I've had many episodes of full withdrawal from the family because I cannot face my father. Last night was another one of those episodes. We were eating dinner with the family when I made small talk about telling them about my trip to Sydney. All of it was paid by me. I am financially independent except for the fact that I'm still living with them (although I'm paying for my own share of the rent and utilities).

Then my father looks at me and starts yelling. He goes about saying that I should not have made plans. He said that as long as I live in his house, everything should be ran through them. He goes on and on and says that he is very disappointed with me, with the face that I have been scared of all of my life. He calls me worthless and a big mistake.

I have had enough and I'll be moving out. But moving out takes time. For now, I'm avoiding them as much as I can.

Earlier this evening for dinner, he goes off to my room yelling that I should eat at the dining table. I bought my own dinner so as to avoid them. Take note that he is still yelling and angry. At this point, I am too scared. I put my headphones on, focus back on my PC while eating, and he slams the door the strongest he can. And goes off yelling that I am the worst there is.

Doors in Australia generally don't have locks, so I have put my drum set (bought with 100% my money) to block the door. I no longer feel safe.

I have a theory about what he's thinking. He might be thinking that I'm purposefully making him angry by not following his instructions (not going to the dining table even if he said so), but the truth is, I'm too scared of him to even stand up.

I'm sorry if this isn't a question about parenting, but rather, about families. I don't think I have any other one to talk to this about, other than friends who would just say "You can do it" or "Just move out". I was hoping for a more in-depth answer that could help me.

I no longer feel secure and safe in my own bed. For the past few months, I occasionally dream of arguing with him, beating him up and sometimes end up killing him.

I need help.

I don't think he's going to physically hurt me, but I am emotionally and mentally beaten down. I still have the police emergency line ready, though.

  • 4
    Have you ever actually told him that he scares you when he is yelling and that is the reason why you are avoiding him ? Mar 10, 2015 at 13:33
  • 4
    @jeroen_de_schutter How should I go about doing that, when I'm too scared to tell him? Anyway, to answer your question, no. I haven't told him that.
    – Zaenille
    Mar 10, 2015 at 13:57
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    To get a vague idea of your options: Do you have any friends who could take you in for a week or two, and what is the bare minimum of things you would be willing to move out with? Is, in theory "Pack a few bags, get in a car and leave" an option, or would you be left with a) absolutely NO place to go or b) leaving behind objects you would NEVER part with? This IS an extreme option, but once you know what the most extreme action you would take is, finding the workable one sometimes is easier.
    – Layna
    Mar 10, 2015 at 15:07
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    I am so sorry you are going through this. No one deserves to be treated this way. For some people with an irrational fear of abandonment, hearing that a family member is going on a trip can trigger an extreme emotional response. I would recommend having some friends help you when you move out, he will be less likely to behave this way in front of others. When you can, go talk to a therapist about this. They will help give you some perspective on what has happened without judging you. Take care of yourself.
    – parent
    Sep 16, 2015 at 17:45
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    Also something I noticed in the way you speak that my parents misled me into believing is too: you speak a lot about how you have your own money and "paid for you drums yourself". It doesn't actually matter how you got them, how you maid money or who paid for them. People shouldn't disrespect property or another person just based on "who paid for things".
    – snowchym
    Feb 1, 2017 at 3:35

6 Answers 6


This is a situation where it pays to know people. If you have friends you can hang out with, then you could spend increasing amounts of time with them while waiting to find a new place to live.

Not everyone currently has enough friends that they can spend most of their time away from the house under that premise. However, that doesn't mean you're out of luck, it just means you need to put yourself out there in other ways.

For instance:

  • You could start volunteering
  • You could start running/jogging/walking
  • You could find a local Dungeons & Dragons/Tabletop/Card Game group and join them
  • You could work a low-stress 2nd job
  • You could spend time at the library

The goal here is to find a productive alternative to being at home and becoming a self-inflicted hermit. Avoidance may work a little bit when you're at home, but becoming a shut in is not a healthy solution. The examples I listed about will help improve your social or physical health, without costing you money. Use those facts as motivators, "If I do this, then I don't have to be home, and it won't cost me money I'm saving for an apartment."

As you're increasingly away from the house, with positive "excuses", your family will have to adjust. It may not necessarily get better, but if you're polite and reasonable, then at least you can leave (eventually) knowing you were fully in the right.

That is a short-term solution for dealing with the anxiety of being around your father.

In the long term, I echo @Dariusz in that you should seek counseling. A professional can help you manage your anxiety in healthy ways, and maybe help you get a different perspective on what's going on in this situation. You don't want to go through life where anxiety is triggered by a man raising his voice or demeaning you. Right now it may only be your father, but sometimes when anxiety is left unchecked it grows increasingly easy to trigger. You want to avoid a scenario where you become a recluse at work, or even quit, because a boss snaps at you now and then.

In the meantime, I also suggest studying anxiety and methods of coping with anxiety. I believe it's pretty clear you're suffering from some type of anxiety, and the best way to combat it is to be aware of it. Recognizing your symptoms as symptoms is a major part of overcoming anxiety.

  • 2
    I only just now thought to add... If you also suffer from a form a social anxiety, it will obviously make some of my suggestions much more difficult. So, I want to reemphasize the need to figure out what your anxiety type is, so you can adjust your techniques.
    – user11394
    Mar 10, 2015 at 18:04

As you said, it's an emotional problem. Since there was no history of physical violence you don't have to fear for your life or health.

When shouted upon try to calm yourself (yeah, easy to say, I know) and realize that your father holds no influence over you and that whatever he says is actually irrelevant. You don't look up to such a person, do you?

Go on with your life and try to speed up leaving this toxic house, create a home of your own where you'll feel safe and happy.

Talking to a psychologist may be a good idea. I'd avoid medication, but a few therapy sessions may help you realize what you actually feel and fear, and thus help you understand and handle those feelings.

Lemon balm tea may be good to drink once or twice a day. It has mild calming effect and is natural and perfectly safe (even small children can drink it in reasonable amounts). A cup before you go to sleep may help you sleep through the night.

We're with you. Be strong.


I hope that you've found a living situation where you feel safe by now. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home, and I hope you always make that your first priority. A couple thoughts: First, where is your mom? My guess is that she also feels beaten down and controlled, and isn't much support. Second, you are 20 which is a time of transition from adolescence to adulthood. This threatens many fathers who mistakenly believe they need to control everything that goes on in their home, and who may be depressed, angry or even heavy drinkers who are emotionally unstable. Please Google and educate yourself about "paternalism." You've gotten lots of good suggestions already. I would suggest you begin saving to live on your own which is a bigger priority than drums and travel, as safe housing is always #1. You can check out "Debtor's Anonymous" on-line to learn helpful money habits that will benefit you the rest of your life, and help you learn to wisely plan for both the necessities and fun stuff we all want. Being self supporting is how you will solve this problem. Your house, your rules. Good luck!

  • I'm sorry to hear what you are going through. You got alot of answers, one thing I want to add. You need to know yourself what are your priorities: Do you want to cut off completely with your father, or do you want to mend the relationship. Once you have that clear you can cut whichever way you choose. Living in a state uncertainty make matter even worse. I hope your situation will change for the better speedily.
    – Nachmen
    Jan 30, 2016 at 18:18

The situation is too complex to offer a simple answer. Any answer I gave as a definitive course of action would almost certainly misinterpret certain facts, and the response I will give certainly runs the risk of doing that anyway.

Other people gave you thoughtful, and pragmatic answers, that may suit you just fine, and may be the appropriate course of action.

You may never ever need to stand up to your dad. That he calls you "worthless" is indicative to me that perhaps standing up to him will be an exercise in futility.

However, that said, you will always have to live in your own skin. In my experience, avoidance as a strategy tends to weigh on a person. It isn't always the case, but your dad is far from the last difficult person you will have to interact with, and the muscle you will strengthen by summing up the courage to find a way to have a powerful conversation with your father will come in handy in the future.

I don't know what it should look like, and I recommend you get interactive coaching from someone who knows you and ideally knows your father.

I applaud whatever you do, because I know you are in a difficult situation.

Whatever you do, try and do what will have integrity for you. Fear is always temporary, but sometimes when you avoid confronting fear for too long, you end up turning the person you are afraid of into a monster.


You say "I no longer feel secure and safe in my own bed",

but then say

"I am financially independent"?

Then you have lots of choices. All of them are called "LEAVE". All other options are just you making excuses to stay. Leave, then decide how you want to continue a relationship with your father.

There are no magic answers awaiting you. You need to take action.


Sometimes increasing tensions between parent and child are nature's way of pushing us out of the nest.

If you are already paying rent at home, and have enough money to plan a trip, maybe you'd be better off cancelling the trip and using the money to find another place to live immediately, rather than in the future.

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