My Dad Just Walked Out

By Dr. Robert Wallace

May 12, 2021 4 min read

DR. WALLACE: Since my dad left two years ago, I've been overeating and feeling hopeless and depressed. I really didn't think I was missing him, but over the past couple months I realized I miss him a lot, so my mom and I began therapy. I'm not sure why he left or where he went, since he took off without a word and has not contacted us since.

My therapist has prescribed me antidepressants; they seem to help with my depression but unfortunately not with my overeating. So, I am thinking about joining an Overeaters Anonymous or Weight Watchers group. What do you think? I feel that I need all the help I can get these days. — Still Struggling, via email

STILL STRUGGLING: I'm very glad to hear that you and your mother have sought professional help for depression. I further commend you for focusing on your related issue of overeating. Your physical health is very important, and getting in control of your eating will provide you an important avenue toward further healing from the shock of your father departing unannounced.

Participating in group settings can be very helpful for overeating issues.

Be mindful that it will take time to lose the weight and learn to eat healthy, but it can be done, and you certainly have the drive to be successful in the long run. I don't favor any one program over another, but I agree that seeking out groups and individuals that can offer you support is, indeed, a good thing.


DR. WALLACE: I have been dating a guy on and off now for almost two years. We first started dating in high school and now we both attend local community colleges.

When we are together, we have a great time. He is a gentleman, and he is very nice to me. But when we occasionally have a disagreement, he gets loud and violent, in a very particular and channeled way.

He isn't ever violent toward me directly, but he punches things such as walls, lamps and automobile dashboards. He often ends up accidentally hurting himself in the process and frequently has a brace or a sling on one of his hands or wrists.

I think this is very weird, and I have told friends that he can't help his outbursts, and after all, he has never laid a single finger on me.

I discussed this issue with my closest friend because I didn't want to tell my parents; I know they would be very alarmed and would likely tell me to dump this guy. But to my surprise, after a long talk today, even my closest girlfriend has advised me to leave him due to his consistent and volatile outbreaks. Now I'm down to asking for your advice on this issue. — Unharmed Girlfriend, via email

UNHARMED GIRLFRIEND: I suggest you take your friend's advice: Stop seeing this guy and don't look back. The fact his behavior is continual to the point of sustaining many injuries is a warning sign, and he needs to get help with this issue.

I suggest you tell him that this behavior is the reason you are not continuing the relationship. If appropriate, speak to his parents or some of his close friends to explain that you feel he would greatly benefit from professional help with his anger management issues.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay

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