Jane's Mental Health Source Page

One of the Web's Oldest Personal Mental Health Sites [Est. 1998]

Father Liable for $400,000 for Emotional Abuse


Note: unfortunately the news link no longer works and I don’t have a subscription to the newspaper. If you have a subscription you may do a search and see if they still store it in the archives!

A Canadian man was ordered to pay $400,000 to his 41 year old daughter for a life time of emotional and physical abuse that amounted to severe mental distress for the woman.

Gory details of emotional and physical abuse amounted to the father attempting to kill his daughter. The woman was also sexually abused by her uncle when she was young. Not surprisingly, the woman suffers from numerous mental and anxiety disorders.

While putting a “dollar amount” on the horrendous suffering this woman has gone through may put this story in the headlines, and help bring awareness to abuse, I wonder if this has truly served justice for the woman. $400,000 seems a measly amount for 20 years of suffering. A few million dollars may be a better beginning (but of course, the father wouldn’t be able to pay that).

It was shameful that the father showed no remorse. It was unforgivable that the mother did nothing to protect her daughter from the abuse.

Written by Jane Chin

August 3rd, 2006 at 6:05 pm

  • Shannon Casey

    emotional & verbal abuse is what I have dealt with and still am… I am , I am soon to be 46 yrs. young. I am still stuck in my high school years. I am a single Momof 14 yeats and have a very responsible, mature 15 year old son. I adore him beyond belief. I could write a bgook re: tjhe verbal & emotionAl abuse I grew up with w/ a single Momswho raised me alond with alll her vengence & hatred towards me from day 1. She supposedly was subject to being raised by many different foster parents and relatives. I was`constantly told “I was so stupd” and never amount to anything” humiliated in public continously. She`had and still does have huge issues. I never got an ounce of love or support. I never even knew what that was or what it felt like. It turns out I grew up to be quit attractive and talented,which olny made emotional & verbal abuse even worse. I need to write a book…if not for money for HEALING….i WELCOME any responses for help and healing it seems I have not been able to move up, out and betong this living hell, cruella deville is still alive and kicking me into the dirt. Haven’t dated in years, last break up she stated “what did you do make an ass of yourself.”.. I was ( 40 yrs/ old then) No One in my familky seems to want to see me and my son content and happy, when there seems to be a threat of that happening they go silent and really ready to sabbotage it. Please send HELP to smbc20970@yahoo.com

  • Shannon Casey

    I apologize for all the typos I am a stickler on spelling…hence My own worst critic, got to pick up where Mommy dearest left off… and still has not let up. My life so far has been a MAde for TV movie (Lifetime channel) un freaking believablewhat I went from home coming queen to cleaning soiled hospital instuments in the dungeon 24/7 while all my friends were gettinga college education with support from their loving caring supportive parents and my cruel nasty vindictive mother said get out of this Apt.or pay half the rent while I was trying to put myself through college. I had no support , coaching,metoring,help…nothing. Absolutley nothing in the encouragement dept.

  • Hi Shannon,

    I’m sorry to read about your situation and experience.

    If the people around you do not provide you with support and encouragement, it may be time to remove yourself from those type of people. It may even mean physically moving away and starting fresh somewhere else, although it may not be realistic for everyone.

    Cleaning soiled hospital instruments sounds like a very important job, considering that you’re responsible for the safety of patients who depend on clean hospital instruments. It sounds like a purposeful job, and you can be proud of what you do.

    Sometimes we’re put on a particular path, different from someone else’s, for the lessons that we are supposed to learn in our lifetime.

    We may not be able to choose whom we’re born to, but we can absolutely choose the type of person we want to become, by choosing what thoughts to think and what words to say to ourselves. At least, that was what worked for me so far.


  • Mauricio

    Hi Jane:

    The following is my case: I am a 38 year old male. Since the time I was 4-5 years old my parents started fighting. Every where we went, every vacation we took, at the least expected moment, they would start fighting. The fights would last several days at a time. For me and my siblings it became torture. Several psycologists tried helping, but they all concluded that THERE WAS NO FIXING this situation. So instead of divorcing, they kept on fighting. This went on for close to 25 years. Hell, they still get together and fight !

    The oldest brother is 42 years old, has had 3 marriages, a son and daughter in two of those…… my sister who is 40 has had 2 marriages, a child in the first and 3 in the second. She is now happily married (15years), but has needed a lot of counseling. The youngest brother is 36, and still living with Mom because he hasn’t been able to organize himself professionally. And me ? I suffer from depression. I have spent the last few years of my life learning about my condition, and how to get rid of it. It’s been a huge struggle! What I discovered is that almost ALL of what’s happened in my life has been due to the family turmoil we livved for 25 years. When I was I child, no one fought for my rights. I have tried to make my parents understand that my condition is due to their fighting. They have turned their back on me, telling me that I am an adult, that they were good parents, and that they no longer have to help me. They are both economically VERY well off. I need help to get my life back on track. Just so that you know, I am not sitting on my butt waiting for people to help me, quite the contrary, I wake up everyday at 4:30 am, I jog for an hour, I do 1 hour of Yoga, I eat as well as possible (there are days when they have left me with no food). In other words, I am doing as much as possible to help myself. In the community where I live, people appreciate me tremendously, for the work I do. I do not know who else to turn to for help, if not my family. When I ask Mom for help, she says “Go ask you Dad to help you, since he is so perfect” and the same happens when I turn for help towards my father. I have been researching the legal responsibility of parents in cases like mine, but have not been lucky finding information. My intention is not to sue my parents for eveything they have. I wish my parents a good life in the years they have left. But I dont’ believe it’s fair for me to be in this situation. I am not asking for much from them. Just enought to get my life back on track. Monetary wise it would be like 1% of what they currently have. I need money so I can buy clothes, so I can go out with friends and not have holes in my shoes, go to a movie, laugh….. just regular normal things that I need to do to finsih getting rid of depression. Who can I turn to? What should I do?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.


  • Mauricio


    I can’t get a job right now, because due to the depression, I would probably not be able to hold it for long. I first need to get my energy back to normal levels. I am a GREAT worker. Everywhere I have worked, I have been succesfull. I was top 10 in the NATION (USA) in car sales. I also worked for At&T where I recieved many awards for sales. Etc etc. I dont’ want you to think I am a lazy bum.

    Thanks again,

  • Hi Mauricio,

    I’ve read about your situation carefully a few times. I have no doubt that much of what you experienced in your childhood have given your depression plenty of “fuel” to burn.

    If I have read between the lines correctly, you’re looking for some way that would make your parents help you financially, the rationale being that their cantankerous marriage had caused you distress and exacerbated your condition. You may want to speak with a social worker or an attorney, I don’t know what type of legal actions you may take.

    I’m encouraged to know that you’re taking charge of your lifestyle and doing what you can to get yourself healthy physically and mentally. Depression does make holding down a job difficult at times, when the illness is at its worst. Given that you have a track record of success, have you looked into jobs that would offer you some flexibility in hours – even part time or freelance jobs? This may help your financial situation so that it does not become yet another factor in exacerbating your depression. I know that when I was a poor graduate student, living on minimum wage and have credit card debt, my financial situation did not help me feel better about my life or depression.

    Also, you may want to check whether there are local chapters of support groups for people with depression. Often, it helps to be in a supportive environment and ask for advice from those who understand personally what you are going through.

    Finally, from what you have said in your post, it does not sound like your parents are capable of feeling much compassion for you, as they are in their own denial about the type of marriage and parenthood they have had. There’s nothing you can do about that. I understand the feelings of anger you may have toward them. I’ve felt much rage and anger toward my parents and especially my mother over the years. But eventually I realized that they are who they are, and I was making myself miserable trying to change who they are or “getting them to understand” how their choices and behaviors have negatively affected me. Once I accepted this, I was able to refocus the attention back on my own life and how I would choose differently. It meant starting from zero (or negative), and working my own way out. It also meant I could then take credit for what I had accomplished, because I had to be self reliant for survival’s sake. I hope in time you will understand what I have taken years to learn, and relieve your parents of the responsibilities they have barely owned up to.

    Wishing you the best,

  • Rachel

    I am 31 years old and dealing with a single mother who is bipolar. Her behavior over the last 3 weeks can justify that she is having a relapse. Iv’e grown up all my life with a loving mother who supports every single thing I do. But every now and then usually every 5 to 7 years she has a major relaps where she becomes defensive and emotionaly abusive towards me.

    It is hare to handle because when things are good between us its great. And when she relapses its hard for me to keep in mind it is the disorder and not who she really is.

    When I offer help or show concern that the medication isn’t working she becomes defensive and puts all the blame on me. She becomes irrational but at the same time will make sense which further confuses me.

    I never considered myself a victim of emotional abuse ever until I started searching the internet for ways to deal with my situation. I lived with my mother up until Friday when I left because I couldn’t handle the stress. So far today she knows I am at work and has called me over 10 times between 7 am and 2 pm. Every other phone call is prasing me as a hero and a great daught who she adores and lookes upto and the phone calls in between are telling me how disobedient I am and telling me I am a liar and not trust worthy.

    I have been an emotional wreck all day blaming myself for defending my character to my mother.

    I am just so frustrated and didn’t realize there were so many different situation and so many other people that I didn’t know I could relate to.

    I guess in the midst of my situation and depression I just wanted to say to anyone and everyone who reads this, to hold your head up high, Be strong, things usually get worse before they get better but be strong enough to strive for the better, I understand and God Bless!

  • Dear Rachel,

    Thank you for sharing your story with me. From the multiple phone calls that oscillate between praising you and cutting you down, it does indeed sound like your mother is experiencing relapse, and you are at the brunt of her symptoms manifesting.

    Understandably, you feel frustrated and feel as if you were an emotional wreck. One thing you may try – and this may be easier than spending energy defending your character to a loved one who is in an unrecognizable state of mind – is to simply agree with everything your mother said about you without having to believe this to be true. If she calls you a hero, agree with that, if she calls you a liar, agree with that. You can choose not to invest any emotional energy fighting it, because this is not a battle you can win.

    Thank you for reminding others who know exactly how you feel to “hold your head up high and be strong.”


  • carol staron

    dear racheal,
    I am a 43 year old mother of 4 and I have sciaio-affective bi-polar type one, Thankyou for your views on your mother for it at this time beneficial to me and the way that I am when I am relapsing. I cannot promise that this will help when I am in the middle of a relapse but it lets me know that I need to talk to my kids today. thankyou carol

  • tiko

    I am 42 my childhood was horrible a therapist told me to tape telephone conversations with her she said I wish you were dead when I had a son she kept calling hrs on me I did not know I had to move now hes 20 yrs old she loves him like crazy anyway words hurt listen they arent my parents just bad babysitters my father is royalty not kidding my father is JESUS CHRIST he loves me my mother is royalty to OUR LADY QUEEN MARY I feel so sorry for people who dont know who they are in our true MOM and POP POP HE LOVES US so much he cares about everyone run jump celebrate you are loved always we need him like the air we breathe we are alone and weak and vulnerable without him you will never be complete without him PlEASE pray talk get to know himyour life will be great everything will be pure joy HE LOVES YOU 4EVER enjoy your new life doors will open your heart will be joyfull everything will be glorious love u all

  • Charley

    Dear Jane,
    I am 35 years old, overweight, divorced and now in a loving relationship with a wonderful man. My whole life my dad worked rotating shifts, my brother and I were told always to be quiet, even if dad was up and awake. I remember my dad force feeding my younger brother. Forcing food down the throat, literally. At age 11 I lost my virginity from a boy 17 after telling no numerous times. My mother was working part time but I didn’t tell her what happened until much later. I started smoking cigarettes, became promiscuous and gaining weight. At age 13 I tried to commit suicide but chickened out. I remember rocking myself back in forth in the corner, my mom came into the room and I told her that I needed help and needed to see someone,she said no I didn’t and that I am fine. I remember sitting on my parents bed while they had sex, I was maybe 7 or 8. I remember my mom and dad being seperated (can’t remember if it was before this incident or after)and believed my mom had another boyfriend and/or girlfriend. She was an alcoholic, partied and smoked cigarettes and pot. I remember getting the belt to my butt and hollored at. I found out at 21 that my “dad” was not my biological father. I am treated differently than my younger brother. I get attention from my dad when I gain weight. I made the mistake of telling them that I was either manic-depressive or bipolar. I feel guilty being mad at them because there have been some good times, but what consumes my mind is the bad. I feel that I am full of anger and rage. I am going back to a psychologist this time because I am truly a freak and the last LICSW fell asleep in my sessions. They put me on a cocktail of different drugs that I couldn’t stand and now don’t take any. I am more in control but feel some more issues need to be dealt with. Other than agreeing that counseling would benefit, I would be interested in your thoughts.
    Thank you,

    • Dear Charley,

      Thank you for writing and for sharing your sad story with me. I am sorry to hear of all the tragedies and atrocities that you have experienced in your past.

      The guilt is very normal, many children who have been abused develop strong guilt. They feel guilty about thinking ill of the people who have mistreated or discarded them. I think part of your counseling journey will confront this guilt, and see whether this is a productive way to move forward. I personally have found that guilt has hardly helped me, except to make me feel bad about myself.

      I know these memories still haunt you now, and they may follow you for many more years to come. Yet you survived. You didn’t “chicken out”. On the contrary, I see your choice to live as showing that you have tremendous courage. It is not easy to live through pain, knowing how it feels to live with pain. I think somehow, your higher self knew that you were born for a reason, and that you needed to remain alive because you are important.

      We all serve a purpose, but not all of us become conscious or aware of this. Some of us simply don’t care what the purpose is, and treat our own lives and other people’s lives with no regard. You were dealt with a severe hand, and now you are strong enough to choose to lead the best life you can lead, in spite of what you have experienced in the past. It’s not going to be easy, and you’ll need to hang onto yourself, but I know you are the one who can do it.


  • Debbie Robinson

    I may need this article to send to the attorney who hopfully will be suing my Dad for emotional, mental, and physical abuse towards me for over 35 yrs. It started when I was 6 or 7 and he still hasn’t stopped trying. It ends now and forever! He can go to hell…

    • Real HouseGuest

      I am so HAPPY to see that we are taking a stand as ADULTS. The LAWS NEED TO CHANGE.

      We were children when this happened and dependent on our parents for protection from the world.

      There needs to be a new law to help us as adults who suffer from trauma and poor life skills that make it difficult to find true happiness…the damage they caused is permanent.

  • Ayasha

    I am 53 years old. I was sexually abused by my father and taken to be abused by other men from 4-9 years of age. I hid everything from myself. My mother hated me and found me only as competition and a threat to her security. She was cold and withheld any emotional support or love and as I got older began lying about me. As a teenager when I tried to work she would tell me she needed me at home so I would quit to help her. I did not understand that it was my independence she did not want. I started becoming ill with eating disorders and severe depression. I did not know why. I blamed myself and my family let me become the scapegoat. I took on all the responsibility for its rather extreme dysfunction. It has been an awful weight. I graduated from college for which I was told I was very bad. During graduate school, I went through a bad experience with a Satannic Cult which was very bizarre. My career was hurt very deeply by it and so was I. My family told me I was bad, and I ended up marrying an abusive man who then began a several year job of destroying everything I had and being abusive in every way including sexually.
    My father died leaving a trust. Apparently he had decided to give the trust to me, because somewhere in there he finally accepted the damage that I suffered. However, he died suddenly and very unexpectedly after which my mom and sister went through all of his papers and shredded everything. He had not finished any changes in the trust and it left me in a very vulneralbe position with my family. My mom has promised things several times which I changed my life for only to have her back out. She sets me up and each time I want to believe her. The need to be loved is horrible. I tried to commit suicide last year and somehow survived. I learned then that every boundary a person has was taken away from me and destroyed. Right now I am very ill with MS, living barely even though the trust is quite able to hellp. I have two sons for which I would die for. I wanted so much more for them. The PTSD from the abuse, the severe depression and the MS make me feel very very helpless and vulnerable to my family. Please help.

  • Dear Ayasha, I am so sorry for what has happened to you.

    You said, “The need to be loved is horrible.”

    We all have a need to be loved. We literally cannot survive without it (scientific experiments with baby monkeys showed this). There is no shame in needing love, it’s part of being human.

    Unfortunately – you were not born into a place where you can be loved. What you received was not love, it was abuse, and it wasn’t your fault. You were conditioned to blame yourself instead of getting angry with the people who abused you, so you punish yourself in different ways, including returning to your abusers. Human beings (especially those who are kind at heart and can’t bear to believe in the worst in people) do that too.

    But this is why we can make choices. Sometimes we feel like we can’t – or we have no choice – but as long as we are conscious and physically or mentally/emotionally able to “move” we can choose. We can choose other people who can love us in a truthful way – who do not abuse us or hurt us and then guilt us into thinking that is love and we deserve hurt.

    You said, “I have two sons for which I would die for.”

    What about living for them? Because right now you are letting yourself die from the inside out, and you can’t let “abuse and abusers” win this war. Live for your children and live for yourself. Do everything in your power to take back your power, and the first step is to stop giving your power away to your abusers by letting them even get near you. This is the greatest gift you can give to your children, because they are watching you and learning if this is truly the way of the world. The chain of abuse breaks with you.

    I’d strongly recommend that you contact a counselor and/or therapist. TODAY if you can. You’ve waited for 5 decades to break free, in 50 years is a long time to punish yourself in this prison. You do have a choice to walk away from this abuse completely and wholly, and I believe you can do it.

  • Liz

    I’m really glad that this man had to pay. I’ve often joked that if I sued my mother to recover ‘ just’ my therapy costs, that I would be a millionaire but the truth is, it’s not funny, is it? The emotional healing is a life long process for me and always will be.
    Even though I’m glad this man paid for his crimes, I’m not so sure that I would recommend that everyone sue their parents because I believe that we spend our lives struggling to reclaim our identity, individuality, autonomy and suing really once again bonds us to the very thing that we loathe..our pain and the people who contributed to it. I personally chose to sever ties with my family, change my name and learn to live without them. It’s not been easy but the alternative is much worse. I also know that for myself, I would not want to say that I benefited in any way whatsoever from any money or any material thing that they would give me. I declined my inheritance as well- believing it is bad karma to surround myself in things and money that come from an evil source.

  • Melody B

    Im experiencing bad anxiety today, my son is getting married soon and family members want to know why my mother and grandmother are not invited.All my life I have loved my mother and ignored all of the neglect and emotional stress she put me through as a child. She would leave me and my two sisters out in the care while she went into bars and drank herself to vomiting and singing in the honky tonk band and flirting and sleeping with any man that would take her. On Saturday morning my mother and step father at the time would get up early, dress up and tell us that they were going shopping, we were home all day alone and then it started getting dark, we would begin to get scared and we would call out grandparents that live two blocks away, they told us to get some clothes together and when they went walking, we could walk back to there house with them. I would stay up until late at night calling and calling wanting to go back to my house to sleep. I could never get an answer. Finally I would give up and go to sleep. When me and sisters would be out in the car waiting for my mother to some out, my now deceased sister would get a nervous stomach and have to open the care door and have a bowel movement right outside the car because we where too scared to go into the bar. When I was in the sixth grade the teacher kept saying that something smells bad, she lined all of the students up and smelt each one of us. I was told that I needed to call home and get someone to come get me and I needed to bathe and then come back. My mother never taught me how to bathe correctly I guess, I know she never bought me a bra ever.I remember wearing the same clothes to school every day. How do these parents get away with treating us so bad and neglectful? Today my mother gets away with it. What can we do to our 70 yr old parents? Should they be punished after all this time. I pray that God knows all. Just two weeks ago my mother threathened to file charges on me for stealing from her, shes nut, She has nothing I would ever want from her, I just want her to leave me alone forever. These stories are just alittle of what she has done to me.

  • tremors

    I want to sue my father I have become handicapped
    because of my fathers mental and emotional abuse
    i live in ky back in 1963 i was left to die with two sister frome starvation
    And one sister did die he did not feed us he would only feed
    Him self then i found out after i got out of foster homes i foundd
    Out i had another sister she was rape by this man then as time went by I
    Found out i had another 2 sister one was kidnapped by this man
    And a gun pulled on the other doring all this knowing what he
    Has dont i wanted to for give him i wanted a father so bad
    When i found him he put me down he told me he wanted to
    Sctew me in a joking way but even so you dont talk to anyone like
    This then he gave me a house bout a hole was in the hall so i was
    Going to take it out the next day but it was not there i then saw the roof
    Come to shure with bulldozer tracks on it so i ask him what happen
    He told me it just fell apart ya right then a month went by and there
    Was a small boat there that needed work so i fix it and the next day
    I went to test it just to find it not there i ask him what happen to it
    He told me the tide came up and took it this was another lie
    Everyone knows when tides come up around here they stay up
    For a week or two i found out later he told my girlfriend he pushed
    It out this tore me up two times he did this to me then after
    That he had me put in jail for a $20 tool i forget i had then when i went to court
    He showed up with a psychologist to have me put away even this man
    Did not know why he was there what i was there in court for was a$20
    Tool that i for got i had. There was another time i needed food i ask for
    His help he told me he could not he had no money then he started to tell me everything he had in his
    Frigerator in freezers i showed up two days after hetold me this jusy
    To find out he that day paid in full cash for a brand new scooter
    no he has this internet girlfriend who he lied to about me and his other kids
    When i came to the house he told me i can never come in anymore do to his girl friend did not like me after it took me two hours to get there it was late and i was tired
    He made me sleep in my truck why her kids can come and go when ever they want
    She wants me out for here on reason she is after my family home
    And waterfront thats been in the family since1913 this is where the boat bad deals happen
    I tried to get the police to reopen the 1963 murder casewith my sister
    They did then they clised it he got away with murder and rape mental and emotional
    i cant deal well with others i have seizure trimmers post tramatic stress and severe panic disorder do to what he did to me its hard to hold a girlfriend for to long i also have bad depression do to him i cant even hold a job i have bad breack downs
    He also live in ky i dont sleep well i newd to sleep with a lite on i am 52 i want to kill hime for what all he has done but i hold back in pain and cry a lot can i sue him
    And if so who can i go to i cant do this pain anymore i come close to
    Killing my self do to no one will help me take hime to court
    please he needs to pay for the crimes he does and not live like a king
    Like he does now I don’t need pity I need help

    • John Smith

      I too am in the process of it. Start by gathering any documents you may have i.e police records, psychology notes ect. Find a law group who will work on a no win no claim bonus.