Verbally abusive father...what to do


My father is a nice man who genuinely cares about people but is also controlling and verbally abusive when stressed/angry/sad/etc. Lately his health has been declining and is under quite a lot of stress due to poor finances and an never-ending stream of problems that simply build upon each other. He unfortunately cannot seem to settle down and stop worrying even though he needs to do so and has been told to by many (including myself). He is also very easily saddened, discouraged, angered, etc. and has always been even when in better health. My mom told me that my dad has always been like this even before they married each other. And when my dad gets like this no amount of reason will ever get through to him.

So lately he has been getting angry at me for no reason at all. He claims I am mistreating him and that I don’t love him. What he continues to fail to realize is that my sister and I have our own lives (I’m a student and she is a student/works quite a bit) and that we cannot be there for him at every turn, especially since our schedules don’t always allow for this. He unfortunately has few friends and they’re all far away from him. He spends most of his days alone and in his apartment when he’s not going to and from the hospital. But what is problematic here is that he insults me, belittles me, and continues to bring-up things from the past that were hurtful and which I seek to forget and move on-from (difficult when he’s constantly bringing them up over and over in what I see as an attempt to guilt me into something or attack me).

But at the same time he has no one else to help him through his problems other than my sister and I. But I’m getting to the point where I cannot take the abuse anymore. Again, he cannot be reasoned with when he’s like this. Yes he needs help but my self-esteem is low enough and this verbal abuse doesn’t help. I find that I can only spend time with him in moderation as extended periods with him don’t always work well (although lately it seems that most of our meetings in person are decent).

I don’t know what to do. Give him an ultimatum to get him to stop what he’s doing or cope with the verbal abuse?


I can relate to you, because my father also was verbally abusive to the people around him. He would just say extremely hurtful things from time to time, and at other times be nice and expect everyone to forget what he said before (or maybe he didn't realize that what he said was hurtful to others, I think my dad is not all there emotionally).

There were multiple times in my life where I just stopped interacting with him altogether. I would start again hoping things would be different, but invariably given a long enough conversation he'd say something mean. I just gave up and no longer talk to him. It's kind of sad, because he did try to change, but in the end I just found it impossible to forget the past things said and any little reminder would bring it all back.


(your dad is my grandmother. I've practiced what I'm preaching here. It can be done.)

if there's NO chance the behaviors could be the onset of Alzheimer's, then you have to face some facts and make some tough choices.

first fact: ultimatums have already proved useless with him. (don't think your mom has tried a dozen of them?)

second fact: even if you had good esteem, you get to protect yourself from abuse.

third fact: you need to learn to the facts. is what your dad saying*** true*? if you can't discern the answer on your own, ask the Lord, "Jesus, is what my dad says true about me [size=]today**?' When you know your father is WRONG, you can proceed without so much bruised emotion. you won't have to defend yourself against a man whose opinions of you are perpetually wrong,

when you've fixed it in your mind that dad's opinion is wrong and that his behavior is wrong, then you can choose what to do in each case. if you're waiting with him at the doctor's office, you can say, "Dad. you're mean. I'm outa here. I'll be back to check on you in an hour." then do it. even if your mom is there and refuses to go with you-- even if she'll listen to an hour of her own personal abuse (she's a grown woman and can make her own choices)-- you leave. come back and check on him in an hour. if he's still at it, leave again. come back in an hour. if that keeps him waiting? oh, well.

nice people get niceness in return. mean people get strategic maneuvers in return.

if you're at his apartment visiting, same thing. "sorry dad. i've got no time for your verbal abuse today. i'll be back on Sunday." then leave.

whenever you choose to leave his company, you must pray for him. especially then you must pray for him. the devil will try to get you all wrapped up in your hurt feelings and distract you from praying for your dad. don't let that happen. go away and pray instead of marinating in hurt or angry feelings.

if, after you leave, mom tells you dad said don't ever come back again, ignore it.

if mom begs you to behave yourself better around your dad-- don't make him mad anymore etc--, ignore that too. you make decisions for your own person. no one **makes **your dad mad. if mom caters to his nastiness that's her choice. it doesn't have to be yours-- showing solidarity with mom-as-victim is useless.

but if they pay your tuition-- if your education is bound to your dad's generosity or lack thereof-- your choices dwindle. it's probably either: sit smiling and take his vitriol, or make a stand and end up paying for school yourself.[/size]

closed #4

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