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How do you cope with an verbally/emotionally abusive father?

Community Member

Im in my early 20s living at home and my dad has always been a nightmare to deal with. In trying to understand my dad's toxic behaviour, Ive been able to conclude that he has severe narcissistic tendencies and aspergers syndrome.

On the narcissistic side, I would describe my dad as someone who has a complete lack of empathy for other people. He has an inflated sense of self and thinks he's better than everyone (until someone else proves to be in which he tears them down). He cannot take responsibility for his actions and will always blame something or someone else for his failings (including quitting his job as the sole bread winner in a fit of rage while supporting a family, and subsequently blaming everyone else when we almost became destitute). He is uncompromising and will fly into a rage as soon as anything doesnt go his way or there is stress in the system. He has jealousy problems and takes great delight in the misfortunes and tragedies of other people.

On the autism side, my dad cannot cope with changes to his set routine. The most minor thing such as someone knocking at the door while he's getting ready to go out somewhere will completely throw his whole day off. He constantly rubs people the wrong way. He obsesses over the same topics for day/weeks/months (which usually consists of criticising something or someone, or reliving the pleasure of someone elses misfortune repeatedly). He also often doesnt listen to people but becomes quite intense in conversation. He also shares the same behaviours as his father, who has been officially diagnosed with aspergers.

In addition to these, my dad is also very emotionally and verbally abusive, particularly towards my mother, but also more generally to strangers. It's really oppressive living at home but I cant afford to leave at the moment. Anyone know how to cope living with this kind of person?

1 Reply 1

Community Member
Hi ProDude. Dealing with our parents as we grow is difficult to say the least. We are taught that their word is law and we shouldn't 'rock the boat'. Having said that, having a father with narc tendencies and Autism it's a double barrel. Your dad is literally fighting himself, one side is trying to control the other and the frustration makes him lash out. His emotional and verbal abuse towards your mum is his way of trying to maintain strict control. Have you and your mother sought help from counselor's who are trained to help people in your situation cope with his severe mood swings? Is he taking meds to control his mood swings, if not I suggest you or your mother talk to your family Dr and see if he can arrange an assessment of the situation. It sounds like there is no privacy for you as he possibly won't allow it. Do you have any sort of outlet to help you? Maybe a course at night school, something to give you time out. Autism often means they have a limited view of outside their world and they view anything they don't understand as being their enemies. He also sounds as though he has a passive/aggressive nature. His abuse of strangers is his way of protecting his world. I have an autistic client who frequently tells me he can make the police disappear. All he means is he simply switches off when he see them and pretends he isn't there. If you can arrange for some time out, maybe tell your dad that you have an appointment with friends. The main thing to remember, he isn't really suffering from an illness, Autism is more mixed brain signals similar to Dementia. He is angry and possibly afraid of being abandoned.