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Author Topic: Respecting your parents and not judging  (Read 1929 times) Average Rating: 0
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Quinault
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« on: July 12, 2008, 08:18:38 PM »

I have been working really hard on NOT worrying about my parents. The decisions they made that led them to the state they are currently in were really hard for me to watch. But as they are my parents and not my peers I have to watch and hold my tongue (although at this point I think you could get some clear prints off of it). I really hope they can find some functionality soon and make wiser decisions. I will continue to hold my tongue and try to be as supportive as I can be without enabling them by becoming a bobble head to all their decisions.

How does one respect their parents even when what they are doing appears virtually suicidal in terms of finances/faith/family at best, I won't say what it appears at worst.....I am trying very hard NOT to judge them. Yet by the same token if I saw a man stand in front of a train and say it was the "calling of God" and that since he CAN stand there it must mean it is the will of God and he will be blessed, I still would want to scream "GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF THE TRAIN YOU IDIOT!!!" to him. But here I sit, tongue in hand-trying hard not to judge them. Ah, what a dichotomy....

How do you not judge someone when it is apparent that they are making really unwise decisions? How do you change your thought life to the extent that you aren't holding your tongue? I know that holding my tongue is a good start, but my mind and heart still think what they do even if my mouth doesn't say them.
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Riddikulus
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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2008, 08:50:52 PM »

I have been working really hard on NOT worrying about my parents. The decisions they made that led them to the state they are currently in were really hard for me to watch. But as they are my parents and not my peers I have to watch and hold my tongue (although at this point I think you could get some clear prints off of it). I really hope they can find some functionality soon and make wiser decisions. I will continue to hold my tongue and try to be as supportive as I can be without enabling them by becoming a bobble head to all their decisions.

How does one respect their parents even when what they are doing appears virtually suicidal in terms of finances/faith/family at best, I won't say what it appears at worst.....I am trying very hard NOT to judge them. Yet by the same token if I saw a man stand in front of a train and say it was the "calling of God" and that since he CAN stand there it must mean it is the will of God and he will be blessed, I still would want to scream "GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF THE TRAIN YOU IDIOT!!!" to him. But here I sit, tongue in hand-trying hard not to judge them. Ah, what a dichotomy....

How do you not judge someone when it is apparent that they are making really unwise decisions? How do you change your thought life to the extent that you aren't holding your tongue? I know that holding my tongue is a good start, but my mind and heart still think what they do even if my mouth doesn't say them.

Quinault,

I think the best way to handle this is to remember that we all have feet of clay. For whatever reason a man is standing on a railway track, he is there because he is unaware of any danger, often blinded and deafened because of his own life-choices and his own inability to change direction. He is sick, in need of healing and, it really takes a minor miracle to help that person change direction from their self-destructive path.

Probably, you can't help your parents in any other way but to be there for them, praying for them, offering them what help and support you can, letting them know that you love them, no matter what. The last thing a parent needs is to feel that their children have deserted them in their time of need. We never know what life will bring to us; try to think of yourself years down the track; tired, defeated, growing old and feeling like you have lost control of your life - and still outwardly behaving as if you have all the time in the world to make up for disastrous choices. Life throws us into a lot of situations that we would never have imagined for ourselves and even really sensible people can find themselves doing things that have other people shaking their heads. This is really one of those times when the old adage of some imaginary walking in someone else's moccasins comes into play.  Smiley

Lord, have mercy.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2008, 08:51:14 PM by Riddikulus » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2008, 09:03:33 PM »

I know that I shouldn't judge them, I have stopped saying anything. But I want to have any help in keeping my brain from even thinking of what I am not allowing my mouth to say.
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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2008, 09:19:21 PM »

And I have to confess that it doesn't help that at least one of their poor decisions has been blamed in part on me. My step father had been working for several years at a certain company, it was a good job, they had a great house. He quit the job, sold their house, bought a trailer and moved to Montana without a job. Before this occured my husband and I set some boundries because their liberties in insulting myself in front of our kids was going to far, and was starting to be inflicted on my eldest. My step fathers three kids live in Montana, and my mom has told me that because they couldn't visit us as often they wanted to live closer to their other kids/grandkids who would see them as much as they like. But that argument doesn't hold too much water since those kids can't stand to be around them longer than a couple hours once a month at the max. And now after over a year of looking for work in their early 60's, they haven't found a way to sustain themselves. And it doesn't help that one of their "job" choices (hauling trailers to and from Canada and being paid by the mile) put them deeper into debt INCLUDING what they made, then what they were before.

A mess to be sure. But I want to get to the point where I don't cringe when my mom talks about her "new diet" that consists of living off of some substance that will "take away her belly fat without exercise" (she has congestive heart failure) or that "God put a big "O" in the sky so "x" organization will give us our money" (they invested in an organization called "Omega" over a decade ago that promised to make everyone a multimillionare, and so my parents-assuming this will occur don't save or spend money wisely). And honestly, my fear is that they will be destitute and have to move in with my family.  I think I would go insane if that happened. None of the other 5 kids would ever take care of them, it would be up to us. And if they truly needed help, as much as they drive me absolutely insane, we would help them.

My brothers openly mock them to their face, if I say I am "concerned" my mom takes it as an attack. So I have learned to keep my mouth shut. I know that is because my mom is more emotional in general with me-her only daughter, than she is in her sons. And my brothers "need" her more since they are in their mid-thirties and single-they talk a great deal. So I understand I can't get away with what my brothers can. And at this point I wouldn't want to. I just want to find a way to not condone their behavior, not take the blame for it and yet be supportive.

This is a pattern for them. Most of my childhood we lives with other people because of my parents finacial decisions. My brothers lived in the garage, I have lived in the livingroom. It was a real mess.

Complicated? I guess moreso than I originally thought once I write it out.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2008, 09:24:05 PM by Quinault » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2008, 09:25:34 PM »

I know that I shouldn't judge them, I have stopped saying anything. But I want to have any help in keeping my brain from even thinking of what I am not allowing my mouth to say.

My mother was very difficult at times and completely irrational when things didn't suit her. I found myself able to "tune out" a lot of my own negative responses with the Jesus prayer. It was hard going, believe me!  laugh
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2008, 09:29:52 PM »

And I have to confess that it doesn't help that at least one of their poor decisions has been blamed in part on me. My step father had been working for several years at a certain company, it was a good job, they had a great house. He quit the job, sold their house, bought a trailer and moved to Montana without a job. Before this occured my husband and I set some boundries because their liberties in insulting myself in front of our kids was going to far, and was starting to be inflicted on my eldest. My step fathers three kids live in Montana, and my mom has told me that because they couldn't visit us as often they wanted to live closer to their other kids/grandkids who would see them as much as they like. But that argument doesn't hold too much water since those kids can't stand to be around them longer than a couple hours once a month at the max. And now after over a year of looking for work in their early 60's, they haven't found a way to sustain themselves. And it doesn't help that one of their "job" choices (hauling trailers to and from Canada and being paid by the mile) put them deeper into debt INCLUDING what they made, then what they were before.

A mess to be sure. But I want to get to the point where I don't cringe when my mom talks about her "new diet" that consists of living off of some substance that will "take away her belly fat without exercise" (she has congestive heart failure) or that "God put a big "O" in the sky so "x" organization will give us our money" (they invested in an organization called "Omega" over a decade ago that promised to make everyone a multimillionare, and so my parents-assuming this will occur don't save or spend money wisely). And honestly, my fear is that they will be destitute and have to move in with my family.  I think I would go insane if that happened. None of the other 5 kids would ever take care of them, it would be up to us. And if they truly needed help, as much as they drive me absolutely insane, we would help them.

My brothers openly mock them to their face, if I say I am "concerned" my mom takes it as an attack. So I have learned to keep my mouth shut. I know that is because my mom is more emotional in general with me-her only daughter, than she is in her sons. And my brothers "need" her more since they are in their mid-thirties and single-they talk a great deal. So I understand I can't get away with what my brothers can. And at this point I wouldn't want to. I just want to find a way to not condone their behavior, not take the blame for it and yet be supportive.

This is a pattern for them. Most of my childhood we lives with other people because of my parents finacial decisions. My brothers lived in the garage, I have lived in the livingroom. It was a real mess.

Complicated? I guess moreso than I originally thought once I write it out.

Yes, that's a lot you are carrying on your shoulders. Have you spoken to your spiritual father about it all?
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Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
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« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2008, 09:33:57 PM »

Yes, that's a lot you are carrying on your shoulders. Have you spoken to your spiritual father about it all?

We have spoken some, he advocated cutting my family off entirely for a time if I felt I needed to. (My husband will be gone awhile and they both don't think I should take anymore on than need be while he is gone) Mostly when we spoke we were dealing with another "fire," my older brother hit my eldest and was trying to blame it on us. Fortunately that situation was resolved, he repented and thus far we are at peace.

I will try to Jesus prayer like you mentioned, it worked when having my glaucoma test! Roll Eyes (I am in incessant blinker and absolutely hate that puff of air. I have to force myself to open my eyes).
« Last Edit: July 12, 2008, 09:36:15 PM by Quinault » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2008, 09:45:42 PM »

Have you thought of following your brothers' examples - not mocking them, but being completely open with them and telling them what you think of their decisions - even without it being expression of your concern, just being honest and telling it like it is? And when an incident has nothing to do with you, tell them so and refuse to discuss it. 

If they keep going the way they are, you are very likely to have the thing you most dread happen; them moving in with you because they have nowhere else to go. Perhaps, for your own sanity, you need to set some boundries? Loving them and being there for them, doesn't necessarily mean that they have carte blanche permission to destroy your peace of mind.
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2008, 09:49:17 PM »

I literally can't say anything to my mom about their decisions other than "I'll pray for you" or beign positive without her crying, yelling and hanging up on me. Talking to them about their decisions is completely out of the realm of possibility. I would say communication wise my mother and I are doing well as long as I don't allow her to insult my parenting/husbad/marriage/kids, and I don't say anything even slightly like concern for her health and their finaces.

(random lyric quote deleted because it would only make sense to myself and my husband) laugh

At my last church the idea of "saluting the office" if not the person was the answer. But now I see that I need to do more than just salute the office of parent, I need to actually find a way to respect them as individuals, not just as the people that raised me. (if that makes any sense whatsoever) Saluting the office is a good start, but ultimately that isn't what we are directed to do in Scripture.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2008, 09:57:03 PM by Quinault » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2008, 12:07:24 AM »

Here is my thought tell me if it is crazy;

We don't respect someone simply because they haven't given us reason not to. We respect people because everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Even if my parents or various other people in my life don't KNOW that I don't have much respect for them-I treat them with respect but I don't think of them as respect worthy-that I need to find that respect even for the "disrespectable."
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« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2008, 12:50:28 AM »

Here is my thought tell me if it is crazy;

We don't respect someone simply because they haven't given us reason not to. We respect people because everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Even if my parents or various other people in my life don't KNOW that I don't have much respect for them-I treat them with respect but I don't think of them as respect worthy-that I need to find that respect even for the "disrespectable."

Yes, I believe it comes down to what Christ said about treating others as we would have them treat us; no matter what they do. It's not easy, by any means, especially when it is the important people in our lives who are unreasonable. These clashes between parent and grown offspring are never without pain of some sort, even if it is simply a deep regret that things are as they are. No matter how well one handles the situation, it is always a challenge to keep the peace and be respectful. But in the end it is something that can develope understanding, a sense of humour and a determination that you will never be like it with your own children!  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2008, 02:20:14 PM »

I agree that not judging them is a good idea, but being an enabler can be worse. If your mother screams and goes into a fit when you show true concern for her ailments, there is something seriously wrong with the situation. If you sit by, nod, and pray, then her emotional state probably won't get any better.

The last thing I would advocate in any case is cutting the person off. But it seems here that for YOUR emotional and mental health, I would have to agree with your spiritual father if she cannot come to grips with honest concern and advice. It sends a clear message that you won't become a victim of someone else's insecurities.
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2008, 08:09:23 PM »

Quinault,  Have you had the chance to talk with your priest or spiritual father about this? 
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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2008, 11:37:09 PM »

Hi Quinault,

I don't have any advice, but I think I know where you're coming from and how you feel...it sounds like our moms are really similar, and it's very difficult for me to deal with. I don't quite know how to let it go, in fact I was going to start a thread asking for advice 'til I saw yours.  I've taken my frustrations to confession a couple of times, but still, I find myself so irritated sometimes with her fad diets, bizarre beliefs and funny behaviors, that I don't know what to do. And I don't like the feeling either, because she's my mom.  Anyway, I won't go on, but it helps to know that others have the same issues.

Take care, 
Andrea

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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2008, 11:46:57 PM »

Andrea, I am glad I asked for you Wink

It is nice to know I am not alone. But now as a parent, I see a different angle. I see that my mother needs to be respected, not just treated with respect. If I were starting with her from scratch, I think it woud be easier-or really even if I thought of her as a stranger. But she is my mother, so I care more and less all at the same time.
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2008, 12:36:03 AM »

Okay, I'm going to add my two-cents.  Take it for what it's worth.

First, you are right.  Your mother needs to be respected as both your mother and as a person created in God's image.

Second, you need to respect yourself, too.  In this case, you need to insist that your mother treat you with the same respect that you should expect from any reasonable person.

How do you achieve these two things in your situation?  Well, you turn the other cheek.  A long time ago, someone explained to me that turning the other cheek, surrendering your cloak and going the extra mile does NOT mean rolling over and taking abuse.  In its historical context, those illustrations highlighted the dignity of the sufferer.  Back then, for example, you could slap someone with your palm in righteous indignation, but if you backhanded them across the other cheek, it was cruelty.  You could take someone's tunic in court, but not his cloak; it's what he used as a blanket to keep his family warm at night.  You could temporarily impress someone into service for one mile, but two was tantamount to slavery and illegal.  Turning the other cheek and going the extra mile meant essentially exaggerating the other person's selfishness to the point that they realize what a jerk they have been, and doing so in a way that maintains your own dignity. 

It's called establishing a boundary. You need to figure out what that looks like for you.

For me, it looks like this:  "Sure, Mom, I'd be happy to help you out of yet another predictable financial mess.  Just give me financial power of attorney."
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2008, 01:36:00 AM »


It's called establishing a boundary. You need to figure out what that looks like for you.


I completely concur here.  In dealing with people, esp. with those we love, this is probably one of the most confusing and difficult concepts for a Christian; "You mean I'm supposed to be firm and use the word 'no', sometimes loudly?"- You bet'cha.  Traffic stopsigns, privacy fences, and company policies are all examples of boundaries.  The Christian who doesn't set boundaries will be defeated in no time.  There are lots of online resources (some even from a Christian background) on how to set boundaries.  A book that's been recomended before (by a Christian counselor in my town) is called, oddly enough, Boundaries .  I'll be praying for you, sister Quinalt and sister Andrea. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2008, 08:25:40 PM »

I have been working really hard on NOT worrying about my parents. The decisions they made that led them to the state they are currently in were really hard for me to watch. But as they are my parents and not my peers I have to watch and hold my tongue (although at this point I think you could get some clear prints off of it). I really hope they can find some functionality soon and make wiser decisions. I will continue to hold my tongue and try to be as supportive as I can be without enabling them by becoming a bobble head to all their decisions.

How does one respect their parents even when what they are doing appears virtually suicidal in terms of finances/faith/family at best, I won't say what it appears at worst.....I am trying very hard NOT to judge them. Yet by the same token if I saw a man stand in front of a train and say it was the "calling of God" and that since he CAN stand there it must mean it is the will of God and he will be blessed, I still would want to scream "GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF THE TRAIN YOU IDIOT!!!" to him. But here I sit, tongue in hand-trying hard not to judge them. Ah, what a dichotomy....

How do you not judge someone when it is apparent that they are making really unwise decisions? How do you change your thought life to the extent that you aren't holding your tongue? I know that holding my tongue is a good start, but my mind and heart still think what they do even if my mouth doesn't say them.

Wow, this sounds so familiar....
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