Honor thy father?


#1

Is there ever an acception to honoring your parents? I have nothing but respect and the deepest love for my mother. She is the very meaning of honor and respect. My father on the other hand is a completely different story.
I got into a bit of a disagreement with my father this past Saturday.I'm 26 and live with my parents. Anyways, my father just went off at me for something completely stupid. I had asked him, very nicely I might add, to not let my new cat iinto his bedroom because it's so cluttered in his room and I was agraid my cat would get hurt. He "took offence" and told me that the house belonged to him and he'd do as he pleased. I left the house to cool off after that, because I knew he was drunk and not to argue with him when he's drunk. I had very angry thoughts towards him all day, and decided to go to confession. My usual priest is sick, so it was a different priest. He kind of chewed me out for being unloving towards my father, and saying that no matter what I should always respect my parents like the 10 commandments say. Granted, this Priest didn't know my father, and I have a feeling he would have said different if he knew my father.
A little background on my father. He is an alcoholic, a womanizer, a huge racist, emotionaly abbusive, and not religious (at least not in a normal sence). He started drinking heavily when I was about 9 or 10. Before that my mom says he had been a good father, but I truely cannot remember him ever being a good parent. I had a lot of bad health problems as a child and when I was about 12 he looked me straight in the face and said he had no compassion for my health struggles. When I was 14 I found a suicide letter on the family computer. I confronted him about it and he started laughing and said it was a joke that he had left for me. When I was 15 I foudn 50 love letters he had saved on the computer between himself and a woman that was not my mother. I showed them to my mother, and when we confronted him about it he said things like "this is the woman I should have had children with". He also skipped my birthday to be with this woman and her children. He also started drinking even more at this time. I was so scared of him when he drank. He's not someone that is a silly drunk, but a mean drunk. He wouldn't hit us, but his emotional abuse was just as bad. It was around this time that I started taking classes to become Catholic and he even made fun of my faith. Finally in '08 he went to rehab for 1 month. He seemed like he was changing, but that didn't last. Even not drinking he could still be cruel emotionaly. He was sober for 2 years, and then started drinking on and off again last year. He's told me to bugger off and get a life whenever I've tried to talk to him about his drinking. We also found out this past week that he was chewed out at work for downloading porn onto the company computer (oh yeah, did I mention pornography is also a big fave with him). His racist remarks drive me insane. He also feels that he should have the right to kill certain people to make the world a better place, and that Jesus would be proud of him for doing so (where he gets some of these ideas is beyond my thinking).
I know some of you are probably going to ask why my mother has stayed with him all these years. It's not out of love by any shape or form. My mother cannot stand him. But we're not very well off. My brother and I had multiiple health problems growing up. My brother grew out of his health problems, but I still have some health issues. My mother has had a hellish 5 years with her health, and back in December had a cancerous tumor removed. So we need the house that we live in. I am going to be getting a job and hope to have enough money in 2 years that will enable my mother to finally divorce my father. I would also like to move with my mom to Germany so that we can be closer to her family. This may sound harsh, but once they do divorce I will never see him again.
I just cannot bring myself to honor or respect this man. I don't go around being rude to him all day, but I do treat in with complete indifferance. Is it a sin to do this?


#2

There is no exception to "honor thy mother and father"...but that doesn't mean you have to act like a moron and continue a relationship with an abusive parent.

Since you live in his house, there isn't much you can do. It's a tough economy, and you do what you have to.

When you get out of his house, if he is stuck in that behavior, you can choose to ignore him and relax the relationship for a period of time. If he repents his behavior and doesn't act like that anymore, then it's up to you if you want to continue the relationship or not.

Again though, since you live at home, what can you do?


#3

Needless to say, you are living in a very challenging situation. Your father appears to have major mental health issues. Try to rise above this situation and forgive him. Also, you may want to start planning your escape. Just because you are ordered by God to honor your father (i.e. be kind to him in spite of his abuse), it doesn't mean you have to hang around and put up with the abuse. God bless you! I will pray for you. You deserve the best life has to offer!

Heavenly Father, please help this young lady become unstuck of this very terrible situation. Lord, please walk with her every step of the way, and guide her to a happier life. She deserves the best Lord. Please show her Your Presence, and bless and favor her in all ways. Thank You Lord. Amen.


#4

Dear Child of God 85,
Perhaps rather than judging your father's terrible behavior, you could try feeling pity for him. His drinking and the way he treats his family show that he is a very tormented soul, even if he would refuse to admit that. Turn your anger to prayers for him. God created each of us to be with Him in heaven, including your Father, and it causes Him sadness that any of us fall away from Him. Pray and do penance for him. It will help soften your heart as well as benefit him. Even if you never see any results for your efforts, maybe your prayers will allow him enough grace to repent and turn to God even at his last moment of life. Perhaps God gave you to him for this very purpose. I will pray for your family as well. God be with you.


#5

I pray for him every night to find faith in God. In a way I do pity him. But I will never be able to have any trust in him. He's hurt me worse than anyone ever has. It's because of his emotional abuse that I became a cutter from the age of 14 to 22. I still have many scars from that.
The weird thing is is that he acts very loving towards my older brother. My mother and I get the brunt of his anger.
His younger brother, my uncle, moved closer to us last year, and he's been a God send. He's supported my mom and I in some of the harder times with my father.


#6

Sometimes, you have to cut your losses. You are literally killing your soul in order to support your mother. You are 26...she has had plenty of time to help herself.

I think planning to move out on your own, even if it is detramental to her for a while, may be the best for your sainty. Remember the call on airplanes....put your own mask on before you secure the mask of another.


#7

OP, I feel that I have a similar situation (although not quite as dire as yours). I find myself wondering this regularly as well-how do you honor your mother and father when they act like you describe? I will tell you that I am 10 years older than you and left the minute I could. I moved 3000 miles away and I don't think the situation - with regards to your original question only - changes at all. Of course your day to day life will become easier once you get to move out. But the question of showing respect and love to a person like that - it certainly doesn't get any easier... They do not change. Only you can/do.

I like what clarkent said about seeing them in a different light. (I'm referring to myself her. I think you are in a much harder position since you are in the midst of it every day...) I beleive both of my parents to have Narcissitic Personality DIsorder on top of what you described. Having learned enough about the disorder I amsomewhat able to distance myself from the situation and find empathy for them. But it doesn't mean I'm not still very angry. And it brings me back to your original question. How do you honor and respect someone that you don't tryuly feel that for?


#8

I would litteraly feel like I was commiting a sin if I left my mom. She has stood by my brother and I through years of illness. Even when she was sick se would push past what she was feeling and take care of us. I truely love her more than life it self. There isn't a selfish bone in her body. She is the best mom and best person I know.
I feel terrible for her because she was engaged to a wonderful man before meeting my father. A week before she was to be married he was killed at work.
I don't thinkk my father would ever physicaly hurt me, but if I left I really cannot say he wouldn't hurt my mother.
I just could never turn my back on someone who has cared for me and shown unconditional love like she has.
Also with her being sick, I need to take care of her. A retirement home is out of the question, I don't care hoe sick she gets. I hate those places with a passion.


#9

Child-

Your comment about his room was offensive and rude. It is not our place as children of our parents to do this.

If you are 26 and do not like your circumstances, move out. We are supposed to move out. You will not be sinning against your mother.

I pray for you and hope you can get some professional help for your problems.


#10

[quote="dconklin, post:9, topic:234174"]
Child-

Your comment about his room was offensive and rude. It is not our place as children of our parents to do this.

If you are 26 and do not like your circumstances, move out. We are supposed to move out. You will not be sinning against your mother.

I pray for you and hope you can get some professional help for your problems.

[/quote]

Well, you really cannot pass judgement like that without actually having seen his room. I'm sure you've seen previews for those shows about hoarders (I think their called buried alive). His room looks like a hoarders room. There are boxes stacked to the ceiling, boxes and trash trewn across the floor. Laundrey and clothes are all over the place. Old computers, old coards, and different electronics all over the place. The only free space is his bed. I'm really not joking when I say you cannot walk in his room and that you could very well get injured in trying to walk through there. His bathroom, while not cluteered, is filthy. There is mildew everywhere. I can't remember the last time he cleaned it.
When I asked him not to let my cat in there I asked in a very polite tone. Unfortunately I didn't know that he had already started drinking, so he was in a very bad mood.
I do actually help with the bills. I have an at home business making pet beds, and most of what I get from that I give to my mother (who is in charge of paying the bills). My mother and I do all the house work and cleaning. We also do repairs around the house and yard work. Anything we cannot do we have to hire someone to do it. My father refuses to help with any of it. He goes to work around 8am, gets home anywhere between3 and 4pm, makes himself dinner, goes to his room and watches his tv for the rest of the night and goes to sleep. It's the weekends that he really goes on a drinking binge. He buys a huge bottle of vodka and literally guzzles it (I've seen him do it). I cannot understand how he is still healthy. He smoked for 40 years, has been a heavy drinker for 40 years, eats really unhealthy foods, and gets to exercise. He refuses to see a doctor even though my mom and I have told him to see one time and time again.

I don't think I should have to move out. I help with upkeep, I help with the bills, my mom enjoys having me around. I also believe that I owe it to my mom to take care of her now (she is 69), especially with her health being bad. She took care of me as a child, I owe it to her as her child to help her now.

When I was 12 I actually wrote a letter to my father, beggin him to stop drinking, to stop being cruel to my mom and myself, to love me again. You know what he did? He went up to me, told me that if I didn't like how he treated me that that was my problem, not his. He then threw the letter at my feet and walked away. Please tell me you consider that cruel.


#11

Also, my mother and I talk to our Priest alot about our troubles. It's nice to be able to unload our burdens to someone like our priest. He is the kindest,most forgiving man I know. He was horrified the first time we told him about our home life. He was surprised at how long we have been able to cope with my father. He's told my mom that when she is ready, she has clear grounds for annulment.


#12

Ultimately, you have to make a decision, and then live in peace with it ----- no matter what happens. You are taking the same steps as your mom, and remaining in an abusive situation. I wonder if she is staying because of you, and not your dad. I will not criticize you if feel that living under those circumstances makes you feel better, than the fear of going out into the world and living happy but separate from those you love (yes, including your father and brother who are both clearly quite abusive). Though, please note that your father and your brother show signs of becoming violent to the extent that there may be tragic results (death and/or maiming). You have the choice of moving, and then tell your mother that she can call you any time of the day when she decides to leave. In the interim, may I suggest that you take the additional step of seeing a therapist who will help you work through this situatuion.

Heavenly Father, thank You for helping this young lady and her family. Thank You Lord for guiding her during this difficult time. Amen.


#13

My brother isn't abusive. He actualy doesn't even live with us. He's in the Air Force. He tries to help all he can, but he lives thousands of miles away. I have another older half brother who hates my father with a burning passion. He's told my father that if he ever laid a finger on either my mom or myself he would fly down and beat the tar out of him. I believe him too.
My mom and I have aalready planned on saving money over the next two years and leaving then. She get social security checks that she saves in a secret account. I'm getting a job soon, and will be adding my money to that. She wants out of this almost more than I do, but it's been so hard because of money. She doesn't even share a bed with him anymore, hasn't for 17 years.
We both are out of the house a lot. And we talk to our priest a lot, that's really become like therapy.
Also, some may wonder why I don't have a job at 26. This is the first year I've been physicaly able to get one. I have a heart condition, and it's kept me from doing a lot of things. My doctor finaly put me on meds to regulate my rate, and thank god it actually worked.
I do think my mom and I are finally getting the ball rolling, and will be rid of him forever one of these days.


#14

It sounds like you and your mom are on your way to freedom and a good life! You may also want to call a hotline geared towards women living in abusive situations. They may be able to give you invaluable information about additional aide for you and your mom! I will continue praying for you both!

Heavenly Father, in faith, I thank you for helping this young lady and her mother in their hour of need. Amen.


#15

What a terrible situation you are in. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Emotional abuse is often discounted as not as "real" as physical abuse because you can't see the marks. But it cuts you inside and takes so much longer to heal than physical wounds.

It sounds like you and your mother are on the right track with saving up to move out. In the meantime, you can just try to keep your head down, stay away from your father as much as possible, and save, save, save that money. You are already doing this.

If the your parents own the house jointly, then if your mother divorces your father, she can get some of the sale money, right? (I don't know anything about splitting property during a divorce, so correct me if I'm wrong). You could then use that money maybe to get a little condo or something, or even just for rent on a modest apartment for the two of you to share.

Whatever you have to do - get away. You and your mother staying with your father is not helping him or you. He's probably only going to get worse, and you two will suffer more. If you both leave, it might just be a wake-up call for him. I doubt it, but who knows.

As for honoring your father - a trick I use is this. I pretend that I'm grandma in heaven, looking down. If I love my son (your father) and you, then I want what's best for everyone. For my alcoholic, verbally abusive son, I'd want him to get a wake-up call so he can have a chance at repentance or changing his life. I'd also want my granddaughter (and your mom) safe.

Honoring does not mean enabling someone in their dysfunction. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is to let someone feel the consequences of their actions.

As for forgiveness - it's hard to forgive a crime in progress. If he's still being nasty and horrible, and you live in fear, it's hard to feel love and pity for the person tormenting you. In my experience, time and distance allow you to be able to pity these people. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. So you can still feel anger and never want to speak to him, but have a desire to forgive.

I am praying for you and your mom. Best of luck.


#16

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