my father’s a bully

dear heather,

My family needs help, it’s falling apart. I sometimes feel like I hate my dad because he acts like because he’s the one who makes the money he can boss my brothers, my mom and I around. He thinks he deserves all our respect and gratitude and that without him we would be nowhere. He constantly yells at us and tells us what to do. People look at us and think we’re the perfect family, but behind closed doors the only thing that goes on is yelling. I’ve tried telling my dad this many times and he apologizes but then it goes right back to normal and we have the same fight again.

It may be more common than you think for people to feel that family members are one way behind closed doors, but present a different face to the public. Dr. Sharon Budd, who specializes in child and adolescent psychology, says this perception is quite keen among adolescents, who begin to scrutinize their parents’ behavior more closely. Question is: what to do about your dad?

Dr. Budd believes that family therapy might be helpful in this case, but your father may be quite resistant to the idea. If you think the suggestion would do more harm than good, perhaps you could try talking to your mother about all of this. It seems, from your description, that she may feel equally bullied, but she may have more pull than you do. Try explaining how his behavior affects you and ask her if she can talk to him on your behalf.

Truth be told, there may be little you can do about your father’s behavior if he doesn’t see the need to change, but taking care of yourself is essential. As you go through this, try to get some support in coping with your stressful household. Speak with an adult you trust–a school counselor would be a good start. He or she would be able to delve much more deeply into these issues than I ever could, and give you some suggestions based on the information you provide.

take care,

send in your questions for heather to oh, and have you and your best friend ever disagreed about sex? how did it go?

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Posted in: Family, Help Me Heather
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  • 1/2Orphan

    Be thankful that it is only verbally, and make the first step to getting help for yourself and for your father.

    Just as an FYI: if you report this, even only in passing discussion (to a guidance counselor, peer mediator, most teachers, etc.) most people in authoritative positions are mandated reporters to social services for the states. Meaning, anything you say that is deemed emotionally, physically, mentally abusive, can and likely will be reported without your consent and/or knowledge and you and your family will be investigated and counseled.

    For 18 years I lived with verbal and physical abuse from my “father” and it was widely accepted by the entire family, because his father was like that, and his fathers’ father, so on and so forth.

    After 10 more years of verbal abuse to the point where I was contemplating killing myself to remedy the situation and to make my pain stop, I read several blogs and psychological articles about hurtful relatives and cutting ties with them.

    I no longer accept nor have contact with my “father”, I see him as a man who merely provided my mother a means for me to enter the world. I have completely cut him out of my life and couldn’t be happier.

    I understand for a teen this is difficult, if not impossible to do, but after years of therapy and hospitalizations from the verbal, and mental abuse, and to see all the money spent and all the treatment given that none of it helped or made real progress I began to realize it was because I was allowing my antagonist/abuser to still be in the picture.

    Think about it, when a woman (or man) is in an abusive relationship, they are advised to get out as fast as they can for their own well-being.

    Familial relationships that are abusive are much the same as romantic relationships that are abusive: unless you are willing to see that immediate, and complete, removal of the abuser is the only way to start to heal and make things better for yourself (you’re so NOT being jealous!), you’re going to end up trapped and falling into an endless pit of depression.

    I gave my father the ultimatum before I cut him out that if he could not apologize, sincerely apologize, and work on bettering himself and our relationship that I could not allow him in my life any longer – needless to say, 3 years later and I have not so much as received a birthday card or phone call; I am starting to live freely and happily, without fear of the littlest thing causing me a major setbacks because of an unprovoked attack that should never have occurred.

  • luvli

    at least he doesn't make fun of your clothing and the way you think!!!!!

  • Reena

    Well, the least you can do is just talk to ur family to help confront him about it.

  • meh

    at least you can confront your dad. i can't. :c