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Mom's addiction is hurting our relationship
12-13-2016, 12:45 PM
Post: #1
Mom's addiction is hurting our relationship
Where to start. My great-grandmother was more like a mom to my mom than her own mother. My great-grandmother was in an evangelical, fundamentalist variety of Christianity. Very extreme as far as standards (no pants for women, no business on Sunday, no TV, no jewelry even wedding rings, etc.)

My mom had a really rough childhood and my great-grandmother was very influential in her life and obviously, exposed my mom to her religion. My mom wasn't very religious until I was around 9 years old when her best friend was killed instantly in a car crash and my mom "realized how quickly we could die and be in hell" and therefore "got saved" and started going to church. Complete 180.

Ok so because of my mom's childhood, she has this deep need for love, affection, acceptance and affirmation. Hers is not just a normal human need...hers is a very, very deep, hard-to-fill need. So now insert religion that basically says, "Do these things and we love you. Follow these set rules and you're accepted. The longer you do these things, the better you are. Don't do these things and you're not good enough. Don't agree with everything we say to do as dictated by our Manual (a literal rule book) and you can't teach Sunday School or vote (even though you're paying your tithes here faithfully) or really be a full part of our church at all. But follow our rules and you're awesome!" So basically, even if she disagrees with some of their teachings, she follows them anyway because then she can be accepted and be a part of something that affirms her.

I've tried telling my mom that they love her conditionally. She says no. I suggested she go to church one day with pants on or short sleeves or cut her hair or wear makeup. They would quickly not love her the same. She just can't see this.

To make matters worse, any suggestion of loosening up or doing things differently is seen as compromising one's convictions. Her choices as far as her lifestyle are bundled up along with heavy things like fear of hell, fear of displeasing God, losing her faith, etc. For example, if I were to say, "Mom, here's a perfectly good reason as to why you should do this or that even though your church says differently," she wouldn't even give it the time of day. She's actually vehemently oppose it without even consideration because that might lead her astray. She's bound by ideologies that those things are just a temptation from the devil meant to lead her down the path to darkness. How do you argue with someone whose defense is hell??

I'm at a point where I don't know if I can continue this way. This came to a head recently because after making plan to have Christmas at my house this year (I live 2 hours away from her, my dad, my brother and his family), she sent me a text and said we'd need to change our plans because they decided to have church that Christmas morning and were having a candle light service that night so we'd have to change the location and try to fit in Christmas together with the family between church services or maybe do it another day. I hit the roof. I told her that her church was dictating my life and changing plans we made a year ago without even a consideration. We went back and forth and at one point she said she would always put God first and we would always come second (very hurtful to hear from your mother) and she would always do whatever it took to please God. I pointed out that other locations of their church often had a Christmas Eve service when Christmas fell on a Sunday and asked if they were displeasing God? I pointed out that she missed church for her health or for other things (although fairly rarely) and if she was displeasing God then? She said something like, "Even Jesus was persecuted so she would let me 'spew hate' toward her religion and take it like Jesus did."

I just don't know how to do this! I don't know how to have a relationship with her when her church dictates *my* life AND when I see her religion as an addiction AND when her church feeds into her insecurities and keeps her trapped without her even knowing. She sees her captivity as a blessing and thinks it's saving her from Hell.

I love my mom and get along very well with her otherwise. We have a great relationship but I feel like just when I let my guard down and am enjoying a "normal" relationship with my mother, out of nowhere her religion will pop up and slap me in the face.

I would really appreciate advice on how to have a relationship with her. No, actually, I'd like advice on how to heal myself and love myself enough that her religious choices don't bother me. I cannot see through what feels like a hopeless situation to find a solution that I can live with. I'm to the point of saying, "I love you but I can't keep putting myself in the position to be hurt by you and your religion so I can't have you in my life." I REALLY, REALLY don't want to do that but I feel like I'd be dumb to keep putting myself in a position to be hurt and insulted and controlled and angered and...well, hurt mostly. Huh


P.S. I'm 40. I got out of that religion when I was 17, got scared back in at 20, got back out for good at 23. My mom had me when she was I said...she had a very difficult childhood. Undecided
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01-03-2017, 12:46 AM
Post: #2
RE: Mom's addiction is hurting our relationship
It's always the worst when the addict is your Mom. I hope everything goes good for you.
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01-06-2017, 08:19 AM
Post: #3
RE: Mom's addiction is hurting our relationship
So sorry to hear what you are going through sparker525.

Very difficult situation to be in. There's not a lot you can do. Your mother is choosing her dysfunctional, controlling church over you. She is the one making these decisions. The best you can do is show patience and love towards her. Pray her eyes will be opened to how much control her church has over her. What she identifies as obeying Christ is what the church tells her. They are not the same. Does she really study her Bible apart from what her church tells her what it says? It says, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM. Does she really feel she is free?

Here's a place with a lot of good info about Spiritual Abuse. Here's one good article about how abusive, controlling churches function. It may give you some insight to help you better understand how they work....

Elements of Spiritual Abuse - It's all about Control

Reg Smile "If we want to set our lives right and find peace, it is not the tolerant attitude of others that will do it for us. It will come about, rather, by our learning how to show compassion to them..... If we do not seek liberation from our obsessions, then becoming more withdrawn and less social may even make us more blind to them, since it can mask them." - John Cassian (He lived between 360 and 430 A.D. He was a monk in Bethlehem and Egypt.)
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05-29-2017, 04:22 PM
Post: #4
RE: Mom's addiction is hurting our relationship

Ive just recently joined the page and your post was the second blog i read. And believe me i know exactly what you feel and the emotional experiences (not to mention the trauma associated with it & the yyy questions that go around in my head day in and out) that you face with your mom.

I for one am also very close to my mother. She too also had went through alot of hardships during her youth days. She married very young and her first husband died leaving her with 3 kids to tend to without any job to support them. Then she had to struggle her way out through life to raise three kids independently. Then she met her second husband (my dad) whom she thought would help and support her. However my dad was an alcoholic and yes she faced alot of problems not only with dad but also her in-laws. I can still recall the beatings, the harsh words my dad use to make out for my mother. And it was those experiences that made me feel so much hatred for my dad. I did not have any close companionship with him nor did i have a loving relationship with him either. It was always a distant one.

So yeah i had a very fearful childhood experience. One day my dad introduced my mom to one of her relatives who invited her to join her for church service (similar to that your mother attends) with the same set of rules that one has to adhere to fervently. My mom never looked back from thereon. It was like an escape door to relieve her of her pain and all that she had went through over the years. I was probably 4 or 5 years old then when mom started taking us to church with her.
At first it was ok until things got alittle bit out of hand. Mom loved going to church so badly that it got to the point that she wanted to please people in church all the time, mostly the pastor. In her mind her attendance to church regularly, doing good deeds, living out these set of rules and all will save us all. Pride started to creep in and got the better of her. She thought she was above all else. Because i loved mom so much i followed her ways including going to church to please her as well. I did not have a sense of spiritual connection with God or to know him personally.

Until one day mom suffered from a stroke and things got out of hand. Our family suffered the most (emotionally). My dad with everything happening would at least choose a life with Jesus but instead chose to live a substandard life. Thats when i tried to fix things at home and tried stepping in dad's role in the house. When my mom recovered i tried all my best to do things to please her to make her feel better and recover fast. I didnt want her to feel pain anymore or feel burdened. I finished through university and got a good job and led a good life to help out at home. Went to church (the same as hers) and without even realising it i was following in the same pattern of life as she was. I became so bitter inside, unforgiving towards my siblings, towards my father, towards my relatives. I always thought that it was only through my religion (this church standards that we practice) that we were above all else and that it was only us that will receive salvation.

I had become a die hard follower of this religious group. I am not saying this to condemn the church but only to say that the church is OK it is only the people in it that run it that have a controlling and dominating factor over the church and how it should be run. It always seem to me that you have to do things to please people inside the church and they judge you if you dont live up to its church standards that it takes out the very essence of living out your life completely for God. And that it is through God's Grace alone and our FAITH IN HIM that we receive His Salvation.

I did not realise that i had been living my life completely out of FEAR. FEAR of trying so hard to please people in the church group and trying not to lose face. (Isnt that so tiring) But God is such a wonderful God - full of Grace and mercy. Despite all that i had been going through He heard my silent prayers, he saw my tears. He answered my questions that had been silently creeping in my head questioning these standards in the church. I NEVER thought that i would ever leave the church. As i write this post just last week i had been set free emotionally, mentally of my addictions to this church. I had at last felt for the first time my free will to serve Jesus Christ alone without anyone judging me. i felt loose of all the hurt, guilt and pride i had carried along with me over my adolescent years till this very moment (I turn 31 in August of this year). I have never felt the same again. I have never loved my father the way i do now, show him the respect that he deserve and let go of all my past memories of him. That goes to my siblings and my relatives. I know i still have a long way to go as i know i have hurt alot of people and severed alot of relationships with my friends and family because of my judgemental remarks and ways.

As for my mom, she is not a regular as before in her church due to her condition. (She can still walk but is limited to movements). We too have had our moments, she has severed alot of her relationships with her children, she became so bitter, hard and unforgiving towards my father (till today) because of his lack of parental responsibility and love shown towards her over the past years. She still thinks highly of herself and still regards going to her church as the only thing that will take her to heaven and justify her reasons for why she is still alive today. I have been like you where ive gotten to a point where i am so tired of talking to her, trying to love her and reason with her at most. But she still wins with her dominant faith in the church group. It seems to her that it is the only thing that affirms her or a place where she finds acceptance. Most days i cry in bed just wanting my real mother to come back. Because i Miss her alot. (My mom has got a big Heart, caring attitude) sorry to say that i dont see this in her anymore.

It was only until i have claimed my FREEDOM at last with JESUS CHRIST my Saviour, that i was determined not to lose faith or lose heart in winning my mom over too. I am praying (God knows how much) that it will only be through his POWER alone that He will change and win my mom's heart over to Him. My goal is to at least get her to have a loving relationship with my dad and all her children. Restore lost connections with her family as well and her in-laws. And this is only Possible with God Alone. One other influencing factor that has pushed me to help my mom (although she does not know this) is to demonstrate to her a LOVE (that only God can give) to be able to win her over despite the hurt that she always put me through. For i am determined only to win her heart over to Christ alone. I keep telling myself if i fall 10 times i will get up 11 times. Our God is a God of RESTORATION.

So please dont lose heart, dont lose hope in your mom either except believe in God alone that He can do it for you. He will carry your burdens for you. Keep on praying and fasting that God will open your mom's eyes and set her FREE entirely. Remember God's timing is always the BEST TIME. Amen.

(P.S. I have since left my mothers church when i got married last year to my loving husband who is also a devoted christian and i would like to say a special thank you to Pastor Daniel J. Lewis who wrote the book titled " The Journey Out of the United Pentecostal Church" which has helped me immensely in my transition out from my own church into God's kingdom alone)

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06-03-2017, 06:25 AM
Post: #5
RE: Mom's addiction is hurting our relationship
Great testimony of faith Varanisese. Indeed we can do all things through Him who died for us and strengthens us. Hope one day your Mother escapes that controlling church and enjoys the Freedom you do.

Reg Smile "If we want to set our lives right and find peace, it is not the tolerant attitude of others that will do it for us. It will come about, rather, by our learning how to show compassion to them..... If we do not seek liberation from our obsessions, then becoming more withdrawn and less social may even make us more blind to them, since it can mask them." - John Cassian (He lived between 360 and 430 A.D. He was a monk in Bethlehem and Egypt.)
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