As adults, we have had to learn the hard way through societal interaction and experience that not everyone is nice and caring, nor do they have our best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this is a hard fact. There are people who would be inclined to climb on and over our dead body if there was something in it for themselves.
When we are taught to beware of strangers, that is usually intended for those we do not know because they could potentially harm us. You know the phrase “Stranger Danger”. Never once do I remember being instructed to watch out for family members whether direct bloodline, extended family members through marriage, or even the other close relatives. Who knew that one may be forced at some point in life to ward off hateful behaviors and combative communication from a relative whose soul is filled with sarcasm, clouded by insecurity, plagued with jealousy and consumed with ignorance. A family member who emphatically felt the need to contribute to your demise by constant attacks? How could it possibly be that you have to worry about such an absurdity as your relatives trying to hurt you?
What if your own mother or father could care less if you were breathing or not? Your well-being not their concern. The most hurtful thing is that you honestly know their sentiments in relation to you and it cuts to the bone. You think wait a minute this is supposed to be a birthright, a given unconditionally.” It would be so much easier if God had asked only that we honor our parents if they are good, kind and loving to us, but the command of Exodus 20:12 is “Honor your father and mother,” period. One thing forgiveness and honor are not, is a permanent submission to parental authority. The Bible commands honor but not remaining a prisoner in a dysfunctional family. Families with a destructive cycle of sin are dangerous, and children who break free need to find safety in the family of God—which is every Christian’s true family -Matthew 10:35–38.
Dysfunctional families are fraught with co-dependence, addiction, violence, and an absence of safe boundaries. These traits will be like a millstone around the neck, dragging the child toward the same sinful patterns. Removing oneself from an abusive situation is much like overcoming addiction; when a person desires sobriety, he cannot associate with people who abuse drugs Proverbs 13:20. Although it is unrealistic to believe that every family should be compared to “Leave It to Beaver” of the 60’s. However, is it really that far-fetched to expect mutual love, respect and support when referring to our family members. Bottom line is: you are consistently being brought down.
In Matthew 10:35-38 Christ cautions His disciples that His gospel will not cause peace. In fact, it will cause division, even among families, because some people will believe and some people will not. Unfortunately, having to be on high alert toward those considered family is not what one would choose. But if you have been repeatedly put in the position of sweeping trouble from your doorstep that was brought on by repetitive toxic behaviors from family members, it’s probably time for a change.
Ending any type of relationship, whether it be friend, romantic, or with a blood relative, requires endurance to work through the soul searching, the internal struggle, host of emotions and endless daunting questions placed upon oneself. But, when you are considering or have come to the conclusion to call it quits with a relative, there is a multiplied sense of loyalty involved. Your own moral compass is off-kilter, and as such you are unsure of direction. Which way do you turn? Jesus makes the choice simple in Matthew 10:37-38 – “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
Should you decide to generate conversation concerning their negative behavior, do not be surprised if the other party flips the script and dishes you a plate full of passive aggressive, judgmental verbiage. 2 Corinthians 2:11 “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes”. If these folks were willing to communicate effectively and work with you rather than against you, there would be no need for the discussion in the first place. It seems their life goal is to make you miserable. They have a carefully crafted routine of slinging sarcasm and excuses. They have many methods for deflecting off themselves and dumping it back on you. This will not suddenly stop because you were brave enough to bring it to their attention. In fact, don’t be surprised if they turn up the heat and try to bully you into submission.
For every valid point of contention that you raise, be prepared for them to turn it against you and claim that it is all your fault. Toxic people are masters of the blame game. They want you to hush and bow down. If these tactics fail, they will probably attempt to manipulate you into feelings of guilt, duty and obligation. Guilt is an extremely powerful weapon if you allow it to be.
Here lies the danger if you back down, go along to get along, don’t speak up and take a proactive stance. You start to question yourself with agonizing thoughts. You are forced to contemplate your own sanity and worthiness, especially if you have been called crazy and told it is your fault. You have had the script flipped on you constantly and the fingers pointed at you as the “bad one” countless times. You have been infiltrated and infected with overwhelming doses of toxicity. You are off-balance you are inundated with emotions, mostly feelings of hurt and anger. You struggle between forgiveness and loathing. Now is the time to realize and awaken to the fact that it is not you. It is them. So do what you must to save yourself. You have absolutely NO control over what they say and what they do. Their opinions and behaviors are based on their own poor self-reflection. If you have given many opportunities and multiple attempts to repair the damage, but it is an obvious pattern that your relatives refuse to break, you know you must move on. Detach, release and walk away. No one deserves to be treated this way, especially by your so-called “family.”
By focusing on your own relationship with Christ, you can experience real healing. Without salvation there is no hope for anyone, but in Christ we are new creations able to do anything He calls us to do 2 Corinthians 5:17.