Our abusive or indifferent parents would have us think it means letting them get away with murder. Do they want us to believe that we have to obey them unquestioningly, even though we are now adults, and even if what they want harms us?
I think we each need to define what "honoring" means to us and find a definition we are comfortable with. To some, it might mean limited contact, an occasional card, or a brief visit. To others, it might mean not calling the police and having your parents arrested for child abuse, molestation, stealing from you, using your social security number to take out credit cards and ruining your credit, stalking you, or any of the dozens of other prosecutable crimes committed against many of us. And to still others, it might mean letting your indifferent loved ones live their lives in peace and be who they are, while you live yours in peace on the other side of the country. "You stay in your backyard, and we'll stay in our backyard."
But one thing honoring does NOT mean is that you have no choice but to tolerate their abuse. Honoring does not mean that you never confront, or set limits on someone's behavior. Honoring does not mean you have to give up all hope of ever being treated nicely, and sacrifice your own health and well-being for their enjoyment.
Even if you must divorce your parents and never see them again, it doesn't mean that you're dishonoring them. It just means that you accept that they are the way they are and that they'll never change, which in truth is honoring them as people whose right it is to be everything they want to be, that you're ok with it, and even that you still feel love for them, but you just can't stick around for it anymore. Given the unfortunate reality of their innate abuse, you can still choose to set limits on them or have no contact with them, because they are destructive people. You can honor them by accepting them for who they are, not expecting change, and letting them live their own way in peace, but at the same time honor yourself and your own right to live in peace as well. Which means choosing NOT to be in their presence when they are abusing you.
Telling the TRUTH is NOT dishonoring someone. I have always believed that if you don’t want anyone to know what you did, then just DON’T DO IT! If an abuser is so sure that he’s right and that his behavior is justified, then he should have no problem telling everyone, or having YOU tell everyone, what he did, and still holding his head up high. He should WANT you to tell the truth about him to everyone you meet, since it will only make him look good! But if he’s ashamed for others to hear about the things he’s said and done, then maybe he needs to reassess how he acts. If you hide what someone does or cover up the truth, THAT would be dishonoring him, because it would mean that you were ashamed of him or embarrassed by him. An abuser has no right to become angry when you rebuke him, or to accuse you of “dishonoring” him, if you are speaking the truth. HE is the one who did what he did, YOU only told the truth about it.
One of the best ways to honor someone is to help them be the very best person that they can be. Some people need a little push along the path to righteousness and godliness. Allowing God's law of Sowing and Reaping to bring evil people to repentance is more beneficial to them than interfering with the Natural Consequences of their behavior by giving them a free ride.
Many of us still love our abusers, but because it is not safe to be with them, we have learned to love them from a distance. The same is true of honoring. If your parents refuse to respect your boundaries and choose to continue mistreating you, then you can limit or end, if necessary, your time with them, "honor" them from a safe distance, and still be obedient to God’s Word. You can speak the truth about your parents at all times and not be dishonoring them. Only people who want carte blanche to get away with anything would accuse you of not honoring them simply because you spoke the truth and set healthy boundaries in your relationship.
“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord. Zechariah 8: 16-17 NIV