Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.” ~ Ephesians 6:1 - 3
This is a very difficult commandment to keep for children whose parents have been abusive towards them. It's challenging to find a way to show honor without allowing ourselves to be continuously hurt. One of my favorite sayings is "God doesn't expect you to be a door mat." Of course, in a traditional society we may feel like we have to be one.
Honor is a word that has different meaning to different people. One thing is for certain here though: You don't have to tolerate their abuse. You can set boundaries or limits. The bottom line here is that you must accept that your parents who they are and that they're not going to ever change. You don't have to stay there, trying to pretend you're hopeful when ultimately they're bent on distruction. Therefore, honor is all about finding peace for both you and them.
In this way, honoring them means:
Not returning the abuse they've given us
Creating clear boundaries so we're not enabling them to continue abusing us or our children: When they cross these boundaries and show no remorse, there must be consequences.
Stopping the cycle - not abusing our own children
Forgiving them: This doesn't mean that God's absolved their sin in His eyes. Forgiveness simply softens our hearts so we're willing to reconcile when and if they repent of their behavior. It also helps ensure that we don't grow hard towards God.
Praying for them: They need the Holy Spirit to enter and heal their hearts. The right attitude for us to have is hoping for them to become born again so they can change and become the person God wants them to be.
Clearly, nowhere are we told that we should put them first in our lives, especially not when it comes to our own mental and physical health. This is something that I've had to learn the hard way. There are studies that show that PTSD can/will lead to ill health and it has done so for me to the point that my whole endocrine system has failed. I have diabetes, thyroid problems, and adrenal fatigue. As such, I really need to take care of my health and learn how to limit the amount of time that I spend with my parents. Honestly this is what's best for everyone, even though not everyone may agree with this.
This is something that I'm currently wrestling with and trying to find answers to myself. While sharing my thoughts here has been somewhat helpful to me, I would love to hear your thoughts as I know I have a lot more wrestling and growing to do.