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    Suggest ways to deal with aggressive behaviour in a father

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Posted on Wed, 1 Jun 2016 in General Health
Question: I've been struggling with something serious for quite some time-

1. My father is 75 years old & for the last 35 years my father has abused alcohol
2. he was very emotionally abusive towards me & my family when we all lived under the same roof when I was younger.
3. When I got older I left home & have been afraid to ever return- although I do visit the city my parents live in often.
4. Throughout my life I was close to my mother - but that closeness to her - meant that I had to watch my father drink himself to oblivion daily & be exposed to his mistreatment & emotional abuse
5. My mother longs to have a relationship with me & urges me to visit her often
6. Recently I have visited my parents but chosen to stay in a hotel.
7. I also fear that my father's health is deteriorating but he continues to abuse alcohol & nothing that I can say will stop him from this lifestyle. It's very painful to watch him slowly kill himself with this destructive lifestyle
6. How can I have a relationship with my mother & the rest of my family - but still avoid the hurt & pain that feel every time I spend time near my father?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe 15 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Consultation

Detailed Answer:
Hello, and thanks for your question.

I'm sorry you are going through so much right now. Here are my thoughts.

You mention fear and pain when thinking about how your father is drinking himself to death. These are of course very human reactions -- but I think it is important to remember a couple important points. First, your father dying does not undo the emotional pain and abuse he has caused you throughout your life. Second, you have done all you can to help him -- alcoholics must make the decision themselves to stop drinking, and there is nothing anyone else can do.

Given your father's unwillingness to change and his history of emotional abuse towards you and your family, it is perfectly reasonable to try to maintain a relationship with those family members who have a loving relationships with you, such as your mother. Visiting and staying in a hotel is a perfectly reasonable strategy -- many people do this. You should make it clear when you visit that you are there to see your mother and the rest of your family, and it is okay to set the boundary that you do not want to interact with your father until he seeks treatment for alcohol abuse. This may seem or appear harsh, but given your father's history, it actually isn't. This is a common ultimatum we suggest to families dealing with chronic alcoholics. And this is likely the only way to maintain a relationship with the rest of your family.

I hope this was helpful to you. Please remember to rate and close this answer when you are finished and satisfied.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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Answered by
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Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2014

Answered : 2242 Questions

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