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not sure what to do now

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2021 8:25 am
by Firefly
My dad is normally quite chill and while he does snap occasionally he has never physically hit me since I was a kid (it was his generations way of discipline)
But yesterday we were having a stupid fight over beans and he grabbed my wrist and it really, really hurt, so I hit him off me. I was really upset, especially since my abusive brother (codename: Justine) was in earshot.
I wanted to make it clear that I wasn't going to accept that kind of behaviour, and I wasn't going to tolerate people using physical force against me so I said to my dad I was going to stay somewhere else tonight and if anyone else in this house touches me again I won't be coming back and I will be calling the police. I wanted to say that so Justine would overhear it and not get any ideas.
My dad apologised to me and told me that he thought I was going to throw the beans at him because Justine threw a can of coke at him earlier in the week (which I didn't know.) I explained to my dad that I would never physically hurt anyone and I am sorry that he has been hurt by Justine enough to be scared that me (a 5"2 noodle armed person) would hit at him (a 6"0 broad shouldered, ex-football player)
But even though he apologised I said out loud that I had to leave the house and even though I didn't /want/ to leave the house I thought it was important to show how serious I was about not tolerating physical violence. If Justine wasn't in earshot I probably would have stayed, but I wanted to make that point to him.
I stayed the night at my friends, left early in the morning because she had to work, went to the library, treated myself to a hot lunch and went home. When I went home my dad didn't say hi to me, or even acknowledge I walked in.

I'm really worried I've made a mistake in leaving, and I'm even more worried I've hurt my dad. We've been quite close recently which is new for me as I've never been close to either of my parents before, and I would hate to ruin that.

I need advice on what to do next.

(Side note, my dad doesn't know Justine was abusive to me. It was when I was a teenager. My mum knew at the time but told me to forget about it, so I repressed it for a while. And now I'm dealing with those emotions in therapy.)

Re: not sure what to do now

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2021 10:46 am
by Siân
Hi Firefly,

I'm sorry that your dad hurt you, that wasn't okay, whatever Justine has done in the past. Reading the rest of your post though, I can honestly say I was cheering for you - it sounds like you were great at setting a boundary and following through to look after yourself.

I don't think you made a mistake in leaving. If your dad has a negative reaction to this it is definitely on him, you haven't ruined anything. You asked about what to do next; my first question to you is what outcome are you looking for?

Perhaps you're wanting to resolve the tension with your dad, which would be totally understandable but I hope doesn't come at the cost of standing by your actions. It's okay to open up a conversation with him about what happened without that meaning you need to apologise - does that make sense?

Re: not sure what to do now

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2021 11:12 am
by Firefly
Thank you, I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing so I'm glad setting a boundary was positive.

I do want to resolve the tension with my dad, while standing by my actions. How do you think is best to open up that conversation?

Re: not sure what to do now

Posted: Wed Oct 20, 2021 1:09 pm
by aven1861
Hi! firefly :) I'm so sorry you got hurt in your past and present. No one deserves that and I'm sorry you're going through this. I don't have much experience with this but I will say have your discussion in a public place like a cafe so there are people nearby to step in so nothing gets aggressive.That way it might feel safer to talk. Best of luck! you got this!! :)

Re: not sure what to do now

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2021 10:36 am
by Sam W
Hi Firefly,

I wonder, do you think you could explain things to him similarly to how you explained them to us here? Including the fact that part of your reaction was to reinforce the boundary you need to keep yourself safe from Justine (and in general) and that you don't want to lose the closeness you have with your dad but that you also need to (and have the right to) keep yourself safe. Too, have you and your dad had arguments or conflicts that you resolved before? If so, how did those resolutions come about?

I also want to check; is your brother aggressive towards everyone in the house? Given what you've told us, and his past actions towards, it seems like he's been violent with several family members. Is that something the rest of you have discussed as a family with an eye towards making the house safe for everyone?