How do I honor a father who abused my mother and me?


Throughout my childhood I witnessed my father physically abusing my mother. My dad also abused me. It was not everyday, and the severity ranged from a shove to him chasing me around my bed with a baseball bat in his hand. My parents divorced around the time I finished high school. My mother has been coping with depression and anger and has been in counseling ever since. This has weighed on me quite a bit through the years as I am very close with her. I have, periodically, made an attempt to speak with my dad. However, it is never comfortable. Discussions turn into arguments and I feel great anxiety, which my wife and four children feel.

My wife and children are my heart and soul. I’m having a difficult time incorporating my dad into my life as I feel great anxiety and anger for what he has done to my mom and myself that will be with us forever. There’s a part of me that feels sorry for him because he is all alone. I seek guidance on what it means to “honor your father.” I need to be in-line with God for my salvation.


Honoring one’s father does not mean to forget what he did that hurt you and others you love, nor does it necessarily mean that you must relieve him of the temporal consequences of his actions (such as his loneliness). Without knowing more about the situation, I am hesitant to make recommendations on what you can or should do to include your father in your life. I recommend that you get a referral to a Catholic counselor in your area from the Pastoral Solutions Institute or from for more personalized assistance tailored to your unique situation. God bless.

Recommended reading:

God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts by Gregory K. Popcak

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