When you get to the point you are wondering if you should end the relationship with your abusive parent, things are bad.  Really bad.  You are tired of your parent abusing you, and possibly also your spouse and children.   You are at your wit’s end, trying to think of ways to deal with the painful and outrageous behavior.  Nothing you have tried so far has worked, and you cannot think of something different to try – is there any other solution but severing ties?

I understand how you feel as I have been there too.  Coming to that place was NOT easy.  I thought it was not honorable to even consider ending a relationship with one’s parent, no matter how abusive said parent might be.  One day in 2001, God spoke to me and said, “But where is the honor in the strife in your relationship?  The fact that your very presence stirs up anger in her?”  I realized that at that time, the most honorable thing I could do would be to end the relationship with my mother.  It turned out to be exactly what I needed at the time.  In those years apart, I was able to heal, to learn and to grow.  

When my mother decided to try to restore a relationship with me six years later in 2007, it was very different.  I had learned a lot about boundaries, and was putting it into practice.  I also began to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorderin 2011, and God gave me creative ways to deal with her having NPD.  He did the same later when I realized my father also was a narcissist.

In 2007, I had to decide if I was capable of dealing with the stress and torment of dealing with my parents.  I decided I could handle it, taking it each interaction as it arose, and keeping my expectations of my parents realistic (pretty much non existent).   While I honestly cannot say our relationship was great, it certainly could have been much worse, and it has been.  

I have had many people ask me if they should go no contact with their abusive parent, and I tell them that is not a decision I should make for them.  It is a very drastic decision – one that they should make for themselves after a great deal of prayer and consideration. 

Most websites that address the topic of no contact with an abusive parent say that no contact is the only answer, and there is never a reason to stay in that abusive relationship.  While I do agree that it is usually the best solution, not everyone can do that.  Cutting a parent out of one’s life is a huge decision!  It takes a lot of time to be able to gather the strength and courage needed to take that big step.  There are also other people who are unable to go no contact for various reasons.  There are others whose narcissistic parent is not too bad, not terribly high on the spectrum, and they wish to learn ways to cope with their behavior rather than sever ties with their parent.  There is no shame in being in any of these scenarios.  If you are in one of those situations, please remember that!  

There are many important, serious things to consider for yourself before taking such a drastic step as ending communication with your abusive parent such as…

 

 

 
 
  • Does he or she ignore your boundaries?  When you say no, can you count on your parent ignoring your no, and doing whatever he or she wants to do anyway?
 
  • Are you out of ideas to help the situation with your parent?  Are you in the place of having tried everything you can think of, yet the relationship is still bad?
 
  • If you sever ties, do you have the strength to stick with your decision, and not call or visit after?   If you show that weakness, things will get worse, because your parent will learn not to take your boundaries seriously.   He or she will know there are no repercussions in disregarding them.
 
  • If you end your relationship with your parent, and he or she were to die suddenly, could you live with yourself knowing  the last thing you said to your parent was ending your relationship?  Admittedly, this sounds morbid to consider, but it is a possibility that you need to consider.  
 
  • What will happen with your other parent?  Will you be able to accept losing him or her too if he or she is on the side of your abusive parent?  Or, if the non abusive parent stays in a relationship with you, can you have a relationship with that parent that does not involve your abusive one? 
 
  • What about the family and friends you share?  Will you be able to handle conversations with them if they tell you that you should make up with your parent?  Do you have a plan for something to tell them if this happens?  Or, in the worst case scenario, can you handle losing the relationship with them as well?
 
  • What if you go somewhere and see your parent after ending the relationship?   Can you handle that awkward situation?
 
  • What do you feel in your heart is the right thing for you to do?  Never discredit your heart, instincts or “gut feelings.”  I believe they are God’s small voice guiding us.  Listen to your heart.  It will not guide you wrong.

 

 

When you answer these questions, do so with complete honesty.  Ending any relationship is a very drastic step, but especially when that relationship is a one with your parent. 

You also do not want regrets.  It will help you if you can say that you did everything you knew to do before going no contact.  All of the people I have spoken with who have made that step have peace about their decision partly because they did everything they could.  They also seriously considered their situation as well as prayed about it a lot.  When they severed ties with their abusive parents, they had no doubt it was the right choice for them, and their only regret was not doing it sooner.

The most important thing you can do in this painful situation is to pray.  Ask God for His advice.  He never will guide you wrong, and He will strengthen you to do whatever it is that you need to do.  Also, God will honor your decision either way.  When I went no contact with my mother in 2000, I did so after much prayer and consideration, not in the heat of anger or out of spite, and God honored my decision.  In 2014 when I was contemplating going no contact again, God told me the decision was mine to make – He would not tell me what to do.  I decided not to end contact as the timing felt wrong somehow, and He helped me tremendously to stay in the relationship.  He strengthened me when I felt weak, and enabled me to help my parents out when they needed it.  

Later in 2015, I was very ready to go no contact with my parents, God showed me that I should not say that to my parents.  Instead, He wanted me to stay low contact, while continuing to work on getting myself healthier and having good boundaries.  He said my parents would pull away from me naturally, which they did.  We later had a big argument on May 5, 2016.  It was the last time my mother and I spoke, and my father and I only spoke a handful of times from then until his death in October, 2017.  Me being no contact with my parents ended up being a key factor in how my father came to know Jesus. As God helped me, He will help you with your situation, too.

One final point.  Many people say that no contact is not a way to honor your parents, and it goes against the Bible.  I disagree.  Think about this – if you maintain the relationship with your abusive parent, that parent is sinning every time he or she abuses you.  Every single time he or she abuses you, that is sinful behavior.  By removing yourself from your abusive parent’s life, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin further.

Also, the consequence of no contact encourages your parent to improve their behavior.  No one can force someone to behave properly of course.  However, consequences set the stage for the person on the receiving end to be motivated to change, and that is a very good thing.  

Sometimes, no contact is truly the best way you can honor an abusive parent.