A Difficult Family


hello, i’ve had decades of difficulty from my family & i’ts surprised me that being catholic fanatics; my parents could have treated me so badly.my father was an alchoholic for many years & sublected me to his violent threats. & when he died;the family ganged-up on me & were very awkward.it seems like he’d left a ‘legacy of hate’ towards me in his will.i’m 50 & have diabetes;but although i live alone;they’ve threatened to disown me if i don’t help them.i’ve equally threatened to divorce them & defect to protestantism;if they continue their abuse.things settled for a while;but there have been some blazing-rows.i’d like to hear from folk who’ve had a similar experience or views in general.regards


Please accept my sympathy and concern for your unhappy situation. It is sad that people in your family were not more open to receiving God’s grace. Do not confuse God’s church with your immediate family. If you need to separate yourself from your family for some period of time, do not let that separate you from God and His sacraments. There are many times when God reaches people through some protestant churches, but they have cut themselves off from so much- stay in the Catholic church, and there are so many more ways to receive the grace of God. Reach out for God even more than ever. Perhaps there is a priest you can trust who could be spiritual director at this time?


atg2 - Hi dear. I am sorry that you are being so abused by your family.
My first advice is to not turn this strife into a religious issue. There are dysfunctional Catholic families and protestant as well. My husband comes from a non-denominational family that is so disjointed that at any given time you can’t keep up with who is not speaking to whom, lots of emotional blackmail. His grandfather was an elder in the “church of Christ” and he sexually abused and tormented his own children. There is a very sweet lady who posts on here from time to time who was abused and tormented by a church of Christ parent as well, but I can’t think of her name. There are plenty of posters on here who were tormented by “Christian” parents as well. I know that sometime we think that if people belong to the “right” church they will never behave in cruel ways, but sadly this is not the truth at all.

A book I recommend is Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. She writes from a secular position and the book has been very helpful in helping my husband realize how manipulative his parents were.

I pray for your healing.


hello,for a start;the ten commandments are being broken…'thou shallt not’etc,etc.of course it’s a religious issue,but thanks for your posts.the church in question is:St,Teresa’s,Lexden,Colchester,Essex,United Kingdom.regards


I’d been to the priest to complain about them before;so he could see how they behave;out of church.He mediated & that calmed things for a while;tho’ we’re back to friction again & I said i may have to complain to the priest again.They see this as a weapon against them;but i just keep away from them as much as i can;maybe see them once per fortnight.True,I see neither religion as being better than the other.I suppose folk only go to church,for their own satisfaction & much disregard for the real world,outside.


[quote="atg2, post:4, topic:163186"]
hello,for a start;the ten commandments are being broken.....'thou shallt not'etc,etc.of course it's a religious issue,...


Well, in that sense then everything is a religious issue. The problem with your family isn't their religion per se--it's their sin. Perhaps your family has "scape goated" you--in other words, tried to place their sins on you. You are not the cause of your father's alcoholism and violent threats. His Catholic religion wasn't the cause of his alcoholism and violent threats. His sin was at fault.

While we each need to take responsibility for our own actions and sins, the sins of one family member interplays with the sins of other family members. Your alcoholic father and dysfunctionally family didn't come out of nowhere. Your father wasn't the first family member to sin, and he obviously isn't the last.

You mentioned your father's alcoholism. Alcoholism often runs in families. Since his problems continue to affect you and your family even after his death, consider seeking help through Alanon or other groups that help heal family members of alcoholics.

Frequent the Sacraments. Talk to the priest in the Confessional. That gives you the seal of the Confessional and an opportunity for grace and healing. Be careful that your family's sins don't become your sins. Examine your conscious with honesty and humility so that you don't repeat your family's tendency to scape-goat your sins onto other people. I specifically mention the Sacrament of Confession because it is one of the Sacraments of the Church specifically for healing.

Perhaps the strongest tool against sin is the Mass. I suggest you pray for your father's soul and have a Mass said for him. You can have a Mass said for your whole family too. When things get most difficult, pray harder and have more Masses said.

Find distance from your family if you need it to avoid serious sin. If you attend the same parish and find that difficult, consider traveling to a different parish for the Sacraments and Sunday Mass. You can leave your parish without leaving the Catholic Church.

God bless you. I'll say a prayer for you, your family, your father and the whole situation.


with respect your family problems have nothing whatever to do with the Catholic Faith. The Church remains the Church, Christ remains Christ, the truth remains the truth regardless of what certain individuals who call themselves Catholic do or do not do. That is what you must cling to, Jesus Christ, and not give human beings the power over you to make you believe or to doubt.

Please go over to AAA and click on Fr. Serpa’s last post to a family question, and see his reflection for adoration before the Blessed SAcrament or a crucifix, you will find it immensely helpful. I belong to the family who put the fun in dysfunctional and have learned over the course of 60 years that it is entirely within my power to control the effect their words and actions, and the memories, have on me. You must chose to take the power to control your memories, thoughts, emotions and actions away from them and put it entirely in the hands of Jesus.

I found help from Al-Anon years after my parents had died which helped me understand the mechanism of alcoholism in the family and remove myself from the destructive effects, you may still benefit from speaking to someone from this group even after you break off contact with the toxic members of your family.


I am so sorry to see you are going through this heartache. It seems all families are dysfunctional to one degree or another. I also say prayers for and add “poor souls” whenever my family goes off on a tangent. :wink:

Here is something puzzleannie said that bears repeating and re-reading. It is very powerful.

“You must chose to take the power to control your memories, thoughts, emotions and actions away from them and put it entirely in the hands of Jesus.” :thumbsup:


My mum showed me a pic of my late grandmother (her mum-in-law) for the very first time the other day.I couldn't see the likeness of my late dad in her;but do you only see the likeness in the male? I mean;I'm the only one who resembles my dad in our family.(My brother bears no resemblance to either parent;strange?).


I grew up with an alcoholic parent. People in our situation need to learn to detach with love. We also need to be actors, not reactors. If they disown you, fine. Getting upset by their threats is reacting, not acting. Running away from the Catholic Church to get away from your family is reacting, not acting. And no matter how far you run, their voices and negative messages will still be in your mind unless you turn all that over to God. God is the perfect father that you (and I) never had.

I’ve found Adult Children of Alcoholics mtgs and AlAnon meetings to be very helpful. Even if you can’t make the meetings, maybe you could poke around these websites and order some of their literature.

adultchildren.org/ and al-anon.alateen.org/english.html

Praying for you…


There's a difference between running-away & voluntarily-leaving.It's true that;neither one religion is better than the other.It's the family that has become a strain & it is unhealthy to remain in an unhappy situation;for anyone.I think my mother is a mis-guided catholic.I've had to distance myself from them.


Scape-goated i am;for all their problems.They've all had holidays & returned refreshed;to start a new cycle of irritation.The siblings are sloping-off to abandon mum's care & I'm going to be lumbered;because mum's condition has worsened.


You come from a severely dysfunctional family and I think that your relatives have elected you the scapegoat.

You didn’t say if you live at home with mum or other relative. If so, you should move out or otherwise separate yourself from all but the most essential dealings with your relatives. You must save yourself. You’re 50 now, not well, and things aren’t going to get any better unless you make them do so.

Regarding your mum’s care, you do live in the UK where social services are much better than in the states. Try to enroll her in whatever care is available for her. And try to get counseling for yourself, if you have not already done so. It’s too late for “family” counseling.


Stay in the church. Your family is not practicing catholic values and morals, they are the ones straying away from gods teachings. but don’t give up. Im sorry your family is acting like this to you. =/ I guess all you can really do is talk to them about it and maybe having your family getting together to talk to a priest about this. Something needs to set them straight.


Well,they can't force me to help them & no,i don't live with them.Dad had created a climate of hostility towards me;so they're carrying this on to be true to his spirit.We've had some rows,disownments,reconciliations.They've become dependant on me,tho' i have reduced my help to 1-2wks basis.They're happy to give advice about handling other people;but they don't practice it themselves.I've already had the priest mediate;but to little avail.They rely on Protestant church-groups for care;but are fanatical about Catholicism.I attend a Protestant church with a friend.I have found sanctuary there.I have not left the Catholic Church as such;but lesser attendance.From early adulthood,i've had the view that;all churches are the same.They all bear a cross;the services & rites differ,but are all for the same end.I have the same view about supermarkets;they all sell food.


Dysfunctional,they are & after having had some counselling;i’ve realised that this problem will continue.I now dictate the amount of time i spend with them;just enough to remain in the fold.


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