Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc
Sunday, February 26, 2017
For Adult Daughters of Controlling or Abusive Birth-Families

THE PRICE OF INDEPENDENCE- Living As Equals To Other Adults

THE PRICE OF

 

INDEPENDENCE-

 
 

 

 

 

To Be Respected As Equals, We Need To Live As Equals

By Rev. Renee

 

            We all know that blood is thicker than water.  When we need a favor, the only people we know for sure we can rely on are our relatives.  If we’re having marital problems and need guidance, or even just a shoulder to cry on, who better to turn to than  Mom and Dad, who have been happily (?) married for 35 years?  If we lose our job and fall on hard times, we know our big sister or brother will always come through for us with a place to stay, or whatever financial assistance we need.  If our child is having behavioral issues or problems in school, we know we can always trust our folks, with their decades of child-rearing experience, for good advice.  Our family will always be there for us, happy to lend a hand, not with strings attached, but out of love- just like we’ve always been there for them.  We can’t depend on outsiders, but we can always depend on our families to have our best interests at heart and to want to help out in any way they can.  That’s what families do for each other.  That’s what families are for.  Right?

            Yeah, right.  If any of this is actually within the realm of your experience, then you don’t come from an abusive family.  Consider yourself blessed to have been born into a normal family. Be grateful and thank God every day that you have a family who loves you and wants to be there for you when you need them, and don’t bother reading the rest of this article because it doesn’t apply to you.  But for the rest of us, the entire previous paragraph might be good for a few laughs, but as we’ve already learned the hard way, it’s total hogwash.  Those are the things NORMAL families do for each other.  But we don’t have normal families, so we’ve had to adapt to a whole different way of coping with life’s little stumbling blocks.  Welcome to our world.

            With abusive relatives, there is no such thing as unconditional love.  We have never been able to rely on our parents and siblings for support, unless there were strings attached.  Any form of assistance is either given grudgingly, or else willingly, but with ulterior motives.  The hidden agenda is that down the road, and no matter how many favors we’ve done for them in the past, our families will throw in our faces everything they’ve ever done for us.  Sooner or later, the chickens will come home to roost, and payback will be expected.  There are no free rides in abusive families. 

            Favors can be used as an excuse to abuse us or exert some form of control over us.  It is to an abuser’s advantage to keep us in a one-down position, and he knows that accepting favors from him will subtly undermine our self-esteem and sabotage our ability to stand up to him. Remember, the wolf pack always attacks the weakest member of the herd, not the strongest.

            Sometimes control-freaks and manipulators will use our willingness to trust them to blatantly blackmail us, threatening to withdraw the favor if we don’t toe the line.  For some abusers, it’s an ego trip to know (and to make sure everyone else knows) that we need them.

             Really professional manipulators will force their help on their victims, even when the victim has not asked for it, or has tried to refuse it.  Some relatives practically fall over themselves trying to get us to accept their help.  They might start off with a bright idea they’d love to do for us, and become more and more insistent when we hesitate.  What they are really trying to do is obligate us to them, so they can remind us how much we “owe” them in the future (see the article “After All I’ve Done For You” on our website)

            Some relatives WANT us to remain dependent on them, so they can continue to “guide” us long after we have become adults.  Critical, controlling, or prying, nosy relatives will use our acceptance of their help as proof positive that we can’t take care of ourselves and need them to do it for us.  They believe that doing us a favor gives them the right to tell us what to do.  If they loan, or give, us money, they feel entitled to have a say in how we spend it.  In addition, they will  typically also feel entitled to pry into and criticize our financial, job, and career decisions in general, because, after all, if we have to come to them for money, we can’t be doing such a great job of supporting ourselves and running our own lives. 

            One teaching we always try to emphasize is that adults are EQUAL to other adults and therefore do not obey or take orders from other adults, or otherwise allow themselves to be judged, exploited, controlled or abused.  When you become an adult, your relationship to the other adults in your family ideally becomes one of EQUALITY and MUTUAL caring and respect.

            But, the unfortunate fact is that our control-freak relatives will never view us as mature, self-supporting adults whom they need to treat with dignity and respect if in reality we are still dependent on them.  Tempting as it may be to accept their help, if we do, it will be impossible to set limits and boundaries on their criticism, demands, nosiness, and other degrading or controlling behaviors. They will never treat us as equals, because we are NOT equal, as long as we can’t manage our own problems without involving Mom and Dad, or Sis or Brother. 

            One of the biggest mistakes we can make is remaining dependent on our families for too long, and then complaining when they pry into our affairs or try to control us.  If we involve a controlling  parent in some aspect of our personal lives, we are sending them an engraved invitation  for their comments, questions, opinions, disapproval, and interference.        

 

CHRONOLOGICAL ADULTS VS. MATURE ADULTS

  

            If we want to be thought of as adults, we need to consider what defines an adult in the minds of most people.  It helps to clarify the perception held by most people of what being a real adult actually means.  We can be a chronological adult- 25, 40, even 60 years old- without being considered a MATURE adult, who is equal to all the other mature adults.    

           To most folks, being a mature adult means cutting the umbilical cord.  It means being emotionally, mentally, and financially self-sufficient, self-supporting and independent.  We cannot expect to be respected and treated as adults if we are still taking money from our parents.  We cannot expect to be thought of as an adult who is capable of taking care of herself if we go running to them every time we have a problem.  We can’t be angry at our family for prying or interfering in our lives if we give them the impression that we don’t know how to handle things ourselves, solve our own problems, or  make a decision without them.

            No, it’s not fair.  In a normal, loving family, members are able to rely on one another.  They do favors for each other all the time, out of LOVE, and with no strings attached.  But we do not have normal, loving families.  Things are different in abusive families.  Abusers and control freaks never do anything for anyone without having an ulterior motive.

            Knowing your relative’s character is half the battle, and forewarned is forearmed.  If your mom is not a controlling person, then of course you could go to her for advice- on SOME things.  And there would be times when she would come to YOU for advice as well. Equals go to EACH OTHER for advice.  If your dad genuinely has good intentions and wants to help you over a rough spot, then by all means accept a LOAN from him, and repay it on a pre-set schedule, knowing that if Dad was ever in need, you would do the same for him.  Equals help EACH OTHER through tough times. 

 

            But if your family member is a control-freak, beware of all offers to “help”. As tempting as it might be to accept help from such a relative when we’re in a tight spot, we need to realize that there will be a price to pay.  And we need to think long and hard about whether it’s really worth it.

 

MY OWN TESTIMONY ABOUT PARENTAL “FAVORS”

 

Early Adulthood And My Wedding

 

 

            I knew my birth-parents were control-freaks who thought they had the right to meddle and interfere in anything and everything.  I also knew they kept score and always demanded payback in one way or another.  So I basically learned at a very early age that I was on my own.  I had NO CHOICE but to make do without relying on them.

            As a young adult, I could not afford doctor visits, even though I was a cancer survivor, dentist visits, new shoes, new clothes, or a winter coat, and sometimes not even food.  But no matter how poverty stricken I was,  I never took a penny from them.  I would have slept on the street first.  I was determined to make it on my own, and at one point ate nothing but bologna sandwiches for almost a year.  The price for taking money from them just wouldn’t have been worth it.  Better to go hungry for a couple of years than to owe my “Shylock” parents their pound of flesh for the next forty years.

             I was in my late twenties when I got married.  My husband and I saved up for two years and paid for our own wedding.  We did not get married in my parents’ church or my parents’ religion, we invited our own friends instead of my father’s business associates and people he owed favors to, and our wedding was just how we wanted it without having to worry about anyone else’s demands.  My birth-parents were just guests, like any other guest.  

            But instead of being relieved at not having to financially contribute to the wedding, they were frustrated and infuriated, because they knew they had been done out of an opportunity to dictate how my wedding had to be.  They had no power and nothing to hold over our heads.  And they had been deprived of the chance to run the show.

            Of course, they could never rest knowing we had outmaneuvered them.  So for spite, they  put MY OWN AT&T STOCK in my name and gave it to me as a wedding gift.  This stock had been bought years earlier, with money that my dearly departed grandfather gave my mother for me, at the rate of one dollar a week, every week throughout my childhood, and legally should have been signed over to me years before, when I turned 18.  But my mother was cashing and keeping my dividend checks all those years.  So they chose my wedding to finally sign it over to me, and then tried to co-opt the credit for giving a “gift” that was already mine.

            My husband and I were deeply hurt that my parents did not even give us a wedding gift, and then had the nerve to tell the rest of the family what big shots they were for giving us stock in AT&T. 

 

            But I was determined not to let them claim the credit for it.   Much to my birth-mother’s chagrin, I made a point of always speaking the truth about their hurtfulness and where the stock really came from.  Whenever the subject came up, I clarified that it was a wedding gift from my beloved grandfather, who had so little of his own, but still saved a dollar every week for years to give me a nest egg for the future.  The gratitude and credit belonged to my Gramps, and I was determined to make sure he got it- not my birth-parents, who in reality had given us absolutely nothing.

 

 

MY OWN TESTIMONY CONTINUED….

 

Baby-Sit A Grandchild? - Ha! What Was I Thinking?

 

 

            When I was expecting my first baby, my birth-mother, wonderful grandmother that she was, informed me that she and my birth-father had a very busy social life, and that I should not count on her to babysit.  This wasn’t an issue for the most part, because I worked weekends while my husband was home with the kids, which was a choice we made so that we would not have somebody else raising our kids.  We sacrificed having a second full time salary, but that is how we preferred it.  When we went out socially, we hired babysitters, which worked out just fine for many years.   I would never have taken advantage of my mother by dumping the kids on her everyday, and we already had that covered.  But it stung that she would not give up even a single night out to babysit once in a while. 

            Our second son was born on New Year’s Eve morning, and my parents did us the unheard-of “favor” of babysitting our first son while we went to the hospital.  It was a quick birth, and I was only in the hospital five minutes before our new baby was born.  A few minutes later I called my mother to break the happy news that she had a new grandson.  I had barely gotten the words out when she quickly informed me that my husband would have to hurry home from the hospital by early afternoon to get our toddler.   My parents were going out at 9 PM, and she needed time to take her nap (yes, my birth-mother took a nap every day- I can’t even imagine having that luxury!) and "get ready" for her big evening. 

            After all, it was New Year’s Eve, and they could not be even an hour late to the party.  As a result, my husband had to leave before the nurses brought the baby to us, and didn’t even have a chance to hold his newborn son.  But my parents could not miss one hour of their precious social life, not even for the birth of a new grandbaby, who had obviously already caused them enough inconvenience by choosing to be born on New Year’s Eve.

            My poor husband, who had already been up all night, ran home, got our toddler, bathed, dressed and fed him while my birth-mother napped and did whatever else was so important for her to do to go to a party hours later.  Then he left our son with her again and ran back to the hospital hoping to have a few minutes with me and the baby before my parents had to go out.  Keep in mind that back then, hospitals had restricted visiting hours and young children were not allowed in the rooms, so my husband could not bring our two-year old to see his new brother outside of the proscribed time and in the common room down the hall. 

            About a half hour later, I had a phone conversation with my mother.  She told me she also had fed our son.  I asked what he had eaten and she said he wanted bread, so she kept giving it to him.  Now, at the time, my two-year old had a sensitivity to wheat and too much bread caused him to have stomach problems for days, which usually entailed doctors’ visits and painful treatments such as enemas.  Picturing myself just coming home from the hospital with a new infant and trying to deal with a sick toddler, I asked her to please not give him any more bread, even if he wanted it.  He was a very quiet, sweet little boy, so it’s not like he would throw a tantrum if she said “No.” 

            There was a moment of silence on the phone, during which I thought to myself “Uh-oh”,  before my mother casually said “Okay”.  We continued to talk for a few minutes, but she was noticeably cool to me.  Within five minutes after we hung up, the phone rang at my hospital bedside.  It was my birth-father.  He immediately began screaming at me for “upsetting” my mother,  for “tirading” at her (a new word he coined all by himself!), and for being ungrateful that they were doing me a big favor by watching my child, which, he reminded me viciously, they didn’t have to do.  Although I tried to explain that I had never raised my voice to my mother, and had only respectfully asked her not to do something that was harmful for my son, and that she didn’t even tell me she was “hurt”, he barely let me get word in edgewise.  All this while I was laying in a hospital bed just a couple of hours after giving birth.

            After he hung up, I was so shaken and upset that I sobbed for half an hour while my husband tried to console me.  Then our new baby was brought to us and we tried to make the best of it, but what should have been a wonderful moment was all but ruined.  We were both upset, and worried about our older son’s well-being in my parents’ care.  As soon as the baby went back to the nursery, I sent my husband home to get our son from my parents.  And I spent the rest of my three-day hospital stay depressed, nervous, and all alone without my husband, except for the official “visiting hours” when he could bring our son with him. 

            This is a perfect example of how abusers manage to ruin what should be a happy occasion for you.  And my parents managed to ruin things at every possible opportunity, even the birth of their own grandson.  You may agree that my father was despicable, calling me up and screaming at me, knowing that I was laying in a hospital bed in pain, and with my hormones all out of whack, only a couple of hours after giving birth.  But for a really disturbing image, just remember who put him up to it. 

 

            Yes, that’s right.  Sweet, innocent “hurt feelings” little Grandma, who always gave everybody the impression that she was such a saint.  My birth-mother should never have complained to my father about me, and certainly should not have lied and misrepresented our conversation.  She instigated the entire incident.  My “loving” parents couldn't wait to jump on anything that they could use to twist into an excuse to start an argument, upsetting me and bringing me down on what should have been one of the happiest days of my life.  They made no allowances for the fact that I had just given birth and my emotions were fragile; in fact, they took advantage of my temporary "weakness".  And Mommy Darling just had to get the attention for herself by pretending that SHE was the emotionally fragile one on the very day that I had had a baby! 

 

           No one else can get too much attention without a narcissist being compelled to draw the attention back to herself in some way, even if she has to wrack her brain to invent a reason why everybody should focus on her.  You can almost visualize her jumping up and down, waving and yelling as if she was shipwrecked on an island, "Hey! Look at me!  Look at ME!"  It's not easy to trump someone who has JUST GIVEN BIRTH, but a skilled narcissist will have no problem using SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILDBIRTH to get attention and sympathy for herself.  No matter what else is going on, and no matter what anyone else is going through, it's always all about her.

 

           To a narcissistic abuser, no one else's feelings or delicate emotional states matter- only hers.  Even if you are laying in a hospital bed, drugged up and in pain, you will still need to stay alert and vigilant enough to analyze everything you might want to say before you say it, figure out if there's some way her demented mind could twist your words and use them as an excuse to start a fight, and then force yourself to think of another, more harmless, way of saying what you need to say that will not offend an abuser who is just itching to be offended!  Ironically, this is how many of us go through life, walking on eggshells and watching every word out of our mouths, for fear of offending relatives who intentionally insult us right to our faces, just about every day.

            For a long time, my mother’s attitude was very hurtful to me.  But you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7), and it came back to haunt her.   For starters, after that episode, my husband and I had serious misgivings about LETTING her babysit, even though she didn’t want to, anyway.  If she would take offense at being nicely asked not to give our child something that would harm him, we just didn’t feel we could trust her to act in our children’s best interests.   So we adapted and adjusted and got used to making other childcare arrangements.  And she never developed what could have been wonderful relationships with her grandchildren. 

            Eventually, when our kids were older, my mother decided she now WANTED to babysit.  But by that time, the kids hardly knew her, and preferred the long-time sitters they loved and looked forward to being with, so the one who lost out was my mother.  She could have had a real relationship with my sons if she wasn’t so selfish from before her first grandchild was even born.

            In the end it was a blessing, because her lack of involvement with my children gave Grandma Dearest no right to interfere with them.  I didn’t owe it to my hypercritical mother to listen to her usual disapproval or hear her out when she tried to force her opinions on me. She had nothing to say about how my kids were raised, what religion they were raised in, how their hair was cut, what clothes they wore, what sports or instruments they played, what time they went to bed, or anything else a control-freak normally likes to butt into.  If she had been doing me the favor of babysitting, I would not have had the same freedom to tell her to butt out.

 
 SIX MAJOR NO-NOS FOR MATURE, INDEPENDENT ADULTS:
 
            Sometimes we need to take a realistic look at what we’re doing to contribute to the problems we might have with a control-freak parent or sibling. Our individual circumstances are all unique and you might have a few of your own personal no-nos to add to the list. Here are some of the things we do, often without even giving it much thought, which will eventually lead to aggravation and being in bondage to controlling or critical relatives:
 
 
No-No #1.     Sharing too much personal information: 
 
            If you volunteer information that is basically nobody’s business, such as a career change you might be thinking about, plastic surgery you are considering, or how much money you just lost in the stock market, then you are opening yourself up to comments and questions about it later.   Our private lives need to be just that- PRIVATE- and not an open book for nosy, interfering, critical control-freaks. If we don’t respect our own privacy, then who will?
 
 
No-No #2.      Complaining about your spouse or partner:
 
 
            That’s what they have marriage counselors for- or girlfriends.   Grownups handle their own conflicts and fight their own battles. Your relationship with your spouse is PRIVATE. If you go running to mommy or daddy whenever you have an argument with your spouse, they are not just going to silently give you a shoulder to cry on, pat you on the head, and send you home to him. You can expect to hear their opinions and advice, whether that is what you really wanted or not. 
 
            Also, long after the fight is over and you have made up with your partner, you can expect your parents to have hard feelings towards him for hurting their child and to lose trust in him. This is only natural with all parents. But there is an interesting difference in motivation with abusive parents. Abusers do not feel protective of you because you’re their child and they love you. They feel POSSESSIVE of you because you’re their child and they OWN you. If anybody’s going to hurt or upset you, it’s going to be them, because only THEY have the right. Your partner is intruding on their territory, and they will resent him forever for it. Sharing negative information about your spouse is guaranteed to turn your family against him, and will come back to haunt you later.
 
No-No #3.    Living under your parents’ roof:
 
            You are not an independent adult if your parents are still supporting you financially. It’s really hard to be taken seriously when you are still sleeping in your old bedroom- and all but impossible if it’s still filled with stuffed animals and other mementoes from your childhood. If you cannot live on your own, handle all the expenses involved, and take care of yourself, your family is still going to see you as a child needing not only their financial help, but all their other “help” as well. Plus, they do have the right to say what the rules are in their own house, so if they’re really controlling, don’t be surprised if you wind up being the only thirty-year old you know who has a curfew. If you can’t afford your own place, get a room-mate and a second job if you have to, but get out of your parents’ house.
 
 
No-No #4.    Taking money from your parents:
 
            To an abuser, money is synonymous with control. If your folks are footing the bill for your wedding, they are going to expect to be able to tell you what kind of wedding you have to have, what church you’re going to get married in, who you can invite, who has to be seated with whom, what kind of music you must have, and maybe even who has to be in your wedding party. If you’re lucky, you might get to choose your own color scheme and flowers.
 
            If your father buys you a car or pays your car loan, he is most likely going to tell you what kind of car you have to get. I know you have your heart set on that brand new car, but if you can’t afford it without Daddy’s money, then get yourself a nice, reliable used car, and start saving to buy the new one yourself in a year or two. Trust me, in the end, you’ll be glad you did. If you accept money from your parents for the down payment on a house, they’ll want to “protect their investment” by having a say in what house you buy and where you’ll be living.   Depending on how controlling they are, if your parents pay for your education, they may try to dictate the course of your career, your future and your entire life, starting with which college you go to and what you major in.   That’s just the way it is with control-freaks.   Don’t delude yourself- the only reason they’re giving you any money is so they can use it to control you.
 
No-No #5.    Letting your parents babysit your kids while you go to work:
 
            You are still financially dependent on your parents if you are not paying an outside babysitter or daycare, and your parents enable you to go to work by watching your kids. If they are going to be spending more hours with your kids than you are, then they’re going to be a big influence on how your kids are raised. They are going to feed your children what’s convenient for them, teach them whatever they want to, and take them to whatever activities they think they should participate in.  
 
            They are going to discipline or spoil your kids according to their own standards, not yours. They are going to drink in front of your kids, smoke in front of your kids, curse in front of your kids, treat your kids as miserably as they treated you, and basically behave any way they want to, and there’s not going to be a thing you can say about it, because they’re doing you a big favor and you should just be grateful. They may or may not come right out and say it, but in the back of their minds, abusers and control-freaks who babysit your kids think that they are RAISING your kids for you and that they are entitled to “raise” them THEIR way.
 
No-No #6.    Asking for advice or opinions:
 
            BIG mistake. If you ask for it, then you can’t complain when you get it. This includes everything from personal relationships to what color to paint your kitchen, to which dress to buy for your cousin’s wedding. If you really don’t want to hear it, then don’t ask for it. Don’t even bring up the subject. Ask your girlfriends instead, leaf through some magazines for ideas, run it by your therapist, do your own shopping, rely on your own tastes, trust your own instincts, pray for guidance from the Lord. But don’t ask a relative what they think if later on you’re going to feel it’s really none of their business.
 
HOW TO RESPOND TO AN OFFER OF HELP FROM A CONTROL-FREAK
 
            Control-freaks often set us up to be beholden to them by jumping in with offers to help before we’ve even had time to consider other options. If we hesitate, they will frequently become very insistent, even pretending to be insulted that we aren’t jumping at their offer. If you still aren’t convinced to just say “No, thanks” and are actually considering accepting a control-freak’s offer, then at least treat it like the business deal it is, which means asking outright what he wants in return.
 
            Yes, it is a business deal. Your relative will do something for you, and then he will expect something in exchange somewhere along the line. The problem is that he will usually not be honest with you about what he’s going to “charge” you. So in effect, you will be agreeing to a deal without knowing all the terms. Very bad business.
 
            The way to circumvent this problem is to ask up front what the “cost” will be- what conditions are on his offer and what he will want in return. If he answers honestly, at least you’ll know what you’re getting into before you accept.
 
            The more typical scenario is that, rather than giving you an honest and direct answer, your abuser is going to become all huffy and offended that you would even ask. He’s going to insist that he’s doing it out of the goodness of his heart and can’t believe you would think that way about him. At which point, you can accept the offer, if you want to and it’s still open, after apologizing for “misunderstanding.”   Then you can say, “Thank you very much”, and move on.
 
            Now of course he’s lying when he insists there are no strings attached, so don’t delude yourself. But you have accomplished one thing. Now, when he wants payback in the future, you have the option of reminding him firmly that you clarified the terms when he offered the favor, and he told you very clearly that he expected nothing in return. End of story.
 
MAKING OTHER ARRANGEMENTS TO MEET OUR NEEDS
 
            No, it isn’t fair. In fact, it’s really just sad. It shouldn’t have to be this way, but it is. For those of us from abusive birth-families, this is reality.   We don’t deserve to not be able to rely on our families for help. But that’s how it is. That is our reality. We need to grieve it, mourn it, and cry over for a while, and then we need to accept it, get over it, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, and adapt.
 
            Adapting means not giving our birth-families open access to our business, since they interpret that as an open invitation to interfere. Our personal business is none of their business.   It means imposing boundaries on ourselves and learning what is safe to share and what is not. It means learning to handle our own affairs, like the competent adults that we are, without running to our parents or siblings.
 
            When a problem arises, stop and think first-what would you do if you had NO ONE to rely on? Because, the fact is, you don’t. So you have to learn to solve it yourself. We have to think ahead and have Plan B in place, because Plan B is really all we have. There IS NO Plan A, if Plan A means going to Mom or Dad. That is the mindset we need to have in order to expect respect and to claim our place as an Equal Adult.
 
            Sometimes we may think we have no choice but to accept our relative’s assistance, but trust me, there usually IS another way, and we’ll find it if we’re determined enough. When we’re feeling anxious, pressured, or desperate, it might seem easier to just let our birth-family bail us out. But that should never be our choice if there’s ANY way at all it can be avoided. If we value our freedom, we need to think of them only as a last resort, not the first people we go running to.
 
            Of course, we all need a support system. We just need to understand that it can’t be our abusive family members. We need to turn to the Lord and know that he is always there and will never leave or forsake us (Joshua 1:5; Psalm 27:10; Hebrews 13:5 ), and that he works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).      
 
            With a little planning ahead, we can fill the gaps left by not being able to rely on our self-serving relatives. The first step is to get out there and develop a network of good, caring friends and family whom we can count on. This could be our other non-abusive relatives, our church family, our old school friends, neighbors, etc. We need to have coping mechanisms and back-up plans in place, such as a friend to call when our car breaks down, and a little money put away in a savings account for emergencies. We need to call our local church or high school and line up a few nice babysitters. At one point, I had a list of thirteen great sitters that I could rely on, because I couldn’t rely on my parents. And we need to run personal problems by our best friend, minister, or counselor instead of our relatives.
            One thing you never want to do is to be beholden to wicked people. Such people are looking to entrap you into submission and obedience. In Veteran’s circles, there is a saying, “Freedom Isn’t Free”. To us veterans of the “Birth-Family Wars”, truer words were never spoken. There is always a price to pay for freedom. The price for independence may be sacrificing and doing without family help that comes with strings attached. But ultimately, it will be worth it. We will have our dignity and self-respect. We will “owe” no one, we will not be obligated to anyone, and we will be under the control of no man. We can hold our heads up high and look anybody in the eye as an equal. And no one will ever be able to say that we haven’t earned the right to be treated with respect, as an equal adult, and to have our boundaries respected as well.
 
***For more on this subject, see the article 'AFTER ALL I'VE DONE FOR YOU...'- Trotting Out The 'You Owe Me' Excuse For Abuse'  in the Abuser's Reactions To Rebuke section on our website.
 ***For those with nosy or disapproving relatives who specialize in prying, interrogation, and criticism and have no concept of “Mind your own business”, don’t miss the related article “Off-Limits Subjects” on our website.
 
 
 
            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 CHILDISH WAYS BEHIND ME…..1 Corinthians 13:11
       THEY PROMISE THEM FREEDOM, WHILE THEY THEMSELVES ARE SLAVES OF DEPRAVITY- FOR A MAN IS A SLAVE TO WHATEVER HAS MASTERED HIM. IF THEY HAVE ESCAPED THE CORRUPTION OF THE WORLD BY KNOWING OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST AND ARE AGAIN ENTANGLED IN IT AND OVERCOME, THEY ARE WORSE OFF AT THE END THAN THEY WERE AT THE BEGINNING….2 Peter 2:19-20
       NO TEMPTATION HAS SEIZED YOU EXCEPT WHAT IS COMMON TO MAN. AND GOD IS FAITHFUL; HE WILL NOT LET YOU BE TEMPTED BEYOND WHAT YOU CAN BEAR. BUT WHEN YOU ARE TEMPTED, HE WILL ALSO PROVIDE A WAY OUT SO THAT YOU CAN STAND UP UNDER IT…..1 Corinthians 10:13
       DO NOT BE LIKE THEM, FOR YOUR FATHER KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE YOU ASK HIM…..Matthew 6:8
       IN MY ANGUISH I CRIED TO THE LORD, AND HE ANSWERED BY SETTING ME FREE. THE LORD IS WITH ME; I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT CAN MAN DO TO ME? THE LORD IS WITH ME; HE IS MY HELPER. I WILL LOOK IN TRIUMPH ON MY ENEMIES. IT IS BETTER TO TAKE REFUGE IN THE LORD THAN TO TRUST IN MAN. IT IS BETTER TO TAKE REFUGE IN THE LORD THAN TO TRUST IN PRINCES. ALL THE NATIONS SURROUNDED ME, BUT IN THE NAME OF THE LORD I CUT THEM OFF. THEY SURROUNDED ME ON EVERY SIDE, BUT IN THE NAME OF THE LORD I CUT THEM OFF. THEY SWARMED AROUND ME LIKE BEES, BUT THEY DIED OUT AS QUICKLY AS BURNING THORNS; IN THE NAME OF THE LORD I CUT THEM OFF. I WAS PUSHED BACK AND ABOUT TO FALL, BUT THE LORD HELPED ME. THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG; HE HAS BECOME MY SALVATION. SHOUTS OF JOY AND VICTORY RESOUND IN THE TENTS OF THE RIGHTEOUS: THE LORD’S RIGHT HAND HAS DONE MIGHTY THINGS!....Psalm 118: 5-15 NIV
 
 
Copyright 2002-2016.-All articles on this site are copyrighted. Permission to copy is granted for non-profit use only.Please help yourself to anything we write if you can use it to help others. A link back to this site is our only requirement. Please contact us for any commercial or other use. All e-mails, letters, and other correspondence become the property of Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc. Due to the large volume of e-mails, we're sorry that we are unable to personally answer every one, but we do lift everyone who writes to us in prayer to the Lord.
The Lord specifically called Sister Renee to minister to Adult Children, not their parents, estranged siblings or friends, abusive or abused spouses, or victims of other types of abuse, although what we write here can often be meaningful for those folks as well. Because of this, our ministry and website have a narrow focus which we will not be changing. We simply can't cover everything. In addition, it is not our purpose to help you re-establish contact with someone who felt it was necessary to cut you off for the sake of their own well-being. We do not keep a list of resources for estranged parents or any other type of abuse and suggest if you are sincerely interested in making amends with an estranged relative, you do an internet search for a website or group that will be more relevant to you. If you cannot find a group or site that you can relate to, we suggest you start your own, and bless other people in your position as well as find support for your personal issues. 
For Adult Children and others as well, please understand that we cannot give you personal advice concerning your particular family relationships.  We are not therapists or lawyers, we usually do not have enough information to form an opinion, and time does not permit us to give enough thought to each person's individual situation to do it justice. If you need personal advice, we urge you to contact the appropriate professional, depending on the problem you have- your minister, therapist, attorney, police department, local domestic violence hotline, etc. In reading this site, you acknowledge that nothing you might read here qualifies as or substitutes for professional advice. Please note we cannot recommend or refer you to a counselor and we do not have a list of therapists or recovery groups in your area. The only Counselor we recommend is the Holy Ghost, and we encourage you to read the Bible and learn for yourself what the Lord says about the issues we write about.
Our articles are strictly our personal opinions and testimonies and are not intended to give or offer any advice. All who access this site do so with the understanding that we are NOT professional counselors and we strongly recommend that you discuss your individual situation with your pastor or therapist and pray for the Lord's guidance before acting on anything we write on this site. Unfortunately, the abuse we discuss is all too common, inflicted on countless victims by countless perpetrators. All names and identifying details in our articles have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty. Any resemblance to a real person or persons whom you might know is strictly coincidental.