How Verbal Abuse from a Father Affects Daughters

October 14, 2021 Cheryl Wozny

The dynamics between a father and a daughter can affect how she grows and matures. For example, if there are elements of verbal abuse during childhood, it can negatively alter her emotional wellbeing and development. 

As a victim of verbal abuse from my father growing up, I experienced many disparaging side effects, including low self-esteem, reduced self-confidence, and continually suffering from trust issues. These issues are not only due to verbal abuse from my parent, but that is where they started and continued throughout my life. 

Negative Side Effects

Some grown women will experience and deal with verbal abuse differently than others. How you manage negative side effects is a personal journey that is your own. In my experience, some complex issues that arise from being the victim of verbal abuse include: 

Out of this short list, I experienced eight of these side effects during my childhood and as an adult. It can be shocking how detrimental verbal abuse from a father can have on his daughter. 

Coping Mechanisms

Because everyone's experience is different, how a daughter copes with the toxic environment her father provides can vary. In my experience, some common coping mechanisms can be: 

  • Aggression or abuse towards others 
  • Withdrawing from people
  • Defiance
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Criminal activity
  • Suicide or self-harming activities
  • Other risky behaviors 

Turning It Around

Growing up with a verbally abusive father was toxic for me in many ways. Thankfully, through years of therapy and the love and support of my immediate family and friends, I am processing the events of my childhood. In addition, professional counselors guide me on strategies to cope effectively with my present-day situations so I do not repeat the same mistakes. 

Although my childhood was not ideal, I have come to use that situation to benefit my own children. I know how worthless and unloved I felt as a child, and I never want my children to experience a similar circumstance.

Of course, no parent is perfect. However, I try every day to be more open, loving, and supportive of my kids, doing everything I can to ensure their childhood is not the same as mine. Through the years, I have also learned to apologize to my kids. This behavior allows them to see that I am not perfect, I do make mistakes, and I am willing to take responsibility for them and move forward so it doesn't continue. 

If you are still struggling with the effects of a verbally abusive father, seeking professional help can guide you on the path to healing and recovery. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2021, October 14). How Verbal Abuse from a Father Affects Daughters, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 13 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

October, 15 2023 at 8:31 pm

For the past 20+ years my dad has been constantly saying “look at all the other people your age and take a good look at what you’re like”. It’s really hurtful. When I tried to tell him this he says I’m too sensitive and repeats that I need to take a look at everyone else my age. My dad has a really bad temper and would often start going off on me as soon as he walks into the room. I would keep it in as much as possible because if I shout back he would guilt trip me saying that no daughter should shout at her dad etc and act like I am the bad guy who started shouting first. He once slapped me in the face and shouted at me when I was 10 after I was scared to sleep after reading a scary story. I’ve been doing harmful things to myself like punching a fridge door with my bare fist (causing my knuckles to go purple and swell) because I wanted to find some ways to let it out. I find that A lot of the points listed applies to my dad and me, do you think I’m overthinking it? I really think he doesn’t know how to communicate like a normal human being.

October, 31 2023 at 5:42 pm

Hello, Anonymous. I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog at HealthyPlace. I want to thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with you and your dad. It takes courage and strength to let others know of your circumstances. I am not a mental health professional myself, but a person who has extensive experience with verbally abusive relationships. From what you have said, I don't believe you are overthinking your situation. I encourage you to visit our Resources page… to find professional mental health resources in your area. It's crucial for you to find a way to release the tension you feel in healthy ways. I wish you well.

October, 2 2023 at 2:46 pm

My own step daughter is going through this, even to this day. Her Italian father is old fashioned, outdated, old school, he uses her as a punching bag for his many miserable and repetitive failures, his own lack of confidence in himself, he's a coward and a worm, a total loser, it really truly breaks my heart. I've tried many times to talk to her face to face but she runs, she only listens to her mother who she's very close to. I tried to toughen her up and strengthen her weak, very timid and naively trusting character, but she does have many other strong qualities. She does give her piece of mind to some people who deserve it. Last night was the breaking point, she's had enough. She texted her father and told him he's a total miserable loser and to leave her alone for good.
So many times I've told her, stay far away from him, he will tear into you and shit all over you if you dare to go with him anywhere. Sure enough, every time he's alone with her in his car, when they go out as a family with her tow small children he craps on her and abuses her emotionally and mentally.
She always says she knows what to do...but they're just meaningless words. Sad...

May, 21 2023 at 1:43 pm

I hope I overcome this

August, 19 2022 at 11:16 am

What advice can I give to someone who is being verbally abused by their father?

August, 22 2022 at 12:23 pm

Hello, I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. Thank you for reaching out to help someone you care about. One of the best ways to help someone is to be there for them and listen to them when they need understanding.
I encourage you to direct them to our Resources page for many ways to find professional support in their area. You can view it here:…. Letting your friend or family member know they are not alone and there is help for them is the best thing you can do. Thank you for taking steps to help them.

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