Family Problems

Q. I was raised catholic and my mother controlled the family using her mental well being as a means to do and say things that hurt, but we were told not to cause her to be upset or she would go into a mental institution and we would be responsible.

My mother has and still does divide families. She divided me and my father, me and my brother for many years until we understood what was going on and then she divided our children and now it is the grandchildren.

Nine years ago I became a born again believer. I have four adult children now. Some of them know the Lord and one is Catholic. She knew my feeling on Catholisism before she married into the faith. She’s the child my mother picked as her favorite. Well now they have become very close and it is obvious that my parents do not feel the same with any others in the family.

My daughter also has the personality that resembles my mother’s. Tempertantrums etc. I have very little if any relationship with her. I am invited to her childrens birthday parties but when I arive at her house she doesn’t talk to me. At one point she wrote me a letter and told me she gets sick to her stomach when she sees me. I shared my faith with her when I got saved nine years ago and she got very upset because I did not believe as the Catholics do this seems to be the reason she gives for being angry. She said I can have a relationship with the children but not with her and she is standing by that but it is getting more and more difficult to go to her home when invited for a child’s birthday party and be ignored. My parents do this to me to. When they are angry over things they don’t like they do not even respond to me when I say hello. They tell me they do not like my husband and my other children.

Am I wrong for not being able to take this anymore? I am 55 years old and have always been there for them unconditionally but the love is never returned. I am constantly consumed with the angusih and pain of this relationship. They refuse to try to work in harmony with the rest of the family and blame those of us who really try to be loving. I have prayed about it but still have not found peace. I do think it might be time to remove myself from the situation.

A. By their actions, your mother and daughter have made it clear that they’re either punishing you for something or have no interest in a relationship. Either way, you have the option of withdrawing from them. While as Christians we’re required to love one another, we don’t have to leave our self open for ongoing abuse. Matthew 18:15-17 says that after you’ve made a reasonable effort to reconcile and been rebuffed, you have a right to disengage. Who knows, your mother and daughter might change their attitude if they see that you’re refusing to play their game anymore.

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