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My dysfunctional life and abusive father

Since 2006, I have found it hard to get along with my father. We used to be very close and now I try to avoid him if I can, besides if I don't I am usually finding something to argue with him with. We have two clashing personality types, and I have developed a resentment towards him over things he does and has done in the past. Yet, I know this reads like a typical teenager that has a different world view than his father, but I'm 28. I have a lot to be angry over, mostly because my dysfunction of growing up in a family that was filled with verbal abuse. My brother was/is mental ill since he was in high school. Him being the lunatic, I was the good kid to compensate for him. Yet, I got in trouble at school, acting out because besides for my mother i was pretty much invisible. I used drugs in high school, got suspended, but my brother controlled the family and i was just another target for his rage. On the night of being suspended in 1995, I had to lock my bedroom door push my recliner against the door under threat of him breaking it down. So instead he just called me all the names in the book, he fed on my insecurities. He has two sides, the calm caring brother and the vindictive person that uses things you said in confidence against you. A rather insecure person I know but growing up, i was stunted I didn't get a license, date, or go out with friends.

When I went to a friend's house on Halloween of 1994, I felt normal being out with my friends and i hoped there would be more of these situations, but it ended there. Because when i came home my brother was pacing around and you knew you had to hear his rage. I was happy to have had fun so i resisted it, and he made me and the family so scared that i thought he would really kill me. When situations would come up where I would do something right and something that praising a person over wasn't out of the question I was told, "shhh don't let your brother hear you are doing good" or "dont do anything that would make him jealous" so i had to sacrifice myself and decisions i had to make so that we could "keep the peace."

When i graduated high school while others were getting into colleges and having that to be proud of. I was sitting at home without any plan for the future. For years sitting with no friends, no job, no school. For the first four years of living here I didn't regularly leave the house. I sat around and didn't get that learner's license until 2004 after my brother had gotten his license. I thought if he had already gotten a step higher than me there wouldn't be a problem with me getting a learner's. I was 24 when i got it on the first try, yet all the people i went to school with had already gotten it at 15, but i was/am dysfunctional. I enrolled in a community college last year and am in there now, but without a license i can't drive there and have to use my mother to take me. (pathetic i know)

To back track, while i stayed at home I grew more and more co-dependent to my brother even though for years I hated him for the past. Then out of a survival instinct more than anything I tried to forgive him for what he had done and try to stitch up our relationship. It was kind of a stockholm syndrome when i look back at it, because i became more like him than me. He has always been a racist, and I became that too. He had always been in a war with my dad because he didn't like his political views, I never liked politics finding it boring; yet now i find an excuse to argue with my father over the election or george bush or 9/11. I know that it changed but i dunno how it really happened. I think in a clear thought that i need to change my life because i am missing out on the majority of life outside of my family. I see how my folks are and they are aging and my grip to control my destiny is a very small window.

I am nearly 30 years old and I have had hardly any life experiences and now that my father and I don't get along (because of my anger) i dont know how to change my life. I had an almost accident in 2005 when i was learning to drive and i quit, now i havent driven since. Thinking about driving is like an apprehension and maybe a phobia, but i know have to try and do something before all my hope for a life better than this one is gone and forgotten.

To suffice it, my brother was the bad influence that my father said he was and I wasn't enough of an influence on myself to get my feet moving forward because i didnt trust my instincts. I made bad decisions in the past and i fear/ed making the same ones that would make my life worse than it is today (if thats possible). As present i have one class twice a week, no job, no friends, no license, no goals that im striving for, no money coming in other than what my parents give me. I resent that even though my family and i fight all the time im hopelessly dependent on him to live. For a person as old as me to admit this its very bleak and depressing. I used to think i was a bad person and that nobody would like me. Yet, now I know im a good person that is just trying to spread my wings a little and try to live and be happy because i am not happy living as me now. Which is my motivator to try to seek some advice on here on changing the dysfunctional life that i have lived for so many years.

I know my post is long but thanks in advance.
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replied February 14th, 2008
this is none of your fault your brother is mentally unstable. you need to disattach from them doing things slowly. make sure you be careful just do little things at first. like doing things for yourself. you are your own self not somebodies dog don't let yourself be so misserable and beaten down. you need to get out of there and it is very good you asked for help at least thats a step foward. i know its very hard living in a home where you are constantly beaten down with violence and sarcastic words. im sorry you had to live like that. i hope that you get out of there nobody should be treated like some dirt on their shoe. do you have anyother "understanding" relatives that you could go to?
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replied February 14th, 2008
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Yes, I agree with amanda - there must be some member of the extended family who has seen what has been going on and is prepared to give you a bed, just to get you out of there. You are dependent on your parents for money and that will keep you there forever unless you break that stranglehold. Get out and take a job, however low, however menial, and reclaim some self respect and independence.

If you need someone to help you with this, well, I am not sure how it works where you are but here in the UK there are advisers attached to the local unemployment office who are only too glad to go through things with you, point you in the direction of some suitable work and ensure you are getting all the support you need to get back into work. Call and ask for an appointment with the restart officer.

As for the post-traumatic driving thing - I understand that only too well as it happened to me. But there are driving schools you can go to where they will take you back out and help you regain your confidence.

You should also consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you focus on changing your outlook. You cannot spend the rest of your life blaming your family for the way your life has tuned out. If you do that, then they have won. Is that what you want to happen? Or do you want to be sitting next Valentine's Day with someone you love? It won't happen, you know, unless you truly want it to.

Good luck.
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replied February 21st, 2008
I think you should move out and live alone. It seems like you can't really communicate with your family and you would be much better independent or with a friend. Maybe this would bring a positive outcome? If you see your father/brother less, you will eventually minimize the arguments.
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