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Daughter of emotionally abusive father(10 Posts)
Hi, I'm 18 and I need somebody/somewhere to talk. My siblings and I have lived with our mum since I was in early primary school, my parents divorced a few years later. I don't really remember living with my dad but the contact that was arranged was every Friday afternoon and every other Saturday.
My dad was emotionally and sometimes physically abusive towards my mum. It's had a big impact on her and her self confidence is still quite low, as is mine. Although to the outside my dad appears charming and friendly, he treated my mum terribly and still does when he gets the chance. He doesn't pay the child maintenance he's meant to and owes several thousand in arrears.
I've visited my dad practically every weekend as the contact was set out for about 12 years now. However I'm now 18 and I don't like that he just expects me to continue coming and spending most of my weekend with him when I'd often rather be at home studying, being with friends or just doing my own thing. No other 18 year old has the same ties every weekend. I'm too scared to be assertive and speak up about it though and often just agree with whatever he wants because it's just easier. He says he loves me, but I don't understand that, because surely you don't treat the mother of the child that you love the way he does, you don't deny the child that you love the money that you owe them, you don't slag off the child's mother and grandparents and cousins in front of them. Sometimes I really resent him and I'm becoming bitter and I don't want to feel like that. There's always a doubt in the back of my mind that maybe he does love me and it'll hurt him if I say no and I don't want to hurt anyone. I wish I didn't have to deal with this for years to come, I can't. I know he'll just expect me to continue doing what he wants and seeing him every week on his terms. He sends me long texts and talks to me like I'm a child still and I don't even want to reply because I have nothing to say to him. I don't hate him or anything, I just want to lead a separate life to his. I don't know how to communicate what I want to him because he might get angry or upset and that upsets me. It really upsets me not having a proper dad in my life and it affects my relationship with men in general. I find it hard to trust them and relate to them. I'd like to talk to somebody about it all but I don't have anyone to talk to.
Sorry to hear about your dad. Have you thought about writing your feelings down in a letter? Do you want any contact with him at all?
Sorry to hear about how you're feeling. Your feelings have struck a chord with me about the effects my relationship may have on my children as they grow up.
I agree with above that writing a letter may help offload and help him understand.
You are 18 and so am very surprised that this contact arrangement has lasted this long. You're entitled to spend your time with your friends/ studying etc/ as you see fit really. Most parents with children your age are happy with whatever time you can spare and don't tend to demand it on a regular basis.
You sound a lovely thoughtful young lady. X
At eighteen you do NOT have to continue contact. In fact as an adult if you wish you can go low or no contact. It sounds though that you need counselling/ support to be able to build up your self confidence. Are you a student in college or at University? If you are, there should be a counselling service and pastoral support. If you are not then you can contact your g.p and ask to be referred for counselling. I would also suggest contacting woman's aid, your Dad is emotionally blackmailing/ abusing you and they have trained counsellors who are used to dealing with men like your Dad. They can give you advice on how to proceed. I would also look into the freedom programme. You are young and just starting your life and now is the perfect time to learn how to avoid abusive men like your Father.
Can you talk to your Mum about any of this? Would she support your stopping or reducing contact?
Part of the problem is that I don't know what I want. At the minute it sounds good to not have any contact, but maybe that's just because I resent having to lose my weekends so often with the way it is now. My mum says it's up to me what I do regarding contact as I'm an adult and I can decide. I do know that, but it's just so much harder to actually do anything about it because I'm not very self confident. I'm scared of how he'd react if I told him, and I don't want to genuinely hurt him, just on the off chance that he does love me. I know my dad will never mention changing it, he'll just assume that I want it to continue as it is now. He's very controlling and I feel trapped in a vicious circle that I can't get out of. I'm hoping to go to university in September but I don't have access to any support right now, other than the gp, as I've now left college.
You sound lovely and thoughtful and I really hope you can go away to university. This would be the ideal chance to reset your relationship on an adult basis. You shouldn't worry about stopping or lowering contact hurting him, he seems to have given scant regards to your feelings or those of your mother over many many years. It is high time you lived an ordinary life with weekends you call your own. Proper living parents do their level best to develop their children's independence not stifle it as your father is doing. Please begin to stand up to him and try to get your mother's support in this.
Could you get a job away from home, until you go to Uni, to earn money and put a bit of distance between you? I did this.
Perhaps there is something you could work at which would help with your course at Uni. I worked in a hospital, then I trained at a hospital not in my home town.
Friends got jobs through a volunteer agency abroad, and in this country.
I have added some links for you below. I really would contact woman's aid they can be a listening ear or help you make sense of your feelings. There is so much information out there, searching daughters of narcissists brings up many useful links. There are also many helpful books but I think for now you need support to decide whether its healthy for you to be having so much contact with your Dad. You are allowed to be happy and you have your own life to live, how would he react to you getting a part time job? Could that be a way to break away from your weekend contact?
You sound lovely. I bet your Mum is very proud of you. I would encourage you to find a counsellor or someone neutral to talk things through with. Maybe you want to 'take a break' from contact for a while to focus on studying and give yourself a breather. I also think text is an excellent way to deal with someone like your dad. You can take your time to word things carefully and you can't be put on the spot to reply immediately. I'm not surprised you have those questions about his behaviour either. Good luck
I'm sure your father does love you but that doesn't always stop parents behaving unpleasantly. You can't continue this arrangement for the rest of your life just because he demands it. You are an adult woman now who is entitled to make her own decisions about whom she sees and how she spends her weekends. You should see him as and when you feel you want to not simply because you are too scared to cut down contact just in case he loves you and that might upset him.
I suggest the next time you are due to see him you are suddenly taken 'unwell' and therefore can't go. Break the cycle just once and it may make it easier next time not to adhere to his controlling ways.
Definitely try and get yourself some support and a little weekend job would be perfect.
Don't feel guilty, that guilt belongs totally to him.
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