The unfair mistreatment you may have received from your father can take an agonizing toll on your life. Whether you were aware of it or not, abuse comes in many different forms- even from the people who we once trusted. Recognizing you have an abusive father is the first step to dealing with the scars it’s left you, and healing yourself from it.
Separating yourself from your father is the first required step. Being in a safe environment, limiting contact, and sometimes going extra measures might be needed. Once he’s temporarily gone, it’s time to do the inner work needed to heal from the pain he’s left you. This is an extremely hard process, so don’t feel pressured that there’s a time-frame on how long to give yourself to be angry/upset/hurt.
The reminiscence left from an abusive upbringing strips your identity, morphs your beliefs, and removes all sense of trust, love, and peace you may feel inside. Often times, people can go years without contact from their abusive father- before preparing to heal themselves. Other times, people will die holding that resentment.
Tend To Yourself
When learning how to deal with an abusive father, you must first learn how to deal with yourself first. In simple terms, dealing with yourself first is a good starting point in the healing process. It’ll help you assess your feelings towards your father, recognize how identified with the abuse you feel, and understand if you’re ready to move on from it.
Dealing with yourself first also means:
- You’re willing to understand how this abuse has shaped your life (Beliefs, the way you treat others, how you think about yourself);
- You are prepared to observe the abuse your father has committed, and are open to seeing it from a different perspective;
- You’ve taken the measures to work on regaining self-love, respect, and fill the void the abuse has left you with.
Inner-Work is Needed
If you jump into dealing with your father first; attempting to seek answers, begging him to give you forgiveness, or looking at ways to change him- you’ll only be doing a disservice to yourself.
You should attempt to recognize that the easiest way to deal with someone else, is first to understand yourself. You might not even realize, but having an abusive father can heavily shift your identity.
We can become identified with the abuse, therefore, making the way we deal with him much more complicated for ourselves. And if you’re not at the stage of being ready to move on, many times people prefer to hold onto that anger because they know nothing else.
For this alone, you can see how doing the inner-work first is the best way you can learn how to deal with an abusive father. Because once the inner-work has begun, dealing with him an abusive father comes naturally and painlessly.
*If you’re experiencing physical abuse from your father, please reach out to someone for help- otherwise, click here for a list of International Helplines*
Signs of An Abusive Father
Abusive fathers can take on numerous different forms. Therefore, you need to understand that there’s no “one size fits all”. Find below a list of signs an abusive father may display:
Manipulative and Condescending
An abusive father can show signs of being manipulative or condescending. He might speak to you in a way that’s childlike (specifically if you’re a legal adult) and attempt to manipulate you for his benefit.
If your father is manipulative, he’s using psychological control as an act of dominance, power, or selfishness. He might try to demolish your self-esteem, make you feel guilty, or use your fears against you.
A manipulative and condescending father will alter the truth to make himself appear better. And in return, you’ll feel less-than or unworthy as a result.
Your father is abusive if he has physically hurt you. Physical abuse can range from whipping, hitting, punching, beating, or any other physical form of battery.
Physical violence is no better or worse than emotional abuse. However, it certainly is a traumatic experience to overcome.
Usually, there are no tale-tell signs that your father is about to unleash his abuse on you. He might be drunk, upset, or view you as a punching bag for demons that he’s fighting.
Unfortunately, physical violence remains misunderstood by many people– as hitting and slapping are commonalities in many cultures and religions.
If you ever feel affected by the physical violence you may have received from your father, please don’t hesitate to seek help.
Degrading comments is another strong indication that you have an abusive father. Humiliating you on purpose to shaming you over something insignificant, are signs of an abusive father.
He may have also been frequently negative towards you and put you down whenever he had the chance, including regular passive aggression towards you.
Healing From an Abusive Father
The task of healing from an abusive father has no time-frame. It’s physically exhausting and an extremely emotional process, with bumps at every corner. However, the sooner you heal yourself from the reminisce left after the emotional abuse- the quicker you can let go of it in the name of love and compassion.
Recognize What Is
By recognizing what is, you’ll then be able to shift your emotions you have towards specific experiences that left you extremely hurt (due to the abuse from your father.)
Many times, abusive parents (-your father included) were subject to abuse when they were young or experienced significant childhood trauma also.
Recognizing can help you feel less identified with what has happened to you, and understand why your abusive father may have acted the way he did to you.
During traumatic and painful events in our lives, it can subconsciously make us resent ourselves. Even if what was happening to us wasn’t our fault.
It’s essential that during the healing process that you forgive yourself; Forgive yourself for holding onto this pain for so long and allow yourself to be free from it.
During meditation, envision yourself during those frightening moments, and visualize your present self both holding and hugging onto your past self with love.
Stop Identifying With Your Trauma
The more you stop identifying with your trauma, the easier it’ll be for you to heal from your abusive father.
Slowly removing emotions, unanswered questions and anger/hurt/pain around such events are ways that can help you shift your identity.
Watch this video on How to Avoid Getting Lost in Suffering:
Feel The Pain and Visualize Letting it Go
Another technique spiritualists use to heal their inner-trauma is through visualization. Allow yourself to feel the pain (physically, emotionally, or both) and watch it disappear into the sky.
Using mindfulness practices and guided meditation can help you learn how to deal with an abusive father and proceed along the healing process.
Give Yourself Time
Healing from an abusive father doesn’t magically occur over-night (-although you wish it did.) Give yourself time to actively work on this healing. And remain open to the indefinite time-frame it’ll take for you to be happy.
Don’t limit yourself to specific deadlines, and don’t force yourself to feel happy around your abusive father when you don’t. When possible, spend moments every day healing your inner-trauma.
Take deep breaths, repeat positive affirmations, and remind yourself how loved you are. (With your father in your life or not.)
Doing this will help you deal with having an abusive father, and everything else that comes with that.
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