Help for a bad family situation

I almost don’t know where to begin with this.

I come from an abusive household where my mother physically beat us and called us names. I can’t tell you the number of times I was called a slut and told that she wished I’d never been born. Of course, all of us children got that. There were 2 children by blood (my sister and I) and 2 foster brothers (one committed suicide and the other is on the other side of the country and keeps in touch sporadically). My father was in the military and was away a lot and didn’t participate much in our lives. He just sort of stepped back and let my mother lead.

My sister is gay and ‘married’ to her partner and they have a son via IVF. My sister has always been a very demanding and selfish person from as early as I can remember. I always took second place because it was easier and my mother let it happen because it was easier.

Anyway, for a few years my parents spent time with my children and that was great. Now that my sisters child has come along they’ve all but dumped my children and myself. I took a step back so that they could work their lives around my sister and her son so they could spend time with him. They have to follow all her rules and basically do what she says or they can’t see the little boy.

I can live with taking a backseat most of the time. What really hurts is that if my parents and I have made plans with each other and my sister calls they will dump me and run to her. This is blatant and I was pretty much told yesterday that “that’s the way it is” because they have to follow sister’s rules and do what she wants.

I am just devastated. I guess thinking that I was not as loved/important or whatever for most of my life is different than KNOWING that I was right. My mom told me as much on the phone yesterday.

Actually, what started the whole thing yesterday was that I was concerned because my mom had lied to our priest. I have just recently returned to the church (my husband does not go) and my parents decided to go with me. My mom has told many people at the church that it was my fault that she stopped going to church in the first place (I was 12 when we stopped going). Anyway, she told the priest that she had been attending a protestant church with me in the last 2 years. She made it sound like she’d been going often when in fact she only went once. To me that is a lie and I went to her with concern that she should rectify that…well, it went downhill quickly from there.

Now she has told me that she won’t be going to church any more and that is my fault too. I also was told that I was a snob and that I should just go hang out with my rich friends and blah blah blah. Funny thing is my sister makes as much as my husband does and her spouse works also - I stay home. The difference is that when I am out with my mother, I pay for everything…my sister spends her money on herself and then asks my parents to buy her a car (she turns 40 next month). Argh!

Anyway, how do I honour and respect my parents and show love to my sister through all of this? I waver on not talking to them to save my emotional sanity to feeling like I should take it and suffer through.
Thanks for your input.

There is so much complexity and history to your situation that it is almost impossible to give advice that will “fix” your situation but my husband was in a similiar one so for what it is worth…here goes:

You must (for the sake of your own family) back away from your parents and sister. My husband and I were given this advice by a Deacon. We were told to call his mother occassionally. We were told to send her birthday cards and to check up on her to make sure she was okay physically. We were told to pray for her especially. But it was very important that we not be involved with her on a regular basis and the Deacon was adamant that we keep our children away from her. She beat my husband much and did did horrible things to him emotionally when he was a child.

Please seek advice from a Priest or Deacon here. You can still honor your parents without having a lot of close contact with them.

This is of course a guess but I would bet that this is hurting your marriage. Your husband is probably tired of seeing you cry over this. He has probably had to listen to you get frustrated over and over and had to see you depressed and anxious over all of this. Now it is worse because your children are beginning to suffer because their grandparents will “dump” them.

This is putting your own family life in jeopardy and you cannot do that. I cannot tell you how many arguements my husband and I got into after contact with his mother. Both of us would be tense and argue a lot. Now that she is at a distance I cannot tell you what a miracle it has been. We rarely talk about her. My husband calls her once a month for a few minutes and when she starts to argue he politely tells her he has to go.

I have to tell you the door is always open and that is also what the Deacon told us. If my mother in law ever indicates a change we need to be open to that. Until then it is safe to say we need to back away.

This will be very hard to do. Pray about this and see a Priest or Deacon. Hope this helps a litttle.

My question is, why do you continue to allow your mother to victumise you? It sounds as though your sister has found a way to stop HER abuse. She makes rules to protect herself and her child. It might be good for you to do the same thing.

I hope you don’t take this as an attack. It isn’t meant to be. I’m just a very straight forward person.

My mom was also a very stressed-out, military wife and mother of six. She raised us alone while my dad was fighting in Viet Nam. She was raised in an abusive home and really didn’t know a better way to parent.

That said, I love my mom. She has tamed down a lot, to the point that she’s always pushing Dr. Phil books on me :rolleyes: She adores my kids and also my neices and nephews.

The one thing she hasn’t been able to give up are her control issues. I find that it helps my sanity if I lay down the law with her. As in, “I love you mom. I respect your thinking, but I have to make this decision for myself”. Sometimes I have to hang up the phone and just distance myself from her for a while.

Try not to let your mom’s behavior get to you. Honestly, it only puts you back in the victum role. Back away from the emotions and don’t let your mom see how this hurts you. It feeds into her control issues.

I highly reccomend a good therapist. There is no shame in talking to someone about this. Really.

As far as your mom lying to the priest, phshaw. Don’t let it bother you. That’s your mom’s issue, not yours.


Monicad…Thank you for responding to my post. You were right when you said it has bothered our marriage. It upsets my husband a lot that my mother and sister cause me a lot of pain. He doesn’t understand why I continue to put up with it.

I keep hoping that things will change and get better but I’ve been hoping that for so long that I’m starting to realize that it may never happen. I will keep the door open just in case though.

I think you are right that I need to put distance between them and my family. Especially my children. I didn’t mention it before but my mother always says she can’t stand to be around my children (in front of them). This started after my nephew was born.

Mesquite - I didn’t take offence to your message at all. You made a very valid point about allowing myself to be the victim. I thought about it for a while and the only thing I can come up with is this… I have spent my whole life trying to please my mom to get her love and approval so I have no boundaries with her - I have just done whatever she wants, basically. Because of that she reacts very badly when I do stand up for myself or my children.

The thing I have been most torn about is putting distance there and still letting her know that I love and respect her. I know that it is her issue…but she will feel like I’ve cut her off, abandoned her, hate her, etc. and I have a hard time with that. I don’t hate my mother or my sister. I’m not even angry with them…just really hurt. I worry about them permanently turning away for the Lord because of the way they see me. While my mother says she has a relationship with God she will throw my faith in my face if I stand up for myself and ask me what kind of a ‘Christian’ I am?!


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