My dad is a very angry person. He’s never been physically violent, but he verbally abuses my mom, my sister, and me almost constantly. I’d move out if I were old enough, but I’m not. Can you help me deal with this situation?
You’re right to be concerned about your family’s situation. You may have been spared physical violence up to this point, but if anger is endemic to your father’s personality – as you suggest it is – then things could easily take a turn for the worse with very little warning.
Your entire family needs to seek professional assistance and intervention as quickly as possible. You or your mother can start the process by calling Focus on the Family Canada’s counselling department Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Pacific time) at 1.800.661.9800. After discussing your concerns with you over the phone, our counsellors will be happy to provide you with referrals to registered family counsellors in your area.
If your dad refuses to take part in the counselling process, it would still be advisable for you and your mom to get individual counselling as well as family counselling including your sister and any other siblings that may be living with you. Among other things, this would provide you with some skills that will be helpful in preventing uncontrolled conflict and confronting your father’s potentially escalating behaviour. You should also seek out an adult male mentor – possibly an older man in your church – who will be able to encourage you and guide you in your life decisions.
In the meantime, we’d like to recommend a couple of resources that might prove helpful to you and your mother. The first is the book Fool-Proofing Your Life by Jan Silvious. The second, Boundaries in Marriage, by Drs. John Cloud and Henry Townsend, will provide your mom with some much needed emotional support during this challenging time in your lives. The second book can be ordered through our website’s online store.