Tag Archives: how to honor a difficult parent

Consequences & Narcissistic Parents

Proverbs 19:19  “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.”  (AMP)

 

Consequences are a valuable thing.  They teach people what is & is not acceptable behavior, what is safe & not safe & more.  Many children of narcissistic parents are not taught this in a healthy way, however.

 

Narcissistic parents teach their children to take care of them, instead of the natural order of things, the parent caring for the child.  One way they expect their children to take care of them is to interrupt the natural event of consequences for their actions.

 

  • If the narcissistic parent hurts the child’s feelings, the child is to hold the pain inside rather than tell the parent how she feels to protect the parent’s feelings.
  • The child should never set boundaries of any sort with her parent, so the parent is free to abuse anytime, any way she is so inclined.
  • Most of all, the child never, ever should tell anyone about what her parent does to her.  That way, no one thinks badly of the parent or gets her in any trouble for child abuse.

 

As the child of a narcissistic parent grows up, they get fed up with such nonsense, & rightfully so.  It’s not fair this abusive, evil parent skates through life unscathed while her child suffers constantly.

 

If you’re in this place, Dear Reader, I want you to know that you have ever right to stop protecting your parent from the consequences of their actions.  It’s Biblical to allow consequences to happen- just reread the above mentioned Scripture again if you don’t believe that.  You have every right to set healthy boundaries & to tell your parent that her actions are not acceptable to you.    In fact, you even have the right to go no contact with your parent if you are so inclined.  Titus 3:10 says, “After a first and second warning reject a divisive man [who promotes heresy and causes dissension—ban him from your fellowship and have nothing more to do with him],” (AMP)  Parents are not excluded from this Scripture, I believe, because God knows that sometimes, even a parent/child relationship comes down to needing that separation.

 

So Dear Reader, please don’t forget that your parent needs consequences for their actions.  It is NOT your job to protect them from consequences.  They need them if they are to have any chance of learning to behave better.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Does God Want Us To Honor Abusive Parents?

Exodus 20:12  “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee….” (KJV)

So many people in the Christian community are quick to remind those of us with abusive parents of the above Scripture.  These people believe that we should treat abusive parents well, doing their bidding no matter how cruelly they treat us, & that is precisely the definition of honoring our parents.

In my mind though, that doesn’t sound remotely like the God I know at all!

To honor someone means you give them respect befitting their position.  Your parents gave you life, so they deserve thanks for that.  (thanks, not worship!)  They deserve to be spoken to with basic respect, such as not cussing them out when you’re upset with them.

If you’re blessed with loving, Godly parents, go all out- love them however you see fit.  Spend time with them, give them gifts, & let them know you appreciate them.

However, if you’re like most of my readers & I, & aren’t blessed with such parents, that type of honoring behavior probably feels wrong to you.  It surely does me!  I had to decide on my own with God what honoring my abusive, narcissistic parents felt like.

For me, to honor my parents first & foremost means praying for them.  Not always easy, I freely admit that.  But, God wants us to pray for our enemies, & sadly, I think my parents fit into that category.  (They don’t love me- they only love what I can do for them.  They regularly try to hurt, control & manipulate me.)  I have an alarm set on my cell to remind me every morning to pray for my parents, other enemies, my friends, family & readers.  Praying for them as well as everyone else has become much easier since I’ve been doing it daily for a few months now.

Honoring them also does not include tolerating abuse.  If you study what God means by love in the Bible, you’ll see that one thing it basically means wanting the best for others.  Allowing someone to be abusive isn’t wanting the best for them.  Setting & enforcing good boundaries encourages them to behave right.  Granted, it doesn’t always work with narcissists, but at least doing so is a loving & honorable thing to do.

Sometimes setting some distance between or even going no contact with your parents can be honorable.  I was no contact with my mother for 6 years.  God had been dealing with me for a while about making the step, but I thought that couldn’t be God!  I asked Him one day if that was Him, because going no contact seemed so dishonorable to me.  His response was among the clearest responses I’ve ever heard from Him.  He said, “Where is the honor in the fact that your very presence stirs up strife with your mother?  How is that honorable?”  That along with some especially horrible things she did to me at the time gave me the courage to end contact with my mother.

As for more specifics, such as do you help out your elderly, abusive parent, that I believe is a decision only you can make.  Ask God what you should do.  I did this since my parents are now in their late 70’s.   I asked if He wanted me to help them.  God told me to do as I feel I am able to do, physically as well as emotionally.  Due to physical & mental health limitations, it isn’t a lot, & that is fine.  God understands! He also understands if I opt to do nothing to help them.  My parents may not, but yanno something?  I answer to God, not them.  Let Him guide you as to what is best in your individual situation.  He won’t lead you wrong!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Why Not Tolerating Abuse Is A Godly, Loving Behavior

One thing it seems like all adult children of narcissists share is the large amount of people who  think that we should continue to tolerate anything & everything our narcissistic parents dish out, because of such logic as, “That’s the only mother you’ll ever have!”, “She’s doing her best!”  or, “She won’t be around forever yanno!”  So many people think tolerating abuse is loving, Godly, martyr-like behavior.  How people can think this is utterly beyond me.

Consider Mark 12:32-33, & notice the last part of verse 33…

Mark 12:32-33   “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  (NIV)

What exactly does it mean to love?  Here is how love is defined in the Bible..

1 Corinthians 13 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  (NIV)

I see nothing in there that states how tolerating abuse is a good thing for anyone.  Basically, I see 1 Corinthians 13 this way- love wants what is best, & tolerating abuse is hardly best for anyone.  The victim certainly doesn’t get what’s best- instead they end up hurt & angry at best, or possibly even doubting their sanity at worst.  Depending on the type of abuse the narcissist dishes out, they may also end up in financial straights or with physical injuries.  The abuser doesn’t end up with what’s best when abuse is tolerated either, because being allowed to get away with bad behavior certainly isn’t loving!  Getting away with bad behavior only encourages that bad behavior to continue, & probably even to escalate.  Narcissists in particular, when not confronted with boundaries or consequences for their behavior, will continue to push the limits to see just how far they can go.

People who try to tell you that you need to let your narcissistic parent abuse  you truly have no inkling of God’s definition of love.  Sadly, many of them are very convicted in their beliefs, so trying to explain this to many of them will be a waste of your time.  However, if this is someone you know well, you will know if this person will be open or not to hearing you explain what God’s definition of love really is.  If they are, then hopefully your relationship will survive this bump in the road unscathed.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Interesting Revelations

Good evening, Dear Readers!

I’ve been thinking this afternoon & decided I’d share my thoughts with you. Seeing things in writing helps me clarify things in my mind anyway, & I’m hoping this post will help you as well.

As I mentioned, the last time I helped my parents out was a very difficult day. My narcissistic mother found a new way to degrade me that was so low, I don’t even want to discuss the details. She also knew I was in pain- while helping hubby use the log splitter the previous day, a good sized log landed on my left foot- yet she insisted I do at least 3 loads of laundry & make a couple of extra trips to & from their basement. Oh, & she also insisted on telling me all about the problems she has with her feet, interrupting me explaining what happened to my father.

Stupidly, I put up with it all too. Silently. I did set a boundary on the laundry as she wanted me to keep going, but for some reason, I tolerated the rest. I’ve been kicking myself since.

This is nothing but bullying behavior from my mother. It’s also nothing new to me. My mother has bullied me my entire life. A girl in junior high seemed to think it was her job to bully me from seventh through ninth grades. Another girl did the same briefly in seventh grade. Even my father in-law tried bullying me (like he has done to the rest of his family) occasionally during the first few years of my husband’s & my relationship. And, currently, someone who has been harassing me for the last year periodically uses bullying behavior as well.

Bullies don’t scare me at all, since I am so accustomed to them. I know they are nothing but immature cowards at heart who back down immediately once confronted. My mother is no exception. I’ve made her back down before when calling her out on her actions.

I also realized since that day at my parents’ home, I haven’t been myself at all. I’ve been withdrawn & depressed. My husband keeps asking what’s wrong, & I tell him I’m fine, refusing to show any emotions. I also tried to make him happy when he was in a foul mood yesterday rather than let him work it out on his own. Ridiculous! I know that my behavior is partly because I don’t want to hear his assessment of my situation, but there is more to it. I realized I have reverted back to my childish survival mechanisms.

Tolerating the bullying from my mother is what I knew to do as a child to avoid her anger, shaming me, disappointment, etc. It kept the peace. It’s also a reflex for me to do. I also know that showing any anger at her bullying will only feed her- the more hurt or anger I show my mother, the harder she tries to push every button I have, & the happier she is.

I also realized something else- I’ve been trying to make myself invisible (like I felt I was in childhood) by not bothering anyone with my feelings. WHY?! I asked God this because it makes no sense! Emotions are a part of everyone. God gave them to us, so how can they be bad? Immediately, He began to show me some things. I found it interesting because they reminded me of the dream I had recently where God showed me I need to move away from old ways of thinking. (see that post here: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/another-interesting-dream-to-share/ )

When I was in the eighth grade, there was an after school dance coming up. All of my friends were asking boys to the dance. I was uncomfortable with the thought of it, but since they were doing it, I figured I should too. At the end of a school day, I asked a boy who it turned out had been asked by several other girls. I was embarrassed, & later my mother saw me crying. She demanded to know what was wrong, & I didn’t want to tell her. Finally after her continued pushing, I did tell her. She told me no man would ever want me because I was so pushy & this was no big deal, stop crying. She acted like I was bothering her with petty problems by sharing this with her. I had always known it’s best to keep my emotions controlled, but this cemented that belief in my mind. I rarely showed any emotions to my mother again except when her abuse was exceptionally bad.

As an adult, there have been a few episodes with my husband where he too has shamed me for feeling certain things. For example, when we first got together, I learned he liked pancakes. I don’t, so I had no idea how to make them. I learned, but frankly, I stunk at it. I would get frustrated sometimes when trying & slam a kitchen cabinet door or something. He then would come into the room, say something like “tsk tsk.. soooo much anger,” then walk away, shaking his head. Also, when I got mad at his mother for her constant verbal abuse, snooping through my purse, criticizing my pets & family, he would tell me I had to understand her better or “be the bigger person” & ignore it. Basically, these behaviors of his showed me that something was wrong with me for having the feelings I did, & I shouldn’t bother him with those petty things. After years of this kind of behavior, it cemented in my mind that I need to keep my emotions from him as well.

Can you relate??

No one needs to tolerate bullying, but especially from their own mother! How ridiculous is that?! What kind of sick woman tries to hurt & intimidate her own child? A narcissist, that’s who. “Honor thy mother & father” does NOT mean tolerating abuse in any way, shape or form. There is nothing good or holy about that. How does anyone benefit from being mistreated or mistreating others? However, it is loving to put an end to such behaviors & making the abuser face uncomfortable consequences for her actions. God’s kind of love wants what is best for others, & that sometimes means confrontation or setting & enforcing boundaries.

And, if you too have been made to feel ashamed of your emotions or like you need to be invisible too, I am so sorry for what you are feeling! I know how miserable this is! You do not need to hide your emotions another moment. You have every right to feel them & process them however you need to. They are a part of you, a part of what makes you the unique person you are! Granted, it’s unwise to share your emotions with just anyone (such as narcissists or even plain old judgmental people), but there is nothing wrong with sharing your feelings with safe people.

As for me, I’m angry right now about this, & odd as it may sound, I think it’s a good thing. As the Bible says, be angry yet do not sin, so I won’t allow it to make me behave foolishly. I will, however, allow my anger to give me courage the next time I help my parents out. I will not allow my mother to bully me anymore, & I will set & enforce some strict boundaries. I also will not allow her to mock or invalidate me again either. If it comes down to it, I will walk out of her house. There is really nothing she can do to hurt me anymore.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism