22nd November 2021 at 9:13 pm #134486
Hi, Need some advice, and to get things out a bit.
Its really a small thing but something that is still bugging me on my road to healing.
So I recently left my abusive ex and i am
Living with my parents.
Its been on the whole fine living with them. But my dad has these angry episodes. Very rarely and pretty short.
Really silly little things like he cannot find something and he is like getting really worked up about it, he doesn’t shout, just you can tell he is angry, may swear a tiny bit to himself, my mum scatters around trying to appease him. But nothing helps, he’s normally better after he eats.
He is worse when he is tired.
He used to do it in shops or restaurants when something bugged him he just couldn’t leave it alone. So he didn’t only do it behind closed doors, he even did it infront of his inlaws once..
He’s pretty elderly now and on the whole never does this to anyone other then my mum.
My therapist didn’t think he was abusive. He’s been very supportive to me in my whole breakup with my ex. He is extremely supportive to my whole family, he never pushes us or even tries to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do, he lets us choose our own life choices..
Its just these episodes seem to be mostly to my mum now, its never been to us kids. Afterwards he acts like nothing happened and everything is fine.
Everytime he does this i feel like my world is crashing down, how can i trust someone who does this?
I know him not doing it on purpose still counts as abuse. But, i think i can acknowledge that he can be abusive sometimes without necessarily meaning to..
he is definitely not manipulative or cruel like my ex, he is kind and giving..
but are these just what a father should be anyway…
Any help much appreciated
24th November 2021 at 8:42 pm #134631LisaMain Moderator
I just wanted to show you some support. This must be really difficult for you especially after everything you have been through. It is not ok for your Dad to get angry and behave like this towards your Mum, it’s also concerning that he doesn’t acknowledge how wrong his behaviour is.
I understand that this must be really confusing for you as you said he has been supportive to you.
Take care, we are all here for you.
25th November 2021 at 6:46 am #134657KIP.Participant
I don’t think it’s acceptable. I think you will find out more if you talk to him about it. See if he is apologetic and changes or if he defends his behaviour and feels entitled. I always judge behaviour by what I would do and I certainly wouldn’t behave this way. And calling out behaviour or saying no to an abuser is usually a good way to judge by the reaction. My ex mother in law called out my husband’s behaviour and he replied (detail removed by moderator). I’d see how he responds x
25th November 2021 at 12:46 pm #134669
Hey KIP, thanks, I really can’t talk to him right now, my tolerance to confrontation is pretty low.. I seem highly sensitive to it. I have heard you need to heal from DA in a calm safe environment.
I will talk to my mum and see what kind of conversations they have had.
25th November 2021 at 1:09 pm #134672KIP.Participant
I think you may have answered your own question. You can talk to your mum about it but not your dad x ‘confrontation’ is a strong word when it’s about talking to a parent x
25th November 2021 at 10:15 am #134662maddogParticipant
My dad used to lose his temper a lot when I was growing up. It was terrifying. Eventually I got angry back and told him where to get off. After that, the relationship dynamic changed and I no longer felt afraid of him.
You may find the NAPAC (national association of people abused in childhood) website helpful.
It’s so difficult when a parent is abusive and it’s not grindingly obvious. It took decades for me to understand what had happened to me, that it wasn’t my fault, and it took my standing my ground for my dad to recognise me as an adult. I know my dad suffered from trauma, and I believe it knocked him sideways.
25th November 2021 at 12:27 pm #134668
Hey Maddog, thanks for replying.
I’m sorry you had to deal with that too.
The thing is he has never directed any anger towards us kids.
But it still is scary – when I was a kid.
Now it causes me anxiety.
I have stood up to him in the past and normally managed to talk to him and calm him down quick easily. But now I am recovering from a abusive relationship, I really cannot handle it.
I grew up with so many issues I think because of this.
25th November 2021 at 11:16 am #134664EggshellsParticipant
You’ve really made me think. If this is a pattern of behaviour and people change how they behave to placate him, then I guess it’s abuse.
It’s made me think because I also get really angry when I loose things. It’s internal anger at myself.
When I loose stuff, I know that I haven’t moved far since I last had it. That means it’s right under my nose somewhere. I usually find it within a minute or so but if I don’t, I will rant at myself, out loud, even if my sons are there and I will ask them to look in the immediate area to see if they can see it.
So it is an angry outburst and even though I am the recipient of my anger, it changes people’s behaviour in that, they start looking for whatever it is I’ve lost.
So, I guess the question that I’m struggling to answer about your Dad and myself is, at what stage do we consider these outbursts as abusive? I’m worried now.
25th November 2021 at 12:24 pm #134667
Thanks for replying, that’s interesting, thanks for sharing.
Some questions WA also aske me where:
Do you feel your dad is controlling in any other ways?
Does he blame others for his outbursts?
Is he taking responsibility for how he has impacted those around him?
It sounds like you are fully aware and probably you apologize afterwards?
My mum has said he never apologizes but I do want to ask my mum more details thanks @kip for your advice.
But wow is my tolerance really low. I heard recently, that trauma stacks up, and when your trauma is stacked up high, your ready to topple really easily which is why you become hypersensitive with your triggers.
25th November 2021 at 6:39 pm #134681EggshellsParticipant
Thanks. Yes, once I’ve finished berating myself I feel much better, say sorry, tell them that they don’t need to help me, I was just cross with myself and start calmly and methodically searching again.
I don’t know why I get so cross though. If somebody else looses something I need it doesn’t really phase me. It could be because I do it so often. 😏
9th December 2021 at 6:48 pm #135348AnonymousInactive
Hi eyesopening napac are nice, I phoned them a few times after the freedom sessions (i used to get panic attacks when I’d come home), they give you half an hour to talk about things and everyone on the line’s been though child abuse and they let you talk about domestic too 🧡💞🧡
10th December 2021 at 10:10 am #135378
sounds good, gosh, I understand, I was getting severe panic when there has been an incident, I felt like I was going to pass out, thank you, I will check them out x*x
9th December 2021 at 8:04 pm #135353nbumblebeeParticipant
Hey sweetie, my husband is alot like this. His rages can be exactly as you would describe sometimes these are what i class as good days as he tends to moan at things and not me. I also act like your mum and run around trying to calm him down help him so he doesnt blow.
Its hard to answer is it abuse question though we all know how i struggle with that word I hate it.
Its not nice its not right and he should be able to control that anger and at the very least apologise to your mum. Not much help I know sorry I wish i had words of wisdom to help you, keep talking about it maybe talk to your mum she how she feels about it. Sending you hugs x
10th December 2021 at 10:15 am #135379
thank you nbumblebee.
It’s hard to see my mum like this and I feel bad for her. I am starting to be able to dissociate from them and leave it to them. Remembering I am an adult and their problems are not my responsibility. Though it’s happened twice and once I was not there in the time I have been home, so it’s pretty rare..
I think it’s so hard because you could be a controlling, hot tempered person, entitled person.
But after being in an abusive relationship, you wonder and over analyse and think everyone has an ulterior motive. This is lessening now though over time.
Because in every other way he is very kind and so good to us, caring, thoughtful.
I am still struggling with tiredness after everything and working full time, so I have not spoken to my mum yet.
I will one day when the time is right.
Hope your ok
5th January 2022 at 11:31 am #136547ISOPeaceParticipant
I think you have to look at the behaviour in a wider context to decide if it’s abusive. BUT even if it’s not abusive, that doesn’t make it OK and it is always OK to decide that it is not something you are prepared to live with. It could be that it’s triggering for you because of the abuse you have experienced and while someone else might not be bothered, it’s not healthy for you to be around.
As to whether it’s abuse, I think it depends on the overall picture of whether he is creating/exploiting a power imbalance to force others to meet his needs at their expense. You may not be able to answer these questions. Does he expect your mum to help him deal with it? Why does your mum try to appease him? Does she know that she’ll be punished if she doesn’t? Or did she grow up to believe she must appease others but actually your dad doesn’t really care whether she helps him or not, in which case it’s more of a relationship issue (however their behaviours interact) than abuse.
At the very least he sounds insensitive to how his behaviour affects others. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to expect an adult to realise that angry outbursts, even those not directed at others, have a negative effect on others and can be scary, especially for children. To varying degrees, other people will absorb your dad’s out of control feeling and to people who already don’t feel safe, it can be very triggering. Being insensitive isn’t the same as being abusive but I think it can still be very damaging to live with. I grew up in a household where when my parents got emotionally hijacked (quite often) there was little, if any, empathy for how it affected others. It made me feel invisible and like their feelings were always more important than mine, which I’m sure made me more tolerant of abusive behaviour. As an adult living with them again, I don’t feel controlled or abused by them, but they’re still as insensitive as they were and it can be triggering. I’m working on managing my feelings when triggered but I do think it will be better for me when I move out. I can’t say how much it is affecting my healing but I’m sure that it’s disempowering to live with anyone who behaves in a way that I don’t think is respectful of my feelings. It feels like I’m giving away my power to choose myself a healthy living environment.
Having said all that, there are things you can do to take back some of your power e.g. if my parents do something triggering for me, I try to just leave the room. Obviously it’s not a perfect solution, but it feels a lot better to exercise my right to not witness it than to feel angry/upset and helpless because “I shouldn’t have to leave the room” or I’m frozen, not knowing what to do. Maybe you could try just getting yourself out of the way when your dad gets angry and doing a calming exercise, reminding yourself that you’re safe and they’re his feelings, not yours.
I think healing is all about learning to feel safe in the world. People around us won’t always help with that, which can make it really hard. I guess we all have to find reliable sources of support and accept that the people close to us might not be able to give that, even if they’re not abusive. Sending love xxxx
10th March 2022 at 10:01 am #140225
How are things? Are you still living with your parents?
Thank you for this message, I am re-reading and it helped to get my head around things.
So I am much better, my Dad doesn’t trigger me anymore, he can get all worked up and I totally know the stress, anger, is all on him. It is not my problem and it doesn’t even make me anxious! Which is a huge progress considering when I first got here I felt I would pass out from anxiety if he got worked up.
I leave my parents to it and go somewhere away to pursue my lovely hobbies.
The problem recently, was that my mum opened up to me (I did not ask) and told me everything, how bad she felt, the things he said which upset her. To me he sounded terribly insecure, (maybe abusive) he is trying to push her away. (he recently was in hospital (detail removed by moderator))
So anyway, her doing this completely did make me anxious and upset and wished I could move out asap.
Since I have talked with my therapist, she agrees I should ask my mum not to discuss these things with me. (I was supposed to do this last time) I just can’t seem to do this..
I feel terrible for my mum and feel she is living in prison, at her age, it seems so so sad.. They are in their 70’s.
Just shows you THEY NEVER CHANGE.
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