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When My Family Is Toxic

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
February 17, 2021 1:00 am

When My Family Is Toxic

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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February 17, 2021 1:00 am

When the people in your family hurt you the most, what do you do? Gary Thomas, author of "When to Walk Away," explains that if a family member enjoys tearing you down and destroying the relationship, then it may be time to walk away. You can't fix your family of origin, but you do have the perfect opportunity to build a new legacy and a new family. We need to protect our family members from evil, and if that means limiting our time with those who are destructive, even at holidays, then so be it. Don't let a toxic person distract you from what God has called you to do.

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If you came from a dysfunctional family of origin and now you're getting married and you don't want those dysfunctions to follow you into your new marriage or new family will you do Gary Thomason says what you don't to this try to go back at the beginning of your new marriage and fix what was broken in the family you grew up, I see this half the time were suddenly to have this great marriage is starting a new family. Okay, now it's time for me to go fix my childhood home and I that is wasting your time. You can't have a healthy relationship with an unhealthy person and you need to walk away from what's destroying you so your building up a strong marriage of a chance to build a new family a new relationship, a new marriage takes a lot of time and so don't go back and try to parent your parents, thank God. These brought you to a new place where you can be involved in a healthy relationship.

This is family life today. Our hosts are David and Wilson Bob Lapine you can find us online and family like today.com. There may be a time in the future when you need to address relationship issues from your family of origin at the start of a new marriage. It's time to focus on leaving and cleaving to talk more about that today with Gary Thomas as we talk about toxic relationships stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us in what occurs to me that the reason that we have a radio program is because relationships are hard. Let's just acknowledge.

If a relationship for easy no one would be shooting a list into family life today to help, but that relationships are hard because anytime you're in a relationship. It's two sinful people and our sinful tendencies manifest themselves, and it makes what we long for, which is love it. It causes it to go sideways because of our sin. Sometimes that gets extreme and that's what were talking about this week as we talk about toxic relationships and we've got Gary Thomas joining us again this week. Gary welcome back. Thank you Gary as an author or a speaker. He is on the pastoral staff at second Baptist Church in Houston is the writer in residence there. He's the author of books that really have been widely influential in the church of the book sacred marriage, sacred parenting sacred influence, and now this book, when to walk away really a book.

I started this week by saying you were to have Gary on whatever book he writes for this is this is the least Gary Thomas book you've written, don't you think it is. I would've never believed it and it was difficult for me to put it down. There is some truth in here that honestly are are painful, but I think necessary. You and I gotta tell you, when I picked it up.

I thought the same thing that this is Gary Thomas and then I started reading and I couldn't put it down line you are hitting on something so important.

It was a journey to go through It was really very very good and it's one thing if we've got a friend who we just look at go. This relationship is draining me and I need to put some boundaries around my need to protect that. But when those relationships are blood when were talking about our parents or when were talking about siblings or when were talking about children yeah now and it gets and now all of a sudden what we do with that and I know is you got into these chapters in the later part of your book you were walking into a minefield. You knew you. I certainly did well.

Gary, one of the chapters is about toxic parents and one of the 10 Commandments is to honor your father and mother and then you start out saying how do we honor our toxic parents. That is really difficult because God calling us to honor them.

But what if they are toxic.

What is a toxic parent look like getting back to what we set a couple days ago if there overly controlling their certainly acting in a toxic when we talked yesterday about the don't swing acting in a toxic way and actually being toxic so you trying to figure that out if they have a murderous spirit where they're murdering your plans or murdering your joy there murdering your sense of security or murdering your independence, frankly, or if they love to hate.

If they enjoy tearing you down if they enjoy putting your feet out from under you. If they enjoy destroying your relationships.

That's a situation we realize this relationship isn't healthy for me and I gotta tell you, I've talked so often with couples where I just one my favorite things and I love doing premarital counseling. When I see this woman came out of a really dysfunctional home and she chooses a great guy. As you know, sometimes we come out of dysfunctional home either a guy who sorta like your dad.

But Jesus has redeemed him. He's restored him. He's renewed him and have this great marriage and then I see this half the time were suddenly to have this great marriage is starting a new family. Okay, now it's time for me to go fix my childhood home and that is wasting your time. You can't have a healthy relationship with an unhealthy person and you need to walk away from what's destroying you so your building up a strong marriage of a chance to build a new family a new relationship, a new marriage takes a lot of time. Lisa and I the first year of our marriage is a most difficult year of marriage. It sounds like from vertical marriage that was here. My most difficult year and so don't go back and try to parent your parents, thank God.

These brought you to a new place where you can be involved in a healthy relationship, but so to just cut yourself off from your dysfunctional family and your parents who may exhibit toxic behavior.

Let me give two examples. There's one poor woman had older sister who made some really bad choices in life was a single mom had a baby and his younger sister had done so much that she gone to an Ivy League school. She was starting a business, she was following the Lord. It was exciting. The doors that God opened up for herds like she was a female Joseph everything she did was being blessed before so excited will because she was now in the same city as her older sister she would get the zip emergency babysitting calls. You gotta watch your niece and because she owned the business to sorta able to do that. But she resented it and it was getting in the way of starting the sock is it takes a lot of energy and and thankfully God brought her a great mentor who just said were look. Neither your mom nor your sister know what it takes to succeed at this level, you are actually undercutting your ability to bless so many people with this new effort you have. By doing these emergency babysitting calls and so she felt guilty when she looked at it to the lens of relationship because older sister would say what you hear Christian art aren't Christians supposed to help those in need, and her mom would say you've got a helper. She doesn't have the advantages that you've had course, the mentor could tell her you both grew up in the same homes and made some choices.

This is about advantages but when she looked at her family dynamics to the sense of mission God has called me to do important work in this world.

I need to invest in reliable people. The people in her work and that I'm actually hurting more people by doing this really childcare the isn't appropriate at this time. Now she had a lens to say it was selfish for her to say yes to her sister and her mom in that situation. I believe that her mom was acting in a toxic manner, but her mom wasn't toxic. She didn't cut off the relationship. There they weren't happy with other but they never will be, but she's maintain that relationship toxic we need to walk away would be another couple where the husband was married to a solid Christian woman, but his mom was either passive-aggressive or not so passive aggressive and would just punish is why she couldn't do anything right.

She wasn't parenting right. She didn't cook right. She didn't love her husband well enough, it just drained her and she just said to him early in December, honey I'm I just can't even bear the thought of spending Christmas with your your mom this year she is. It takes me months to complain you know is been a difficult fall that had an issue with one of their kids. She is I'd I just don't know if I can do it and in the sky. He knew that his mom preached the gospel of family above all else and not being there for Christmas would be an act of war there was a backlash, but he did the right thing.

He realized for that holiday. They needed to walk away his wife needed to know honey it's legitimate. It's not like she was being hypersensitive. He knew this was going on. It wasn't his wife being too sensitive. It was his mom being toxic tort is what here's what I say to couples in the situation because he said how can I do the essentials honor my mother and father is it you honor your mom by acting as a she's healthy.

If my son called me and said dad for the sake of my marriage. We just can't spend Christmas with you. I'd be devastated, but I hope I would say so and I'm proud of you, your husband first, you're putting your wife first. You're doing what you're supposed to do your being a good husband. Good for you will miss you but I'm proud of. That's what I think a healthy parent would say the fact that she didn't respond that way. In any remote way, I think, proves that she was acting in a toxic way and so for that holiday.

They had to walk away until younger couples I speak with the sentimentality of an empty Nestor. It's shocking how few Christmases you have when the kids are young and then when they get older and they start to go where there on trips within their bringing in boyfriends or girlfriends are now spouses or whatnot. It eats very few to sacrifice the wonder of a holiday with kids in a healthy situation to appease a toxic parent I think is a poor life choice and it's not your fault you're walking away from toxicity, not out of meanness not out of disrespect but out of wanting to give your kids a healthy and even happy child. That and I can imagine. I mean Gary, I know NFL players I work with for 33 seasons who could not do it your Sandra there in terms that there is no there there seemed no way I can call my mom and say I'm not coming to Christmas. It isn't going to happen. I just can't do that, you know, I'm just can endure. And I know counselors who would say to that person. I'll just take it.

Just go there for couple days fake it to make it and move on. But you're saying you can make a hard choice. I think we need to protect our family members from evil.

When our kids were growing up. We talked a lot about Jesus and I'm thankful for that. I wish we talked more about evil and how to deal with evil and evil people that might print you can overdo it on. You should emphasize Jesus 10 times but to not mention evil it all is to leave people ill-equipped Jesus said many times, watch out. Be on your guard.

I mean, he told his disciples. I am the way the truth and the life.

These are liars, murderers and thieves and so we need to. I think model and speak the reality of evil and a phone we speak at the we can remember marriage getaways about God's plan for marriage. What step one in God's plan for this cause. Leave, you will leave father and mother clean and you will form a new priority relationship and so when another person is not letting you leave and cleave their attacking your marriage relationship. There doing harm to what God has said this needs to be the new priority relationship and that's where husbands and wives need to say in an opposite moms and dads need to say that ought to be the use of the healthy prayer on the site you're making your marriage a priority.

Good for you if you can't say that is apparent in your the problem yeah and yet to come in and say hey I just heard this radio broadcast, and I discovered after listening to it that your mother is evil to go to Christmas this year help us do not like really say that if we feel that about our spouses, parents tricky what here's the thing, I think you can recognize whether your spouse is up for it, and it's a good thing you're recognizing for this Christmas were united in heart and mind. We both like were in a good place where we believe God is calling us to this as a a mission but it's sort of like if you are compromise.

If your immune system is compromised.

You don't go walk into a room of sick people. It is an art. We are figuring out okay are my spouses to get joy need to protect my spouses is something we can do as an outreach, but then you're also bringing in your kids.

Another circumstances were a guy. He had an abusive dad and an abusive mom. She was verbally abusive. His dad was physically abusive and he became a Christian and they ridiculed him yeah will see what happens when you're in high school was who happens when your call and he admits, almost out of spite. He was knocking a backslide and want his parents to be right but God used it.

Then they had kids and his parents realize what they had missed and they thought they would get a do over with their grandkids that his dad was still drinking too much.

His mom was still talking the same way, the same classic way and so the question came winter the grandkids can spend the weekend with us and he said they're not, they will not be at your house without and they pulled out the card that toxic people use against Christian, you haven't forgiven us. The Bible says you're supposed to forgive.

You haven't forgiven us. Have you otherwise you let us watch the kids and it always amazed me how toxic people are so aware of a couple verses they didn't care if he was acting like a Christian, they were trying to use Scripture to control him. We want the kids and he knew it wasn't safe. He knew that he couldn't guarantee they would be exposed to something harmful or treated in a harmful way.

It wasn't disrespectful to his parents and he just said no there not spin the and you know if you go behind our back and you try to manipulate the kids spending time with you. We won't even be here with them so you can respect our authority and I think in some ways that's the most loving thing to do to a toxic person because when you call them out on their toxicity, you may be the first person that says there is a price for the way that you become. I'm not to be manipulative and Jesus did that Jesus was so loving to the repentant, but he didn't play games with the nonrepetitive. I can imagine somebody standing up to a parent and saying were put some boundaries here. I'm turning the table now and thinking what about the parent who says or have everybody home for Christmas, but the one kid, the one child in our family who has been manifesting toxic behavior doesn't get to come and join the family for Christmas it now all of a sudden feels really hard is apparent to sample. Put boundaries around the child who is toxic in the rest of it because his parents were supposed to be the ones to convince that make up all better and I think it's even harder bad because generally there's one parent that will refuse to point to participate in saying no.

We are having and so that can become a conflict as well.

You know, Jack, dear yeah, he mentioned this in his life or he had a son who now deceased was into drugs, but he was toxic beyond his addiction. It wasn't just addiction.

And he'd given them chance after chance. Finally, this last chance. He brought him back. He was acting in such a toxic way that Jackie want to trip the younger daughter hit herself in the bathroom and locked the door and he realized okay here's the thing you are in rehab today or you're out on the street and everything is done and the words he said are so severe for a parent but their necessary words, their words of love. He said I can't save you from yourself, but I can protect others from you and pretty much that's what you have forced me to do it. I can even imagine having to say that to a kid but it's what you have to say it's the most loving thing you can say is, ultimately you confronting him as Jesus did. You are destroying yourself. This is not an acceptable way to behave. Not going to cooperate with. I'm not going to enable it. I'm saying this stops and in the end were doing what Jesus did take up your cross and follow me, though it was a stunning example to me one time were remember when Jesus sent the pigs off a cliff. The pig farmers and Jesus cast the demon out of a man sentiment pigs they run up the cliff, what would any of us pay for weekend ticket to hear Jesus in concert we could see him.

We could hear him. We watch real miracles, not fake is right for those of us that love Jesus were thinking a weekend with Jesus you empty the 401(k) sellout. Whatever it is these people had Jesus in the flash and what did they say to him please leave the very next verse, Matthew 91. Jesus got into a boat and sailed away so you can walk away, he sailed away, but he he left.

He didn't say oh, come on yeah and and that's where I think we have to be as parents and these were apt to be his children, and sometimes a spouses and friends and workers in the kingdom that times people say please leave were not controlling a return we say okay and brought up the point that there's often division between a husband and wife. In this situation, there's often one spouse who is just so completely brokenhearted at the thought that they are doing anything to exclude a toxic child from something I've heard them say if we do not include this child, they may take their life and we want that on our conscience in all that can be such a controlling thing.

I was with the pastor one time and we were in the middle of the conversation he got a phone call from a woman he so we got go.

She's threatening suicide and we got the car on the way over, I said is this happen before you said oh it's happened for five times and I thought this woman figured out how to get you to do everything yeah and and were so afraid that somebody might actually carry through on them than the weight on our conscience. The guilt of our conscience. This requires wisdom. This requires prayer but if somebody is using suicide is a manipulative tool, we want to get help and protection for them, but I don't think we can be held hostage so Mitch can figure out all I got I got the ace in the in the deck. All I have to do is say suicide my get what I want. There's a some great centers where I think you can say look that this center deals with depression and anxiety. We will pay for you to go there.

We want you to get the help you need, but what the study of when the walkway is done for me because I see controlling as a toxic behavior. I'm so careful of becoming controlling myself because it's not the way that Jesus operates in Scripture when he was willing to walkway is not the way that God operates in the old order or the New Testament God the father and so you present the truth and you present the opportunity.

We cannot control the outcome. As I think you eat, you make that offers Bob said we realize it made the same threat for five times.

At that point I had to get over this false messianic complex that I am the one who can help your problems. People walked away from Jesus by the millions more.

They're gonna walk away from me and so you offer yourself as an assistance but realize we can't control anyone else.

Let's come back to what's at the heart of your thesis. Why do we make the choice to walk away. The reason I make the choice to walk away is because my life is set up on seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and finding reliable people who I can invest in its Matthew 633 second Timothy 22 it's to have the positive life of offense is not because I'm worried about being drained or being disturbed. I lived to be drained and disturbed in kingdom work. What I don't want to do is have unfruitful work. I don't want to try to plant flowers on stone I want to go to the plowed fields that God has set up. And so the four words that have guided me is often a ministry, no conviction, no counsel if I don't think there's spiritual conviction there. If I don't think the heart is prepared.

I'm not wasting my time Sunday pearls before swine that that is but it's that focus. I believe this is urgent work. It's a good work bringing the kingdom of Jesus Christ. His light is love his Lordship, his authority, his influence is so important. People will oppose it. People will hate it.

People will resist it. My job is to have that extra sensitive x-ray radar to find those that are reliable, that will receive it, and poured generously into them, so the kingdom work will go on from generation to generation until Christ returns.

I actually read this line in your book out loud to my wife guides it's just what you just said they said so well you said if you are in Christ. You are just saved your enlisted you have been called to important work and there's no time to lose.

And it just it struck me again. We forget that it isn't just this little I'm a follower I'm enlisted I signed up I got a job to do. I can't waste a minute that I might allow somebody at the get me off course. I just inspired me as I read that in like manner. This makes sense you.

There are times you have to walk away to do the greater good. When I was a much younger dad and husband.

I worked with a toxic guy and what I regret most about that season I would come home and I would be thinking about weird stuff trying to make sense of weird stuff trying to defend myself against weird stuff and I look at how young my kids were and I would go back to me as a father and husband. Now Gary leave it at the office, walk away, mentally find out about your kids day love on your kids share with your kids. Find out what your wife is thinking you can't fix a toxic person. You shouldn't fret over toxic present, invest in the healthy relationships invest in the God ordained relationships and when a relationship is distracting you from what God is called you to do learn when the walk away thinking this is where you need wisdom you need godly counsel you need prayer. These are not decisions that you make casually and you don't make them based on self-interest to make them based on kingdom interest and Gary that's what's up. The heart of your book. I'm grateful you wrote among Gary Thomas booklet for me to an end, gave us a lot to think about and a lot to pray about and a lot to help guide our relationships and to promote healthy relationships and ask ourselves otherwise on being toxic or or I'm draining other people. I think that's a good diagnostic question for any of the Serbian toxic to ourselves when yeah you yes and I was really huge.

I was glad that you ended like that because I'm finding after 3540 years of ministry.

I'm finding this one more often than not going to just have to have people by the book to find out about it means to be toxic to yourself. Gary, thanks for real and family life today.

Thank you so much. This place is a home away from home. I'm so grateful for the ministry of family life today well we're grateful for you and grateful for the courage it took to write this book and in fact we will make the book available this week for family life today listers in the upper listers would like to get a copy of your book when to walk away.

It's available when you make a donation to support the ongoing work of family life today. Your donations are the lifeblood of this ministry, we could not do what we are doing through this daily radio program to our resources are events everything we got available on our website@familylifetoday.com all of that happens because listers like you make it happen.

When you donate, so a family like today has been an encouragement to you.

If it has been used by God in your life and you'd like to help make available for other couples, other individuals who need the practical, biblical help and hope that we are providing each day.

You can do that as you make a donation today and when you request a copy of Gary's book when to walk away. You can donate online or website is family life today.com or you can call one 800 FL today to donate again. The website family life today.com.

Be sure to request your copy of Gary's book.

When you donate or call 1-800-358-6329 2000 F as in family L as in life and in the word today just say I like to make a donation to support family life today and I'd like a copy of Gary Thomas's book when to walk away and thanks in advance for your support. We really do appreciate it now. Tomorrow we want to talk about just how vital how important it is for us to be people who are grateful how important gratitude and thankfulness is in our lives and how critical it is that we teach our kids to be boys and girls. Sam Crabtree is going to join us tomorrow through that could be here with us as well.

I want to thank our engineer today can clinch without some extra help from Bruce Goff today along with our entire broadcast team may have a host statement in Wilson and Bob been missing you better next time for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow


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