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My dad with early onset abused me growing up
Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 10:27 PM
Joined: 12/26/2020
Posts: 2

Hi there. I am a 22 year old college student who lives with my parents.My dad has had some form of unknown dementia since he was 53. He was showing the signs since I was a young child, but things officially were wrong when I turned 12. My dad has verbally, emotionally and physically abused me since his diagnosis, and even a little bit before. Events included him burning my belongings, throwing milk in my face and forcing me to go to school with it, lots of foul language, gaslighting, and him going to my doctors appointments to ensure I do not ask for psychological help. He often would do this when my mom wasn't around, and would automatically switch to acting like nothing happened when my mom came around. Ten years have gone by, and my dad is in the moderate stage. Because of the trauma I went through with him, I have a lot of trouble being there for him and showing sympathy for him. I resent the way he treated me and has continued to treat me. Something deep down tells me the abuse isn't dementia related. I hate to put a label on it and say the dementia was the reason for my abuse, and I tend to believe the dementia isn't an excuse for his actions. It's hard to forgive someone when they continuously do the thing you are trying to forgive them for. I feel like the world's worst daughter who only has craved her dad's support for so many years. How can I learn to separate the two? Having a parent this sick at such a young age (him and I) is extremely isolating and I have only met 2 other people my age who have a sick parent. Not one has one who has been sick AND abusive. Luckily, my mom is now well aware of the abuse since my dad now openly does it in front of her without thinking twice.  I am now getting psychological help to better understand how I'm feeling, but I still can't get myself to forgive.

A few years ago I have learned that my dad very well could have had ADHD/OCD that was hidden by his side of the family. My dad has been known in my family to be a compulsive liar, manipulator, and someone who makes very selfish and irrational decisions quickly without thinking of the consequences. The worse he gets, the more my mom and I wonder if there was something more severely wrong with him that was just hidden and masked away. The more I learn about his past, the more I notice of how a...different kind of person he was. It's strange how these were warning signs that we never knew were warning signs for something more serious. 

Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2020 11:29 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18042

Look up Adult Children of Alcoholics.  It will help you in your journey to healing.  

Iris L.

Posted: Sunday, December 27, 2020 11:03 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 20903

Hi JK.....was your father's diagnosis made by following current protocol and is he under the care of a neurologist?
Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2020 9:35 AM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608


You are not alone. His abuse was wrong and you do not have to forgive him to find peace. People who have not had abusive parents don't quite understand the legacy.

There are new methods of handling the wounds. One part I learned is to acknowledge my ability to feel compassion for those who harmed me and at same time to know I have a right to avoid those who abuse me.

You don't owe him anything. The wounded person does not have to heal the abuser.

From your words it is clear you have an open heart and strive to be kind.

I hope you find peace in knowing how much you wanted a loving relationship with your Dad, that you deserve better, and now that you are grown up you can decide who in your future you allow close to you.

I try to "tend my wounds" rather than get rid of them or overcome them and I am old, yet most days I have a memory of my parents betrayal and cruelty. When the memory comes to me I tell myself "I did my best to be a good daughter, to show my love. They missed out on enjoying who I am. My life is my own to make in this moment and from now on." As a child I could not protect myself, even now I cut off people who undermine me, who complain I can't have dementia because I can write my thoughts clearly some hours.  You are living a situation that is temporary. Get your degree, be proud of yourself.

The advice on alcoholics is smart, free and available online. 

Hugs to you. Dementia is weird and no one even knows what causes it. You can't end his rage, it is not your job to end it. That you wish you could is beautiful and who you are.

love and courage