Question : My father regularly beats my mother and also threatens to beat my sister and me if we don’t do what he says. He is unpredictable. Most of the time he’s cheerful and buys us presents, but when he is in a bad mood I get terrified. I don’t want to tell anyone because I feel ashamed, but I also am scared for the three of us.Teentalker , 15-year-old
Thank you for reaching out. I’m saddened to hear that your father is abusive towards your mother, sister and you. Even if he doesn’t physically abuse you and your sister, living in constant fear also counts as emotional abuse.
Here are a few active steps you can take to help yourself:
- Your father is abusive because of his own insecurities and not because of anything you, your sister or your mother have done
- For your safety, try not to aggravate your father
- Apologize immediately if you sense him losing his temper
- Have an exit strategy – go to a neighbour’s house, stay in your room, go for a walk
- Brainstorm solutions with your mother and form a team with her
- Focus your energy as much as possible on what you enjoy
I’d like you to keep in mind that his behavior is not yours, your sister’s or your mother’s fault – nobody deserves to live in fear of a parent or husband. Remember that bullies – adults can be bullies too – pick on others because of their own insecurities and shortcomings, and the three of you make an easy target because you are family. But that doesn’t make it okay.
What can you do to make the situation more bearable? I am concerned about your safety – what are some of the things you all have been doing to protect yourselves? Have you figured out what can set off his temper? You can use this to your advantage, like immediately apologizing to defuse his anger, or calling someone to come help in that moment?
I can understand that you feel ashamed sharing this situation with someone outside of your family. Perhaps you could start a discussion with your mother – ask her what she thinks the three of you can do together to protect yourselves or escape the situation. There is strength in numbers and you can all support each other.
It sounds like you have been protecting yourself emotionally from the effects of your father’s abuse – what are the things you have been doing? Maybe when you are with your friends and at school, you have been trying to enjoy those moments as much as possible. Perhaps you could spend your energy developing what you are good at, whether it is schoolwork or sports or being creative or any other activity that you enjoy and that matters to you. Some people find it really helpful to conjure up a happy strong image in their heads when they are afraid – maybe an image of a strong brave warrior who has to endure many fiery battles in order to save the world could be one of them.
Hope this helps, if you have any other query do connect online for chat between 11am-8pm or drop us an offline message.
Expert Teentalk India