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My dad is in his mid 60's. He is a complete control freak. He emotionally abuses my mother and me. I am 29 years old and currently living with my parents. I have always been very close to my father and only recently have realised just how much abuse my mum has taken over the years. He was always controlling and had mood swings, but it's just got worse and worse. My mum has also told me that it wasn't this bad before. I lived away from home for years, and after moving back I've just started to hate the man I once adored. He won't let me have an opinion that is different from his, he calls me disrespectful if i answer him back in any way. If i get on his nerves he will start insulting me and swearing at me. he often threatens me with physical abuse, and has hit me for telling him i'm a grown woman and he also needs to respect me. After he hit me i shouted at him that he had no right to hit me and asked who the hell he thught he was, he then completely lost it and started threatening me, even to go as far as to grab a knife. He still wants to have control over the jobs i work at, where I go, what time I get back etc. My mother is the only reason I haven't moved out again as she has lost all of her confidence and is very lonely. And for some reason won't divorce him, even though he often threatens her with divorce. I was always a real daddy's girl and this man that he has now become shocks me. on his good days he's still the best dad in the world. but then his moods start. he is mean and very aggressive when he's in one of his moods, or when someone doesn't agree with him or when someone "disrespects" him. The worst thing is that everyone around us - friends, neighbors and relatives think he's the nicest guy in the world. He's got this mask that he wears, the happy friendly liberal mask. but at home he's a sexist nasty bitter man, everyone believes that he's perfect. It breaks my heart to see the man that i adored for over 20 years like this. what could of caused him to be like this? how can he be a loving dad one minute and a nasty egoistic man the next? I know he's unhappy and probably depressed. nothing is ever his fault and he blames everyone for everything.

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OK.. he grabbed a knife?? WTH? Next time you call the cops or EMS or you or mother may be the next to need it! Something besides depression is going on here. Get him to a Dr or evaluated at the hospital
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Is there any way you can make a recording or video of your father when he is behaving this way? It would be great if this could be presented to him when he is in a good mood to show him how he changes (although this might "set him off"), but more likely it would be useful to show a doctor or other authorities how he behaves.
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Testdepth, that wasn't a helpful comment. She said she doesn't want to leave her mother, her mother needs her support at this time. Her leaving would not solve his problem or her mom's situation.
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He needs help. If you can't get him to help, you and mom need to move. You are enabling abusuve behavior by remaining. I understand your not wanting to leave your mom in danger but time won't cure this will it?
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Swings in blood sugar can make some people nasty (although threatening with a knife is extreme). Try getting him to see a doctor.
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Okay. I recently read a book by a daughter who went through exactly what you were going through, except much worse. If this is the same thing, her father was going through dementia combined with a life of being handled with kid gloves by his wife and family, lauded by their circle of friends. Many people do this. I have a husband I do this with. The problem is he always had an anger problem but now it is not only combined with fear from loss of his control, but also dementia setting in. He can probably become worse down the road so you need to deal with this now. He needs to see a doctor, the right doctor. If the first one doesn't work out, see another. You must be wiley and manipulative to get the care he needs. I am trying to find the book, will get back with you when I do. If you can get him on film, that would be great - people tend to not believe you until they see it. Take the film to the doctor.
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@GardenArtist  he's never physically hurt my mum - and it's the first time he's ever hit me. He just has a way of making everything about him, he's always right, he always has to be in control. it's impossible to criticize him, or even joke around with him. He loves teasing and making fun of you when he's in a good mood, bu you can never do that to him. If you do anything to upset him he will punish you with grumpiness and the silence treatment that can go on for days and days. If you dare say anything he get's very angry and swears and makes threats of violence. We are always on egg shells. We have to constantly watch what we say and do. It breaks my heart as I love my father so much. He wasn't like this before. He was such a great fun dad. I just am so sad to see what he's become. I just want him to goo back to being happy. Ans I want my mum to let go of him instead of making excuses for him. He refuses to go to a doctor, saying that it's us that needs therapy. I just can't bring myself to give up on him. I just want there to be away of him seeing what he's doing to our family. If I called the police what could they actually do? mum wouldn't want me to but if I did would they even take me seriously? He doesn't physically do anything.
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He said he would use a knife on you.. they take that seriously! And next time he might
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SU 19102017, would you mind doing yourself a favor and reading what you wrote to realize the severity of what you're describing? Sometimes a situation can snowball to dangerous limits but because we're living it we don't recognize how serious and dangerous it has gotten! That's why I'm asking you to read what you wrote, as a third person, to realize how bad is bad based on what you're sharing.
Then realize you need to take action immediately.

I'd say that your father suffers from a classic case of Narcissism (read up about narcissistic and borderline personality please, you'll understand where I'm coming from), but the thing is that you say he wasn't like this before, which tells me there's something else going on. I think he definitely is suffering from either a mental illness (could be dementia combined with depression and anger), or something else is really out of balance physically; someone mentioned sugar ups and downs, also could be his thyroid -a thyroid out of balance does crazy things to a person's body and mind-, there are so many other potential reasons! But neither you or I are doctors.

So to me, the solution goes in order of relevance. Number one is safety, so your mom and you need to protect yourselves as much as you can, and you also need to get your mom onboard with helping your dad WITHOUT risking your life and sanity. That's also protecting him, because if he does something bad he'll end up in jail.

Second is helping your dad. He definitely needs to be seen by doctors asap! looking for mental and physical illnesses. Once you explain the degree of severity to any doctor (please mention the knife, hitting, etc) they might help you find options we aren't thinking about.

Are there any relatives or friends that might help with the situation? Maybe talking to him to convince him about medical help, maybe not saying for what really, just a check up or something like that.

And can you and your mom go for a trip for a while? just to be removed from the situation, to protect yourselves and to come up with a plan. Your mom needs time away from him to think clearly. Also, while the situation is not solved and when you are interacting with him, don't contradict him, don't joke around, don't even participate in a conversation as you'd usually do, even in his good days! Switch your mindset about him from "your dad who is acting crazy" to a person who's really ill and dangerous.
Just keep conversations on the surface, and if he starts getting mad, either remain calmly in silence or say I see your point dad, without sarcasm or anything. Realize you're not dealing with your 'normal dad'.

And lastly, start turning your resentment towards him into compassion (always aware of the danger though); remember he is not well. He doesn't mean to hurt you, he simply is not well. So in your heart and mind the image of your dad should,remain untouched!

God bless and good luck!!

PS. For who said you're 29 and should not be living at home, I think you are there for a reason. You can now help your mom and also your dad. Everything in life has a purpose and a reason!
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Su191: Dad’s rages are not new behavior (“realized...how much abuse Mom has taken over the years”).

I suspect you are an only child? It is typical for Mom-Dad-Only triads to somewhat operate “in their own world” — and to parentify the child to some extent. Even in higher-functioning families.

In your case (I came from something similar), you grew up knowing you weren’t like Beaver Cleaver’s family, but it was YOUR normal....and you automatically fulfilled your role as the balm and the deflector.

Then you got out. Got a taste of how to function without being anyone’s buffer. Voila — you got to just “be.” That’s hard-won, when you spend your childhood and teen years as a pawn.

Now you are back in the fold, but with the perspective of a mature adult. Your parents are firmly entrenched in old patterns.

Mom and Dad are fine with making their trainwreck your problem. But you are NOT fine with it. You learned too much, you’ve grown too much.

Paradoxically, your personal growth is also a loss. You lost your Daddy’s Girl filter. And rightly so. Nonetheless, it’s a huge shift in perpective. Redefining old memories can be painful and uncomfortable.

Dad’s escalation to physical violence is a real concern. Maybe he has cognitive/neuro issues.....maybe not.....maybe your Mom will break down and confess that he’s been beating on her for XX years.

Previous posters have given you stellar advice on how to respond to Dad’s rages; involving law enforcement as needed; your personal protection. Follow their lead.

Good luck. Stay strong and vigilant. I’m not sure what landed you back home at 29, but please do not make it your life’s work to referee your parents’ mess. 

Be safe. Detach with love. Move out as soon as feasible. (((hugs)))
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