March 13, 2020 at 11:28 am #343078
Good day to all. I have been dealing with tough situations lately during this period, and would greatly need your advice on this. Forgive me on the long post.
A little background, my parents divorced since I was a kid (3-4 y/o) and I have been living with my paternal parent (dad) and his relatives since then. My dad does not plan for his future, does not plan for his financial, and does not really work hard. Since being a kid I have been struggling with his debts, I have been moving from relatives to relatives as his debts have caused debtors to come to our house and collect money in a very scary and abusive way.
I always vowed to study very hard and work hard to be financially stable as I do not want to live the life upon seeing an irresponsible parent living his life in such a bad situation. I managed to graduate with the help of my relatives (they are doing pretty well with family business) and I am currently working. With that being said, life was never easy. My self-esteem was very low as I always being teased by my relatives (even cousins) and I can sense the double standard treatment I received from my relatives among my other cousins. This haunted me as a kid but it started to get better once I managed to find a job and work a living.
I started taking part time jobs in uni and living in the fear of debtors will come and burn the house etc., finally I managed to graduate, found a job and earn a living to sustain myself and my father. I have been repaying his car loans for nearly 5 years till the loan settlement finished, taking in charge of household utilities bill that you can name of and sometimes my father would threaten me if I did not give him enough money. I have a partner for 2 years and so far still ok despite living stress-fully with my dad. My dad is verbally abusive and would curse me any time if I do not give him what he demands (mostly money).
Last month my dad was diagnosed with stroke hence he is not able to move, we (me & partner) took care of him during his hospitalisation with the help of my relatives. After few days discharged, my partner temporarily stayed with us to help out on taking care of him. I recalled there was one night it was pretty late and I could not find the things my dad wanted me to get for him, and he cursed and yelled at me. My partner (let’s name him F) was there and he stopped him from shouting by pointing finger asking him to stop, but my dad ended up cursing and yelled at F instead.
Things turned ugly since then, now we have to currently stay at relative’s house while I go to work. F moved out as my relatives don’t want them to stay with me. The house we’ve been staying is not our house as you know my dad never really is a dad.. And from young I could not feel the love from the family as I always feel mistreated compared to other kids. My dad badmouthed about F in front of relatives and hence they really dislike him now. He self-victimised himself, creating more drama that cause the hatred towards F more.
My relatives ‘threatened’ me that since F is such a hot- tempered person, if I choose to go with him I better not come back crying to them (relatives) and beg them for any help. I admit that F is not the perfect partner but he has always been there for me at my tough times typically handling my dad’s abusive environment. F told me recently that he doesn’t really care about my dad anymore as he tried his best but my dad keep treating us (me and F) impolitely. He couldn’t stand it further. Just fyi, even I was hospitalised 1.5 years back, my dad didn’t bother much and F was the one who took care of me. we did the chores together. Took care of me when I was sick.
I really plan to move out with F or move out myself soon as I could not stand the pressure. My mental and health conditions starting to worsen and I cannot focus on my work. F told me to leave this toxic environment but I can still feel some guilt to leave my father. However over the 20+ years I really have had enough of his drama. I saved up really hard, when he demands for money I give him he is fine otherwise he would curse me. He also hit me few times before. I feel drained and helpless, being in Asian culture we are meant to be filial but I am starting to lose hope in myself. If I move out the relatives threatened that I never come back anymore. While living in fear daily that those debtors would come and burn down my house as I have a lot of things there. Is it ok to leave everything behind and start my own life?
Appreciate your advice. Thank you in advance for reading this far.March 13, 2020 at 12:47 pm #343178
You shared that after your parents divorced when you were 3 or 4, you lived with your father and his relatives. Because your father has not been financially responsible, you had to move “from relatives to relatives as his debts have caused debtors to come to our house and collect money in a very scary and abusive way”.
Relatives who were doing well with their family business helped you go to university and graduate and you are currently working. But even though they helped you get to a place where you are educated and employed, your relatives treated you in lesser ways than they treated their own kids, even teasing you.
You managed to repay your father’s car loan in five years, pay the household utility bills, but your father is not grateful, instead, “my father would threaten me if I did not give him enough money.. My dad is verbally abusive and would curse me any time if I do not give him what he demands (mostly money)”.
Your father had a stroke, you and your partner of two years, F, took care of your father, but as his pattern is, he cursed and yelled at you and at F. You are currently staying at a relative’s house, without F, because your father bad mouthed F and your relatives dislike F as a result.
Your relatives “‘threatened’ me that since F is such a hot- tempered person, if I choose to go with him I better not come back crying to them (relatives) and beg them for any help.. If I move out the relatives threatened that I never come back anymore”. You asked: “Is it ok to leave everything behind and start my own life?”
My answer: yes, it will be okay. It will be better than okay. In fact it will be very much not okay if you stay in this lifetime abuse. No wonder F is angry- anger is a natural consequence of being abused. Your father abused him-> he felt anger. When we are abused, cursed at, yelled at, especially when we are trying to help the abuser, we get angry.
Your relatives are blaming F because he is not family and they protect your father, because he is family. They mistreated you throughout the years (treating you as less-than) because you were a child/ a very young person, and they protected your father because he was an older person.
The tradition practiced by your relatives, of protecting the abuser and threatening the abused, protecting the adult and harming the child is despicable. It is not a tradition that you should be loyal to.
Your father has no moral rights on you, you owe him nothing.
Leave them all and join F because he has been there for you, he was kind to you. It is not an imperfection on his part that he got angry at your father- it was a consequence of your father selfishness and cruelty.
I understand you feeling guilty. Your feeling of guilt has to do with that filial teaching you mentioned. What we are told as children (to be loyal to family) sticks, that’s where the guilt comes from. But talk sense to yourself every time you feel guilty. In your case, you owe nothing to your father or to your relatives.
Leave them all in a way that is safe for you and for F. See to it that your father and relatives do not hurt you or F as you leave them. Make a safe life for yourself away from them and do not look back.
anitaMarch 13, 2020 at 11:00 pm #343246
I would like to thank you so much for your reply. I am currently out of home, allow me to update you when I am back. Before that, I would like to seek advice from Anita and others here, is it normal to have such parents abusive attitude in the family? Or my case is very abnormal..? WOULD APPRECIATE IF ALL CAN SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES ON HOW TO FACE THEM.
March 14, 2020 at 7:33 am #343276
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by Gw3n.
Thank you for your reply again, reading your words really warms my heart. I showed F your reply too and we felt so grateful that there is actually someone out there who deeply cares for us. With all the pressure on me by relatives, father and the argument between F and him, I have been withholding my anxiety and stress for almost 3 weeks. So thank you again for that.
I kind of quarrelled with my relatives today as I told them that I am meeting F later. They warned me that if F never come and apologize to them, they will not give blessing to us during our marriage and they reiterated that I am a heartless person.
One of my father’s elder sisters actually told me if I am that heartless to leave him behind they are okay to take care of me but I will be completely out of this family (my grandparents have 12 children including my father); However another aunt told me that if I intend to leave, please bring my father along and take care of him because they mentioned that it indeed is my responsibility.
As my father is not working anymore and I am afraid that I would not be able to afford his living expenses (aside from daily expenses, medical check-up, long term medications as he has no insurance coverage). They said it is a child’s responsibility and please don’t ever think of leaving your parent behind.
Aside from the financial stress, I feel very stressed out when I think of living with him as well as he is very hot- tempered with a lot of foul words. Just now when I drove him home he kept scolding me on the road and I felt very angry (I just got my car licence not long ago although I am 5 years working; due to phobia last time as my uni mate was not aware of the red light and banged another car). Just to update you, recently I tested my blood pressure and I am slightly hypertension as I can always feel my heart beats very fast since he admitted. I am very worried that I may breakdown any time.
I cannot picture living together with him and moreover F already mentioned that he does not wish to stay with toxic people. Should I leave F and stay in this toxic environment as I am not financially ready to support him fully? Appreciate your advice.
Gwen.March 14, 2020 at 7:42 am #343278
You are welcome. You asked: “is it normal to have such parents abusive attitude in the family? Or my case is very abnormal..?
My answer: abusive parents are common. Your father is uncommon because of the combination of the following long term features: financial irresponsibility, extreme selfishness, verbal aggression, some physical aggression, misusing his own daughter for money/ enslaving her (demanding her to provide him with money, and demanding it aggressively, with no gratitude but a sense of entitlement).
In old times, hundreds of years ago, it was not illegal for parents to kill their children for any reason. Parents had full ownership of their children: feed them or not, do to them anything they wish, kill them if they so wish to do. Over time, society evolved and killing one own’s children is illegal. It is illegal to not feed a child and it is illegal to abuse a child in many countries, if not in all. So legally, in much of the world, parents don’t completely own their children, they have to abide by law.
Some societies, depending on parents’ education, are less evolved. Seems like in your father’s mind, as well as your relatives’, a child is still owned by a parent, not only as a child, but as an adult. So your father, believing that he owns you, does as he pleases. He doesn’t even think that he needs to be nice to you so to get your money and services. In his mind, he owns you and you are his slave.
I am guessing that within your culture there are good parents.. even if they don’t have to be good by law or society’s ethics and norms. They care for their children, so they are kind to them. Your father seems to have zero empathy for you, seeing you as an object that he owns, not a living-thinking-feeling human being.
anitaMarch 14, 2020 at 10:35 am #343300
I mentioned you being your father’s slave. I want to expand on that.
Wikipedia in an entry on Slavery reads: “In a broader sense, however, the word slavery may also refer to any situation in which an individual is de facto (practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws) forced to work against their own will. Scholars also use the more generic terms such as unfree labor or forced labor to refer to such situations.. Slavery existed in many cultures, dating back to early human civilizations. A person could become enslaved from the time of their birth, capture, or purchased. Slavery was legal in most societies at some time in the past but is now outlawed in all recognized countries. The last country to officially abolish slavery was Mauritania in 1981. Nevertheless, there are an estimated 40.3 million people worldwide subject to some form of modern slavery… In other areas, slavery continues through practices such as debt bondage, the most widespread form of slaver today”
Wikipedia’s entry on Debt bondage reads: “Debt bondage, also known as debt slavery or bonded labor, is the pledge of a person’s services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation, where the terms of the repayment are not clearly or reasonably stated.. Freedom is assumed on debt repayment. The services required to repay the debt may be undefined, and the services’ duration may be undefined, thus allowing the person supposedly owed the debt to demand services indefinitely.
Currently, debt bondage is the most common method of enslavement with an estimated 8.1 million people bonded to labor.. The practice is still prevalent primarily in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa… It is predicted that 84 to 88% of the bonded laborers in the world are in South Asia… Figures by the Human Right Watch in 1999 are drastically higher estimating 40 million workers, composed mainly of children, are tied to labor through debt bondage in India alone.
Wikipedia’s entry on Involuntarily servitude reads: “Involuntary servitude or involuntary slavery is a United States legal and constitutional term for a person laboring against that person’s will to benefit another, under some form of coercion…involuntary servitude does not necessarily connote the complete lack of freedom experienced in chattel slavery (“Chattel slavery, also called traditional slavery, is so named because people are treated as chattel, personal property, of the owner and are bought and sold as commodities).”
My thoughts; your father and your relatives treat you de facto like a slave, aka an involuntary servant, aka a debt slave, all different terms that mean that you are expected to labor for your father/ relatives so to repay a debt (food, clothes, shelter provided to you as a child, plus university costs) while the terms of repayment were never specified, a contract of debt and payment was never discussed and agreed upon, so what happens, is that you are expected to repay an alleged debt indefinitely.
As you described, your father expects you to pay a debt, so he never says thank you for money you give him, money you spent to pay his car loan over five years; he doesn’t say thank you for your labor to take care of him.. he expects your money and labor as an indefinite repayment of unspecified and un-agreed on debt forever more. They hold you a slave by the false teaching that you should be loyal to Family, and that you should feel terrible emotional pain, that is, guilt and shame if you are not loyal to them.
Only there is no love for you or respect for you in your family. Basically, you are a slave, de facto, and your slave owners are your father and relatives. The “Tough Situation of parent & Relatives” is not a situation of Family where there is love and respect, but a situation of slavery.
anitaMarch 14, 2020 at 1:01 pm #343286
I agreed with Anita. I would suggest she leave them all in a way that is safe for her, to avoid the abusive father and relatives. Hope that her relatives do not hurt her or badmouth her for not being a filial daughter.March 15, 2020 at 6:58 pm #343488
Dear Anita and Edwin,
Thank you very much for your kind and supportive words. This really motivates me to think for myself more and plan for my future.
Next week will be my father’s follow up with the doctor, and I am very afraid that my relatives will want me to bear the medical cost as it is really expensive. Also, as he require long term medications, I am not sure if I am fully capable to support him for very long term (he has no savings, nothing) as of now.
When I started working in the first few years, I have no savings at all due to high burden (his car, house utilities, his pocket money, my living expenses etc.) with low income. My income may increase slightly, but not as much as well. I am a bit anxious thinking that I may use up all of my little savings for him, despite I am still working.
I also am planning to move out, hence I wish to use my little savings for the means of moving out with rental etc.. Anita, do you think I can speak up to his relatives on this? I am not sure how long I can sustain or emotionally be stable as all these financial issues keep popping on my mind.
One more thing if you do not mind that I need your advice. The worst case scenario that I can picture after telling them that I am moving out is that they will ask me to take care of my father. They will ‘push’ him to me as it is my responsibility as a child (despite he didn’t really take care of me or being a parent role model in my childhood as mentioned to you all). I cannot picture living with him for the rest of my life, am I very heartless to even say this?
I am very afraid of people judging me or badmouthing me. Because this (judgement from relatives etc. as my father is poor and no career) started to happen since being a child. Can I do not bear his medical/living costs and just leave?
Gwen.March 15, 2020 at 7:07 pm #343494
I will be able to read your recent post and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.
anitaMarch 15, 2020 at 7:16 pm #343500
Noted, thank you so much for your time.March 16, 2020 at 9:18 am #343582
“do you think I can speak up to his relatives on this?”- no, I don’t think you should speak to your relatives at all. I think that you should get away from them as soon as possible and have no contact with them whatsoever.
“The worst case scenario that I can picture after telling them that I am moving out is that they will ask me to take care of my father… I cannot picture living with him for the rest of my life. Am I very heartless to even say this?”- no, you are not heartless to say this. it is your father who has been heartless throughout your life, and your relatives are right behind your father in heartlessness. You need to get away from these heartless people, to get away- not to stay and negotiate with them!
“I am very afraid of people judging me or badmouthing me. Because this (judgment from relatives etc. as my father is poor and no career) started to happen since being a child. Can I do not bear his medical/ living costs and just leave?”- yes, you can just leave. You don’t owe your father (or relatives) anything at all. You have no debts. You are free to leave.
You were trained as a child, by the judging and badmouthing, to become mentally and practically a slave. Even though you are not held in metal chains to your father and relatives, they have been holding you captive using mental, invisible chains. Think of it this way: if you were held captive by heavy metal chains and you tried to get away, it would physically hurt and you will bleed. Being held by mental chains, as you try to get away, it hurts emotionally: feeling shame and guilt is emotional pain, and it is so painful to feel shame and guilt, and fear of being badmouthed, that it keeps you from breaking free.
It is not the same physical pain as metal chains cutting through your flesh, but it (shame, guilt, fear) is pain nonetheless, pain that keeps you from breaking free.
I suggest that you and your partner break free, that you move away, far from your father and relatives, that you leave them behind without telling them that you are leaving. If it takes leaving your job behind and getting a job elsewhere, do so. Plan your move, execute it, and have no contact with your father and other relatives. See to it that your father and relatives do not know your new location of residence and work. Far away from them, you will not hear their judgment and badmouthing, they will all be part of your past, and your past is where they belong.
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by anita.