Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I am a gay teenager who is depressed because my parents got divorced. Today, our parents surprised my sister and me with a “re-engagement” announcement.
My sister and I are shocked by this news. We had no idea anything was going on.
My dad is a liar and my mom told me that when I was 13. Now I’m graduating from high school. I made plans to stay home to go to college. I did this on purpose so I could help my mom with her wrecked life financially, physically, and emotionally from my dad.
All of my life, my dad was abusive and a bully to my mom. She once stopped me from reporting him to the police after he punched her. There were many times.
She finally got a restraining order and my sister and I were so happy. He was never very nice to us, although he didn’t abuse us.
He never accepted me, once I told him that I’m gay. He completely ignores my existence. My sister and mom have known this about me for years and continue to love me. How can she marry him again?
Depressed gay guy
There’s a cycle that abusive and bullying men follow and it happens to one-third of women in our country. That’s why many women stay in abusive relationships. It’s a common problem in our culture.
It goes like this:
Charm is their game. The guy tells the girl she’s everything he ever wanted. He plays smart, funny, and is so attentive to her, until he isn’t.
Denial from shock. It’s unbelievable to the girl when he starts saying awful things to her. He becomes abusive. She goes into denial. It’s easy for abused and bullied women to go into denial, because it’s so hard to believe the truth.
Isolation. She becomes trapped by the charmer’s insidious isolation process. He claims he wants her, needs her, and while he’s manipulating her, he convinces her until she loses other relationships.
Cycle of abuse starts. Tension builds and verbal, physical, and emotional abuse begins again.
You’re mature enough to understand this and not let it thwart your relationship with your mom. Your dad is, in fact, abusing you by ostracizing you.
We hope you’ll stand tall and move to a new and safer environment, whether it’s college, trade school, or to pursue your dreams.
You can’t fix their problems. We don’t want you to be damaged by them. You deserve the best, regardless of any reason. And you absolutely deserve unconditional love, regardless of anything.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at therhondaorrshow.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.