Can you help me deal with a dad who is a very angry and abusive person? He's never been physically violent, but he bad-mouths my mom, my sister, and me almost constantly. I'd move out if I was old enough, but I'm not. What can I do?
We understand why you're worried about your family's situation. Though there hasn't been any physical violence up to now, things could take a turn for the worse without much warning.
That's why we believe it's important for your whole family to get professional help as soon as possible. You or your mother could start by contacting our Counseling department here at Focus. After discussing your concerns with you over the phone, our counselors will provide referrals to licensed family counselors in your area.
If your dad is not willing to participate in counseling, it would still be a good idea for you, your mom, and any siblings in your home to get individual and family counseling. Among other things, this could help you learn how to appropriately respond to your dad's behavior and prevent uncontrolled conflict. You should also find an adult male mentor – possibly an older man in your church – who will be able to encourage you and guide you in your life decisions.
In the meantime, we'd like to recommend a couple of helpful resources. The first is the book Fool-Proofing Your Life by Jan Silvious, and it's available through our online store. The second, Boundaries in Marriage, by Drs. John Cloud and Henry Townsend, will provide your mom with some much needed emotional support during this challenging time in your lives. It, too, can be ordered through our online store.
Healing the Wounds of Emotional Abuse