We are commanded to love and honor our parents... but sometimes that's not easy.
I need some advice I guess. I'm doing the best I can but I wonder if I can't do more...
Anyway. Here's the story.
My mother and father divorced when I as 9. He was sent off to prison and she spent the next few years just trying to get by. My mother is a VERY damaged human being. She was horribly abused and while she never abused us kids physically she did a lot of emotional and mental damage by impressing her fears and anxieties upon us. For example, I was not allowed to go to sleepovers except with a VERY FEW friends, whom she chose for me... I was not allowed to go to bible camp, I wasn't allowed to be out of her sight, basically, because the world was a scary place and I learned this concept very well. It's taken me YEARS to shake off her anxieties and to learn to be a functioning human being in the world.
My mother remarried when I was 12. My step-father was a very loving and patient man at first but my mother is a user and lazy to boot. He spoiled her at first, thinking, I suppose, that she would take care of him in return but instead she took all the spoiling with a real sense of entitlement and now, some 16 years later, she seems to think everyone should wait on her hand and foot. She REFUSES to work and does very little around the farm to assist my step-father. Recently he had to stop working due to extreme illness and instead of going out to get a job she pushed HIM into finding a new job. He SHOULDN'T be working, doctors orders, but she refuses to get up and do anything.
She's decided she regrets marrying my step-father and is laying the ground work to set things up so people will be sympathetic to her if she divorces him. She's basically making it seem as if he's a horrible, abusive person so that she becomes the victim and everyone will pity her. The only problem is I lived with them for YEARS and I know for a fact he is not an abusive person. He has a temper, he yells when he's upset (and BOY can she upset him... she can upset everyone really), but he is NOT physically violent.
It might sound like I'm bitter but I'm just stating the facts. This is how she is.
Now, knowing all this I can tell you what my issue is. I'm having a very hard time spending time with her, honoring her and just in general loving her. Whenever I'm with her all she does is bad mouth my step-father (who is more of a father to me then my biological father). I tell her straight up that I'd rather not hear it, and/or I give her the best advice I can but our visits (short as they are) wear me out physically and emotionally to the point that I'm stressed out for days after.
I don't mind that she doesn't listen, I don't mind that all she wants to do is brag about all her material things and stuff she's got and/or brag about how smart she is... but I can't handle the bitterness and anger that just oozes off of her. Sometimes I truly think she is surrounded by angry little spirits that are just egging her on...
How can I continue to honor her and love her without losing my own sanity and/or falling back into the anxieties that I inevitably experience when I'm with her? Is it wrong of me to limit my time with her to only one hour session once/twice a week? She's a very lonely, very unhappy person and I know if I spent time with her she'd appreciate it but I just can't bring myself to do so because being with her is so toxic...
Does anybody have any advice (besides that I should avoid her... part of loving her IS spending time with her, I just have to figure out how to DO that)?
On a side note, my step-father is a difficult person to deal with sometimes as well. He too has built up a great deal of hurt and anger towards my mother so he lashes out at her in very childish ways that drive me CRAZY and sometimes I lose my cool and am a bit rude to him. I haven't had a chance to ask my priest (he's been busy) but do step-parents fall under the category of 'honoring your parents' as well?
And if it helps. I do not live with them. I only see my mother once a week (i don't talk to her on the phone, which is something she points out to me ALL THE TIME. Every now and then she'll send me little emails basically telling me how much I neglect her but I just can't handle more then one hour visit a week!) and my step-father maybe once every two months.