My dad used to yell, insult, and berate my mom, two siblings, and me, for hours.
I’m now 15. He doesn’t want anything to do with us, nor us with him.
After work, he lives in his bedroom where there’s a fridge and a TV. He doesn’t speak to any of us.
My mom cannot afford to live in the house without him.
I cannot escape because I’m too young. We have no other family in this country.
I have no access to a therapist, none of my friends know about this (I’m too embarrassed).
I confronted him once but he doesn’t listen to us, shifts blame, etc.
The fact that you’ve endured this situation for so long is testimony to your inner strength.
Your family has been, and is still, suffering from your father’s emotional abuse, hostility, and isolation.
I urge you to seek community/school supports wherever possible.
IF there’s any move towards his being physically abusive, you must report him to police, for the sake of everyone in the house.
Emotional abuse is also wrong and harmful.
Call KidsHelp Phone in Canada (1-800-668-6868) and National Youth Advocacy Hotline 800-USA-KIDS (1-800-872-5437), both of which are confidential and anonymous with experienced staff (and websites).
Tell your story and ask for any resources that can make home life easier for you and your siblings.
Also, talk to a trusted teacher, ask for confidentiality, and whether there’s a social worker or other counsellors in your school system.
If you have access to a family doctor, that may be another way to get referral to a therapist.
Meanwhile, focus on school and any special interests – science, art, music, advanced studies, etc. Putting energy there will be your passport to a better life when you’re able to be on your own.
I’m expecting that readers will also weigh in with suggestions.
My mother’s a fit, fashionable, smart, active senior. But she’s critical, negative, and complaining.
She’s arrogant, racist, and mostly concerned about her hair/appearance.
When I separated from my husband with a young child she said, "Don't expect me to babysit.”
She insults me about my appearance. I’ve told her how her unkind words make me feel, but she doesn’t stop.
She’d goad me as a child till I got upset, and then mock me for not being able to take it.
Fortunately, I’ve since raised a successful son, have a happy home life, wonderful friends, and a calling that keeps me challenged and financially healthy.
I’ll be her primary caregiver as she fails and have tried to attend to her needs.
But I can't take my mother anymore!
What Do I Do?
Successful and strong, you have choices, now.
You can pay for caregivers for your mother when needed, oversee her care, visit only at will.
She’ll try to make you feel guilty and badmouth you to others, but you’ve made a strong case here for this distanced but still responsible choice.
However, it’s not in your nature or you wouldn’t still be agonizing over her bad behaviour.
So, if you do take on some of her care, banish the guilt she instilled in you since childhood.
Do whatever you can for her, when you can. Assure that she’s safe. Hire responsible helpers for backup care.
Don’t expect her to change or thank you.
Whatever you decide should be based on how you see yourself, not on how she sees you.
Our daughter’s 19-months-old. We’d agreed to have only one child, for flexibility, balance, and time for our own hobbies and interests.
After the difficult infancy stage, she's so much fun now!
Family and friends are pressuring us to have another baby. I’m unsure that we could handle the stress.
Are we selfish for denying our daughter a sibling?
The “pros and cons” of raising an “only child” are easily researched online.
But I believe much depends on the skills and approaches of the parents.
The decision rests with you two alone.
Know yourselves and your needs, your levels of patience, your financial situation, and your goals as a couple and as parents for the next 20 years.
For a child, siblings can bring companionship plus lessons in sharing and adjusting to others. They can also bring competition and family stress.
How those factors play out are still affected greatly by how parents handle them.
Tip of the day:
Counter an emotionally abusive environment with community supports, inner strength, and personal goals.