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Spiritual Warfare Forum: parent abuse and racism

by Catherine Frakas 15 Oct 2002

parent abuse and racism QUESTION from Tonda August 4, 2001 I'm upset with my niece for intentionally abusing her mother. I don't have enough space to go into great detail but the abuse is very noticeable by all family members. It's of the verbal nature and also she does cruel things to her (arrives very late for dinner parties to spoil her party, doesn't let her see her grand kids often, doesn't stop by when she is in the neighborhood). She lives 2 hours away. She does things that will intentionally hurt her. Also this girl is a racist. She has 2 little ones and one on the way. She won't send her kids to public or private schools because they may be influenced by bad kids so she home schools them. She is a snob and only wants to live in a white community. She married into a cathlic family and has never been the same.
I am a Lutheran but I've always admired the cathlics. They have so many programs to help the needy, unwed mothers and I could go on and on. We are all servants of god and the most important thing we can do is show love towards all people of race and religion. I'm sure the cathlic faith doesn't tolerate or teach hate towards any race or abuse towards their own mother. How can I help my niece, besides praying for her, change her ways and beliefs. I feel sorry for my nieces kids. They need to learn love not hate.
Thank you, Tonda
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 27, 2001 Dear Mrs. Tonda:
This behavior is not condoned in Catholicism. In fact this person is sinning against the Ten Commandments concerning honoring one's mother and father. This is a GRAVE sin, as you describe the behavior and as such your niece is risking her soul by this behavior.
It is also likely the the niece as psychological problems that is causing this or maybe even psychiatric problems.
First you need to pray for her.
Second, you need to confront her on the abuse of her mother. If this abuse is physical and she does not stop the abuse you have a moral obligation to call the police and Family Services to report adult abuse. You may also check with authorities on emotional abuse too. Remind her of the Church's teaching to honor our parents.
Third, you need to talk with the mother and give her support and suggest to her that she should not tolerate this behavior from her daughter. If necessary tough love may have to be applied by the mother asking her daughter not to visit her again until she gets pychiatric help or otherwise stops this dysfunctional behavior. I know that is a tough order, but it does not do the daughter any favors by indulging her dysfunctional behavior.
Fourth, you might suggest to the niece that she needs to see a counselor as this behavior toward her mother, as you describe it, is clearly dysfunctional.
If you are in position to do those things, you might try them. But be prepared to be rejected on all counts. Then what you will have to do is to sit back and not get directly involved -- unless a physical abuse happened -- and commit them to prayer.
We will be in prayer for this situation.
As for your niece's kids, pray for them. There is not much you can do directly unless you suspect abuse.
We will keep this situation in our prayers.
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