It may be that my mother loves me, but she doesn’t like me, and I don’t like her…. When I was twenty, I moved away to another city, but my family problems keep following me. My mother comes to visit several months of the year.

My father and mother don’t love each other anymore. She expects me to take her side and hate him, but I won’t do it because I love him and understand him. Because of this, my mother yelled at me, insulted me, and even said that she could kill me and my father. I don’t know if she said it in the heat of the moment, but it broke my heart.

I don’t want to see her anymore. She hurts me. I’ve gone through periods of depression so serious that I’ve felt that life has no meaning. I’ve overcome all of this, but I’m afraid I could have a setback.

Dear Friend,

We are so sorry to hear about what you have been going through! Many people have disagreements with their parents, but what you describe is much more serious than a disagreement.

To begin with, it is absolutely wrong to ask a child, even an adult child, to take sides in a marital disagreement. In the unfortunate case of any marriage termination, parents should do everything possible to keep their children completely out of it, even if the children are adults.

It is bad enough that your mother screams at you and insults you, but to threaten your life is a danger sign to which you must pay attention. Even if you believe that she would never carry out her threat, the fact that she would say those words shows that she has no self-control at all. You are right to believe that she is a danger to you.

Although it will be difficult, we recommend that you talk to your mother or write to her about it. Tell her that her threat on your life was a sign to you that you cannot see her or talk to her at all for at least six months, and that after the six months, if she cannot treat you with respect, you will refuse to see her for another six months.

Be very certain before you do this that you are determined to carry it out. No matter how angry she gets or the lies she tells others{, or if your relatives take her side and act as if you are the one who is wrong}, don’t give in to her manipulation. If you give her another chance, your relationship will get worse instead of better.

As for the Biblical commandment that says you are to honor your parents, in this case you can honor your mother by not calling her names, not insulting her, and not speaking negatively about her to other relatives. To honor her does not mean that you must let her mistreat you and make threats to kill you. And it does not mean that you must let her visit you, nor that you must answer the phone when she calls.

We wish you well,