Confronting my Father about His Alcoholism and Abuse of my Mother and Self.
I am currently 17 years old. In January I shall be 18 and I feel as though it is time to confront my father about his alcoholism and abusive behavior towards my Mother, Sister, and Myself.
When I was younger my Mother and Father lived together. My Dad was a heavy drinker, and he seems to still be drinking. As a child I was left alone for very long periods of time alone. Either in my crib or just left alone while he went out to drink copious amounts of alcohol and get wasted with his friends.
I was also subjected to various amounts of abuse. I remember one night where I went to sleep in my Parents room. I had bad eczema and went down to itch my leg. He proceeded to flick my head and body as I itched myself. I was only three at the time and I remember the pain of the flicking on my body; but I digress. The man drank a lot.
Most nights he blacked out and he seemed to be unaware of his actions. During his sober hours my Mother told me that he was a decent man; helping others and generally being kind, but when he drank he turned mad. She refereed to it as a "Jekyll and Hyde" thing. While he was drunk he was often careless. One time he duck taped a cat to my Dog and laughed at the two rolled around in confusion and pain.
He thought that my Mother was having affairs with other men too. He often lied to me, telling me that my Mother was off seeing other men and that she didn't care for me. He was paranoid of her and her actions, possibly out of fear of her leaving. I'm not sure. One night my Mom told me that she got into an argument with him. She was pregnant with me and he threatened and scared her. My mother out of fear urinated herself. My drunk father laughed.
Eventually my Mother left him. It's been 12-13 years now. He still sees my sister on Sundays, usually hung over from the night before. My Mom does not let him into the house. I remember one day while my Mom was gone he ran in through all the rooms of our house checking everything out. I was still in bed and half naked as he charged into my room, "What the Fuck?" I said. "Oh, I'm just checking in." He said with a grin on his face. I felt violated.
He also calls our house drunk occasionally. The other night he called and hit on my Mom. I'm getting sick of what he's done and what he does to my family. Recently I was diagnosed with an attachment disorder as well (Look it up if your unfamiliar.) One of the causes of this disorder is lack of care during childhood. Half of the time my Mother was not home to watch me. I feel confident that his actions have caused this.
I'm ready to confront and talk to him. I realize that he will probably deny what I tell him. He called me the other night and told me that he's supporting me - even though he usually pays less than the full amount of his child support. The money he gives barely pays my medication and therapy. I don't know what to say though. I know my therapist can help me, but I'm trying to find some other advice as well. So.. Any ideas?
The first thing to ask you is, what is it you're hoping to get from 'confronting' your father? An apology, confession of his abusive and destructive ways, closure, to allow yourself to feel better for having gotten things off your chest?
Because it's important that you have realistic expectations of the outcome of the talk you plan on having with your father. He sounds like a sick man, oblivious to his destructive ways and hurt he's caused you and your family, still living in denial to his alcoholism and the havoc its caused.
Which means that he could just shut you out, laugh you off or twist the whole story to make himself seem innocent and even the victim. Because that's what alcoholics are capable of - lies, deception and manipulation. That's why I say you have to be very clear about what you hope to achieve - because it might not transpire how you imagine it will.
You and your family have moved on - your Mom totally did the right thing by leaving him - so the danger is if you confront him and things don't go as you had planned - you potentially make things worse for yourselves.
That's not to say you shouldn't confront him - its just important that you consider all the pros and cons before doing so. Sometimes out of anger we do things we end up regretting so just want to make sure you've thought everything through.
Then, if you do decide to go ahead - two key things you need to remember: 1) You've got to speak to him when he's sober. If not you're wasting your time because he's seeing things from his alcohol-crazed reality, and you create the potential for things to become extremely explosive because it sounds like he's especially aggressive when drunk.
2) You need to stay calm, cool and collected. Shouting or anger doesn't work. You need to speak your truth calmly and as unemotionally as possible, because that is likeliest to get through to him. It's not so much a question of what you say, but how you say it that will have the most impact.
And then it's just a case of speaking honestly and telling your Dad very clearly all the damaging effects his alcoholism has had on you and your family (give examples where possible) - and how that's left you feeling about him, e.g. you think very little of him and don't want anything further to do with him.
Don't get into an argument. Once you've had your say you then get up and walk away. Write down all the key points you want to mention beforehand, i.e. do some preparation because you'll likely be nervous, and so by preparing well and being clear on what it is you want to say you give yourself the best possible chance of things going how you want them to.
Good Luck with this. It takes a lot of courage to do what you're planning, but if you're sure this is what you want to do, hopefully some of the ideas given will help. Take Care.