My parents’ relationship has broken down and it’s hard for me to know what to do. I’m seventeen so still at home while my brother is away at uni. My father has always been a controlling bully and over the years I have learnt to cope by keeping my head down and trying to please him. Our father has now made it clear he will leave us and divorce Mum, but gets furious if any of us ask dare him why. I can understand that he and Mum are unhappy together, that’s been going on for ages. But instead of just leaving, he’s stayed put, sleeps in the spare room and is full of rage all the time. He is also incredibly hostile towards my mother and keeps on telling me what an awful person she is. It’s obvious he wants me to turn against her. I think she is a caring mother and I find it so painful to listen to his his vile comments. They barely talk to each other now, except to have loud slanging matches. I try to stay out of the house as much as possible but still feel caught in the middle. I worry where we will live and what will happen to me. I have tried to raise the subject with Mum but she seems too brow-beaten to help me. I feel completely overwhelmed by the situation and don’t know what to do.
Being in the middle of divorcing parents is extremely hard and significantly worse is you have a horrid parent. Especially when one parent says cruel and unkind things about the other and you have no support and understanding. So it’s not surprising that your feelings are raw and overwhelming. It might help to find a sympathetic adult to help. Perhaps you could talk to one of your teachers and ask them or your GP to recommend a counselor. If you feel desperate you could contact Childline as they will listen and support you.
Do remember that you have had the courage to recognise and manage your father’s difficult behaviou. At the moment that you are in the middle of turmoil but it won’t go on for ever. Your parents will sort out their marriage and you will have a future. You will soon be eighteen and able to make life decisions that suit you.