I know that this particular commandment gives lots of victims of abuse pause for doubt and lots of confusion. How do you "honor" someone who has abused you or stood silently by and let it happen? Learning to break free of victimization is tough enough without trying to find resolution with this commandment. I'm sure many get stuck wondering what's right.
For me there was never any question. I guess maybe it's my relationship with God and the Church are two different things. I learned long ago that man in the form of "church" can say and do lots of things that don't make sense. The way many chose to interpret this commandment just happens to be another of those things.
As mentioned in this analysis of the Ten Commandments, the order to honor one's father and mother is not an absolute granted by an unthinking God to enslave children to their abusers. On the contrary, God would never have intended for His law to be perverted the way it has been by some sadistic parents who manipulate it to browbeat children into submission. I doubt that God would ever expect a child to honor parents who don't and didn't honor their children.
I like the Hebrew definition of "honor" which means "heavy." It seems to make much more sense than the "honor" that most parents demand. And it makes sense to me that the Hebrew definition would be the correct one since that's where these commandments came from in the first place.
So what does "heavy" mean in this context? It means to weigh heavily. To give things that extra thought and consideration while deciding what is best. It doesn't mean blanket permission for parents to demand respect when it hasn't been earned. It means to weigh their request against what is real and see if it fits. If it does..........good. If not, then it's ok to walk away. It's as simple as that.
I haven't seen a survivor yet who has just walked away from a family member or parent easily. Or one who has ignored an unreasonable request who didn't first sweat blood and tears making the determination. We already carry the grave burden of "it's family" or "my parent." Deciding to go against their wishes to take better care of ourselves is a heavy, heavy burden that we take seriously.
I think that is all that God asks. That we weigh it fairly and then do what is best for ourselves and our mental health. God doesn't want us to be slaves to parental responsibility to parents who have not lived up to the role a parent is supposed to be in the first place. He wants us to find our own way in this world to true happiness and spirituality. If that means leaving behind sick family rules and all the attachments that go with them.....then so be it.