We are told from birth, “Trust your family, they will always be there for you as you will and should be for them.” Your dad, your mom, any of your siblings may say, “You can count on me for anything, I will always be here for you.”

We are brainwashed from birth with these sayings. We buy them and try to trust them. What happens though when it is your family that hurts you the most? What happens when the trust you wanted, believed in and counted on is shattered by betrayal? What happens when the one that promised they would never leave you, leaves and seems to not even look back. What happens when the very foundation of everything you thought was real, slips away into the night?

Loving an Abusive ParentWe are often told by people that have no idea what may or may not be happening in our life ‘at home’ “He is your dad, trust him.” Too many times an abusive parent at home is a stand-up guy when they are out and about. Their co-workers may think they are great because they can always crack a joke at just the right time. They may even be the kind of friend that will go out of their way to help others. They may make for a great Uncle or Aunt to all of your friends and they may even treat your friends like royalty. Maybe, when out with friends, you are treated like you are loved, bounced on their knee, hugged, carried on their shoulder and ‘out there’ you might even feel safe.


At home, with you, or a sibling, the other parent, they are, different. You are belittled for no reason, told to leave the table with nothing to eat. In that space, where they think no one is watching they become, something else.

You want to believe the one that acted like they loved you is the real one, the one that can be counted on and that one is your parent. And even worse are those that are sometimes the good one at home.

You may not know which one is coming home, and you live in fear. Whether the abuse is physical or not does not matter. You live in fear, if for no other reason than you never know what to expect.

And Still… We Love Them

We make ourselves wrong and promise, if only to ourselves, that we will do better. We justify their actions and betrayal for them. If it is physical and there are signs, WE LIE. We tell our friends and family we fell. We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t have… whatever.

After all, they are our parent. They are supposed to be right. They are supposed to know what is best. They are supposed to love us and to protect us. We must be wrong. They love us. So, we must love them also.

When the truth sets in and we start to see the truth, we get angry but even the anger at least at first is accompanied by guilt.

We do not have the right to be angry, they are our parent.


Eventually, if we are lucky, we allow ourselves to be angry. We may even allow ourselves to know hatred. As has been said, ‘you have to feel it to heal it’. In allowing ourselves to feel it, whatever it may be. We open the door to healing.

If we are truly ready to heal. We just might find forgiveness and peace.

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