Luke 17:3 Ministries Inc
Saturday, April 29, 2017
For Adult Daughters of Controlling or Abusive Birth-Families
MAY 2009 Newsletter
LUKE 17:3 Ministries
for adult daughters
of controlling or abusive birth-families
A sisterhood for those who seek support in developing self-esteem, setting boundaries and limits, forgiveness, Godly confrontation, recognizing and cutting ties with reprobates, healing, and rejoicing in the peace and love of
the Lord, our Father
take heed to yourselves. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him……..Luke 17:3
Happy Mother’s Day to all Our Sisters!
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 2 MAY 2009
Luke 17: 3 is the scripture often misquoted, usually by an abuser or his enabler, when he tells you that the Bible says “Forgive and Forget”, or that you must forgive him because you are a Christian. However, Jesus is very specific when he tells us to rebuke the sinner, and if he repents, to forgive him. Have you rebuked your abuser, and has he or she repented?
THE ONLY FORM OF ABUSE STILL CONDONED BY SOCIETY. THE ONLY ABUSE IN WHICH THE VICTIM IS CRITICIZED OR ABANDONED FOR TRYING TO PROTECT HERSELF. CHILD ABUSE THAT DIDN’T END WHEN ADULTHOOD BEGAN…THE CONTINUING ABUSE OF GROWN CHILDREN BY THEIR PARENTS.
If you have ever experienced Adult Child Abuse by a parent, sibling, or other relative, We Welcome You!
Our newsletter is sent to you free-of-charge, as the Lord continually provides. Do you know someone who would like to be on our mailing list?
If so, please contact:
Rev. Renee Pittelli
Luke 17:3 Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 684
Chestertown, NY 12817
or E-mail us at:
VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT:
Please ask about our Luke 17:3 Ministry in Tennessee, founded by Rev. Denise Rossignol.
Thank you Jesus!
IS GOD REALLY TELLING US TO HONOR ABUSIVE PARENTS?
By Rev. Renee Pittelli
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee….Exodus 20: 12 KJV
This dilemma weighs heavy on the hearts of many children of abusive parents, and abusers and their Silent Partners never miss an opportunity to remind us that, as Christians, we “HAVE to honor our fathers and mothers”, apparently, and according to their thinking, no matter what. Certainly none of us wants to break one of the Ten Commandments. But the idea of rewarding abusers with honor seems completely irrational, and contradictory to just about everything else written in the Bible, where evildoers are never honored, but punished time and again. This is God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping (Galatians 6:7, Job 4:8), that those who do wrong will not benefit from their wickedness, but suffer the Natural Consequences of their actions.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “HONOR” SOMEONE?
Our abusive parents would have us think it means letting them get away with murder, but we have already refuted this in numerous other
(cont’d on page 2……)
Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God…..Acts 5: 38-39 NIV
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just…..Luke 14: 12-14 KJV
“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’: but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”….Matthew 15:17-20 NIV
articles on our website. Do they want us to believe that we have to obey them unquestioningly, even though we are now adults, and even if what they want is evil?
I think we each need to
define what "honoring" means to us and find a definition we are comfortable with. To some, it might mean limited contact, an occasional card or a brief visit. To others, it might mean not calling the police and having their parents arrested for child abuse, molestation, stealing from you, using your social security number to take out credit cards and ruining your credit, stalking you, or any of the dozens of other prosecutable crimes committed against many of us. And to still others, it might mean letting your abusers live their lives in peace and be who they are, while you live yours in peace on the other side of the country. Like my father-in-law used to say, “You stay in your backyard, and we’ll stay in our backyard.”
But one thing honoring does NOT mean is that you have no choice but to tolerate their abuse. Honoring does not mean that you never confront, or set limits on someone’s behavior. Honoring does not mean you have to give up all hope of ever being treated nicely, and sacrifice your own health and well-being for an abuser’s sadistic enjoyment.
Even if you must divorce your parents and never see them again, it doesn't mean that you're dishonoring them. It just means that you accept that they are the way they are and that they'll never change, which in truth is honoring them as people whose right it is to be everything they want to be, that you're ok with it, and even that you still feel love for them, but you just can't stick around for it anymore. Given the unfortunate reality of their innate hatefulness, you can still choose to set limits on them or have no contact with them, because they are destructive people. You can honor them by accepting them for who they are, not expecting change, and letting them live their own way in peace, but at the same time honor yourself and your own right to live in peace as well. Which means choosing NOT to be in their presence when they are abusing you.
WHY DOES IT SEEM LIKE THE BIBLE IS TELLING US TO HONOR ABUSERS?
First of all, the words “father” and “mother”, as referred to when the Lord commands us to honor, mean people who took care of us, nurtured us, protected us, loved us, and still love us. Unfortunately, not all of us have had such people in our lives. They do NOT mean “sperm donor” and “egg donor”. It takes far more than that to qualify as a “father” or a “mother” by Biblical standards. The Bible gives us many examples of the kinds of parents God is referring to when he uses the words “father” or “mother”.
God is not telling us to honor abusers, who don’t deserve to be honored. It helps to remind ourselves that God does not do nonsensical, irrational, or contradictory things. He NEVER rewards evil, and he NEVER says anything to us that would make it easier for evil to thrive, or for abusers to get away with their cruelty. It doesn’t make sense that our God, who is All Good, would tell us to encourage and reward evil. If it doesn’t make sense and we do not feel at peace in our spirit about it, then it is not from God. We need to delve a little deeper into his Word and pray for a better understanding.
The Bible is written for a broad population of God’s children, and some individuals within that population will have unique situations to which broad teachings cannot necessarily be applied. Not everything in the Bible is written for a particular circumstance. Much of what is written refers to general situations rather than specific situations.
For instance, although we are instructed to treat those who preach and teach with double honor (1 Timothy 5: 17), Jesus holds nothing back when sternly and publicly rebuking the Pharisees, who preached and taught. They were not deserving of respect and honor, and Jesus didn’t give it to them. Instead, he spoke the truth about them, took a stand against them, and openly disapproved of their hypocrisy and wickedness. He warned the people about them, telling them to be on guard against their teachings and not to believe them. He publicly rebuked them, comparing them to “white-washed tombs, beautiful on the outside but full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” He point-blank accused them of being hypocrites, obstructionists, phonies, full of false pride, and even called them “snakes”, a “brood of vipers” and “sons of hell”. (Matthew 16: 11-12, Matthew 23:1-36, Luke 11:37- 12: 3, Luke 18: 9-14).
In Matthew 23, Jesus speaks to the crowd about honoring the Pharisees. “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach….Everything they do is done for men to see….they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi’. But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi’, for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’, for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”….Matthew 23: 2-3, 5, 6-12 NIV. So we see that Jesus specifically instructs the people NOT to give any special honor to the Pharisees, because they are not deserving of it.
Another example of a general teaching is illustrated in Romans 13: 1-2: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (NIV) In Titus 3:1, we are again told to submit to our rulers and authorities: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.”(NIV)
However, in a well-known specific instance of rebellion against one individual authority, the three wise men defied Herod’s instructions to return to him after finding the Christ child, and to tell him where the baby was. Instead, they returned to their country by another route (Matthew 2: 7-12). The Magi did not submit to Herod’s authority because he was an unjust, unrighteous, evil ruler. Instead, they did what GOD wanted them to do, and protected the baby Jesus. So, although we are told to obey our rulers and authorities, the exception to this teaching is that it does not apply to rulers and authorities who are evil.
Similarly, what is written in the Bible about family relationships, between parents and children, husbands and wives, and other family members, are God’s instructions for family life in general, but specific circumstances would call for a different, and perhaps even totally opposite, response from us. The Bible is written for GODLY people in GODLY families. It is the Lord’s instructions for godly marriages and a godly family life. It is how God wants his children to behave toward ONE ANOTHER, to be able live together in peace and harmony and show the love of God to EACH OTHER through his grace. It simply doesn’t apply to abusive families, and it CAN’T apply to abusive families. The abusers in our families aren’t reading it anyway, and if they are, they’re certainly not obeying it. You cannot treat an evil person the same way you can treat a godly, righteous person, and expect a peaceful, joyful, godly family to result. God’s instructions to HIS CHILDREN on how to treat one another were never written to benefit abusers. The Bible was not written for the children of Satan to twist to suit their own purposes, and it’s up to the children of God to not allow this.
Just as we are not to give honor to hypocritical, evil teachers and preachers, and just as we are not to obey and submit to evil rulers and authorities, neither are we to honor evil and abusive parents who are not deserving of honor.
A BIBLICAL HERO: JONATHAN DEFIES HIS FATHER AND DOES THE RIGHT THING
Although we are told to submit to governing authorities, the Scriptures contain numerous references to confronting, disobeying, fighting against, and even overthrowing ungodly, unjust, or wicked authorities. One of the most interesting accounts of a child defying his father starts in 1 Samuel, where we begin to read the story of David, who slew Goliath and became a faithful servant of King Saul. Saul’s son Jonathan loved David as if he was his own brother (1 Samuel 18: 1-4). Saul became jealous of David’s heroic exploits and popularity with the people, and began trying to kill him (1 Samuel 18: 1:15, 25, 29 ; 1 Samuel 19, etc.) Saul continued to persecute David and continued trying to kill him, even though David had always been loyal to Saul, and even spared Saul’s life when he had the opportunity to kill him (1 Samuel 24). The books of 1 and 2 Samuel chronicle the many years of this saga. Many of the Psalms written by David tell of his anguish over Saul’s persecution as he pleads with the Lord to help him.
What is interesting about this story is the account of Saul’s son, Jonathan, as told in 1 Samuel 20. Jonathan protected David, helped him to hide, and tried to act as a go-between between him and Saul, and to make peace. What happened next was an eye-opener for Jonathan about the extent of his father’s wickedness: Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!” “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David. Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the month, he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.”….1 Samuel 20: 30-34 NIV.
Jonathan was ashamed of his father’s behavior. When Jonathan believed that his father was being unjust, he confronted him. When Jonathan realized that his father intended to kill David, he defied him. The next day he warned David and protected him by allowing him to escape to Nob. At great personal cost to himself (the loss of his own kingdom), Jonathan stepped in and stopped his father from doing wrong and hurting an innocent person. He did not show honor to his father- he showed “fierce anger”. Jonathan did not obey his father. Instead, he did the right thing and thwarted his father’s plans.
Jonathan did not think in terms of “He’s my father, right or wrong, and I have to honor him and do whatever he wants me to do”. In fact, when given the choice between doing what was right and obeying his abusive father, he betrayed his father. Jonathan publicly disagreed with his father, expressed fierce anger to his father, and then went behind his father’s back to do the right thing and save David. And thanks to him, David went on to become king, and a cornerstone of the history of our faith. Jonathan is a biblical hero, not for “honoring” his father, but for standing up to his father and taking action AGAINST him, because what his father was doing was WRONG, and Jonathan would not allow it.
Jonathan’s story illustrates that "honoring" as referred to in Scriptures does not mean letting our abusive parents get away with anything they want, no matter how harmful, without ever stopping them, or at least making them live with the consequences of their own actions. If your parents were abusing YOUR child, would you not stop them and protect your child for fear that you would be "dishonoring" your parents? Then why would stopping them from abusing YOU and protecting YOURSELF be any different? If you're not dishonoring your parents by protecting someone else from them, then you're not dishonoring them by protecting yourself, either.
LET THE TRUTH SPEAK FOR ITSELF
Telling the TRUTH is NOT dishonoring someone. I have always believed that if you don’t want anyone to know what you did, then just DON’T DO IT! If an abuser is so sure that he’s right and that his behavior is justified, then he should have no problem telling everyone, or having YOU tell everyone, what he did, and still holding his head up high. He should WANT you to tell the truth about him to everyone you meet, since it will only make him look good! But if he’s ashamed for others to hear about the things he’s said and done, then maybe he needs to reassess how he acts. If you hide what someone does or cover up the truth, THAT would be dishonoring him, because it would mean that you were ashamed of him or embarrassed by him. An abuser has no right to become angry when you rebuke him, or to accuse you of “dishonoring” him, if you are speaking the truth. HE is the one who did what he did, YOU only told the truth about it.
One of the best ways to honor someone is to help them be the very best person that they can be. Some people need a little push along the path to righteousness and godliness. Allowing God's law of Sowing and Reaping to bring evil people to repentance is more beneficial to them than interfering with the Natural Consequences of their behavior by giving them a free ride. The Bible tells us to rebuke evil and try to turn sinners from their wicked ways in the hopes of saving them (Ezekiel 33:7-9). This is the biggest favor and honor we could do for them.
However, the Bible also tells us not to do this repeatedly, but no more than once or twice (Titus 3:10-11, Matthew 10: 13-16, Proverbs 23: 9, etc.) Then we are to walk away, and leave them to God's Natural Consequences. We have treated them in an honorable manner (honored them), and now our obligation is over.
Many of us still love our abusers, but because it is not safe to be with them, we have learned to love them from a distance. The same is true of honoring. If your parents refuse to respect your boundaries and choose to continue mistreating you, then you can limit or end, if necessary, your time with them, "honor" them from a safe distance, and still be obedient to God’s Word. You can speak the truth about your parents at all times and not be dishonoring them. Only people who want carte blanche to get away with anything would accuse you of not honoring them simply because you spoke the truth and set healthy boundaries in your relationship.
“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord….Zechariah 8: 16-17 NIV
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth….1 Corinthians 13: 6 NIV
For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth….2 Corinthians 13:8 NIV
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ…..Ephesians 4: 14-15 NIV
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free….John 8: 32 KJV
I highly recommend an article from Christianity Today on honoring abusers. Among other things, it explains how the commandment to honor our parents was not meant to give honor to abusers:
the wisdom of proverbs
A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud…….
…..2 Peter 2:22 NIV
ANNOUNCING LUKE 17:3 MINISTRIES 4TH ANNUAL
SAY NO TO ADULT-CHILD ABUSE WEEK
MAY 17, 2009- MAY 24, 2009
We will celebrate S.N.A.C.A. Week every year starting the Sunday after Mother’s Day to honor, encourage, and stand up for all the Adult Children everywhere who spent Mother’s Day hurting, aggravated, and stressed out because of abusive, controlling, or abandoning birth-families.
For S.N.A.C.A. Week, we will:
1. Spend five minutes every day this week lifting all abuse victims to the Lord in prayer, praying for protection for them, for the courage to do what they must to change their circumstances or leave their abusive relationships, and for peace of mind and heart.
2. Tell at least one person the truth about our abusive relative this week. Promise ourselves that for the rest of the year, we will not protect our abusive relative by our silence any longer, we will reveal the abuse to others, and will bring all deeds done in darkness into the light. Tell the truth and the truth shall set us free!
3. This week, we will choose one limit that we are going to set and enforce with our abusive or controlling birth-relative from now on.
4. This week, we will choose one thing we dread doing, but always get pressured into, such as spending a holiday with an abusive relative, and decide not to do it this year. By the end of the week, we will make concrete plans to do something else instead, and carry them out when the time comes.
5. This week, we will think of one thing we want to do, but haven’t yet, because of our family’s disapproval. We will commit to doing it this year, or, if it’s something long-term like finishing our education, commit to starting it this year.
6. This week, we will commit to validating, encouraging, and praying for any abuse victim the Lord causes to cross our paths for the rest of the year.
Please spread the word to your friends!
Join us and let’s take a stand together to stop birth family-abuse, by the grace of God
STARTING SUNDAY, MAY 17TH!
SHOULD I LET MY ESTRANGED RELATIVES HAVE CONTACT WITH MY CHILDREN?
By Rev. Renee Pittelli
Whether we make the choice to cut ties with our abusive families, or they disown us, sooner or later many of us will face the dilemma of whether or not to allow our children to continue seeing our families even though we will not be included. This is a subject that many of us are conflicted over. I have probably had more conversations and received more e-mails about this one particular aspect of being estranged from our birth-families than any other.
Some of us might be surprised to hear that we have the option of not allowing our families to have contact with our children. We’ve heard of “Grandparents’ Rights”, and some of our families have even threatened to sue us for visitation. Now, I am NOT a lawyer and I strongly urge you to consult with one if you have any doubts. However, my understanding of this issue is that if you were divorced or widowed and denying your ex-spouse’s parents visitation with your children, they could sue you for Grandparent’s Rights, and might or might not win. BUT, if you are denying YOUR OWN parents visitation, it is my understanding that the court will not go against you and what you feel is best for your children, knowing your own parents as you do.
Besides the cases I have read about, I have also heard Dr. Phil discuss this on his show, and his view, after his decades of court experience, is also that nobody has any rights at all to anybody else’s children. If a parent believes it would be detrimental to her child to have contact with certain people, the parent has every right to protect her child and to control who the child sees or doesn’t see.
In my own experience, I have heard of several abusive relatives threatening to sue for visitation, including my own birth-father, but I have never seen one actually do it. I would think that the last thing abusers would want is for all their dirty laundry to be aired in court. In my own case, when my father made this threat, I told him to go right ahead, and that I would welcome the opportunity to tell the truth about his abusive behavior and all the things he had done to his family. I also mentioned that I would be sure to invite every friend, relative and neighbor I could think of to the proceedings- and even the local newspaper and TV news reporters if they thought it would make an interesting story. After all, I wasn’t the one who had anything to hide. Needless to say, I never heard another word from him about “Grandparent’s Rights”. I guess sometimes you just have to call their bluff.
So again, check it with your own lawyer if you like, but as far as I know, you have every right to decide whether or not you should allow your birth-family to see or talk to your kids. With prayer and perhaps some counseling, each of us needs to come to our own conclusions on this issue. Because I so often find myself involved in this conversation, I’ve come to realize that, again with prayer, this is something we need to address in our ministry and an appropriate subject for an article. So I will tell my own testimony regarding this situation with my children and abusive birth-family, and share with you some of my thoughts. As always, I urge you not to make any decisions about your own situation based on what I write, but to seek counseling and pray about it first.
Before continuing, I do need to clarify one thing. If your birth-family was, or still is, emotionally, verbally, psychologically, or even physically abusive to you, whether or not you allow your kids to continue seeing them is an issue you might feel you need to think over. However, if your parents or siblings sexually molested you in any way, I don’t believe there should be any doubt that you would not allow them access to your children, especially without you there to supervise. The presence of other family members is not enough- if they failed to protect you from the family pedophile when you were a child, then they can hardly be trusted to keep your kids safe from him now. If there is a sexual predator in your family, your children should never be in his or her presence unless you are there to watch them like a hawk. So if this is your situation and you and your birth family are currently not on speaking terms, then it goes without saying that they cannot have access to your children, either.
That being said, the more typical question or e-mail that we receive involves other types of abuse, and goes something like this:
“I no longer have contact with my parents due to their ongoing abuse and refusal to change their behavior. I am uncomfortable letting my children see them without me. My parents tell me I am “dragging my kids into it” and “punishing my kids” by not letting them see them. But why should I expose my kids to their behavior when I no longer allow myself to be exposed to it? I would be just as bad a mother as my own mother if I didn’t protect my children from them.”
“My birth-family has disowned me after I started setting limits on their control and abuse. But for some reason they think they should still be able to have contact with my children even though they are not on speaking terms with their mother. They are telling all the relatives that I’m keeping them from seeing or talking to my kids. I don’t even know how it would be possible for them to see my children without also seeing me. Am I supposed to drop the kids off on a street-corner and drive away so my parents can pick them up? How can we make arrangements for them to see my children if they’re not speaking to me? Are we supposed to send messages back and forth by carrier pigeon?”
“My estranged parents say that I’m using my kids to get back at them. But I feel as if they’re trying to use my kids to get at me. They say I’m “putting my kids in the middle”, but I think they’re trying to put my kids in the middle by making such an issue of seeing my kids without me. Our problems are between them and me. My kids have nothing to do with it and I don’t want them involved.”
“My mother couldn’t have cared less about seeing or talking to my children as long as we were on speaking terms. But now that we no longer speak, all of a sudden, having contact with my children is a big deal. My kids hardly know her because she never had any interest in them before. I feel she is only interested in them now so she can use them to maintain contact with me and find out what’s going on in my life. They’re the only way left that she can get to me.”
“My family cut me off for refusing to be controlled by them any longer. At first, I let my children see them without me. Now I found out that they’ve been questioning my kids about me, criticizing me to my kids and saying that I’m “disrespectful” and “not much of a family-person”, telling my kids “their side of the story”, and asking my kids if they’d like to spend the whole summer with them or come and live with them. They have been pressuring the kids to tell me they want to spend the summer there. Now my children are nervous and upset about seeing them at all because they’re afraid their grandparents are going to try to keep them, and take them away from me. I thought it would be good for my children to know their grandparents even if I didn’t have a relationship with them, but it seems to be doing a lot more harm than good.”
HOW MUCH CAN THEY REALLY LOVE AND CARE ABOUT A CHILD WHEN THEY TREAT THE CHILD’S PARENT LIKE DIRT?
Some estranged relatives regard staying in touch with their victim’s children as if it was some kind of sick competition. Some have a “divide and conquer” mentality, figuring that they can influence the child to see her own parent as the “bad” one if they can somehow keep themselves in the child’s life long enough to show her that they are the “good” ones. Others seem to think that they can hurt a child by abusing his mother, and then require that he not resent them for it.
Some think that they are the only ones entitled to decide who talks to whom in the family- and that they can punish their own child by ostracizing or disowning her, while still claiming the right to have contact with her children. They believe that they can pick and choose whom they will have contact with, whether their contact is welcomed by the other party or not. They refuse to acknowledge that anyone else has a choice, and that others also have the same freedom to decide with whom they wish to associate.
There are those who just assume it’s their God-given right to have access to their grandchild while circumventing and eliminating the child’s parent. In their haste to prove to their child that they “don’t need her” to carry on a relationship with their grandchildren, few abusers consider or care about what is really good for the children. The kids’ best interests often get lost in the shuffle, their point-of-view is rarely sought out, appreciated, or respected, and they are often discouraged, either overtly or subtly, from expressing their true feelings.
Even if both estranged parties have all good intentions, which, let’s face it, is rarely the case, I feel that it is neither practical nor realistic to think that children can continue to have contact with someone who is not speaking to their mother (or father). I also don’t believe it’s desirable or healthy for the child in any way. Further, in almost every discussion I’ve ever had on this subject, the parents all felt the same way I do.
In all practicality, a grandparent who no longer speaks to her own daughter (or son) is only deluding herself if she thinks she can continue to have a relationship with her daughter’s children that doesn’t include their mother. I have known quite a few who have attempted this, but I have never seen it work.
MY TESTIMONY-SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS TO CONSIDER, SO MANY DIFFERENT THOUGHTS RUNNING THROUGH MY HEAD
In my own personal situation, I tried to consider this dilemma from all angles. I tried to weigh how and to whom it would be beneficial to allow contact, and how it might be harmful. Sometimes I felt like so many different thoughts were swirling around in my head that it was difficult to make sense of it all, but I will try to share my thoughts with you here as completely as I can.
ASSESSING MY KIDS’ REAL FEELINGS AND THE PREDICAMENTS THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE TO FACE
How could my sons spend time with my parents without the subject of Me coming up? How could they relax and enjoy themselves with my birth-relatives when I was left out, and so conspicuously absent from the gathering? How much fun would it be for them when this black cloud of confusion, hurt, and unanswered questions was over their heads? Were they supposed to watch everything they said, and try not to even mention me? Were they supposed to stick up for their Mom, and become targets of my parents' rage or spitefulness themselves? This was way too big a burden to put on my kids.
When my father banned me from his house for "interfering" by trying to get medical care for my mother, he informed me that my husband and sons were welcome, but I wasn't. I told him I didn't know what planet he was from, but my husband and kids only visited him for my sake. If I wasn't there, they weren't going to go on their own. He smugly told me that when they turned 18, I couldn't stop them.
Well, I guess Mom knows best. They were 13 and 16 then, they're 22 and 25 at this writing, and they have never once expressed an interest in seeing him ever again. In fact, at first they seemed quite relieved that he was finally out of their lives. Now, they hardly remember him, or my mother or sister either, because none of these people ever chose to have much to do with them when they were young and were never a major factor in their lives. You can’t miss what you never had.
Whatever memories my sons do have of their grandfather are all bad. They put up with his belligerence and hostility at everything from their birthday parties to football games to school concerts to Christmas. So many of what should have been happy occasions for them were ruined. They watched their mother being hurt, upset, and abused throughout their childhoods, just like I did, and I can tell you from the perspective of a kid who's been in that position, that it doesn't endear you to the person who hurts your mother.
WHAT GOOD REASON WOULD THERE BE FOR EXPOSING MY KIDS TO PEOPLE AND BEHAVIOR THAT I WOULD NO LONGER EXPOSE MYSELF TO?
I also did not see how, as a parent, I could justify exposing my children to behavior which I myself chose not to be exposed to any longer. What kind of a mother would I be to send my kids into the middle of the hornet’s nest full of sarcasm, nastiness, criticism and hostility while I myself stayed at a safe distance and wasn’t even there to protect them? I felt then, and I still feel, that that would have been pretty despicable on my part.
What would motivate me to do that, other than my own fear of being badmouthed by my parents for keeping them from my kids? But my children trusted me to protect them. How selfish of me it would have been to betray them just so I could look like I was doing the “right thing”. How could I send them off like sacrificial lambs, just so my parents couldn’t complain about me or badmouth me for keeping my kids from them? How could I do to my children what my mother had always done to me- sacrifice their welfare and feelings to make my own life easier or to make myself “look good”? Was I going to put the approval of unimportant people before my own kids, like my mother did? What was more important- doing right by my kids or looking good to people who were so evil they wouldn’t know “good” if they tripped over it?
The fact is, whether or not I allowed them to see my children, my parents would have, and did, find plenty to badmouth me about. Because in reality I had done nothing wrong and they had nothing bad to say about me, they simply made up lies. Never expect an abuser to be honest and tell the truth about your estrangement or anything else. If I had allowed them continued access to my children, it would not have stopped them from lying about me and gossiping to other people anyway.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM PAST HISTORY ABOUT JUST HOW MUCH MY BIRTH-RELATIVES REALLY CARED ABOUT MY KIDS AND THEIR WELL-BEING?
Many controllers or abusers turn seeing our kids into just another control issue or form of abuse. My own parents didn’t care any more about my sons or their feelings than they cared about me. If they did, they wouldn’t have chosen their birthdays or holidays to pick fights, or done something to ruin almost every special occasion or big day that my children had. And you don’t show a child how much you love him by abusing his mother- especially not right in front of him.
When I was expecting her first grandchild, my mother informed me that she would not be babysitting. When my parents did me the “favor” of watching my first son when I was in the hospital giving birth to their second grandchild, they used the occasion to control and abuse me (see the article “The Price of Independence” on our site for the full story). Grandparents-Of-The-Year they were not, and never would be.
As for my birth-sister, she was so jealous that I had kids and she didn’t that she didn’t even come to see them when they were born. She never attended a single birthday party or other big event in their lives, never asked about them, and only saw them once a year at Christmas (see the article “Family Jealousy- The Shameful Secret Behind Abuse And Betrayal” on our site for the rest of this story).
So, after 16 years of basically ignoring my sons, it was only AFTER my relationship with my birth-family ended that having contact with my children suddenly became so important to them. Why??? It’s simple- so they could use my sons to maintain a connection to me. They knew I had achieved my freedom and gotten out from under their control. Now that we weren’t on speaking terms, they wouldn’t have any other way of knowing what I was up to or what was going on in my life unless they found a way to get their foot back in the door. They were never going to see me again if they didn’t come up with a plan. So instead of a nice, honest plan, like a genuine apology and change in behavior, which would have been out-of-character for them, the devious, underhanded, manipulative plan which was their usual trademark, was getting to my kids.
In addition, the logistics of dropping off or picking up the kids, or even talking to them on the phone (no e-mails back then), would have necessitated my involvement, which would have meant continued opportunities for my parents to see me, criticize me, snub me, berate me, or otherwise demonstrate their disapproval, or perhaps to even “break the ice” and break down my resolve to stand up to their abuse, so that everything could eventually go back to normal without them having to apologize or commit to any changes. They didn’t want to see my kids because they loved them and missed them, since, by their own choice, they hardly saw them when we WERE talking, and they had ample opportunity. They only wanted to USE my kids to get to me and maintain a connection so they could continue to control and abuse, and that wasn’t something I was about to permit.
***See Part 2 for My Decision, The Story Of Solomon And The Two Women Who Both Wanted The Child, The Myth of It Being “In The Child’s “Best Interests” To Have Contact With Abusers, So What Do I Tell My Kids?, and All Relatives Are Not Created Equal.
(Will be Cont’d in Part 2………)
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; He shall set me upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord…Psalm 27 KJV
A Blessed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all Our Sisters and Brothers! “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”…2 Corinthians 7:18
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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.