During my childhood, I suffered serious physical abuse from my mother. Several times I went to the hospital with severe injuries….

When my father abandoned us… my mother, in an act of desperation, asked me to take some pills to pretend that I wanted to commit suicide…. I was only eleven years old, so out of fear… I agreed. The physical damage was minor, but psychologically [I was only able to overcome it with God’s help].

Nowadays… I have to take care of my mother, who had a stroke…. But she constantly makes my life very difficult…. Social workers and doctors have recommended that, due to the deterioration of my health, I send her to a specialized center, but there is a part of me that says that, as her daughter, I should take care of her myself.

Dear Friend,

We deeply regret the pain and difficulties you have endured. Your situation is very complex and emotionally exhausting.

Childhood abuse can have long-term consequences that affect the victim’s mental and physical health. Survivors often experience anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress. They are prone to difficulties in interpersonal relationships and to low self-esteem. And the constant stress can also lead to chronic illnesses. Research shows that the impact of childhood abuse can persist throughout life, affecting overall well-being and the ability to function in daily life.

Thankfully, for those of us who are followers of God’s Son Jesus Christ there are several principles and Bible passages that can guide us in our decision-making process. First of all, the biblical commandment to honor father and mother stresses the importance of respect and care for our parents, regardless of their actions.(1)

However, honoring your mother does not necessarily mean you must personally care for her at the expense of your own well-being. The Bible also emphasizes the importance of self-care. Jesus Himself practiced self-care. He would often withdraw to solitary places in order to pray. He took time away from the crowds to rest and communicate with his Heavenly Father, demonstrating the need to balance service with personal well-being.(2)

It is very important to recognize the value of this principle of self-care for both emotional and psychological needs. In your case, this may involve seeking outside support for your mother’s care, which would allow you to maintain your own well-being and strengthen your ability to provide love and care from a position of health and stability.

In caring for your mother, it is essential that you balance the responsibility you have for your own health. Placing your mother in a skilled nursing facility does not mean that you love or honor her any less. Rather, it can be a practical expression of love, ensuring she receives the professional care she needs while you maintain your well-being.

We wish you well,

1 Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16
2 Lk 5:16 (NIV)