Honoring Abusive Parents

Many people have a very skewed view of what it truly means to honor someone, especially their parents.  They’ll throw around “honor thy mother & father” while conveniently forgetting the Scriptures directed at parents (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21).  They falsely believe that honoring parents means you have to sacrifice yourself or your principles.  You must do what they want, no matter what it costs you, or else you aren’t honoring your parents.


Honor isn’t always what people think it is. http://www.merriam-webster.com defines honor as follows:  “a showing of usually merited respect : recognition <pay honor to our founder>”  I interpret this to mean basic things like treating a person with basic respect.  Using manners, being considerate of them, disagreeing respectfully rather than cussing them out, & the like.  Nowhere in this definition does it sound to me like honoring someone means you must cater to their every whim.


Spoiling someone by giving them everything they want or doing everything for them isn’t honorable.  It teaches the person nothing at all.  It doesn’t help them to learn & grow, which is NOT good for a person.  In fact, many people believe some narcissistic adults were once spoiled children.  They became entitled, selfish adults by having all of their whims catered to.


Allowing someone to control you isn’t honorable either.  All that does is teach a person how to be manipulative, entitled & bossy.  There is no honor in that!


Tolerating abuse is certainly not honorable.  It encourages awful behavior while hurting you.  How could that possibly be an honorable thing?


People need to have boundaries & consequences for their actions.  Such things are honorable, especially when done in a respectful way.  There are ways to state things in a respectful manner, such as stating in a calm but firm tone, “I’m not going to discuss this with you.  If you keep talking about it, I’ll hang up this phone.  Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?  No?  OK, good bye.” *hangs up phone*  That is just one example of being respectful while setting boundaries & giving consequences.


In 2002, I stopped speaking to my mother for several years.  Coming to that decision wasn’t easy at all for me.  I knew I needed to do it to heal, but I believed it wasn’t honorable.  I struggled with this decision & prayed a lot.  One day, I told God how conflicted I felt.  He spoke to my heart so clearly & said, “Where is the honor in the fact your very presence stirs up strife with your mother?”  It made sense to me.  Being with my mother meant she acted up.  She verbally abused me.  She insulted every tiny thing about me & those I cared about.  She bossed me around like I was the hired help & not her daughter.  There was NO honor in that.  Going no contact at that time was the most honorable thing I could do.  It enabled me to have time to myself to heal, & it put an end to much of her horrible behavior since she doesn’t treat anyone else like she does me.  It also showed her that I was done tolerating her abuse.  If she chose to abuse me she would have consequences for doing so, like me leaving her life.  In situations like this, even going no contact with an abusive parent can be the most honorable thing you can do.


If you struggle with honoring your abusive parent, I would encourage you to pray, Dear Reader.  Ask God to show you the truth on this matter.  He will, as He has done for me.  You will rest much easier when you know the real truth about what it means to honor your parent.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

16 responses to “Honoring Abusive Parents

  1. The most important element in this discussion is that in going NC we remove the possibility of the N sinning against us. This, to me, is a better argument to use with those who criticize us than self-protection since our detractors don’t really care about our suffering. If they truly are concerned for the N they won’t have an argument for removing the temptation of abusing us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Angela

    If a person takes on employment, say as a postman, and then fails to deliver the mail, people would complain and the person concerned would be fired. No one would call that person a postman – he didn’t do the job. If a mother and father receive the precious gift of a child and fail to love them unconditionally, fail to accept and encourage them as they are, show them no respect, besides not doing the basic things such as giving the child all the food and clothing that they need, caring for them when they are sick and taking them to the doctor when needed, have those people really been parents? They may well have lived under the same roof but neglect along with physical and emotional abuse is not parenting. If you feel able after all that, you can treat your parents with a respect they haven’t shown you but there is no reason to accept further abuse. Go live your life and be the person God or nature created you to be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a fact… there is NO reason to accept further abuse from anyone, parent or not. I don’t think this false belief that to honor means tolerating anything & everything a person dishes out has done anyone any good, except abusive parents that is.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I like your take on this. Too many people fail to hold parents accountable for the way they raise their children, but they should be held to a high standard because how that child grows up can either contribute something positive and worthwhile to society or drain it of valuable resources. That may sound a little clinical, but the cost to us all of people so damaged they can’t function normally and live productive lives is enormous. Think about how much we spend on law enforcement, prisons, drug related treatment, medical care, lost tax revenue (because damaged people have difficulty holding down a job), etc. And of course the greatest cost of all is in the suffering of people who were never given the unconditional love and acceptance every child needs to reach their full potential.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember in one of Lisa A. Romano’s videos, she suggested that “honor thy mother & father” can mean honoring yourself (not in a self-entitled, narcissistic way, of course) because we carry the DNAs from a male & female. By living the life God wants us to, we honor not only ourselves, but also the parental & maternal parts in ourselves. Basically, I think what she meant is that “mother & father” here should be taken metaphorically. Too bad many parents use this phrase & the concept of filial piety as the free pass to abuse their children.


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  4. jamivee

    This post is making me delve a little deeper and think….thank you:)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I find that there are also parents that provide the basic necessities for the child to function except for emotional intelligence. I have found very frequently that students can come from families that provide them with everything but fail to teach their children how to cope and manage feelings. This could be because they don’t know how because of their upbringing or they just won’t. I have learned a great deal from my husband. I. Elieve tbat his grandparents,especially his grand father were experts at teaching emotional intelligence. I believe through his i receive the lessons i seldom received as child. His childhood was overtly terrible and continued to adulthood. Through it all though he seems to sort it out within himself to function. He isn’t perfect but to me is a great example of being taught to love rather than be told about it.
    My last assignment I was very conflicted. Echase i was viewing behavior problems from an arc lense. Why ant these kids just be obedient so they can learn. This is what I was taught. They can it there is something missing within them. They don’t get attention at home, there are t enough hugs, they get criticized in unproductive ways he list goes on. I began asking the same question of my daughter and my husband kept responding, wife, she is only _____ years old. Which translates to it’s our responsibility to show her and teach it to her.
    Sorry for the lengthy response but this article hit home for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My previous response was pretty off topic so in this one I wanted to address it. I agree with your presentation of honoring family. I think that it is important to honor the mother and father but it is critical that we honor our children because they are future mothers and fathers. They may also be our future caregivers if we become unable to care for ourselves.
    It is selfish to think as a parent that we are owed anything for our children. It is also backwards, we owe it to them to be good models of love and loyalty. Once we grow and begin our lives we must honor ourselves and treat ourelves kindly. We cannot expect that honor to come from outside. That is where narcissism stems in its behavior, Narcs have expectations and when they are. It met resort to tactics that begin to manipulate and hurt other people in so many ways. They don’t feel they are obligated to show gratitude, they expect you to know it” I’m sure she appreciates everything you have done for her” is what a Narc brother told me. He followed it with a “but you should understand it for her point of view” Bollux is my response to that. Sorry.
    As a mother I must put my selfish needs to have others fill my bucket (read the book how to fill your bucket to understand this reference) and unselfishly fill the bucket of others. Narcissistic parents don’t see this, they fill their own bucket by emptying yours into theirs, or routinely emptying yours out.

    Liked by 1 person

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