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My family is always stressed and tense. My mom and dad are always fighting. We've been going to church and my mom is trying to learn to have a Christian relationship with God. My dad says he wants the same but he completely doesn't act like it.
He has been with other women while my parents were married (one being my boss at a job I used to work at). We do not know if it got physical or anything. He also has an anger problem. If we don't agree with him or if things don't go his way, he gets angry.
He has seriously threatened my mom on numerous occasions and has gotten violent by slamming cabinets and doors. He threw something at me a few times. I feel our household is getting worse, even though my mom thinks he's changing for the better. Personally, I think she's in denial. I don't know what to do. We filed a PFA (Protection From Abuse) after he threatened to take me and my sibling away and hide us from my mom.
She was trying to protect us. I have gotten really angry and know that I need to control my temper and I think that this advice from you could possibly help. The court ordered him to go to anger management and our family to go to a local counselor. However since then the PFA has expired and he forced his way back in and made all these promises to change.
I was never comfortable with this but it seemed he had changed for a time, now he has started to resort to his old ways again. If you have any advice on how I can help my mom and get my family out of this anger and stress I would really appreciate it.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thank you for telling your story on this site. I can tell that you really care about your family, and that you're very concerned about your dad's behavior, your mom's denial and your own anger. I'm glad you got the PFA, but as you said it expired, so you have to come up with a new plan.
Here's the deal. I think your anger is because these issues between your parents are interfering with your own personal development. I don't know how old you are, but I'm assuming you're still a minor. Your task is to focus on your own life, and let your parents deal with their own issues. The worst thing that could happen to you is for you to get further entangled in their personal and marital problems.
When one or both parents are immature (as it sounds like yours are), one or more of the kids have to grow up before their time and become a problem solver/marriage counselor. You do not want to continue with that.
I suggest you announce to your mother that you are resigning from the job of being her protector. Your new job is to give your full time and energy to living your life, getting your education, enjoying your friends and planning your future. That will help you with your anger also.
I realize it might be a lot easier said than done to pull yourself out of your parents' problems. If you are old enough and have a way to do it, the best possible thing would be for you to move out and get a place of your own with friends or extended family members.
I want you to do the writing exercises on this page, which will give you more awareness and control over your thoughts and your anger. Do those exercises daily for a few weeks, and you will definitely start to feel better.
Believe in yourself. Keep your focus straight ahead, on your own future. You are the only one who can build and create your own future.
My very best to you,
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