First of all, I am sorry to hear about the bad relationship you have with your parents. If you are a believer in Christ (as your Lord and Savior), this is a very difficult “trial of faith” and you will need to lean on the Lord Jesus to so He can give you the grace to endure this trial and the wisdom to know what to do. I will only offer some advice from Scripture and pray that it will be of some help to you.

You are right; the Bible does command children to obey their parents. We read of this in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” I think there are two things mentioned in this verse that are very instructive in your case. It says, “Obey your parents IN THE LORD,” which carries with it two thoughts: 1) We are to obey them knowing that in doing so we are OBEYING THE LORD; and 2) We are to obey them IF what they ask us to do is ACCORDING  TO THE LORD’S WILL. As to the first point, we should always have the attitude that the authority of our parents was given to them by the Lord, so first and foremost we are obeying the Lord who has the ultimate authority over us. As to the second point, we should NOT obey our parents if they are asking us to sin in some way. If that is the case, we should refuse to obey them, but even then it should be done in humility coupled with the willingness to suffer the consequences of disobeying them.

It should also be said in connection with that verse that once we become mature adults our relationship with our parents changes. An “adult child” should hopefully be more “independent from his/her parents” which would include the thought of making your own decisions in life. In the ideal home the parents will be raising a child to that end, with the hopes of giving them the privilege and responsibility of determining where they will work, who they may marry, what they will do with their free time, etc. once they are an adult. It sounds like your parents are not allowing you to do this, so perhaps it is time for you to “leave the nest” and set out on your own. We know from Scripture that when an adult man gets married he is to leave home and begin a new home with his wife. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  You may not be considering marriage at this time but I would still encourage you to consider moving to a place of your own if you are in a position (financially and otherwise) to do so. This would surely resolve the current problems you are facing with your parents, at least to some degree. They could no longer force you to obey them and it would relieve you of hurtful feelings.

Now let’s look at the next two verses in Ephesians 6:2-3, “HONOR your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Whether you choose to remain at home or leave home, this command holds true the rest of your life, even if your parents are narcissistic and hard to get along with. The word “honor” is the Greek word TIMAO and it means to “value” someone. Now you may be thinking, “How can I honor/value them when they aren’t living ‘honorable lives?’” You are to honor them because God honors them! In 1st Peter 2:17 God commands us to “HONOR all people.” God would NOT tell us to honor all people if He didn’t honor them. Perhaps the next question is, “How can God honor people if they are drunkards, prostitutes, murderers, NARCISSISTIC, etc.?” The answer is, “God doesn’t (always) honor their BEHAVIOR; He honors them because He CREATED THEM.” In Genesis 1:26-27 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according Our likeness.” Because we are all created in His image and likeness He places a “value” on every person! In God’s estimation a person is of more value than the whole world, as we see in Mark 8:36, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” If we really believe this we will “honor all men,” not because they are living respectable lives and are so loveable, but because God’s sees them as people created in His image and likeness and because they each have a precious immortal soul. Sin has surely “tarnished that image” (in ALL OF US!), but God loves and values us in spite of our sin. I pray you will take these scriptures and thoughts to heart and “honor your father and mother.”  (409.5)  (DO)