What if I'm not doing too well with the Fourth Commandment?


#1

Hello.

I am in my 30s and I have had a troubled relationship with my mother since my late teen years. My father and I had a great relationship once I got over my typical ‘teenageness’ if you catch my drift. My father has since passed on and my relationship with my mother has not gotten any better. Perhaps not worse but not better.

Just a few examples of our problems. She oversteps her bounds with my children and when I try to talk to her rationally and kindly she just storms off and pouts then the next time I see her we are supposed to pretend it never happened. We never have a conversation about what bothers us, she just wants to pretend it didn’t happen. I don’t work that way. I’m not saying we have to hash out every little bump in the road but she refuses to discuss anything.

She has also sent me letters just letting me have it, telling me I’m not considerate and I’m rude and selfish…and I often have no idea what I have done. One time she sent me one these letters and I was just weeks from giving birth…you can imagine my emotional state at that time. I call her to try to discuss and she says ‘oh, that, well I feel better now.’ What about me??? I want to say how I feel but it’s like I’m not allowed.

I have not cut her out of my life, though it’s tempting. My husband is very supportive of me. He does not pressure me in any way though he gets very upset when I’m upset about this. We still visit with her and let her see the children. But it’s not a mother/daughter relationship, we are more like acquaintances with the polite chit chat.

Now, here’s my question. Am I angering God by not following the 4th commandment when I have to deal with this?? I think I have tried. I have tried to talk, I have prayed, I have been too patient. I just don’t wish to upset God over her.

Thank you.


#2

I believe you are doing the very best you can in a difficult situation.
It apepars that your mother has emotional issues and possible some mental problems.

As to the 4th commandment. It applies at differing levels as we, and our parents age.

When we are chldren we are to be obedient to them. When we are adults though that relationship changes to something freer and more level (not one over the other). So the element of "obedience" is removed, but not the elements of Love or care or respect.

When, and if, the parent becomes infirm, then we have responsibilities where we become more the parent and they the child...
All of these stages and the changing dynamics fit in with "Honoring" so long as there is Love.

At this stage, about all you can do is accept her as she is. There is virtually zero chance that she will change significantly - though you can pray for this - and there might be a gradual shift.

About the only thing you can do, besides pray, is to work on your own reaction to things. You know how she is, and you know that she won't change, so you must. You must not let her moods, her letters, her this or that gnaw at you. It serves no purpose.

I would maybe set up a crucifix or maybe a sacred heart statue and place such letters etc in front of them. Ask God to soften her heart and enlighten her mind.

Remember how abused Christ was by the very people HE was trying to save.

Just some rambling...I hope something in the above is of help.

Peace
James


#3

I think that you sort of have two questions here. One is, "Am I sinning against God by not having a better relationship with my mother?" and the other, sort of implied, since you say that you are not cutting her out of your life even though it is tempting, is "How can I have a better relationship with my mother?". For the first one, the short answer is exactly what the above poster said: " As to the 4th commandment. It applies at differing levels as we, and our parents age." The exact degree to which you are doing your best, you know better than we do, and God knows best of all.

As to the second, I strongly recommend the book "Don't Shoot the Dog" a book about animal training by Karen Pryor, who wrote "Nursing Your Baby" many years ago when doctors and grandmothers were telling young mothers NOT to nurse their babies. Then later, after her babies were done nursing, she became a dolphin trainer, all of which might seem like more rambling, but the book is really good and helpful about human relationships also. Really. And if you happen to have a dog, cat, horse, or bird, they will benefit also.

The most important thing you can do for your relationship with your mother is to accept her as she is. Stop wishing she was a different sort of mother. When she says she does something that you don't like because it makes her feel better, just accept it. You can only change your own actions and attitudes, not hers.


#4

Ok, thank you! I love this forum because I can get reactions from people ‘outside the box’ if you will.

Yes, James, that was helpful, thank you!

RSD, I may just look into that book! I’m an avid reader so, thanks!!

As long as I am doing my best then that’s all God looks for. I really do not feel that I am in the wrong here. I have pulled away emotionally, yes, but that is to protect myself and my family. She has given me no choice.

And I don’t necessarily wish she was a different mother, I’ve given up on that really. It is what it is and as long as God is ok with me feeling this way then I’m good.

Does that make sense?


#5

[quote="OnTheJourney1, post:4, topic:239036"]
Ok, thank you! I love this forum because I can get reactions from people 'outside the box' if you will.

Yes, James, that was helpful, thank you!

RSD, I may just look into that book! I'm an avid reader so, thanks!!

As long as I am doing my best then that's all God looks for. I really do not feel that I am in the wrong here. I have pulled away emotionally, yes, but that is to protect myself and my family. She has given me no choice.

And I don't necessarily wish she was a different mother, I've given up on that really. It is what it is and as long as God is ok with me feeling this way then I'm good.

Does that make sense?

[/quote]

Yes it makes sense.

Just remember to keep "Love" at the core of your journey.

I just remember now that, I think it wasSt Bernadette - related a story about helping an older nun whom no one could please. Nothing anyone did was right. Bernadette actaully sought out to help this older sister knowing that she would be abused because of the Love that she would be showing to one of God's little children.

Not saying that you have the same kind of patience (I know I don't :blush:) but if all that you do, all that you put up with, is out of Love then it will stand well with God.

Peace
James


#6

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