Christian Mamas, Help me be Christ-like in this situation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-11-2010, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mother...I can't even begin to really describe. She has emotional issues and is verbally abusive and emotionally manipulative. She and my SDad hate my husband and refuse to have anything to do with him...but want a relationship with me and our children. We (DH and I) made it clear that we are a whole family and it is not acceptable to treat us as anything else.

We told them that until they attempt reconciliation with DH they will not have a relationship with this family.

My mother has attempted to subvert that time and again. It's been hard (because she IS my mother) but I'm holding strong...I told her, again, that she needs to attempt reconciliation with DH. She made some comment about how "Jesus is her only God" or whatever (implying I'm asking her to worship my DH??)

I sent her this Scripture: Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. That was all the email said.


It's hard to cut ties with family...no matter how toxic, you know? Sometimes it's hard because it feels like my prayers for all of us to get along are not being answered. It's even harder to check my tongue because, as you can imagine, I can get pretty vehement when defending my marriage...with no regard to the level of disrespect.

ANY thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, etc... would be greatly appreciated.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#2 of 17 Old 08-11-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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I think you are doing the right thing. Yes, you must honor her as your mother but your husband is your head now, not her. She has no right to demand a relationship with you at the expense of your family.

1 John 3:15 would be another verse that comes to mind.

Is she under the leadership of any elders? If so, I would try one more time for reconciliation through them. If she refuses and continues in her behavior then you have done all you can and have no responsibility to continue speaking with her. Matthew 18:15 talks about this process.

As for prayers being answered, God often does say no or not at this time, but we are promised in Romans 8:28 that "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Continue to persevere in your prayers for her.
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#3 of 17 Old 08-11-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you are doing the right thing. Yes, you must honor her as your mother but your husband is your head now, not her. She has no right to demand a relationship with you at the expense of your family.

1 John 3:15 would be another verse that comes to mind.

Is she under the leadership of any elders? If so, I would try one more time for reconciliation through them. If she refuses and continues in her behavior then you have done all you can and have no responsibility to continue speaking with her. Matthew 18:15 talks about this process.

As for prayers being answered, God often does say no or not at this time, but we are promised in Romans 8:28 that "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Continue to persevere in your prayers for her.
She's not, directly, but my SDad is a pastor. That's part of what bugs me the most...he's supposed to be leading sheep and he can be one of the most hateful people I know. I've considered contacting his District Superintendent before...but I feel petty doing that.

They've said that they dont' have to honor my marriage because I dishonored them as parents by marrying someone that they didn't approve...almost 5 years ago.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#4 of 17 Old 08-11-2010, 07:05 PM
 
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This site really helped me: http://www.luke173ministries.org/tem...t.asp?id=39548

Cutting my toxic parents off has been very hard for me to reconcile with my faith. But I finally realized that forgiveness--which I'm still working on--doesn't necessarily mean forgetting what they've done and allowing them to continue the emotional abuse. The way I honor my parents is by walking away and letting them be who they choose to be. They don't want to change and are totally uninterested in having a relationship with me on anything but their own narcissistic terms. Rather than clinging to something I'll never have and causing them (and myself) the endless pain of expecting them to treat me with genuine love and respect, I'm honoring their choice not to have me in their life. They surely see it as the actions of an ungrateful, evil daughter, but prayer and much reflection on the situation (and a few years of therapy) have shown me otherwise.

As I get distance from them and as time passes, I've found myself much more forgiving--but not forgetful!--of their abuse. Although I doubt it will ever happen, I'd be open to the possibility of future reconciliation if they were ever truly repentant and wanted to have a real relationship with me. There was a time not too long ago when even that would have been out of the question and I wanted nothing to do with them no matter how sorry they were, or how much they changed their ways.

About the emails to your mother, well...I wouldn't bother getting into a Scripture battle with her or even trying to convince her anymore. As a dear friend likes to say, "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both be covered in filth and the pig likes it."

Your parents' demands are unreasonable and unfair. They are also extremely un-Christian. Does not a woman cleave to her husband? You're a package deal and that's that. If they choose not to acknowledge your marriage, they're choosing not to acknowledge you. You owe them no further explanation, no excuses, no discussion, no emails, no phone calls, no visits sans your DH. "Shake the dust from your feet" and walk away from people who refuse to accept the truth. That's what Christ told his disciples to do, isn't it?

Don't wrestle with pigs. They know your terms and boundaries, and they can choose to abide by them or not. It's out of your hands after that.

(And yes, cutting of family, no matter how toxic and abusive, is incredibly hard--by far the hardest and most painful thing I've ever done. But the results are worth it.)

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#5 of 17 Old 08-11-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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She's not, directly, but my SDad is a pastor. That's part of what bugs me the most...he's supposed to be leading sheep and he can be one of the most hateful people I know. I've considered contacting his District Superintendent before...but I feel petty doing that.
Oh, dear. Yes, absolutely this needs to be taken to those in authority over him. 1 Tim. 5:19-20 deals with those in leadership positions. They may not do anything about it, but at least you know that you've given it your best shot.

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They've said that they dont' have to honor my marriage because I dishonored them as parents by marrying someone that they didn't approve...almost 5 years ago.
Without knowing the whole situation, I will say that *perhaps* there is something there that you may need to acknowledge and repent of. However, that does not excuse their ill behavior toward you. If they really believed you were in a continual state of unrepentant sin, then they would be working the steps outlined in the previous mentioned passages. If they refuse to forgive you and your husband for whatever they perceive to be your sins, then that is really their problem, not yours.

I am hesitant to give any more advice on the situation-specifics, but would urge you if you are under the authority of any local elders to contact them for help in the situation.
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#6 of 17 Old 08-12-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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This site really helped me: http://www.luke173ministries.org/tem...t.asp?id=39548

Cutting my toxic parents off has been very hard for me to reconcile with my faith. But I finally realized that forgiveness--which I'm still working on--doesn't necessarily mean forgetting what they've done and allowing them to continue the emotional abuse. The way I honor my parents is by walking away and letting them be who they choose to be. They don't want to change and are totally uninterested in having a relationship with me on anything but their own narcissistic terms. Rather than clinging to something I'll never have and causing them (and myself) the endless pain of expecting them to treat me with genuine love and respect, I'm honoring their choice not to have me in their life. They surely see it as the actions of an ungrateful, evil daughter, but prayer and much reflection on the situation (and a few years of therapy) have shown me otherwise.

As I get distance from them and as time passes, I've found myself much more forgiving--but not forgetful!--of their abuse. Although I doubt it will ever happen, I'd be open to the possibility of future reconciliation if they were ever truly repentant and wanted to have a real relationship with me. There was a time not too long ago when even that would have been out of the question and I wanted nothing to do with them no matter how sorry they were, or how much they changed their ways.

About the emails to your mother, well...I wouldn't bother getting into a Scripture battle with her or even trying to convince her anymore. As a dear friend likes to say, "Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both be covered in filth and the pig likes it."

Your parents' demands are unreasonable and unfair. They are also extremely un-Christian. Does not a woman cleave to her husband? You're a package deal and that's that. If they choose not to acknowledge your marriage, they're choosing not to acknowledge you. You owe them no further explanation, no excuses, no discussion, no emails, no phone calls, no visits sans your DH. "Shake the dust from your feet" and walk away from people who refuse to accept the truth. That's what Christ told his disciples to do, isn't it?

Don't wrestle with pigs. They know your terms and boundaries, and they can choose to abide by them or not. It's out of your hands after that.

(And yes, cutting of family, no matter how toxic and abusive, is incredibly hard--by far the hardest and most painful thing I've ever done. But the results are worth it.)
I agree with this pretty much word for word. I too grew up with abusive parents and my dad was also a minister.

I admit I am quite curious what their reason is for hating your DH. Or if there is really no reason.

My mom has had it out for every single man I have ever dated, including my husband, although she does not demand to see me without him or anything like that. She at least does respect that we are a package deal. I have certainly had to have words with her about disrespecting him though.

Sorry you are going through this. I know it is extremely difficult.
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#7 of 17 Old 08-12-2010, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Without knowing the whole situation, I will say that *perhaps* there is something there that you may need to acknowledge and repent of. However, that does not excuse their ill behavior toward you. If they really believed you were in a continual state of unrepentant sin, then they would be working the steps outlined in the previous mentioned passages. If they refuse to forgive you and your husband for whatever they perceive to be your sins, then that is really their problem, not yours.
With regard to not honoring them. If I HAD honored them I would have stayed in an abusive relationship and never done anything for myself. They loved my XBF and have been known to say "we trust him more than we trust you." However, said BF was emotionally/verbally abusive and sexually abusive as well. As an example: They invited him to play Laser Tag with the Youth Group (even though we'd been broken up AND he was too old to be considered a member) and, in the dark room, he cornered me and briefly assaulted me. I never mentioned it because, well, they liked him more than they liked me. Any time they found out anything about the two of us being sexual they blamed ME for corrupting HIM even though he was the one forcing me after I told him NO. They wanted to choose my major in college (after already choosing my college). My dad filled out all of the paperwork for me and never taught me how...I had to go to the admissions office to get help when I was re-enrolling. So, had I "honored my father and mother" I'd probably be with an abusive man, terribly unhappy...or I'd be dead. (I was in deep into an eating disorder, cutting addiction, and sliding into deep depression...suicidal thoughts were a weekly thing at least)

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I agree with this pretty much word for word. I too grew up with abusive parents and my dad was also a minister.

I admit I am quite curious what their reason is for hating your DH. Or if there is really no reason.

My mom has had it out for every single man I have ever dated, including my husband, although she does not demand to see me without him or anything like that. She at least does respect that we are a package deal. I have certainly had to have words with her about disrespecting him though.

Sorry you are going through this. I know it is extremely difficult.
The reason for hating my DH: He took me away from XBF and from them. He encouraged me to break up with my abusive boyfriend and to find my voice against my abusive parents. He gave me a way out. And, when they pulled the verbal abuse in front of him he stood up for me and defended me...against my own parents. How sad is that?
They'll also say that they got phonecalls from "someone" (who this person is changes as time goes by. It used to be an anonymous caller and now it's one of my professors) that DH was putting me in situations where I was sleeping around and partying all the time. None of this was true. Sure, I stayed out later than they approved (as a senior in high school I had a 9pm BEDTIME...not CURFEW, BEDTIME. I had to be in bed with the lights off at 9pm...at 17 years old....so yeah, staying out with my friends until past midnight was something they hated. What were we doing? Shooting the breeze at Whataburger.) Until DH I'd never been faithful to any one guy; so the sleeping around comment really upset me.

Also, until DH I'd been playing around with witchcraft and becoming Wiccan. I didn't want anything to do with God. It was DH that helped me realize that my dad was NOT a good representative of God's love and that God was better than that. It was DH that sat and prayed with me when I recommitted my life to Christ. I'm choked up just thinking about it. Do they believe me? No, they believe that I came back from church camp "a changed person" and "a Godly woman" and that DH took that away...little do they know that the "Godly woman" they saw was still puking after most meals and sneaking around to be with men...

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#8 of 17 Old 08-12-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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Sigh, how frustrating for you, Kas.

You can't change what they will or won't believe. Maybe the next conversation should go something like this,

"Mom and Dad, I'm sorry you think I dishonored you by marrying DH. I've told you the circumstances regarding our relationship and how DH was and continues to be a positive influence on my spiritual life. Whether you choose to believe that is up to you, I can only tell you the truth. My intention was not to make you feel dishonored, but the fact of the matter is, DH and I ARE married, and that's not going to change. He is the head of our home, and I am under his leadership now. If you cannot accept that, then we cannot have a relationship. You know the scriptures regarding Biblical marriage, I don't have to quote them to you. If you refuse to acknowledge my marriage to DH and that DH is a member of this family, then we can NOT continue our relationship."

I also completely agree with peainthepod. It's difficult to cut toxic family members from your life, but it's even harder to deal w/ the BS that comes with having them in your life, if they're unwilling to change. I don't have contact w/ my father and step-mother b/c of our toxic relationship. I actually just had a facebook "run-in" w/ my s-mom a few months ago that began w/ her attacking me in a PM. It ended w/ DH stepping in, messaging her how inappropriate she was being, and how he would not stand for her treating me the way she was. My brother, who still has frequent contact w/ that side of the family, said she was pretty po'ed about DH's message. Like peainthepod, I've forgiven my family, but that doesn't mean I'm a doormat for them to continue abusing b/c they refuse to see their behavior as wrong.

ETA~ Thinking on this, what does your DH say about all of it? Does he think the relationship should be severed?

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#9 of 17 Old 08-12-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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I am sick and not able to articulate myself any better at this time, but wanted to say that I don't believe you had any responsibility to continue in an abusive relationship to please them. As your parents they had a responsibility to protect you against such things. Honor doesn't equal blind obedience and we must always obey God rather than man.
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#10 of 17 Old 08-12-2010, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sigh, how frustrating for you, Kas.

You can't change what they will or won't believe. Maybe the next conversation should go something like this,

"Mom and Dad, I'm sorry you think I dishonored you by marrying DH. I've told you the circumstances regarding our relationship and how DH was and continues to be a positive influence on my spiritual life. Whether you choose to believe that is up to you, I can only tell you the truth. My intention was not to make you feel dishonored, but the fact of the matter is, DH and I ARE married, and that's not going to change. He is the head of our home, and I am under his leadership now. If you cannot accept that, then we cannot have a relationship. You know the scriptures regarding Biblical marriage, I don't have to quote them to you. If you refuse to acknowledge my marriage to DH and that DH is a member of this family, then we can NOT continue our relationship."

I also completely agree with peainthepod. It's difficult to cut toxic family members from your life, but it's even harder to deal w/ the BS that comes with having them in your life, if they're unwilling to change. I don't have contact w/ my father and step-mother b/c of our toxic relationship. I actually just had a facebook "run-in" w/ my s-mom a few months ago that began w/ her attacking me in a PM. It ended w/ DH stepping in, messaging her how inappropriate she was being, and how he would not stand for her treating me the way she was. My brother, who still has frequent contact w/ that side of the family, said she was pretty po'ed about DH's message. Like peainthepod, I've forgiven my family, but that doesn't mean I'm a doormat for them to continue abusing b/c they refuse to see their behavior as wrong.

ETA~ Thinking on this, what does your DH say about all of it? Does he think the relationship should be severed?
I know you didn't mean for it to cause this reaction...but I'm laughing at your suggestion letter because I'VE SENT IT! So, it's a sickened and sad kind of laughter.

My DH prays that things can be saved because they are my family...but he put his foot down and said "Zero contact with our children until they reconcile" and, as his wife, I support him. He said I can have whatever relationship I want, but he doesn't like what they do to me emotionally.

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I am sick and not able to articulate myself any better at this time, but wanted to say that I don't believe you had any responsibility to continue in an abusive relationship to please them. As your parents they had a responsibility to protect you against such things. Honor doesn't equal blind obedience and we must always obey God rather than man.
I figured that is what you meant I just had to explain it out.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#11 of 17 Old 08-12-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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I know you didn't mean for it to cause this reaction...but I'm laughing at your suggestion letter because I'VE SENT IT! So, it's a sickened and sad kind of laughter.

My DH prays that things can be saved because they are my family...but he put his foot down and said "Zero contact with our children until they reconcile" and, as his wife, I support him. He said I can have whatever relationship I want, but he doesn't like what they do to me emotionally.
Then Mama, it's time to follow what you've put to words. As difficult as it can be, you need to sever the relationship. Eventually, their behavior will become a stumbling block in YOUR spiritual walk.

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#12 of 17 Old 08-13-2010, 01:29 AM
 
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I agree with the other ladies. It is time to sever this relationship. I did this with my dad, who I mentioned before was quite abusive and not a good representative of the Lord. He too was leading me AWAY from God, not towards Him.

I am so sorry! The things you went through were horrible. I do not believe for one second that God wants us to put ourselves in situations that are toxic for us.

"Do not cast your pearls before swine"

It's time to let them go, and pray for them, but keep them out of your life.
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#13 of 17 Old 08-13-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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I couldn't read this without saying something. We're going through smilar with my parents, but not as serious as yours. My mother is very controlling and manipulating. She, through a situation with my brother, has become a very angry, bitter person who is refusing to deal with it. She has always said whatever she wants, no matter how hateful it is, and expects me to be ok with it. I'm trying to find the Christian way to handle it, and it's very difficult.

I'm praying for you and your family.
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#14 of 17 Old 08-13-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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Honestly. I wouldn't worry too much about what your parents think. I think your dh is a blessing in your life. time to leave and cleave and if your parents cannot get on board then screw them. I am not feeling terribly sympathetic towards their situations. If you really want to respond in a Christ like way offer them forgiveness if and when they come to you and dh and your children and repent of how they have been treating you.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#15 of 17 Old 08-16-2010, 12:09 AM
 
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OP: I'm not a Christian (stumbled on this thread by accident). But, I just wanted to say that going over your dad's head to talk to his supervisor wouldn't be petty at all! He's supposed to be providing spiritual guidance to his congregation (is that the correct term?), and he sounds like someone who is incapable of providing good guidance. He needs more than a conviction of his own righteousness to guide others.

Aside from that...

I'm so sorry you're going through all this, and happy that you have your dh in your corner, backing you up. I'm not a big believer in honouring one's parents, just because they are one's parents, because parents can be just as toxic and abusive as anyone else...and the effects of it are terribly, terribly damaging.

again.

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#16 of 17 Old 08-16-2010, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through all this, and happy that you have your dh in your corner, backing you up. I'm not a big believer in honouring one's parents, just because they are one's parents, because parents can be just as toxic and abusive as anyone else...and the effects of it are terribly, terribly damaging.
I think Christianity says something about this...like, you don't have to honor and obey if it means sinning or putting yourself in danger. For me, it would have.




So far I haven't heard from them. I went back and forth with my mom for a bit and she basically told me that I wasn't listening to God and that I needed to do more with my life. Because there's something greater than raising children? Ugh. My parents will never be happy as long as I'm a SAHM without some high dollar career.

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#17 of 17 Old 08-16-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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So a book that was suggested to me (on here actually) that I have found has really helped me A LOT is called Boundaries (http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-Whe.../dp/0310247454)

It brought up a point I had never thought about before regarding forgiveness. To forgive is not to reconcile. We are told to turn the other cheek, give another chance, but that's not biblical. I didn't even realize that until I read this book. They back everything with scripture. The best example they gave is that God forgave the world, but he has not reconciled the world.

Forgiveness is key to allowing our hearts to be at peace. But forgiving an abuser does not mean its ok to be abused again. We as Christians are not meant to be walked on. Jesus fled towns that were going to hurt him, he didn't lay down and take it. His sacrifice was a calculated choice as it was best for US.

As regards to your parents...Bull s***. I'm so sick of people quoting 'honor your parents' have you read the verse? In old testament honor does not equate obey. New testament Ephesians 6:2-4 "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."[a] 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. As with all other verses taken out of context there is more to the story.

I am with you. Honor your marriage. Once you are married you are no longer a daughter first. No advice as what to do about them, but do try to read that book.

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