Estrangement from abusive parents when initiated by the adult child comes with a great deal of torment. Many people have no problems adding shame to that adult child’s torment whether or not they know the adult child, the parent or anything about the situation. They share a lot of really ludicrous comments very freely. My goal today is to offer some responses adult children in these situations may use when exposed to these popular & heartless comments.
“You just need to get over the past & move on.” It is perfectly reasonable to point out to the person who says that that you don’t just get over trauma & abuse. You can do all of the right things to help yourself but chances of complete recovery from an abusive & traumatic childhood are virtually non existent in this lifetime. If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, your chances are even slimmer because the trauma physically broke your brain. Trauma in your past won’t let you go.
“You only get one mother or father!” Yep. That’s how that works. Everyone gets one mother & one father. So what is the point? They only got one of you, so why not tell this person to remind your parents of that & tell them to treat you like a human being?
“Nobody’s perfect.” That is true. But, there is a huge difference between mistakes made & being deliberately hurtful to your own child. Knowing your own parent did things to traumatize & hurt you on purpose is devastating, especially when that parent refuses to change their behavior even knowing how much pain they cause. Why tolerate being treated badly by anyone, let alone someone who thoroughly enjoys inflicting pain?
“He or she had a bad childhood. He or she doesn’t know how to be a good parent.” Someone who was abused as a child may not know exactly what a good parent should do, but they absolutely know what not to do. When they do things that were done to them knowing exactly how it makes a child feel, that is proof they aren’t simply damaged. They are cruel & wicked. How does it make sense to tolerate that treatment?
“You need to figure out how to make this relationship work!” No. Just no. When most adult children are at the point of severing ties with their parents, they have tried for a long time to make the relationship work. Eventually they realized nothing they did could fix it, because to fix a damaged relationship, both parties must work together. When only one person tries, the relationship is doomed. Either the one trying will stop trying & tolerate any abuse from the other person, or that one will end the relationship.
“What if your parent died tomorrow? You’d regret this!” Possibly the ultimate in guilt trip, shaming & disapproval comments said by a person pretending to care & be helpful. It isn’t helpful or caring, & is a cruel thing to say. Anyone who thinks someone who has severed ties with their parents hasn’t realized this is a possibility is an idiot. Also, children die before their parents sometimes. Why isn’t it ok to remind abusive parents of this & tell them they should treat their children better?
“You’re not honoring your parents!” One of my least favorite comments because it twists Scripture around into something completely ungodly! To honor someone means to pay them respect due to their position & to want what is best for them. There is nothing good or holy about tolerating abuse & allowing someone to continue to engage in sinful behavior. Where is any honor in that?
I hope I have helped you to have some comments at the ready when people say these awful things to you. I wish you the best when these situations arise!
4 responses to “How To Respond To Criticism About Being Estranged From Abusive Parents”
By the way, so sorry! For some unknown reason your comment ended up in spam?? I just saw it & approved it. Sheesh..
Cynthia, the lesson others who offer input fail to realize, is the person making the decision is the one who has to live with the choices. Others can offer input, but at some point they need to shut up and let the decisionmaker decide. Keith
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You’d think that would be common sense, but sadly it’s not.
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