Dear Auntie, Is it bad that I avoid my father on family outing and trips? I’m in fear of him always yelling at me.
I don’t blame you. Who wants to be around someone who yells at them and makes them feel bad?
I’m proud of you for recognizing that something is not right and doing something about it by reaching out. That’s no small thing.
The first thing I’m going to recommend is for you to talk to a trusted adult. This can be someone in your family, a teacher, or a school counselor. Let them know what’s going on and how you feel when you’re around your dad. They may have recommendations for you as they hear more of your story like:
- Finding a mental health professional
- You can talk to your school counselor
- Tribal clinic
- Find a clinic closest to you by going to Mental Health America’s website
For the sake of understanding it, let’s talk about child abuse. Maybe when you hear this, you already have a lot of things pop up in your head, but let’s just talk about it.
Here are a few symptoms of emotional abuse, if the parent:
- Routinely ignores, criticizes, yells at, or blames child
- Plays favorites with one sibling over another
- Anger management
- A rocky relationship with other adults, or disrespect for authority
- History of violence or abuse
- Untreated mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse
Things can get complicated pretty quickly because this is your father; someone you love and might want to protect. It’s understandable to be fearful for lots of different reasons, like the fear of being blamed, or what might happen to your dad if you do tell someone.
It’s up to you to decide what you want to do. I will encourage you to think about the best ways to take care of yourself. Know that you are worth it and the sooner something is done the better chances are for things to get better.
At the very least, I want to encourage you to call:
- The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD. They can give you information and advice on what to do next
I’ll be sending you my thoughts and prayers and wishing you the very best.