My father’s aggressive behavior during my childhood harmed me to such a great extent that now I have problems with my speech and in my nervous system. He treated my siblings, my mother, and me very badly.

Now that I’m a teenager, I’m supporting him, with no hard feelings for the harm that he did to me during my childhood, since he can’t find a job because of his age; but he keeps on behaving badly. In the places where we are tenants, he always has arguments with the owners even though I’m the one who pays the rent, and that makes things difficult for me because then we have to search for another apartment and move.

We’ve had quarrels because of his bad behavior. He says that, if I decide to put him out, his sisters will take him; but I don’t know what decision to make: whether to tell him to get out, or to have more patience with him (something I’ve had for many years).

Dear Friend,

How sad we are for your situation! But you have used adversity to make you a stronger person. At such a young age you are working to support yourself and your father, and trying to put the past behind you. That is admirable!

Unfortunately your father’s past actions haven’t gone away, but rather keep occurring. If his attitudes and behavior were all in the past, then you could put it behind you; but it keeps happening repeatedly. You work hard to provide for him, and then he ruins your living situations. You move and give him a fresh chance, but he does the same things again.

You don’t mention the shame and embarrassment you feel over what your father does. In telling us your story, you focus on what you have to do to clean up the messes rather than on how that makes you feel. But keep in mind that your feelings and emotions are important, and are directly contributing to your nervous disorder and speech problems. When you deny or ignore those feelings, or treat them as weaknesses, your body is affected.

When I lived with my alcoholic parents, there were hundreds of times that their behavior caused me shame and embarrassment. I would try to fix all the damage that they caused, while trying desperately to keep them from causing more problems. It was exhausting, and I couldn’t wait to move out of the house.

One of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother.(1) The Scriptures also teach that we should care for our elderly parents.(2) You have been following both of these instructions in spite of your father’s complete disregard for the teachings of the Bible.

However, there is no Biblical teaching that says that you must live with your father and suffer from his constant aggressive and destructive behavior. If he has another place to go, then ask him to go. Continue to provide whatever money you can for his living expenses, but make sure you provide for yourself first. After he has moved, visit him and call him on the phone, always being respectful. Because of his contentious attitude, he will try to make you feel guilty and may berate and insult you. But instead of letting him argue with you, just leave the room or end the phone call. Don’t let him ruin your life as he has ruined his own.

We wish you the best,

1 Ex 20:12
2 1Ti 5:8