Family BondingWhat Does the Bible Say About Toxic Family Members?

What does the bible say about toxic family members

What Does the Bible Say About Toxic Family Members?

No matter where you live in the globe, toxic family members are a common problem that millions of people deal with. Detaching yourself from the family you were born and raised in might be tough, but at times it becomes an absolute necessity to do so for your mental and emotional health.

Toxic family members aren’t uncommon in Christian households as well, but due to ingrained religious and societal values, victims of toxic Christian families have a hard time dealing with toxic family members. But does the Bible really tell you to accept all the abuse while turning the other cheek or is there more to it? As a Christian, here’s everything you need to know about toxic family members.

Common Traits of Toxic Family Members

Common traits of toxic family members
Common traits of toxic family members

Whether your family is religious, liberal, or atheist, toxic family members tend to demonstrate the same traits and tendencies across the globe. Religion plays no part in this, it’s all human nature. If as a Christian you’re confused about whether your family is toxic or it’s all just in your head, here are the most common traits of toxic family members:

They Fail to Maintain Boundaries

A personal boundary is something that comes naturally with age as we grow up, but toxic family members don’t acknowledge it. Whether it’s your father, mother, or siblings, toxic family members will always step into your personal space and dictate all your words and actions.

They are Controlling and Manipulative in Nature

Toxic family members are often very controlling and manipulative in nature due to how they perceive themselves as superior to you. Some toxic family members enjoy the fact that they’re fully in control of someone’s life and will use all sorts of techniques starting from gaslighting to emotional manipulation such as turning you against a divorced ex or other extended family members.

They Constantly Criticize You

No matter what you do, it’s never good enough for toxic family members. As such they will constantly criticize you on everything starting from your appearance to your grades, lifestyle choices, etc. Children from Asian households tend to face this abuse more as high expectations and criticism are part of Asian culture even if they’ve accepted God and the Bible in their hearts.

They Refuse to be Accountable for Their Actions

One of the most infuriating traits of toxic family members is that they refuse to take accountability for their actions. They will make all sorts of excuses to justify their toxicity which makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to reconcile with them. This can be incredibly heart-wrenching if the toxic family member is a parent.

Effects of Toxic Family Members on the Victims

Effects of toxic family members on the victims
Effects of toxic family members on the victims

If you think that taking all the abuse and toxicity makes you the better Christian, you’re wrong. The toxic behavior of toxic family members can have long-lasting effects on a person. These effects make you a less functional adult with diminished self-worth, which you surely don’t want. Here are just some of the effects toxic family members can have on their victims:

Emotional Damage

The actions and behaviors of toxic family members often result in long-term emotional damage resulting in trust issues with other people. Trusting people is a normal thing to do unless they give you reasons to distrust them. A victim of a toxic family will have a hard time trusting and communicating with others, unlike an emotionally healthy person.

Mental Disorders and Complications

After years of tolerating toxic behavior and abuse, the mental toll it takes on the victims is indescribable. People born and raised in a toxic family often have mental disorders and complications such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Some of these problems don’t go away even after years of therapy and medications.

Internalizing Toxic Behaviors

If a person lives in a toxic household long enough, the toxic traits of their abusers often tend to rub off on them too. This can lead to a vicious cycle where when the victim starts a family himself/herself they create the same toxic atmosphere they lived in, passing along the curse to their children. It is said in the Bible,

“Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.”

(Proverbs 22:24-25)

What Does the Bible Say About Toxic Family Members?

What does the bible say about toxic family members
What does the bible say about toxic family members

If you thought the Bible is all about turning the other cheek if someone slaps you, you would be surprised about how much it says about avoiding and escaping toxicity without confrontation. For starters,

And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household

(Matthew 10:36)

Even the almighty and loving God who created us knows just how bad his creations can be, which is why this line exists in the Bible. The sad truth is that some of the worst people we know are often our own family members. It’s only natural that human beings are imperfect, but some family members can be downright evil.

The only way to protect yourself spiritually, mentally, and physically from such abuse is to distance yourself from such family members. This often means leaving one’s home if needed. As the Bible says,

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

– (Romans 12:18)

If peaceful coexistence isn’t possible with one’s family, there can be nothing sadder than that for a Christian. But it’s also your responsibility as a Christian to love God, which translates to loving yourself. To love both God and yourself you need a healthy environment where you can thrive.

It can be very difficult to detach yourself from the parents who gave birth to you and raised you, but unless you put some distance between yourself and your toxic family, you won’t find the light of God entering your heart through all the darkness.

Detaching Yourself From Toxic Family Members the Christian Way

Detaching yourself from toxic family members the christian way
Detaching yourself from toxic family members the christian way

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” 

-(Ephesians 4:31 ESV)

If this isn’t God telling you to pack your bags and leave a toxic home as fast as your legs can carry you, we don’t know what is. But for victims of abuse who have a twisted co-dependence on their toxic family members, detaching themselves is easier said than done. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the best ways to detach yourself from toxic family members the Christian way.

Avoid Your Toxic Family Members in the Household

“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass it on. For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.”

-( Proverbs 4:14-17)

If getting out of the house and getting a fresh start isn’t an option for you at the moment, then avoiding the toxic family member/s is one of the best things you can do. Unless of course, you have more than one toxic family member, in which case it might be difficult to avoid more than one person in the house throughout the day.

Look for Professional Help

If you’re an adult, seeking professional counseling and therapy sessions can be a great way to cope with all the toxicity and build a positive mindset to detach yourself from your family. This can be difficult for children as they don’t earn, so if you know a child stuck in a toxic household, it is your duty as a good Christian to enable him/her to get professional help.

In extreme situations, take up the courage to contact law enforcement officials and CPS on behalf of an abused child stuck in a toxic household, no matter how ‘Christian’ the family is.

Find a Group of Supportive People

Most devout Christians assume when told to find a group of people supportive of their plight that they need to find a support group. Of course support groups are fantastic spiritual and mental healing congregations, but that doesn’t cover it all. A support group can be as simple as a group of friends, acquaintances, or colleagues who’ll be there to listen to you and encourage you to keep your head up.

Learn to be Assertive

No matter how hard we try to paint the world as a utopia, the reality is that it’s a very cruel and harsh place. So unless you fight back (not with violence of course!) the toxic behavior of toxic family members, detaching yourself from them will be a hard and complicated process.

Understand the value God has given you as a human and practice self-care by learning to say no and stand your ground when faced with toxic behavior from family members. If they physically abuse you as a result, the more reason for you to detach yourself from them and live a good life with God’s blessings.

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Keeping Faith in God, Christ, and the Bible

Keeping faith in God, Christ, and the Bible
Keeping faith in God, Christ, and the Bible

In this modern materialistic society where religion has taken a back seat, keeping your faith in God, Christ, and the Bible might seem redundant and hopeless even to the most devout Christians. But this is where God’s real test lies; how much pain can we endure and still keep faith in Him despite all our hardships?

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

-(Romans 8:26)

Even if He has put you in a dire situation where the people who are supposed to support and nurture you turn out to be metaphorical monsters, it’s your duty as a Christian to keep your faith in Him and keep moving forward. It’s understandably difficult to keep faith when the good people are persecuted and abused while the bad go unpunished and even rewarded for their misdeeds.

When times are rough, always pray, for it’s written in the Bible,

“I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you are rooted and established in love.”

-(Ephesians 3:16-17)

It’s only in our darkest hours that our faith is tested by the Lord, and if you manage to come out of the darkness despite your spiritual and mental injuries, He will definitely bestow his graces and happiness upon you. The best way to free yourself from toxic relationships is to forgive but not forget. Keep your faith in His words and plans, for they will certainly reward you for all the hardships you had to endure. Remember,

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”

-(Psalm 27:10 ESV)


1. Is it okay for Christians to rebel against toxic parents?

Yes, you can rebel against toxic parents and family members as a Christian if they’re clearly demonstrating improper and evil behavior.

2. What does the Bible say about disowning family members?

Under normal circumstances disowning a family member is considered a sin, but if you’re the one who has been wronged, then it’s acceptable.

3. What does the Bible say about toxic parents?

It’s clearly mentioned in the Bible that toxic parents are accountable for their actions and will be judged accordingly on Judgement Day.

4. When should a Christian walk away from family?

A devout Christian should walk away from their family only under two circumstances- firstly if they’re being abused by their family members. And secondly, if one or more family members have committed a grievous sin against God or another human.

Final Thoughts

Getting out of toxic families can be particularly difficult for Christians due to how poorly read and explained it is. God definitely doesn’t want you to suffer from abuse even if it’s from your own mother and father. Believe in His will, be assertive, and start your journey to detaching yourself from your toxic family as soon as you can.

The road will surely be hard and difficult, but there will be hope at the end of the tunnel that one day you’ll get the happiness and mental peace you deserve. Don’t become despondent and succumb to the devil which will surely lead you to a path of self-destruction. Leave the fate of those who hurt you to God, for it is said in the Bible,

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

                                                                                                -(Romans 12:19)

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Tyler S. Rios, a parent of two, shares her valuable insights into family life. Her blogs focus on parent-child relationships and navigating family conflicts. Tyler's wealth of experience empowers readers to handle family challenges with resilience and resolution.

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