Advice Needed Please. Daughter Self Harm Due To Abusive Parent

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sheribee | 15:55 Fri 09th Jan 2015 | Family & Relationships
11 Answers
Hi everyone, I need some advice please.
My daughter is 15 and is self harming, she has been doing so for about a year now, using razors to cut herself 20/30/40 times.
She is seeing a mental health doctor and has been put on antidepressants.
This started not dad to leave, he has bi-polar and was very ill, he subjected us all to years of emotional abuse, due to his illness, not that he is a bad person. His illness turned him into someone he is not.
So he left and got a lot of help and is now doing very well, back to work and no longer abusive. We decided to try again at our relationship which is going well. The problem I have now is that our daughter is not coping.
Her doctor says that the root of her problems is her dad, and its surfacing now due to the abuse she suffered.
She told me she still feels a bit anxious when he is around and worried, she didn't kno if it would make her feel better if he wasn't around so much.
I don't know what to do, I love him, but I do struggle daily with the effects of the abuse, and have flash backs and have meltdowns now and again some days as all his words and actions are still firmly in my head.
I question whether this is really whats best for me and our daughter letting him back in our lives or is it doing more damage than good.
When he is here she stays in her room most of the time, yet when he isn't here she comes out and watches tv with me, eats at the table etc.
She is a good kid, straight A student, but struggles with friendships and doesn't socialise, going out makes her anxious.
My question I guess is what would you do in my situation, tell him its over and he cant come over as much anymore, but still see his other children?
Or carry on working on it, in the hope it doesn't do mre damage to our daughter?
Our 11 yr old is fine, she says she is happy and that her dad is doing really well, no issues there.
I feel I shouldn't let her suffer, and feel emmense guilt I didn't stop his abuse sooner, though I thought I was taking it all and protecting them.
Thanks for reading x


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I can only tell you what I would do.
I'd ask him to leave and make arrangements to see him and for him to see the younger children outside of the house.
Well done for getting help for your daughter and well done for her for taking it. Not and easy thing to do.
Good luck.
Question Author
Thank you, I am jus at a loss as to what to do
How does her father feel about the situation? Can he see that his being there is perhaps not the best of decisions at the moment?
I understand that it is hard as you love him and your daughter, but something isn't working in the home environment as it is now, so something needs to change.
If the doctor has had one-to-one talks with your daughter without you there, perhaps she is being more open with him about the cause of her self harming, which appears to be due to the presence of her father, but when you ask she obviously doesn't want to hurt your feelings so clams up a bit and says she is fine.
I'm sure she truly is happy that her dad is doing well, it sounds like good progress that he has made, but perhaps a trial separation might be in order to see if things with your daughter improve? Was she ok before he moved back in?
If you look at it this way: you are an adult, but still struggle to cope sometimes with the flashbacks of the verbal abuse. Now consider that she is just 11 years old and will be struggling to understand why and what happened when it did in the past - she will be coping a lot less than you, hence the self harming, due to (possibly) frustration and anger or fear of the same thing happening again.
Keep talking to her too, but never think that silence is a bad thing when you sit next to her either. Just being there to listen when she want's to talk is what she will be hoping for, and if he is in the same household, the chances she has to talk to you about her fears may be less frequent than she needs.
At the end of the day your daughter is still a child and needs protecting. Your partner is an adult and should understand that he needs to step away for the time being at least - he must surely want the best for your daughter too.
Question Author
As an update I told him tonight that we should separate. Im gutted as I love him so much.
That's a toughie.

What kind of help is she getting?

Some help isn't helpful help. My son went to

Within 3 sessions we could see a complete change in him. They don't just deal with the youngsters issues. They cover all subjects and explain that adult relationships in most households hit a rocky ride.

The problem is with teens is they go to their mates houses and see families they wished theirs were like. Fact is they don't know what happens behind closed doors.

They (teenagers) want this life and world that the TV portrays. Happy family, parents with good jobs, no worries, latest gadgets, mum & dad all loved up. Completely unrealistic.

Don't sacrifice your happiness. Deal with her unhappiness and the root of it.

When I say rocky road....I mean a rocky road in life, not the relationship. Life throws curve balls and people have their own ways of coping.
I'm no expert, but I think you should seek a second (medical) opinion - preferably from a doctor who doesn't rush for the pills at the least excuse.

This is what happened with my son.

I phoned the Docs, spoke to the receptionist and said he was self harming.
She said she'd get the doctor to phone me back
He phoned me within half an hour and I explained everything
He said he'd make a few enquiries and get back to me
Within the hour he'd arranged an appointment with the 'link above'

No docs visits, no embarrassing parents (besides the first visit) no worrying about info being shared. And DEF no pills.
Question Author
She was seennby a specialist doctor at a childrens mental health centre he of course told her that meds r not the answer but she needs councilling and will be hard work.
I looked at the lowdown site and they are not far from me either so will call them monday.
me and my husband talked last night and I told him we need to separate, I have alot of issues myself to deal with. Years of abuse have taken their toll on me as well and I dont know how to get past everything thats happened and what hes done even though he was unwell. I feel terrible for him as he is a good man and only wants the best for me and our children.
Take comfort from the fact that your husband improved greatly while you were separated. You don't need to worry that separation will cause him harm although he will naturally be upset, he will cope.

You need to concentrate on yourself and your daughter and it seems to be that the separation is the only course of action. You are still suffering from years of abuse and frankly staying with him won't be healthy for you in the long term. Stop feeling guilty.

It is tough but don't do it for your daughter or she will feel guilty. Do it because you believe it is the best thing to do for him, your daughters and yourself.
i can only look from the outside, and of course what you write on here, but i wonder how much you do love him, and how much of things are the terrible time you had when you separated?

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