Reconnect with Abusive Dad?
Joan Jerkovich - October 31, 2013 7:00 am
My dad was emotionally and physically abusive when I was growing up. He wants to have a relationship with me now. Should I get back in touch with him?
My motherly instinct upon reading your question was to answer with a big Noooooo! That, however, is not fair to you or your father. It’s just a protective reaction, but a good place to start with an answer.
Only you can decide if you want to get back in touch with him, but here are some guidelines to follow if you do. Most importantly, protect yourself from harm. While there could be a risk of him physically abusing you when you reconnect, my guess is that your greatest risk will be for him to throw emotional jabs at you. Words hurt, especially when they come from a parent or someone you expect love from. I’ve advised other Life Coaching callers who struggle with this same issue to reconnect in a public place, such as a restaurant. Make sure there are people around. A common ploy of abusers of all types is to abuse in private and charm in public. If you find yourself around him in a more private venue, know that you can escape his presence if he starts reverting back to his nasty old self. Even nasty abusers can usually be nice for a short period of time, so plan your escape for when the batteries on his nice, charming guy are heading toward black out.
When you first meet up, you might want to carry this emergency list of “Personal Power Tactics” with you for quick reference:
- Meet in public
- Make sure other people are present
- Don’t ever be alone
- Keep meetings short
- Plan your escape
- Stay away from personal topics
- Talk about the damn weather
- Leave if he gets nasty
- Leave if you feel uncomfortable
- If he lays a hand on you, call the police
Please know that your father’s problems are not caused by you! You did nothing to deserve his abuse!! If there is hope for a deeper relationship in which you can feel safe with him, you will first have to see him fully dedicated to years and years of counseling. Prayers…
Embrace Your Personal Power with Life Coaching~
- How would you answer your own question on “should I get back in touch with him”?
- What has to happen, how do you have to feel, to feel strong enough to reconnect with your abusive father?
- How will you know when the time is right for you, and not just him (because he’s asking), to reconnect?
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