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Feeling Suicidal As A Result of Father's Abuse

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am a 13-year old boy with a father, mother and older brother (21YO). My father used to abuse me consistantly when I was younger. When I'd do things wrong, he'd put me in my room, tell me to pull my ears in pain (else he would do it), and lock me in my room without dinner. Sometimes, he'd spank me or bash me in the face, sometimes in public streets or restaurants. It reoccured not too long ago when I slapped me in a restaurant for choosing what food to eat, rather than him doing it. He's been constantly threatening me recently. My mother and brother wish not to be involved. He has a habit of putting me down and calling me "an idiot with no brain, who should be a caveman." I think it may have been my fault for provoking him. What has worried me is at times, I'd have involuntary visions of me cutting my wrist or hanging from the ceiling. Sometimes, my dad is so painful, I scream to God to kill me. Please help me.
Signed: Feeling Suicidal As A Result of Father's Abuse

Dear Feeling Suicidal As A Result of Father's Abuse,


TeenHealthFX is very sorry to hear that you have had to ensure such terrible physical and emotional abuse from your father for so many years. We are particularly worried about you considering that this abuse is still occurring and that you are having suicidal thoughts because of the distress you have been experiencing. FX needs to stress to you that how your father has treated you is not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you do – nobody has the right to physically or emotionally harm you in the ways you have described. A healthy parent is able to find a balance between providing their child with rules and structure and with love and nurturing. Your father is clearly not able to do this – and that is his responsibility alone, not yours.


FX thinks that it is critical that you let a trusted adult know about the abuse you have been enduring so that child protective services can get involved to assess the situation and intervene in whatever way that will ensure your physical safety and ongoing well-being. You can either talk to a school counselor, school nurse, teacher, principal, or your primary care physician who can then contact child protective services. You can also contact child protective services yourself. To find the number for your state child protective services agency, you can do an online search by typing in the name of your state and child protective services, or you can look inside the front page of your phone book. You can also contact the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-792-8610, 24 hours, 7 days a week. This hotline is for reporting physical or sexual abuse and to get help.


In addition to taking action so that your father’s abusive behavior towards you can be stopped, it is also important for you to be in some kind of therapy at this point. A therapist can help you to deal with all the thoughts and feelings you understandably have from enduring this abuse, can provide you with support and guidance in dealing with all of this, and can work with you on developing healthy coping mechanisms so that you no longer have any suicidal thoughts. A therapist can also reinforce with you that you are good person, deserving of love, and not to blame for how you father treated you.


So, again, there are two things that need to happen. The first is notifying a trusted adult and/or child protective services about the abuse that has been occurring so that someone can intervene and ensure your immediate safety. And the second is for you to participate in therapy to ensure your emotional well-being in the long-run. And as you go about both of these things, remember that there are adults out there who do care about how you are treated and who will want to help make sure that you are treated by others with love and respect.


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers.


If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Morristown Memorial hospital at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week. You can also contact the Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-448-4663, 24 hours, 7 days a week. This hotline is for youths, 17 years of age or younger who are in crisis.

Signed: TeenHealthFX