I can’t get over my dad abusing me

dear heather,

My dad was abusive towards me for years. I moved out at the age of 14 and moved back in at 16 because he got “help.” He’s such a great guy, and now at the age of 18 I feel as though I have missed out on a great father my whole life. As if he has cheated me. Now that he’s here and great, I don’t even acknowledge him. I know you shouldn’t live in the past, but it’s psychological and I can’t get over it! What could help the “change” process?

It sounds as though your father received counseling to stop his abusive behavior, but you never got help to heal from the abuse.The affects of abuse lingers in a multitude of ways and may affect each member of the family differently. For that reason, many psychologists recommend not only that the person who has been abused go through counseling, but also that the surrounding family undergoes counseling, as well.

The abused often suffer from a variety of “fallout,” including low-self esteem, shame, self-sabotage, nightmares or the feeling of being “unsafe,” physical ailments, problems in social situations. The abuser, in affect, leaves them with a “bag of goods.”

In your case, you may want to “move on,” but you will probably need some help in dealing with your built-up resentment. Could you speak to another family member about helping you to get counseling? Let them know how difficult it has been to adjust to the situation. If you would like to talk to someone outside the family, start with your school counselor who can put you in touch with local support groups made up of others who are dealing with similar emotions. You can also check out gURL’s family resources for organizations that can help.

take care,
heather


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