Honoring parents


Honor thy mother…

What does that mean? I was abused as a child and even mentally abused into young adulthood. My mother only really found worth in me when, at age 29, I had my first child. Still, her presence only creates anger and bitterness. She and my brother have nasty arguments and the whole family swear and scream at each other in front of all the grandkids. Everybody puts down everyone else. And her phone calls are nasty controlling bursts…she calls just to make sure I’m not at my in-laws, who she hates. Everything is drama and confrontation.

So, after my last visit to her house, where I was treated poorly and witnessed a couple of screaming, cursing matches between my mother and brother and my brother and his wife…I cut all ties. That was nearly 2 years ago. I was sitting there on my mothers couch with my 2 year old daughter and my 10 month old daughter, and I thought, “What am I doing bringing my babies into this?” They would grow up thinking that this sort of behaviour is acceptable and that it’s okay to let yourself be treated this way. So, I ended it. Was I wrong? I discussed my feeling with my mother and my whole family, but nothing ever changed. How do you honor that?


I think that you did the correct thing. You must protect your children first and foremost. In such a situation the best method to honor your mother would be to pray for her from afar.


I have always had issues with this.

I agree you did the right thing, but also understand your confusion. How do you honor someone who is so terribly toxic?

Ditto to doing it from afar.


Toxic is the perfect description.

What about the commandment, though?


You are not the first person to ask this question here. If you do a search, you will find at least two recent threads in the matter (past couple of months).

You honor them by keeping out of their way when they are like this. Sometimes, it is a better honor to not put up with abuse and aggravation and manipulation.

If it’s ever necessary, you make sure they aren’t living in the streets, have food on the table, and clothes on their backs- provided they are cooperative and want your assistance. It does **not **mean you let them move in with you, ply them with dellacies while your children eat mac n cheese out of the box, and buy them designer fashions while you are wearing Goodwill.

You pray for them. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.

You certainly do not expose your children to such aggravation, and not your spouse. You don’t play their games. You don’t run when they call.

I know. It is not easy. I really know.

A good book is God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts! by Greg Popcak. You can pick it up used some places. It deals with people who like to make life miserable for others, esp. parents of adult children.


Actually, once I went through with it, it was easier than I ever expected. My life is so much better now. No one is ever cruel to me or calls me names. I don’t have to deal with all the drama and confrontations. My holidays are not filled with dread. I’ve never felt more peace. And, fortunately, I made the break before my kids were old enough to remember any of it. I’ve just always kinda wondered about that commandment, even about my father, who abandoned my older sister and I when I was a toddler. You know, what does God expect from me towards them?:shrug:

If it’s ever necessary, you make sure they aren’t living in the streets, have food on the table, and clothes on their backs- provided they are cooperative and want your assistance.

This makes sense to me. Thanks.


Glad to help. :slight_smile: And isn’t the peace and quiet WONDERFUL!!!


I am so sorry you have to go through this. I will keep you in my prayers. I agree, as someone else stated, to try and do a search on this topic. It has been discussed much here and I hope you may find some good advice there.

While I agree to cut-ties and keep your children safe…I would consider to “keep the door open” just a little bit. Perhaps send her a Christmas card? Maybe call her on her birthday and quietly say “I am sorry we don’t see each other much but I think of you and pray for you and hope you are well?” This advice was given to me by a Deacon because we were in a similiar situation. He suggested we call or send a card every month or two but to not have any regular contact or let her be around our children…if mom got nasty on the phone we were simply to say “I am sorry I am hanging up now” very calmly and hang up.

Maybe this would not work for you. It was just advice given in our circumstance. You are honoring her by your prayers, not by taking her abuse.

Hope this helps, God bless you and thank you for sharing your story that must have been hard I know.


Honor simply means you do just that: honor her as the woman who brought you into this world.

It doesn’t mean you let her abuse your or your children. It doesn’t specify how many holidays you spend with her or if you call her.


Whoa, I could have written this post. My mother is bipolar and refuses to get help. She tells me that since I’m not a doctor that there’s no way that she’s listening to me when I tell her she needs help. The last phone conversation I had with my mother ended with me telling her that if she contacts me again I will press harassment charges against her and her last words were “You’re nothing but garbage.”

I have taken this to confession. What kind of child has nothing to do with their parent? It’s horrible! My priest has told me that she is a patient (due to her mental problems) and until she gets help, I need to be detached and treat her as a patient. He tells me that an adult must leave their parents and cleave to their spouse (from Genesis). He tells me that since I’m a parent, I must put my children above my mother.

I cannot allow her to taint my childrens’ childhood memories the same way that my childhood was. I honor the Fourth Commandment by being an upstanding person. The kind of person who others would tell my mother that they’re proud of. I bring honor to my mother. I pray for her. I hope that she’ll get the help that she needs.


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