While I was thinking my dad was too extra on his daddy duty, I saw my colleagues at school who had abusive fathers. Most of them felt that was how most fathers act, until they discussed with other friends, then they realized they were just been abused.
Early this year, I met one of my mentee for the first time, and I asked that question I have always wanted an answer to. I asked about her dad. She smirked, then talked about her dad like a random stranger on the street. Every description she gave showed her dad was abusive. In her words, “he will beat us to stupor for little things, and give us paracetamol tablets”.
She explained the ordeal she and her siblings went through whenever their dad visited, they always prayed he never returned home, and when he does, he physically and emotionally abused them.
I asked how she coped and how she handled the abuse. It was a sad response, everyone had to wish and pray daddy never returns home, even mummy does not have the power to stop daddy from throwing punches or using his belt on them.
Another friend shared the story of her dad while we were undergraduates. She was one of those who do not see ‘frequent calls’ as a sign of love, as a matter of fact she thinks it is only a jobless man or a man who is not rich enough that calls his children frequently. At first, I thought she spoke out of the abundance of pride in her, overtime I realized she spoke out of her experience.
A year later, she cried out to us on how her home was always hell when her dad gets angry. He could throw, hit, or do anything to anyone. He was her father, she could not do anything. She was scared of losing him, likewise she was scared of her future. Her father’s act affected her; she fell into a wrong father figure because she wanted to free herself from the prison she had been put in.
Before I gained admission, I attended a tutorial outside my home, and I had to stay in the hostel. I had a close friend whom I will call Rose. Rose was a preacher’s kid, one of those kids you would envy because of her obedience to her dad and her elders. We shared the same room, she was on the opposite bunk. One day, we talked about boys who crushed on us and those we also crushed on, and she talked about her dad. He sent her to get him an airtime down the street, unfortunately a young boy who had been admiring Rose for a while deemed it fit to walk up to her and express his feelings. Little did they know Rose’s father was watching from a far. Rose got home only to receive a slap from her dad, for talking to a guy on the street. She had to serve punishment too because her dad believed it was wrong for her to talk to any young man.
Abuse means to treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly. Unfortunately, a lot of teenagers are being abused in their house without them knowing because of our respective culture.
There are four types of abuse
1. Domestic abuse
Children from separated homes are twice as much victims of domestic abuse. When parents fight or insult each other in front of their children, it affects the child’s development
2. Physical abuse
All three stories that I shared are physical abuse. This includes punching, throwing harmful or unharmful objects at you. Using a gun, knife or any sharp object on you. Grabbing your cloth
3. Sexual abuse
This is the act of forcefully having sexual intercourse with anyone without their consent. Sexual abuse includes touching the butts, playing with the breasts, making jests about your look, and shape.
4. Emotional abuse
Victims of emotional abuse do not even know they are being abused. This includes threats, insults, humiliation and destructive criticism.
Is it possible that your dad does any of the listed abuse on you? If yes. what is the way out?
A lot of teenagers who are being abused by their dad blame themselves for being in such position. First, it is not your fault that your dad acts that way towards you.
You might have heard him tell your mum several times how you were a mistake or you were not supposed to be born. It is not your fault that your dad does not accept that you are a gift from God.
Here are a few ways to help:
1. You have to admit that it is not your fault, and find out why your dad acts that way.
The best way to get an answer is to ask your mum, she is in the best position to tell you about your dad. I mentioned how some men live with regrets, guilt, grief, shame and lots more. Your dad could be living with such too. Remember he is an improved version of your grandpa, you can also find out how his father trained him.
I lay emphasis on knowing the background story because it helps you not to judge anyone.
2. Talk to a trusted adult about it.
If your mum is around, she is in the best position to handle matters. My mentee told me how herself and her siblings told their mum how displeased they were about their father. She said that discussion made them repent on taking a drastic decision that would destroy the family forever.
You can also talk to your teachers at school. The key is getting someone you can trust enough to share such with.
3. Try as much as possible not to engage in acts that make him abuse you.
4. When he is angry, do not stay close to him. Keep your distance preferably.
5. If your dad emotionally abuses you, you might need to find out why he abuses you.
Never disrespect your dad.
5. You can also talk to a family friend who is trusted.
6. Get a coach to help you. This will help you heal faster.
Some abuse cases are best handled when you meet a coach/mentor.
I hope this helps?
Is there anything I should have mentioned but didn’t? Do leave a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post.