This may be an extremely unpopular opinion but I do believe that you are allowed to cut toxic family members out of your life and also be a good Christian. Jesus told His disciples, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee into another.” (Matthew 10:25). God did not tell them not to love the people that abused them. He told them, point blank, to love them from a distance. We have permission to put up boundaries to protect ourselves.
If it seems like no matter how much you love and forgive them, the mistreatment never stops, then the situation is unhealthy. An apology without an actual change in behavior is just manipulation. While we should absolutely love our enemies, I think we often forget what love means.
Loving people does not mean you should let people walk all over you. That’s enabling. We are not called to be strained in every aspect of our lives. God is not hoping that you will be endlessly patient and tolerant of the sins of others. There needs to be consequences for breaking your trust and violating your boundaries over and over again.
Even if you know you should move on from a certain relationship in your family, no matter how much it's breaking your heart, remember that there is never going to be a time where it will be easy. It's one of the most difficult decisions we ever have to make. Especially when it's a parent or sibling.
Here are some ways to know if your family member is toxic:
1. They Make Ongoing Critical Remarks
2. They Give You The Silent Treatment
3. They Never Say Sorry
4. They Gossip
5. They Belittle You
6. They Are Controlling
7. They Engage In Chronic Conflict
8. They Tend To Play The Victim
9. They Disrespect Your Feelings + Needs
10. They Emotionally Blackmail You
If you identify with five or more from the list above, then take an honest look at the situation and evaluate your next steps. If you’ve tried everything- honest conversations, interventions, therapy- and nothing has changed, you have to call it quits.
Unfortunately, not all of us can get closure for abusive relationships. And for me specifically, I feel like I need it to fully move on- but I know I will never get it. I have to make peace with a lack of their explanations and just go forward with my life. Because by hanging on, I just give them more power and more control.
Sometimes questions that I have don't need answers. And that's okay.
When you begin to stop communicating with them, prepare to experience a pain like no other- I know you still want this abuser in your life, but muster up the strength, with God's help, and let them go.
It's not a simple situation. Closing the door on relationships with family members is no walk in the park- but I'm here to tell you that it is acceptable, possible, and plausible. And most of all, it’s not selfish to walk away from people that are out to hurt you. Sometimes it is the most loving thing you can do for them and for you.