"Knowing what I know now, about God and His Sovereignty...
Somewhere there is a heart willing to listen to this story about this little girl, orange carpet, hollyhocks, a small town ...and violence. Somewhere there is surely someone who will read Your story and see the Grace and Mercy in your life...and God will use you to touch that person, for His Glory.

Your story touches my heart, Pat "

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Honor Your Father and Mother

Honor your father and mother, before I became a Christian honoring my mother wasn't a concern or a thought or  a struggle.

I was always either sad or angry with her.
She would  say something unkind at times but usually she wouldn't say anything at all. Nothing really in regards to what I had done, or something I told her about me, it seemed unless it related to her it just didn't matter. That makes you sad, it taps into your, You are not good enough place.
Yeah, it just didn't matter what I did or thought, who I knew or what my day was like, or how I felt; it's not that she didn't know those things or ask, it is more like if she asked, she was expected to ask but unless somehow it was "needed" information, it would then be crumpled  and thrown on the floor like a useless scrap of paper.
I remember being very sick and in the hospital around the age of 5, the halls were long and dark and I was afraid. Perhaps they didn't let her stay there at night? Perhaps visiting hours were limited then.... I really don't remember her being there much at all I just remember long dark hallway.

When I was in grade school the Harlem Globetrotters came to town, we had tickets and I was ecstatic, days before I slipped on the ice and really hurt my tailbone. I told her but I don't know for sure what she said, what I do know is I sat on hard wood bleachers getting more and more uncomfortable as the night went on. I began to cry, I was miserable, and I was told to deal with it. We did not leave early and I did not mention it again although it hurt badly for weeks.

As a teen, mom and I moved in with her boyfriend, her now husband. We changed states, I changed schools and life as I knew it was left behind, I now lived with one emotionally diseased and one emotionally dead person.
H (that will be his name) was rude, catty and arrogant, he would pick fights with me for no reason. Depending on her mood she would either take my side or take his, usually his and if I spoke up in resistance she would slam her bedroom door and not speak to me for days. Days
At 16 no one believes you when you tell them you are the only adult in the house.
At 16 you are not an adult.
At 16 you are left with sadness and anger.
At 16 I was diagnosed with migraines, I was prescribed a couple different meds until one worked, and at 16 I slept every chance I got. I slept deeply.

No one asked how I was doing, eventually the headaches went away, at least the physical ones.
When I moved out....I was told to go....two days after graduating high school.
When I said I was getting married they came for the "party" but not for me.
When we announced our first child was on the way, mom said, "well if that is what you want." and H gave us a thirty minute lecture on how if he had to do it all again he would never have children.
     (H has three children, I only ever met one, she was an emotional wreck to say the very least)
I have been cursed for my weight, my marriage and my religion, by my mother.
Sadness turns to anger and anger becomes bitterness with time.
Walls go up  and defenses are launched toward anyone who dare attempt to enter.
That is who I became, anger in a human shell. I could smile at you and be as pleasant as a Spring day but if you crossed me I could verbally tear you to shreds. I had my moments in which I verbally tore into her.
Not honoring.
Just surviving.

As God began to heal me, his commandment to honor her both annoyed me and haunted me.
I did not nor do I now worry about H, he is really no part of my life, but because on occasion I speak with my mother I  had to find a way to understand what it was God wanted from me.
I spoke with pastors and pastors wives, I cried, I pouted and I argued with God.
Then one pastor summed it up...."how do you honor someone who is not honorable?"

I cannot answer this question for you, it is between you and God, but I can tell you what it looks like for me.

Boundaries- I must set and keep healthy boundaries, minimal contact is best for us. I have not seen her in over ten years and we speak between one and four times a year. If she is not hurtful, does not tear down others or spread lies, we will talk for a while, but if she begins to do any of those things I warn her once, if she persists I end the phone call.

I do not hate her.

I relinquish all expectations of her.

I no longer give her the power to make me sad, or happy.

If I get angry, I process it and hand it over to God.

I have empathy for her.

This is how I honor her.
I had issues on starting this blog....it could be perceived as being non honoring, I went ahead with it for these reasons.
I am not blaming my mother, I am writing about her disease and how it effected me. She has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it controls her and it defines her. It does not excuse her.
God is honored in his healing work in me, and I trust him in his sovereign design to place me in her life as her child.
Others will be and have been already touched by reading these posts, some have not yet been healed and some are going through the process.  It is my hope to strengthen you and lead you to the only answer which is Christ.


Ames said...

Sounds like your mother is trying to drown you with her misery. You are right in handling her the way you see fit to. By letting her go live her own miserable life. Life is what YOU make it. So go live and experience the joys in life. You've had enough of the misery. Hugs.~Ames

Anonymous said...

Sweety -- Glad to hear you are growing and healing and letting God work in your life.

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

I know this took some time and prayer before you sat down to write it. I can tell by the words that you have written ...that you DO NOT HATE your mother. That would not be Honoring the LORD. He is the one we honor first and foremost. Then and only then- can we honor our parents, Respect our Husbands, bless our children, and pray for those who persecute us.
We don't do these things because it is what we think seems right, we do things- that may look difficult outwardly- To Please the Father.
Because it is He that chooses to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
Sometimes that makes it hard; but it does give us such Peace.

Thank you for your testimony here and Pig Tales.

may the Grace of the Lord Jesus be with your spirit. Phil. 4:23


Ann in the UP said...

I think your strategy for dealing with your mother shows great discernment. I think it is interesting that the commandment does not tell us to love our parents, but rather to honor them.

Your sharing this with us, does not only benefit other people with broken parents, but for those of us who had healthy, God-fearing parents: we continue to be thankful for their influence and example in our lives.

Karen said...

Shannon, your way of dealing with your mother is ingenious. You have not cut off all contact and you have healthy boundaries in place. If she chooses to violate them it is her own choice. I did much the same with my father before he passed away.

I ache for the little girl you were with no loving mother to comfort you. You deserved so much more.

Yes, we are to honor our parents, but they must be worthy of the honor--like you, if my father was having a bad day, I refused to take any verbal abuse and took care of myself by simply leaving his vicinity. I had to become my 'own loving parent' and treat myself with the honor and respect denied me in my childhood.

When my sons were little, they taught me so much about going back and having a happy childhood of my own. I don't think it's ever too late to go back and have a happy childhood. I'm 54 now and my precious boys have flown the nest in the past year. The nest may be empty, but my heart is still full of love for them.

You are an amazing woman, Shannon. I don't know if we'll ever understand our parents and what abuse or pain they must have gone through to become the way they were/are, but I do know this-both you and I broke the cycle of abuse and neglect with our own children. We did not 'pay it forward' to make the next generation miserable.

I do believe we learn how to be kind from the unkind people in our lives.

Children learn what they live.

Thank you so much for your honesty, you write what you know and what you feel. God bless you!

April said...

Hi Shannon-
There is a person in my life that is like this, and I've been struggling with understanding how to have proper boundaries with her. She just sows destruction and hatred at random times to everyone around her.
Thank you for sharing this about your life; you are bringing help through showing your own struggles.

Sheila Mainous said...

My mother's relationship was much like this--although not as estranged. She had a saying or poem she cut out of a magazine that basically said "some people are put here on earth only to make others miserable."
I believe this is true..but it does not mean you have to give in to the miserable, like you have so bravely shown. But I think if you understand this, it is easier to let go of your own guilt for not liking these people. Thank you for your inspiration.

Amy H. said...

Shannon, thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for showing others that they can make it thru, and that there is healing and mercy in Christ and our Father. You are showing that we do indeed have a voice, and what we have to say is important, not just for our own healing, but for the beginning of healing of others who feel they are alone. I pray that they will hear you. Blessings to you and your family.

Ava said...

Again it took me a few days to think of the right words to put here. I read your posts and always feel so "In the moment" I can not find the words I want to use. You are helping so many people by writing this Shannon. I am proud of you xx

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing and helping others not feel alone with their relationship with their mothers. So many women who have suffered abuse have gone onto have children and never deal or heal from their pain and then their children suffer because of it. Take care