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Dear Sugar Needs Your Help: How Do I Deal With an Abusive Father?

Dear Sugar and Mistreated Melinda need your help. How can she deal with her mentally abusive father?

Dear Sugar,

Since my father grew up physically abused, he feels that he has every right to treat me however he wants. He orders me to do chores but mutters about how I'm completely inept. I clean my room, mop, vacuum, and do dishes, yet it's still a pig-sty to him. He also makes fun of the fact that I'm overweight, and has even gone so far as to hide food from me.

He treats my mom and I like dirt, and he's constantly yelling. He leaves for work complaining about how worthless we are, and then expects a back rub from me when he gets home.

The job market is especially poor in the area where we live, and he feels like it's my fault that I don't have a job yet. I'm just an extra expense to him. I feel completely abandoned because both my older sisters left home at 17, and my mom wishes I would move out too because then there'd be less for him to yell about. Moving out is not an option, I don't have enough money and I don't have anyone I can move in with.

My only option then is to confront him about how hurtful he is. I've written letters that I've planned to leave out for him when I'm not at home, but I always lose my courage and end up ripping them up. What can I do? Has anyone ever been in a similar situation?

—Mistreated Melinda


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MiMi1979 MiMi1979 9 years
Oh, honey, I feel for you. I have 100% been in your situation. You're getting a lot of adivce and probably don't know which of it to take. For what it's worth, I think you should stick it out until you're 18 and finish high school. Do not provoke your father by sending him those letters. Continue to write them, but as therapy for you. When you're old enough (and, trust me, the time will come sooner than you think), you can do a number of things: 1) Ask one of your sisters if you can stay with her until you get on your feet (until you find a full-time job or two part-time jobs that will pay for rent and food); 2) Join the military (I would suggest the Air Force or Coast Guard since they have a reputation for treating women better than do the other branches); 3) Go to your local vocational school with the help of sudent loans (it sounds as though you're not thinking of going to college). Unfortunately, you're going to have to come to terms with the fact that your father is never going to change. You probably don't want to cut him out of your life completely (although, if you did, no one would blame you). You need to tke control now and get away from the situation you're in. If you call or visit and he acts abusive--hang up or leave. You do not have to be accepting of his behavior, but forget about trying to change it. Most importantly, take care of yourself. Many women who grew up in abusive households (myself included) struggle with adult relationships, addiction, and other problems. But, you know what? So do women who grew up in happy homes. You have to make the best of what you've got. This doesn't define you--his behavior doesn't define you. You sound like a sensitive, loving young woman. You'll do fine as long as you maintain a sense of integrity. I wish you the best, love!
barjar1122 barjar1122 9 years
Join the military is a great idea. People just think of the war and not the opportunities it creates for your future. Otherwise, if there are no jobs available, start your own business!!! Babysit, cut lawns, run errands, clean houses, use your imagination. You have a future no matter what the a-hole says about you.
Marci Marci 9 years
You don't mention your age, but if you're 18+ - GO! GET OUT! I'm sure your sister would let you stay with her until you get on your feet. My girlfriend had a father who was verbally abusive always and occasionally physically abusive. She had everything packed the night before her 18th birthday and left the instant she was legal. She had no job and no money, but a friend took her in and it saved her life. She was determined to make it work and took any kind of job she could - anything to not have to go back there. Forget the guilt of leaving. Just go. If your mother chooses to stay with him, there's not much you can do about that. And I agree with the suggestion to keep contact with your parents to a bare minumum until you're solid and secure in your new life. Best of Luck!
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
Have to agree with the Military, as you will be educated in some vocation for free and receive a g.i bill, which means you will not have the hassle of repaying school loans when just barely getting your life together. The Air Force is a good branch, as a lot of the training is computer related and often they offer early discharge. You may have to get in better physical condition to be eligible, but keep in mind, the stronger you make your body, the stronger your mind and emotions will become as well. Go into your local recruiter, and they'll let you know if there's anything keeping you from being eligible. If nothing is hindering you, leave now. I wish you luck, please make sure that you get plenty of personal and group counseling. Also, you may want to limit contact with the rents until you're happily independent and strong enough to hold your own.
DaddysDarlin DaddysDarlin 9 years
Dear Melinda, I will remember you in my prayers. I do believe it is your mothers responsibility to take care of you, to protect you. Since she doesn't seem to be strong enough, as you mentioned your sisters moved out at 17, you must take control. Tell your mother that she needs to step up, you certainly should not be expected to give this abusive man a back-rub at the end of his day!!! You are much too old to be doing that. Your mother seems like she cant handle the living situation anymore than you can, you do have the option of reporting him, perhaps some court ordered therapy would do him good. May I also suggest that you get into some-kind of group therapy for teens. It would do your heart good to know that you are not alone, even if it is one on the Internet, you could do with some human kindness. Your father is a pig, your mother no better for not being there for you and the other children. What hope is there for you? There is hope my dear, you are not alone, never alone, don't let your self esteem ride on the shoulders of the one who continues to put you down. Self esteem comes from within, and I know that you have a strong sense of self because you wrote in for help. You are a beautiful child of God, no matter what you weigh, you are now and always will be beautiful. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. You can become a strong person because of the adversity in your life, and you are, there are millions of children out here just like you, with parents that don't seem to give a damn about how their own children are treated. Please get help, talk to a trusted adult, you will be surprised at the help that is out there. People cant help you if they don't know what is going on, so please tell someone, at least talking about it will make you feel better inside. A trusted adult perhaps has more information about where and how to get help. A trusted adult can be a mentor to you, get you out of the house once in a while. And above all a trusted adult may be able to get you out of a place I don't think you want to be in. I know you love your parents despite their faults, that isn't the problem, the problem is your parents lack the skills it takes to be a loving and nurturing parent. I am a firm believer that we all have the power to change our behavior, you should leave your father a letter, he needs to see these things in black and white, he needs to know exactly how much he has hurt you, and a letter is just fine, if you don't want your feelings to turn into some kind of argument, by all means write him a letter. I might also ask that you write your mother one too, she doesn't seem to know how her lack of caring has hurt you, to want you to move out so your father wont yell as much is pathetic and weak, her first priority should be her children, not a yelling screaming husband. Write your letters dear girl, I will remember you in my prayers, you are a beautiful child of God, never forget that, you are loved, by me and all of us out here who are hoping nothing but the best for you. Please write back and let us know how you are doing. God Bless You, Peace and Love
girliegurl65 girliegurl65 9 years
I grew up with an abusive father-trust me i know how it feels. My best advice to you is to tell someone, maybe a close friend. I stayed with my bestfriend for 3 years until i got on my feet. I am going to university now and yes student loans help pay for housing. Its sad that your mother wants you to move out too because she feels your a burden. You must feel so angry and upset. You need to act now. Can you live with your sisters?friends? close confidantes until you get on your feet? Is there a local social services office you can visit for financial assistance? Don't go to Children or Family services, i try to, and they ended up leaving me in the household because there were no physical abrasions on me. Apparently emotional abuse is hard to prove. Anyways if you need someone to talk to about this, please feel free to contact me.
controlledspin controlledspin 9 years
Don't give him any letters. In a normal environment, expressing yourself would be the correct thing, so you are thinking the right way, but since your environment is so abusive, I would not give him any more fuel - until you can get out. Once you don't have to rely on him anymore to live, then that choice is yours. I would talk to your sisters. Obviously, they didn't like their situation either. Hopefully, they will be able to together help you out. Even if they could get you a job? Let you live with them briefly until you can get on your feet? Your Mom telling you that she wishes that you would leave because it will give him less to yell about is WRONG. She is trying to convince herself that he is not the problem, and once it's only him and her, that things will be peachy. They won't. She will probably have a very rude awakening once all her children have moved out, and the abuse continues. Once you are established and on your own two feet, then you can attempt to get her out too, but as heartless as it sounds, you just need to worry about yourself first and foremost right now. She made her own choices with your father - you didn't have a choice but to live with him, but you do now. I agreed with a previous poster who said about babysitting - just be sure that you do it from the child's home and not your own. That will only compound the situation with the "mess" that you supposedly make, and another family's child should not be subjected to this treatment, either. I would try and stick to your own neighborhood so you can walk, and your father won't use driving you there (if you don't have your own car, of course) as an excuse to take part of your earnings. I also really agreed with the suggestion of a battered women's group (Women in Transition, etc). They may be able to help you with an apartment (granted if you are old enough). Good luck. You CAN do it. No one deserves to be used and abused.
remedios remedios 9 years
I suggest college over the military. You can get student loans. Or maybe Americorps. That way you can do something good and not worry about dying for it, and do something that helps the US directly. Whatever it is, you can move out. You may think it will be difficult - and it probably will be. But don't let that be an obstacle/excuse to not leaving. And I agree with whoever said - don't give him a letter. It won't serve anything good. Just move on with your life and don't be a victim.
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
I didnt even think about that. JOIN THE MILITARY. Almost everyone in says it is the best choice they ever made, it opens SO many doors, and you will never have to be around that horrible man again.
sugarthugs sugarthugs 9 years
Yeah i agree. Move out with your older sisters. NEVER try to take revenge, he will get his own retribution. By then, he would have seen how much you have done for him. Good Luck :)
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
Go to your older sisters. If they can do it, so can you... and they can help you.
jojoandshi jojoandshi 9 years
my family had kind of father-abusiveness thing too. and you know what? just a few months ago, i persuaded my mom into divorce! after that, we moved out, buying an old appartment with the compensation money. and now, mom and i totally start over with our very own lives.
Static-Chemisty Static-Chemisty 9 years
I wouldn't give him the letters. Unless you were planning on getting away. Even if you do I wouldn't. If he abuses you mentally don't give him any reason to abuse you or your mother physically. Keep looking for a job. Any even if it's a shitty job it is something. Find something to do that gets you out of the house. Even volenter work. Talk to your sisters. If anyone understand they will. They are family and they shouldn't denie you. Ask to stay with at a friend's if you have someone like that who you think you can trust. Tell them your sistuation and even if they let you stay for a few nights it's something. Most parents won't like the idea of school night sleep overs but if you tell them why they might understand. Try your best not to let him get to you. That is one of the most imporant things you can do. I know it's hard trust me. My grandfather puts me down the best he can. He calls my a lazy mother fucker because I had to quit school and can't get a job. He tells me I'm fat when he is atleast a good 200lb larger then me. He does and says alot of stuff that makes me want to strangle him. By I try not to let him get the best of me. They do it to make themselves feel better. That's all I have..hope it helps.
angelbaby2 angelbaby2 9 years
you don't say how old you are-but if you can't afford the college thing-how about the service? It would give you a chance to see the world and to get some skills for a job and be able to attend college. Also, it would get you out of the house with a paycheck. Now, I know that a lot of people will disagree with me-but it is always another option. Lots of good advice on here-let us know
davisdavis davisdavis 9 years
Get out, get out, get out. Contact battered women's shelters in your area for advice about how to talk to your mother. Get a job, no matter how lame it is. Clean yourself up (you don't have to look stylish, just neat and clean), find a couple of people willing to be your references, and go to local businesses and explain that you are looking for your first job. Or post notices on community cork boards about being available to babysit. There are free "Safe Sitter" classes available at many hospitals and community centers. That certification is a great way to sell yourself as a capable sitter. Talk to a pastor, priest or rabbi. Tell them about the situation and that you want to find a job so that you can leave. They will help you find a job, they have tons of contacts. They're not going to care whether you share their faith, they'll just see a kid trying to help herself. When you do get a job, open a bank account ASAP. Do not keep money in that house. Don't buy clothes or anything that isn't absolutely necessary to survival. SAVE. As a minor, you won't be able to rent an apartment, so you have some time to save. I agree that you should talk to your sisters, ask if you could stay with one of them for a bit, as a contributing member of the household (of course). Get out, get out, get out. And in a few years, when you're standing on your own two feet (and have started counseling- you really don't want to perpetuate this cycle, right?), make it your goal to be available to help your mom, should she ever be ready to get out. You can only save yourself here. You can't change your dad, you can't change your mom. But you can change what you allow to happen to you. And you can create a healthy, happy family for your kids, someday. This can stop with you.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
I grew up emotionally and physically abused and just longed for the day I could move out. Lucky for me I was able to move out at 16 with a friend. What about you living in a shared house with friends? Rent and bills would be cheap. Or with a relative? Or even getting a job and going it alone? You and your mother need to leave. I know why she's still there (co-dependency, read about it) but at the same time I do not see why she needs to be. I cannot imagine this man has loved his wife for many years.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
You mentioned your sister is out of the house, are they in stable homes of their own? Can't you at least attempt to ask your sisters to move in with either one of them first? Do you have grandparents who can let you move in? Or in fact aunt/uncle? Try getting a part time job after school as well in the meantime so that you can save up some money. Start talking to your school counselor to inquire about temporary/permanent housing you can move into. If you belong to a church, ask them if it's possible for someone to provide a temporary housing so that you can escape the situation. I agree that both of you and your mom probably need counseling to deal with this circle of abuse. And ask her to if she could move out with you, but it's really up to her too since she's the grown up and has chosen to stay in the abusive situation, so it's probably going to be difficult to convince her to leave with you. Be patient, remember that you're strong and you can make it.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 9 years
Your mom and you need help ASAP. Does he ever hit you or is he just verbally abusive? Verbally abusive is even worse....YOur mom and you need to seek counseling and eventually both get the courage to leave or confront him and let him know that he is doing to you what was done to him and am sure he cannot be saying I got abused so I am going to abuse... well, at least I hope not. Good luck.
NdHebert NdHebert 9 years
I would get out ASAP and also understand NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU. You are much stronger than half the women reading this board. If you are almost 18 you can apply for college and get college loans. Loans will pay for student housing and by the time you are done with college you will probably have a job that will support you living on your own. Just get out! Can you go live with your siblings for the time being? I'm so sorry!
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