Toxic Family Stuff

On a number of occasions, I have mentioned marriages being harmed and destroyed by toxic things brought into the marriage from a husband or wife’s family of origin.  

Toxic Family Stuff

Usually, we don’t even know we’re carrying such things. We all grew up assuming our family was normal. Perhaps we disliked the yelling or manipulating we saw our parents doing, and we may be doing a decent job of not following their example, but that doesn’t free us from the damage those things did to our ability to trust or be intimate.

It’s not just parents who can program us for marriage problems. Siblings, especially older same sex siblings, are another source of distortions, lies, and general garbage about marriage, individuals of the other sex, or who we are. Aunts, uncles and grandparents can also poison our future marriages when we are young.

Even if you’re middle age, even if your parents are gone, their marriage legacy could still be hurting or limiting your marriage. Spend some time prayerfully thinking about the examples you saw growing up and the declarative statements made to and about you. Unless your family was very unusual or you’ve already dealt with all of it, there’s probably some junk there you need to deal with.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I know firsthand a marriage that looks okay can still damage the children. 

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6 Comments on “Toxic Family Stuff

  1. We both grew up in dysfunction. We both didn’t want that dysfunction in our own marriage, but it is still something we battle. It has permeated so much in us, including our long-term health.

    My oldest started over-compensating lately, so I pulled them aside and asked what the motivation was for doing so. It was eye-opening to know why. I want my children healthy in every way. But, we live in a broken world, and they have human, broken parents. Best I can do is continually point them to Christ Jesus and encourage them to listen to the Holy Spirit.

  2. I have so many issues from my parents marriage. Even though they divorced and the man my mom married was a much better example and so was their marriage, what my parents marriage was like has caused serious trust issues with me (which my husband has betrayed). The way they fought has affected me deeply. I have tried explaining this to my husband but he doesn’t seem to get it. And I can see things in him that are obviously the effects from his parents marriage. I doubt he can even understand that but it’s there. I just pray that I leave my children with as few issues as possible.

  3. My husband and I have discussed this very thing extensively, before we got married, and after. We’ve both examined the marriages of our parents and siblings, and agreed that we pretty much want to do the exact opposite of everything we saw growing up. It saddens us to say this about our families, and I know it would really upset them if they knew that’s how we felt about them, because they thought they were the norm even more than we did. We’ve talked at length about the problems we saw in those marriages, and how we can avoid falling into the same traps. God knows we have our issues, but thankfully communication is a strong point, and it’s saving us here, helping us to at least stay clear of a lot of the traps of our families.

  4. This is a real problem if the mom was toxic as all get out, but the son thinks the mom was a Holy Saint. Especially if said man is your father.

    My grandparents were not nice people. They are dead. But my dad refuses to see that a lot of his crappy behavior and stupid, dysfunctional beliefs come from their bs. He didn’t even like his father, but he’s acting exactly like him. It’s very infuriating.

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