More threads by Aerie

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Hi, hennesssy:

I'm not sure about the "language barrier" you mentioned but in any case it sounds like your parents would rather both pretend that this isn't a real problem - i.e., let's just not talk about it and it will all be okay - so it may not be helpful to try to talk to them about it anyway. Generally, abusers don't take responsibility for their behavior until something happens to force them to take responsibility, and most often that is external intervention (by the police, or the CAS, or the school). Abusers typically will blame the victim - "you made me do it", "if you hadn't done what you did, I would never have had to beat you up" - and unfortunately, all too often the victim at least half believes that it's true.

Make no mistake about it, though: Abuse like what you describe is never justified and never caused by the victim. It's also illegal.

You don't indicate where in the world you live or how old you are (I'm asssuming you are a teen or maybe younger) but you should know that you do not have to accept this situation - there are laws to protect you, and treatment programs that will help your father acknowledge that he has a problem and do something to change it.

You need to talk to someone outside the family: a counsellor, a teacher, a relative, a friend of the family - someone you trust and who has some authority to bring this to your parent's attention in a way that says very clearly, "this kind of behavior is illegal and is not tolerated by civilized society" and that will convince your father that he has a problem and needs to get into counselling or a family violence treatment program. I do understand that thinking about doing this is probably very frightening to you but I would suggest that it can't be any worse than living in fear of what your father will do next.


I've noticed that, whenever certain people can't fight back against the source of their frustration (either because they source is unlikely to be beaten, or because they're not really sure what the source is), they turn to an easier target and pour their blame upon it. This is probably what your father's doing, but don't think for a second that depriving him of his reasons to feel angry will make him less violent. That places undue burden on you and avoids the real issue. Don't allow yourself to feel any guilt, either... If you did that, you'd take the blame away from the real source of your frustration (your father) to an easier target - yourself. It's exactly the sort of thing your father is doing, and it hurts you needlessly.

You say you have a low self-esteem because of it. Well... Self-esteem shouldn't be about how others judge you, but how you judge yourself. It shouldn't be measured as "high" or "low", but as "accurate" or "wrong". I'm sure your father has tremendous self-esteem, especially when he's drunk, but that doesn't change who he is. That you even care about his opinion astounds me... If a vicious, self-deceiving drunkand doesn't think you're good enough, would you instantly agree with him? I doubt it. Keep in mind that you're always entitled to a second opinion - yours.

I understand the "language barrier" all too well... My father tends to whine at every little problem in his life, sometimes being so illogical that my brain wisely decides he can't be dealt with. I find it very difficult to speak to him as a result. He sometimes starts his self-deploring sprees early in the morning, without any provocation, and carries them out through the day - the next morning, he seems to forget them completely. He can revert into a "generally good person" whenever needed, such as when the phone rings, but this doesn't mean he's a good person. Likewise, your parents may put on a mask of pleasantry in public, or for the good part of their private lives, but that doesn't mean they're good people.

My advice is, if you're old enough, to seek financial independence while you're taking action... It's hard to fight back against your only source of income. It's also hard to fight back by legal means (which I don't consider drastic) if you live in a country where child abuse is tolerated, but otherwise, that seems to be your best option. Still, if he beats you again, it may be helpful to take photos of your bruises and see a doctor about them. It's hard to deny something written in a medical record.

You'll find there are plenty of sites and forums about abuse, most of them showing success stories along with advice and support. It might be helpful to look into these. I know of and the BrainTalk forums, which has a small forum dedicated to domestic abuse, but I'm afraid I've never looked at an actual abuse-related site. Google turned up with an interesting article on the front page when I searched for "domestic abuse"... It's from the About network, entitled Why do they do it, with a link to the success story of one woman who ended her husband's abuse by sending him to jail for six months.

Post on more than one forum and look through the stories to get a good idea of what you should do. The more opinions you get, the better armed you'll be when you decide to take action (and however you go about it, you will have to take action).

That's the best advice I can give you. I hope it didn't end up sounding like a lecture...

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
hennesssy said:
My dad already has a child abuse record. It's just very hard to turn him in to the authorities because he is the person in this household who earns money.
I understand, hennesssy, but it may not necessarily be a question of "turning him in" per se - more getting someone to put pressure on him to seek treatment.

I know that the situation is probably different from one area to the next but reporting such a problem to the CAS in my area doesn't necessarily mean that the person is charged - in one recent case I know of, for example, the man was told that he needed to attend a program for anger management and that no action would be taken if he complied with that - the man did engage in anger management counselling and in fact the abusive behavior stopped.

However, it is of course your choice and I don't know what resources may be available in your area...

Good luck, whatever action you decide to take.
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