Advise on telling my dad about my abuse?

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I recently told my story of abuse for the first time on this site and it’s helped me so much in not feeling as alone!

I’ve been considering disclosing my abuse to my dad but I’m really struggling to figure out how to broach the subject. I’m not sure I’ll be able to face him as I still feel a lot of shame and embarrassment.

He has been supporting me financially for a while now (I’m 24 and haven’t been able to finish study or hold down a job due to my mental health) so i feel like I should explain what’s been happening. 

If anyone has any tips that would be amazing.

I don’t feel obligated to tell him but I would like to to open up.


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  1. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us how you are feeling! I am so glad that you found support in sharing your story with us and am happy you are part of our family <3 It is really awesome that you are considering sharing your story with you dad! You should be proud of yourself for getting to this stage in your recovery. I am glad that you know that you are not obligated to tell him in anyway.

    There is a lot of great advice on how to go about telling your dad what happened below. But, I want to echo some of the other volunteers' comments below and remind you that you should not feel shame or embarrassment around what happened. I know that is easier said than done, but you did not deserve what happened and you are doing everything that you can to heal from the situation! You are so much more than this story! I would definitely encourage you to write down what you would like to say to him. Go through a few ideas before choosing which you are most comfortable with! Voice how you are feeling and the importance of this to him.

    I hope this goes well! If you would like to send us an update I would be happy to hear how this goes.

    Sending lots of support!

  2. tayestlack Volunteer

    Hello love, thank you for returning to us. I’m sorry you’ve had some trouble with your mental health but i’m glad you don’t feel alone anymore. Maybe perhaps just sitting down with your dad and laying everything out on the table may be a start to try to tell him. It was really hard for me to tell my dad everything that happened to me, but i felt a lot better after i told him and allowed him to take it in and be there for me even more. i hope this helps you. please return to us if you’d like and i hope you have a lovely day. you’re so strong keep your head high

  3. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi Lonelyandempty,

    Thanks for checking back in with us. I’m glad to hear that you are feeling comfortable to open up to your dad about this. It can be difficult to get the conversation started and sometimes (depending on person to person), ripping the bandaid off and just spitting the words out is the way to go. But only you know what is best and most comfortable for you. I hope you remember that you only need to share as much as you are comfortable with. It sounds like your dad is supportive of you, and if you choose to share this story with him, I hope he continues to be supportive. You can do this! We believe in you.

    Sending you love and support,

  4. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for coming to us and giving us an update. It is so incredibly difficult sharing our stories, especially with loved ones. It’s scary, even if we know we are ready to open up. As others have said, opening up with a therapist present or writing a letter. The important thing is to do it in a safe space with plenty of time to take breaks. This is such an amazing step you’re wanting to take, but you have to make sure to pace yourself.

    If you need anything else, please reach out. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3

  5. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Lonelyandempty,

    Thanks for coming to us and sharing how you’re feeling. That is a super difficult discussion to have, and I’m so proud of you for wanting to open up to him. I understand how it might be hard to say to him in person, so could you write him a letter? And tell him everything you’re feeling and ask for him not to talk about it until you’re ready? I agree with what Kayla said about opening up to him in the presence of a therapist, too. Please only do what you’re comfortable with. If you need any help, please let us know. We’re here for you!


  6. Kayla Volunteer

    I’m so glad you’ve found sharing with us helpful and are continuing to reach out. We are here for you. I think it would be beneficial to reach out to your father and tell him your story. I told my mom about a sexual assault I experienced in therapy together. I found this helpful because my therapist was guiding the conversation for us, asking questions and helping to navigate. I also think it’s helpful to have a neutral, and safe location for these difficult conversations. If this in an option, I would consider it. You could also preface it like, “I have something difficult to tell you and I’d like to work through it in a therapy session together” so he can be prepared to listen to something that will be hard to process the best he can. Whatever you decide to do, I hope it brings healing and relief.

  7. dzreid Volunteer

    Hi there!
    Sharing is never easy to do no matter who is on the receiving end. I applaud you for considering telling your dad. It takes strength & courage to share. Sharing with those who are supportive can be overwhelming & is a very scary step. If & when you decide to share with your dad, remember to breathe, & take breaks in the conversation if needed. People respond differently when hearing a loved one experienced abuse. Your dad may not know what to say so therefore, he may respond with being silent. Wishing you the best in your decision to tell or not. Come back & let us know how you are.

  8. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Lonelyandempty,
    I’m happy that we could help you. I think it is great that you want to tell you dad. I this kind of thing can be very hard to talk about especially to parents. No one is ready to hear what has to be said when it comes to this. There is never really a good time to tell someone this news, but you just have to sit him down when he’s not busy and when you’re ready. In someways it’s easy to just rip the band aid off, but keep in mind no matter how he handles it, just remember to breath and stay calm. He might not know what to say and he might not say anything at all. We are always here for you. Good luck telling your dad. We support you all the way.

  9. zelda Volunteer

    That’s awesome that you have talked about your story on this site! That can be so scary and daunting to do, you are very courageous for doing so. I remember when I first told my mom about my abuse, it was really hard for me to open up to her about it because she did blame me for a sexual assault that happened to me in 2015, she also didn’t believe me when I caught my dad with child porn when I was 6. However she was surprisingly really receptive and understanding of the rest of my story. She was there for me and just listened. My advice would be to open up to your dad when you feel like you’re ready. Don’t rush it, just take your time until you’re comfortable enough to tell him. I’m sure he’ll be supportive and understanding. Plus, it may help him make more sense of your current situation, as well as have more empathy for what you’re currently going through. I definitely wish you all the best! Just know that we’re all here for you, no matter what you do.

  10. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey there,

    thank you for sharing with us. opening up is hard, but only do it when you feel you are ready. take your time and be kind to yourself


  11. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Your intentions are pure and encouraging. It’s good that you don’t feel obligated to do such but would like to do such to merely open up and perhaps have your father supporting you as well. If you would like to have this discussion with your father, you could start by setting some expectations for the conversation, such as: “I want you to listen first. Once I finish my story, then I’d like to hear what you could say.” OR “What I’m about to share with you is hard for me to share all at once, but I want to tell you what’s going on. Please be patient with me.” Obviously, you may word this however you’d like, but this might be a good start. Might I also suggest jotting down what you’d like to say on a notecard perhaps to help tell your story clearly without feeling like you’ve forgotten something or not wanted to share something that you accidentally did.
    With what you decide to do, you’ve got this.
    Stay strong <3

  12. sam Volunteer

    I’m so glad sharing on this platform has helped you feel less alone. I understand how hard it can be to open up to family members about your abuse, and I’m sorry you’re feeling shame and embarrassment about it. If you feel like it’s time, that’s great, but if you’re not ready for it just yet, that’s okay , too. No matter what you choose or how it goes when you do tell him, we are here for you.

  13. Lizzi

    Hey Lonelyandempty,
    I can imagine it’s really difficult to open up to your dad about what happened to you, as you just shared your story with us for the first time recently. You don’t have to tell him, even if he’s supporting you financially, but it sounds like you do want to open up to him and I think that’s really great. I hope that he can be another supportive person in your life to help you while you heal. What happened to you was not your fault, and you don’t need to feel shame for it. As for how to tell him… I think the best way is going to be however you feel most comfortable talking to people about hard topics. Would writing it out ahead of time help you organize your thoughts? Or if talking face to face is too difficult right now, you could always right him a letter and give that to him. Regardless, remember that it’s up to you how much you want to share. You don’t have to tell him everything unless you want to. This is your story and you choose how you tell it. I’m so proud of you for opening up about your abuse, and we’re here for you if you need more support!

  14. Megan Volunteer

    Hey lonelyandempty,

    I’m so glad that this site helped you! It is great to hear that what we are trying to do here is actually making a difference <3. Opening up to people about abuse can be really hard. First, I would make sure that you are comfortable with telling your dad. You don't have to do it because you feel obligated that he helps you financially. Tell him if you want to tell him. It is totally up to you. If you do decide to tell him, I don't think there's is one way to approach it that's better than others; I think it's just whatever you feel most comfortable with. One thing that has helped me get through difficult conversations is writing down what I want to say beforehand. I personally struggle with getting the words out when I am talking about something difficult or forgetting what I wanted to say once I get there so having it written down helps so I can just read off what I wanted to say if I get stuck.

    I hope that helps and good luck if you decide to talk to him! We are always here for you,

  15. Ashley Day Captain

    Welcome back, Lonelyandempty 🙂

    I commend you for wanting to talk to your dad about the abuse you experienced. Discussing sexual violence can be difficult; it makes sense that you are struggling with how to navigate this situation.
    When you feel ready to tell him, please know that’s it’s not necessary to share the details about what happened. Disclose what you feel comfortable with. Since you believe you might be unable to face him, I support the idea of handing him a letter about the abuse. After opening up to him, I encourage you to take care of yourself by engaging in self-care.

    Please know you can keep us updated.


  16. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hey lonelyandempty,

    I’m glad you have found community with us! AVFTI is such a wonderful organization, and the people here have the biggest hearts. We’re happy to have you.

    Disclosing abuse can be a really difficult topic for a lot of survivors. I think that it’s important to consider your relationship with your dad before you have this talk. Do you think that he would immediately support you? Would it take him time to process this? I think it’s also important to consider if this would have an impact on your financial situation. Would he be open to helping you with your mental health?

    When it comes down to it, you have the freedom to disclose your story to whoever you feel should know. I think that if you’re in a stable emotional place and want your dad to know, you should tell him. Continue to take some time to weigh your options before making your decision, and keep up with self-care mechanisms!

  17. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Telling your dad is a huge step, and you should be poud that that is something you are considering. It sounds like you’ve come a long way in your healing. However, you don’t have to feel obligated to tell him. It’s your story, and you get to choose who to share it with. If you feel ready and comfortable telling your dad, than that’s great and you should do so.

    I too struggled with telling my father about my abuse, and I don’t think there is any wrong or right way to approach it. I think that when you’re ready, and when you sit him down to talk about it. The words will come to you. You could always start by thanking him for everything he has done for you, but letting him know that there is something serious you need to discuss with him and you really could use his love and support.

    Stay strong, and know that we are here for you. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help you further.


  18. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Lonelyandempty,
    I’m so glad that telling us your story is helping you feeling less alone. We’re glad to be here in any way we can.
    I think talking to a counselor and writing down what you want to say can be helpful. It may also help to have a plan based on how he responds. For example, you could see how supportive he is, then figure out if you want to confide in him in the future and/or see who else you can talk to. You could also think about whether or not he’s supported you when it comes to other events, etc. in your life. You can make the final decision on whether or not you want to tell him. If you do tell him, I hope everything goes well.
    Thank you for the update. We’re here to help, and you can do this.

  19. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Lonelyandempty,
    Thank you for coming back. It is good to hear that telling your story has helped you feel less alone. Telling someone we love about our abuse can be a difficult process because we don’t know how they will respond or how things will change. I agree with both of the comments below. Talking to a counselor or therapist could be very helpful in navigating the conversation. Writing it out first, either as a way to gather your thoughts to tell you father or as a way to have him be able to read it may be helpful as well. As long as this is something you want to do vs feel obligated to do. If the thought of saying it out loud to him is difficult or you think you wouldn’t be able to say everything you need to say, maybe write it in a letter and be there when he reads it so that you can have a conversation afterwards. If you think you able to tell him, just keep the paper with you so that you have it if you need it. Either way, telling him/not telling or writing/talking is up to you and is okay either way. Do what you feel best doing. We will be here for whatever you decide.
    Sending you love and strength,

  20. Solongago Volunteer

    Are you in counseling now? It might be helpful to run this by a counselor or a pastor, they may be able to suggest some things that you might not consider, so that you are best prepared. I hope your dad is open and supportive when you tell him.

  21. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share with us. I understand that it can be scary to think about how to disclose, especially to family members. It might be helpful to write out what you want to say beforehand, even reading whatever you write out loud might be helpful. We are here for you and support you. Let us know how else we can help.