More threads by Mama_shmee

Hi there,

This is so complicated.

My father is abusive: emotionally and physically. My sister and I are both in our 30s now, and were abused for the first 15-17 years of our lives. It has had, as you can imagine, a profound effect on our personalities and abilities to cope with the world, but we're managing.

I know this may seem strange, but my Mom and Dad are still together. In fact, they live two blocks from me and we see them all the time. My father is not nearly the person he used to be, and he's made a wonderful, loving grandfather to my two children.

However, last Christmas Eve, he tried to hit my sister when she was visiting. She ended up running to our house, and, boy, did we have a strange Christmas after that. What soon came out was that there had been a few instances where he had tried to hit my Mom in past months. What also came out was that she is too afraid to leave him. She's afraid he would try to kill her and/or herself. But she says she's okay to stay in the relationship. She's learned to tune out the emotional abuse.

I still think she should leave. Here's a complicating factor though. My mother is a very well-respected business woman. She's in the newspaper all the time on the business pages and in the social column. She's a philanthropist and CEO of a company. I think a good part of the reason she doesn't want to leave my Dad is because of how it would look. She would certainly need to go into hiding I think, but she's so concerned about what other people would think.

This is just killing me. Every time our phone rings or the doorbell sounds, I think it's going to be the police telling me there's been a murder-suicide. I'm not sure I can live this way.

I know there are all sorts of resources for abused women to help them get out of violent relationships and be safe, but what about this?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
If she doesn't wish to leave, there is unfortunately not a great deal you can do about it. You might contact one of the women's shelters for advice on how others have dealt with this situation.

You can also, of course, have your father charged if he attempts to assault you or your sister - while this may seem harsh, it is sometimes the only way of getting abusive men to acknowledge that they have a problem and it will likely result in court-ordered treatment for him.
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