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My father started getting drunk every day when I was 10. I had to care for my little brother and sister as my mom tried to keep under control. After a while, he started attacking us. I would step in between him and my little brother and sister. I was not gonna let them get hurt. He would steal our personal belongings and sell them so he could get even more alcohol. And he would yell and scream all night. Causing me to fall asleep in school and almost not being able to graduate. He would choke me and pin me down so he could beat me upside the head. I now can't even hear a door shut without jumping and grabbing for my pocket knife I carry around for protection. I was never allowed to tell anyone about what was going on at home. And so now I do not know how to explain things like what I feel and think. And it bottles up, and it just keeps going and going and I cry myself to sleep at night.


He got arrested 3 times and finally went to rehab after years of us begging him to get help. But by then it was too late and the damage has been done. I have not even attempted to talk to him sense I moved out. It has been 10 years since he was an actual father figure and I don't even remember it that well. I WANT to have him actually know what he did because I don't he does. I want him to know what he did to us and how it affected us. I do not know what to do. I am told I should get therapy but I am not too good with therapists. I have tried it before. But how do I approach him? I can't even be in the same room as him without being ready to defend myself. Help?

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As Frazzeled said, when an alcoholic finally gets help and does the 10 steps, one is contacting the people they hurt and say they are sorry. They r not to expect to be forgiven.

I don't think it is wise to contact your father. People like him don't see what they have done to people and some don't care. I think you are courting trouble. Let things be. You may bring on problems that you don't want to handle. Same thing if he comes looking for you. Be very very careful. People do not change over night.
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I understand being reluctant about therapy. I was too for a long time, until I found the one I have now, who has been a lifesaver. A really good therapist can help you work through your feelings, and, when or if the time is right, help guide you in how to approach your dad in a safe way (maybe writing a letter as suggested). I would not do this now, however, until you've had some time and therapy to work on your own feelings and begin healing. Al-Anon is a good idea too. There are others in the rooms of the meetings that have been through similar situations in living with an alcoholic.

I understand wanting some closure and acknowlegement of all the pain he caused you. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that this will happen. If he is in recovery and working a 12 step program, he may one day be able to see how his behaviors affected others, but others, particularly those with personality and mental disorders, often are unable or unwilling to see how their actions affect everyone else.

You need to make peace with your feelings, for YOU, regardless of if dad ever "sees the light". That's where the therapy and support groups come in. I've heard a good saying that, "Forgiveness is like the act of setting a prisoner free, and then discovering that the prisoner was you."
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My dad cheated on my mom repeatedly during their marriage and there was alot of tension in my teen years.When I was 16 and positive of my suspicions, his girlfriend at the time showed up at the house on my parents anniversary to give him a gift. I remember my mom crying and just being devastated. That night my dad told me I needed to go to mass. I refused. It became a huge blowout between me and him. It got to the point he slapped me and threw me into the fridge so I sucker punched him before my mom jumped in.

The reason I shared this is the bad memories do not go away, they are always there. It took me over 20 years before I could speak or look at him. I wish I could say time heals all wounds but it doesn't though it will fade some. If your not at that place yet, dont force yourself...you will know when you are ready. Until then surround yourself with positive people and things.

Best wishes.
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I have seen a therapist and currently seeing one now and it has helped me. But I have to agree with the above posts that you should stay away from your dad. And seeing him (if he has stop drinking could give you closer), but your dad probably won't acknowledge what really happen, he may not even remember it.
But here are a few things you can try to do: 1) you could call him and try to have the hard talk with him, which than you are taking a chance that he will not knowledge what he did and that could and will make things worst for you. 2) Try writing him a letter. I have found this very helpful. You don't even have to send it to him. Just writing your feelings out on paper can do a world of good of getting the hurt out. 3) Have nothing to do with him, but forgive him. Forgiving someone is NOT saying what they did is okay, or that they should be in your life. Forgiving someone is for you. When we don't forgive they have power over us and we may not realize it. So, how do you forgive someone who was so horrible to you, you make that choice. Tell yourself everyday that you forgive him even if you don't believe it. In time you will. Remember this is about you, not him. I have seen first hand what unforgiveness looks like, what it does to peoples bodies, minds, looks, and over thier life. Don't know if you believe in God, but Bishop T.D Jakes wrote a book called "Forgive". I think that is the full title. It has helped millions of people. See your father or not is up to you, but I beg you to learn to forgive him.

God bless you and guide you to make the right decision, to enlighten you with His wisdom, with His strength and His knowledge for your life. May His peace over come any and all your fears and His protection covers you in Jesus' name I pray. Amen
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My first thought is you do not approach him at all. If you do, those old dynamics will likely repeat again and you'll be in the same place you very wisely left 10 years ago. People like that mostly never change. You may want to step in and offer care now because you believe it will take a burden off others in your family, but you do not owe that to anyone. Let others find their own way to deal with him. You owe it first to yourself to develop a life of peace and to do what is needed to maintain your emotional safety in this world. Help others from a distance. Write a letter expressing your feelings. Educate yourself about about being the adult child of an alcoholic via online forums and youtube videos as suggested by others here. I have found them very helpful.
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How do you approach your abusive father after 10 years? I think you don't. I think you stay as far away from contact as you can.

If anyone questions that you can explain, "This man was abusive in my childhood." OR you can say, "I have my reasons." You don't owe anyone an explanation and you also don't have to be ashamed of your reasons. Do what is comfortable for you.

I hope you are moving on, and building a family circle of your choosing.
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Pineapple Queen,

I would stay totally away from him if it were me. He chose to do all of the rotten things that he did, starting with lifting the alcohol to his lips year in and out. You owe yourself protection from him.

I've been to many therapists. It was a waste of time, energy and money. Most of the therapists were more messed up than me or had no idea of what I was going through no matter how much I explained. So for the last thirty years I've been reading relevant books, websites and YouTube videos and that has helped vastly more than any therapy. It's free and requires no appointments.

My dad was alcoholic and a sociopath. My mother has narcissistic personality disorder. My sister is also an addicted sociopath and brother a head-injured alcoholic. I was the only "normal" person in my immediate family and was scapegoated as "odd". It would be impossible to find one or two therapists knowlegable about all of these conditions in this mess of a "family" so I had to figure things out on my own.

The best thing I ever did was get away from them. After many years I came back to try again, knowing it probably wouldn't work. It's not. So I've gone back to staying away and that feels right.

You cannot fix your dad. He will never change. Staying away is probably the safest bet. As you read, research and talk to other people you will hear that advice repeatedly. It's the only way to prevent further damage and find safety.
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I see from your profile that you take care of your grandfather.

PLEASE do not ever consider taking care of your father. You may think you would never do that, but I see over and over people on this site who somehow feel it is their duty to take care of a parent who abused them in childhood. The other siblings often (wisely!) want nothing to do with the parent.
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Have you had a look at Al-Anon's website? It's at al-anon.org.

As well as support and help for people currently dealing with loved ones' addiction, there are lots of members with experience like yours. There is a self-assessment quiz half-way down their home page to help you decide if you want to know more.
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You do not have to be in the same room with him. You do not owe him anything. But it is very unlikely that he and your mother who allowed the abuse to continue, with ever acknowledge the pain, physical, emotional etc that they caused you.

I have gone through 2 years of intensive therapy, 1.5 years of follow up to recover from an abusive childhood and marriage. It is not easy, but I am worth it. There can be a point in therapy around 6-8 sessions where it gets really tough. It is easier to run than it is to continue, but believe me it is worth continuing. There will be other hurdles, but you are worth it.

Having a good support network is important too. Non judgmental friends whom you can call on when it is tough.
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My own experience is that if a father can behave in the first place as yours did, they will never ‘know’ or accept what they did wrong. You will never get an acknowledgement, and you will never get revenge. I will pass on some advice I got, to look up ‘radical acceptance’. You will never forget, forgive and want to turn the other cheek. Talking it through with a therapist may well make it worse not better by bringing all the old things back. What you can do is try to minimise the impact on your life now. You don’t owe him anything, and probably your best option is to stay well away. Even armed with your penknife, you shouldn’t be in the same room as him. Your own peace of mind is your top priority.
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