While the effects of alcohol on a person can vary from person to person, it can really bring out the worst in someone you look up to.
Like this teenage boy's father, for instance.
Redditor "FeelingLikeJay" is a 15-year-old who comes from divorced parents and described himself as the only sibling in the family with a "small frame."
He was devastated after his father yelled at him in a drunken moment when the teen stayed with him overnight. His father called him a "bitch" and said he "would've pulled out" had he known he would turn out to be so short.
The Original Poster (OP) asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for not wanting to give his father a second chance.
"So I [15 year-old male] (15M) am a very small person. Like I'm [5 foot 1 inch] at 15 and male and I have small frame."
"No one knows why everyone in family that is Male has a pretty big frame and at least 5"9' by 18. My levels on everything are fine I'm going through puberty ok it's just my Gene's are lucky I guess."
"Well my parents are a bit older. They are in there mid 50s. I'm the youngest of 4 so it's to be expected they had me a little later on."
"Well my parents got divorced when I was 6. My mom remarried, my dad stayed single."
On his last visit, dad was not so nice.
The OP heard the alcohol talking, and what he heard left in him tears.
"Well my latest visit at my dads he got a little drunk and came in my room and started yelling 'look at you, you are a bitch! If I knew you would have turned out this way I would have pulled out 15 years ago.'"
"I started crying cuz this was out of nowhere. My sister(17F) came in the room and started fighting with my dad and I called my mom. My mom called the cops."
"No charges were given out but my sister and I were given to our mom."
The following day, the OP heard back from his father, who was clearly remorseful and mortified about his behavior.
"The next morning my dad apologized saying he didn't mean it and he is just really stressed and begged me not to leave him saying my sister and I are all he has left."
"Stuff like this is the reason my parents got divorced. He doesn't drink often but when he does he is a horrible person that just hurts everyone around him. This is the first time one of his drunk out burst were at me and I never want to experience it again."
Future visits would now be conditional.
"I told my mom to tell my dad I will see him still but I am not staying over his house. Now he is trying to say in the divorce he gets friday after school to monday morning. My mom found a way for us not to go back until we go to court again. "
"Am I the a**hole? I feel like since he apologized I should give him a chance but at the same time it was so traumatizing especially since he knows how insecure I am about my body."
Redditors easily sided with the OP and said NTA (Not the A**hole).
"NTA. WTF? Who would say that to their kids?"
"It's you choice OP, if you don't feel safe or loved by your father, then you shouldn't have to live with him." – Mr_Rustles
Scars from emotional abuse may never go away.
"NTA- emotional abuse I find a lot worse than physical abuse, bruises & broken bones heal with time but emotional abuse stays forever."
"Can't speak for others but I carry emotional scars till this day so OP if your feeling the way you are you do what's best for yourself."
"It's always the same thing they abuse mentally & physically and then apologize the day after and use excuses like everything is ok because of it." – 20MLSE20
This user chimed in to make sure the earlier comment was not minimizing the trauma felt from physical abuse.
"While I agree with you about NTA I can't agree that physical abuse isn't as bad, I very much doubt there is anyone out there who's been physically abused who doesn't have some ongoing mental trauma to go with it." – Throwaway4848393
Others weighed in with their thoughts about enduring both forms of abuse and their long-term effects.
"Having had both fairly equally, I can say they're one and the same and trigger the same down the road." – CEOs4taxNlabor
"I have to say, I care less about the punches and slaps than I do about the years of emotional, verbal and psychological torment I suffered from both my parents. But this is all in context."
"The physical was always there below the surface, but the other was always there. It's hard to say in some ways. I don't even know what my point was here."
"Maybe just to say that those of us who have been through it react to different things in different ways?" – _LuckyDucky_
These Redditors offered comforting words for the OP.
"NTA. Go to the court and tell them you do not want to spend the night. They will listen to you at your age."
"You are being VERY generous by forgiving him and being willing to spend time with him. He needs to go to rehab, tbh. I'm sorry." – Feisty_Future
"NTA OP. It's great that you're standing up for yourself in an appropriate way; what your dad did isn't right and you're asserting that. Make sure that your feelings are represented in court." – veridiantrees
"NTA. Firstly, it seems like this has been a recurring experience for your mother, which is why she divorced him (or at least part of the reason). If he turns into an a**hole when he drinks, then he shouldn't drink."
"If he drinks anyway, then is an a**hole to 'all he has left' (i.e., you and your sister), then he doesn't deserve a chance right now."
"He is refusing to change. In his case, the only way to maybe get through to him that his behavior isn't okay is to show him some more consequences."
"Also, you're 15. Prime puberty time. It's okay that you feel insecure about your body, especially since it's changing. Just because you have a smaller frame and stuff rn doesn't mean you won't grow."
"And even if you don't, it doesn't matter that much. Just try to be a good person and stuff, and you'll be fine, my dude." – Fishkimo
What can the father do to improve his relationship?
Putting down the bottle when his son is with him, for starters.
"If he's terrible when he drinks, he shouldn't drink. Him continuing to drink is making the decision to risk hurting the people around him. He metaphorically drunk drove his marriage into a tree, and now he's drunk driving his relationships with his kid into another one."
"Even if he was drunk, the thought would have to be already in there for it to come out. Now that you've heard it, you know it's there, so I can understand why want to live elsewhere."
"One can forgive someone without presenting them the opportunity to hurt them again. You moving out is protecting yourself." – littlehappyfeets
While this user suggested therapy for the father, others said the OP owes his father nothing even if he gets help.
"NTA - your dad needs to talk to someone about he's drinking. Cuz those words won't just leave your mind."
"You should support him if he's actually getting help but don't put yourself at risk if you don't see him at least trying. Saying sorry is one thing actually showing you're going to do better is anything." – Deathlyjoke
"No one should have to support their abuser, no matter how much help they get. Not to mention that OP is a child and isn't responsible for supporting his grown father. Even if OP's father gets help and shows remorse, he will never be entitled to OP's support and forgiveness." – maqicalgirl
"I don't agree that OP "should" support him. OP isn't obligated to support his father, he's a grown man who hurt his kid and needs to do, and get, better."
"OP is a kid who was hurt by his father. If he wants to support him, that's cool. But he definitely does not need to." – dont-care-chair
"Nta. Hun, your dad is an alcoholic. If he knows he hurts people in his life when he drinks, and yet he keeps drinking anyway, even when they leave him, he is prioritising booze over everything else. That means he has a problem."
"He could have stopped drinking any time, because then he wouldn't have hurt you. But he didn't. He made his choice."
"Apologies don't mean anything when you can't trust the person not to do it again."
"Forgiving is not the same as forgetting. He has a problem, and he made his choices and you don't have to stay mad at him, but that also doesn't mean you have to put yourself back in the firing line. If a snake bit you when you had your hand in its cage, you wouldn't be angry, right? But you also would not put your hand back in the cage."
"I think you'd probably really benefit from going to a support group like al-anon."
"Maybe see if your mom can find any in your area you can attend. They'll help you deal with your dad's behaviour and how you feel about it. Even in lockdown, they probably do online sessions." – ZeeLadyMusketeer
This is the time the father can turn his life around and repair his relationship with his son while he is still young.
If he let's this continue, the father will live with the regret and the resentment from his son for the rest of his life.
The book Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life is available here.