mentioned I share my personal stories on my blog but I haven’t found the courage to.

        Someday, I will. Until then, I trust God to work on my heart.

        God will fix our fathers.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles with your father, Steven. On the bright side, it seems like you are in a really good place mentally and spiritually, so while it may take more time, you might be the person most capable of leading him in the right direction. May you (and he) be filled with love and peace!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I can identify with your struggle in this. I made a similar decision over a decade ago, and though there is a place in my soul that aches for my father to be in the lives of my children and myself, I know there is a purpose for the separation. Forgiveness is hard, directed at both him and I. Sincerely wishing you peace and better days in the coming year.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, and I do understand. I can’t force my dad to change, but I can make the decision not to be in his life if he is unwilling to get the help he needs. God bless you and I pray things will work out between you and your dad, even if it takes a long time. People do change, you never know what might happen. Peace and blessings and warm wishes for 2019.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Steven,
    Wow. I have been so busy lately that I just was finally able to read your recent posts. You have been in my daily prayers, and I cry out to the Lord for you as my brother in Christ. I am so grateful for your openness. While I’ve not been abused, my parents and siblings and I have been shunned from grandparents’ and aunts and uncles’ homes because of our faith. As I pray for my own family’s redemption, I’ll also pray for your father’s. Blessings to you, brother, and may the Lord give you peace 😁.
    In His Joy,
    Emily

    Liked by 3 people

  9. So sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through, Steven. Sounds like your dad is in a lot of pain. I join you in your prayers for him to seek out help. But, as others have said, you sound like you’re in a good place. Blessings to you, bro. May you have a breakthrough 2019! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Sorry to hear this. I know the feeling coming from a severely dysfunctional family myself. This Christmas did not disappoint in disappointment. Only difference is having some family members seriously ill and one not with us. My narcissistic mom pulls the strings in our family. Christ cut my strings many years ago and she has never forgiven me for believing even though she went to a Christian church as a child. To be fair some of our relatives were Jewish. Not sure if that caused her to feel this way, but she thinks religion is for the birds. God bless & hope you have a great New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Steven … sometimes you just have to walk away for self-protection. You may not be able to help your dad much, except pray for him (parents are usually in denial and like to believe they have done their best), but what you can do is to concentrate on yourself and live the happiest life you are able to. I pray that God helps you to deal/cope with this situation.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This I can definitely relate to.. for me – no amount of psychotherapy helped though.. I had to work through this the tough way with God. I had to come to a place of forgiveness and forgiving everytime. I’ve had to speak up in the moment and rebuke words being spoken and express calmly how it’s not ok to say these things about me or speak to me in that tone anymore I will not tolerate it. I had to let go of past pain and let go in the moment. I had forgive the past and forgive in the moment. I must admit it’s still a matter of unpeeling the “onion” layers but I already have so much freedom. My dad also had a really tough childhood, kind of a nightmare of one. Instead of being upset by his shortfalls I’ve had to learn to be compassionate toward him for not being able to deal with this yet. Not an easy task but it takes realigning and understanding he too is a child of God.

    The easy way out is never the right way or God’s way. You did a very brave thing my friend and I’ll be praying for restoration for you and your family. God bless! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Diane,

      Many thanks for your supportive words, and for sharing a bit about your own troubles. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a tough time.

      I agree that sometimes honesty is difficult, but it’s always right. Things can get confusing which is why boundaries are so important when dealing with someone who has psychological difficulties. Sometimes you have to step away in order to be doing the most loving thing you can.

      God bless you and best wishes for 2019.

      Steven

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hope one day you’re able to have that discussion with your dad and that he’s able to be understanding. Also hope that one day he becomes a true born again believer because when we surrender to Christ many things we never knew about ourselves comes to the surface and we see the many different ways we’ve been so unlike Christ in our lives towards others. I know many go to therapy and perhaps it helps but true transformation only comes when a person comes in contact with Christ and becomes a new creation and all old things pass away and everything becomes new. Hopefully you and your dad are able to have a peaceful discussion. Pray God grants you the wisdom to know what to say (if to say anything at all) and genuine peace between you two. God bless you and may you have a wonderful new year. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I wish I had seen this post earlier! So much has happened in such a few short days, it seems.

    I commend you for establishing and maintaining wise boundaries with your father (another of your commenters made a similar comment, too). It is difficult – especially when we have to do with with family who perhaps believe that WE are the problem – but still, it must be done.

    I pray that the healing continues for you, Steven (for all of us who struggle with this issue, really), and that your 2019 is filled with continued optimism, as well as peace, joy, and hope. Take good care, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Daily. Thank you for your supportive comment and prayers. Yes, I’m pretty sure that my dad sees our relationship as some kind of battle, whereas all I want is for him to open up so he can heal. It’s so very sad. Wishing you a wonderful 2019 as well, dear one! God bless.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. We are all flawed. But, we can’t evolve if we’re surrounded by unhealthy people. Give yourself space. Let the universe do the work. It will preserve you and evolve you. It is it’s favorite thing to do – create, evolve, improve!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, KT. I felt I had no choice but to give myself space. I find it very sad, and it’s tough to walk away, but I judged it to be the best course of action for both my and my father. Peace and blessings, appreciate your kindness! 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s