establishing frontiers with a cruel father

Query Your Own Problem!

Writer’s Response

I’m not sure what to do with my uncle any longer. I was 15 when my parents split up, and I moved in with my father. He always treated me poorly, mistreated me in every way, coerced me into believing anyone, and yet turned me against my mother. During the marriage, all he told me was true, hardly what she was. I therefore believed him for six times before I got married and moved out at the age of 22. Everything he said turned out to be a rest. He has changed me so drastically that I can’t help but feel bad about whatever. I blame myself for all, I find it impossible to laugh at jokes, and I constantly put myself down and think I have to do everything in order to win my father’s approval. My marriage with my husband is currently being destroyed by it. Every day, I have to visit my father, see him once a year, and comply with all of his requests. I’ve made numerous attempts to put an end to it, but each time he fights back, I am unable to speak; instead, the man yells, argues, and even threatens to hit me. And each day I cry, I come back to him. I will lose my father, brother, and everything I own if I don’t act quickly. I don’t want to let go of my one and only source of joy. He has ruined me. I need assistance because I don’t understand what to do.

Response from a psychologist

It sounds like you’ve had a hard time with your father, but you have also been able to see things clearly and pay attention to the items you no longer want to put up with. It seems like leaving his home was the first step in comprehending both his strategies and your own reactions to them.

I get the impression from your outline that two points are taking place:

  1. Your papa is who he is, and it’s unlikely that much of that may alter.
  2. You might have more control over the marriage depending on how you choose to react to your parents.

People occasionally experience a sense of helplessness and immobility due to their behavior toward people, particularly their families. Consider how much emotional and physical distance you might be able to stand from your father in these situations. I saw many” have tos” in your description, but I’m not sure what will happen if you don’t agree. If someone is emotionally and physically aggressive, there isn’t a good way to stay in contact with them until the mistreatment stops. It sounds like there are risks of mistreatment when and if you engage with him.

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I’m curious as to what keeps you in touch with your dad— is it out of duty, the fictitious expectation of his approval, or something else? I’m wondering if there is a way to set stronger boundaries with him without” ending it”; the worry that you will cut him off may also be the driving force behind some of this behaviour. If he is willing to acknowledge and stop the abuse.

Anyone in this situation should sit down and create a plan that will allow them to communicate with their father in an effective and secure manner. This is the first thing I do advise doing. How frequently would you want to call him if it were up to you, putting aside his needs and needs? How frequently would you like to discover him? Given how he has treated you, would you want to communicate with him at most?

It might be beneficial for the two of you to sit down with a neutral third party( such as an authorized counselor or licensed psychiatrist) to find ways to communicate these limitations with him so that he can hear them once you have figured out what your requirements are in the marriage and have made up your mind whether you want to date him at all. Starting with” Dad, I love you and want you to be a part of our lives, but I sometimes have to set my own home first” can be helpful. May we arrange to meet somewhere in the center? Another strategy might be to start ignoring his calls and offers and responding to or accepting them only when you have the time( and energy ) to do so. You have every right to place restrictions on your own time and energy because they are yours. You have the right to quietly leave or hang up the phone if he yells and screams. It’s crucial for you to make a conscious effort to get in touch with him in this strategy, particularly when you’re both at peace and natural. When you’re enraged or frustrated, trying to make adjustments will only create the issues you already have worse.

It can be very difficult to set boundaries with parents, or with others in our lives who pull for us to pay attention to them. Your anger toward your father is valid; it’s finding a way to effectively communicate that anger and set your own boundaries that is difficult. Talking to a licensed mental health provider may be most helpful for you given the pain you’ve experienced. I would also suggest reading Harriet Lerner’s Dance of Anger as another resource in figuring out how to express your feelings clearly while navigating this difficult relationship.

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