Telling my abusive father…

It hurt to tell my father that I had left an abusive relationship. It also gave me a stark insight that strengthened my resolve to keep my own child safe.

Photo by Anderson Mancini

Photo by Anderson Mancini

My father beat my mother before and throughout their marriage. One day, she took me and fled to a refuge. This time, she didn’t return. He launched a smear campaign – telling anyone that would listen (and many that wouldn’t) how much of a bad mother she was. She sought a divorce, and got one. My father never forgave her. His response was to have nothing to do with me, his daughter.

I grew up with a loving mother and a step-father I’m proud to call ‘dad’. Growing up, I never missed my biological father. However, as an adult, my vague wondering about my roots solidified until I reached out. With my family’s help, I tracked down my father, and we began to correspond. Eventually, we decided to meet in person.

He couldn’t wait to badmouth my mother. I stopped him, telling him that what was past, was past – and I wanted to focus on the future. He seemed to let it go. Just days later, he erupted in a fit of rage and I saw the monster that he claimed never existed.

I didn’t speak to him for years. But then, out of the blue, came his email. I let him back into my life, cautiously, and we’ve since maintained an amicable – though distant – relationship. We studiously avoid murky topics, or subjects that are too close to home.

Today, all that changed. With Christmas looming, I could no longer put off the conversation I was dreading. I had to tell him that the father of my child physically and emotionally abused me, and that I had left him some time ago. I told him why I was anxious about sharing this, but his first reaction – though not surprising – still cut me to the quick.

Photo by xenia

Photo by xenia

He sternly warned me not to use my child as a weapon. My ex was to have full access to the child. Only a wicked woman (like my mother) would do otherwise. I must not make my child suffer because of my problem with my ex.

Though he went on to offer sympathies and emotional support, which I welcome, his first – and utterly unnecessary – words said it all. Even though he had learned that his daughter was abused by the man that should have been her biggest supporter, my father’s initial response was all about him. Just as it always was. He will never accept responsibility for his actions. He will never acknowledge that children are damaged by growing up with abuse. He will never see offspring as anything other than – in his words – weapons to be used to bludgeon the other parent.

I guess that tells me all I need to know, really.

© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013-14

9 responses to “Telling my abusive father…

    • Thanks for your kind comment, dianarasmussen. Yes, you are absolutely right – abusers (like a lot of people, really) only ever see things from their own perspective. I knew that my father would react that way – which is why I delayed for so long before telling him. Disappointing, but not surprising!


  1. A wonderful post. I am so sorry you had to live such a hard life from childhood but I can see you are a very strong person and you will survive. I am a survivor also. I decided to forgive my husband for his verbal and emotional abuse for 42 years. I needed to do this because of the person I am. However, I will be leaving him and starting a new life as a free woman.


    • Hi ScrapperJude Designs. Thanks for posting. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood where abuse never touched me. Sadly, knowing that my father was abusive didn’t stop me falling in love with two abusive men (one after the other). I had to learn the hardest way.

      I’m so glad for you, for the strong decision that you have made. It is amazing that you have decided to forgive, and also that you must leave – living your life for you, and being be free and happy. I sincerely wish you all the best in future – and, if you feel like sharing, I’d love to know more about how you reached this point after so many years.


  2. Sounds so familiar… Abusers never take responsibilities for their own faults. It’s always the others fault. I am still blamed today, many years later. These abusers don’t see the damage that they do because they are so damaged themselves. But… We have to protect our children. The cycle of abuse has to be broken. I will be praying for you and your child. Many blessings to you, my friend!!


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