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Scared of my dad

i am extremely scared of my father. it started when i was 7 years old and i found him holding his gun in his room and i immediately started bawling my eyes out and had the worst panic attack. he told me that it was for self defence, but i was still very scared to even go near him after that. i was only young, but it definitely traumatised me and made me look at him different. there was always fights in my house growing up, he would always fight with our neighbours and that scared me. but i was relieved that he would never take that anger out on me. so i thought i was fine. until he did. about 6 months ago me and my sister and my mom and my dad were eating dinner and i made some harmless jokes about my mom that she even laughed about but i didn’t know they would start what happened. all of the sudden he got up, he grabbed my plate and slammed it into the trash and started cursing at me and honestly i don’t remember what he was even saying because it was all a blur. i started crying and having such a bad panic attack. i’m only 13 years old and this happened when i was only 12, so you can imagine how i felt. i was crying so hard, i was gonna escape the house but my sister stopped me. i thought it was a dream or something. he just violently lashed out at me for no reason. ever since that night, i’ve been 100 times more scared of him, also more scared that he has a gun and he can lash out randomly like that. every night before i go to get a drink of water i make sure he is asleep or downstairs. whenever we eat dinner now, i stay silent because i feel like anything i say will trigger him. when he goes quiet i always run to the bathroom praying that he isn’t gonna lash out. i get anxiety whenever i hear footsteps, it’s just really really bad. i don’t know what to do, he has a history of being violent and has hurt his ex girlfriends in the past and i’m just scared he’s gonna do something to me or my family one day. don’t get me wrong, when he’s nice he’s really nice, when he’s mad he’s really mad. i don’t know how to deal with this, it sucks living in this constant fear. i know deep down he would never do anything to me but there is that one traumatised bit of me that tells me to always be on the lookout. idk how to deal with this anxiety.

Hey there friend! Thanks for sharing.

Growing up my dad was very strict! He whooped my ass with a belt, fed me hot sauce, gripped me up by my arms. He scared the hell out of me as a kid. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized he was working his ass off at his shitty job and then coming home to me acting a fool. So I didn’t help much. It still doesn’t change the fact that he beat me and I was terrified, but a part of me sympathized with him. He’s just a man trying to provide for his family, and the stress of finances and wanting to spend time with family can really drive someone crazy.

I’m 29 now, and my dad and I are closer than ever.

The fact that your dad has his happy moments means he has that potential for happiness. Like your dad, my dad would have his good moments and bad ones. My guess is that your dad had a shit day at work or something really pissed him off that day when he flipped out at dinner over that joke. From the sounds of it, he sounds like a good guy.

In the meantime, don’t run and leave your sister. She needs you! If it all takes place at home, maybe take a walk around the neighborhood. I always got out of the house when I felt anxious.

You seem very nice, your dad should be proud, for real! I’m here to talk if you need anything!

Sincerely,
Zac