What are unhealthy soul ties? Where do they come from? Discover what they are, where they are from, and how to break them off so you can live free, fully surrendered to the Lord!
What Are Unhealthy Soul Ties?
Unhealthy soul ties are formed when we act in accordance with the flesh when developing a relationship with another person. This could be any relationship formed out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, pride, loneliness, doubt, and the like.
Unhealthy soul ties are often described as being formed because of a sexual relationship outside of God's design for marriage, yet this isn't always the case. Unhealthy soul ties can develop when any connection with a person is formed out of a fleshly desire to be needed, loved, and accepted. In essence, it is placing a relationship or person above the relationship and person of God.
5 Signs of Unhealthy Soul Ties
The soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. Therefore, an unhealthy soul tie is formed when our mind, will, and emotions are tied to or directed by anyone or anything other than the Holy Spirit.
Do you find yourself making any of the following statements? If so, then there are likely unhealthy soul ties that the Lord wants to break off of you…
- I dwell on and think about someone or something in my past, and this evokes a strong emotional response that leads to shame, regret, loneliness, doubt, unbelief, or the like.
- My emotions and feelings depend on and change based on another person's happiness or contentment.
- The relationship I have with this person causes me stress and anxiety.
- I want to be free from feelings of doubt and hopelessness regarding a particular relationship.
- I feel responsible for this person's success, happiness, and growth.
Where Do Unhealthy Soul Ties Come From?
As mentioned above, unhealthy soul ties are formed when our mind, will, and emotions are tied to or directed by anyone or anything other than the Holy Spirit.
Our parents, grandparents, and other family members all teach us how to “do relationships.” Unhealthy soul ties come from lies the enemy tells us about relationships. He often twists situations and words spoken to us in the past (commonly by those mentioned above), creating a voice in us that says something such as “if this person or situation were that way, then I would be happy, joyful, blessed, and content.”
This goes directly against God's Word…
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”—Philippians 4:11-13
Pause and consider the messages and words you've been told in your life. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal messages that later birthed unhealthy soul ties.
We Have a Choice to Whom We Are Tied
All those we interact and develop relationships with are opportunities for us to pour out God's glory, joy, and blessings. He wants us to partner with Him, doing life together with Him so that we are a light in the darkness.
The Lord wants us tied to Him so that we will prosper in what we do.
However, on the flip side, the enemy is pouring out too. He pours out shame, guilt, doubt, and unbelief. He pours out regrets and what-if statements. He reminds us of past hurts and pains. He makes us think that if somehow, we could accomplish something in our flesh, it will set something right in our past.
But the Lord is the only one who can heal our past. He tells us not to dwell on the former things because He doesn't hold them against us (see Isaiah 43:18-19 and Hebrews 8:12)!
When we come into agreement with the lies from the enemy, unhealthy soul ties can develop. We start to act out of the fleshly need to rid the…
… rather than taking our thoughts captive, pausing, and asking God what His opinion is on the matter.
The enemy wants us tied to anyone or anything other than the Lord. He wants us depressed, hopeless, and unbelieving.
The Choice We Make Shapes Our Path
God is a good Father who loves us and allows us to choose which voice we listen to when interacting and developing relationships.
We can choose to trust Him and know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him (see Romans 8:28).
We can choose to agree with the lies and trust in man or things that cannot save (see Psalm 146:3).
Either way, God's plans will prevail. It is our choice that shapes the path we will walk. Will the path be smooth and straight, our mind renewed and peaceful even in the midst of chaos?
Will it be full of boulders, twists, and turns as we are held captive by our thoughts rather than taking them captive and giving them to the Lord.
An Example of How Unhealthy Soul Ties Form
An example of how unhealthy soul ties are formed would be a girl who learned as a child that serving others was the key to acceptance. This could be either a said or unsaid message from her parent. The “servant mindset” became her identity. Though the parent may have never intended for this, the enemy twisted words and situations, and the girl became a woman whose identity was in what she could do rather than who she was in Jesus.
It was a counterfeit identity, a lie that the woman began operating out of when developing relationships. She believed the lie that if she could…
- Serve more
- Be busier
- Work harder
…then she would be accepted and loved.
As a result, she attracted men and friends who used and abused the relationship. She grew bitter, hopeless, and depressed.
For healing to begin, she needs to identify the unhealthy soul ties in her life and break free from them. Then she needs to replace the lie with the truth.
How to Break Free from Unhealthy Soul Ties
- Take every thought captive and give it to God. His Spirit will identify the soul tie.
The lie: Don't take this matter to God. Just take care of it yourself. You can handle it. And act quickly.
The truth: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” —2 Corinthians 10:5
The lie: Don't give this matter to God. Don't turn to Him and admit you were wrong or that you are sorry. When you are wrong, then you are condemned.
The truth: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”—Acts 3:19
The lie: Don't forgive those who hurt you. They don't deserve it. Neither do you. Work harder to try to undo the hurt you've experienced. Work harder to keep the relationship with this person.
The truth: “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”—Colossians 3:13
The lie: Look at your situation. Look at your relationships. You can't trust God. How has trusting in Him helped you?
The truth: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”—Isaiah 26:3
The lie: Don't fully let go of this situation. Keep some control. If you let it all go, you will have a mess on your hands.
The truth: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”—James 4:7-10
The Word of God separates bone from marrow. His Spirit can and will reveal to you how to move forward. He will equip you to establish healthy relationships and boundaries, providing wisdom and discernment as to what is being done in the flesh. Keep asking Him to reveal the places in your heart that need to come under the blood of Jesus and be cleansed.
Here's something else to remember…
God works in such a way that He never wants you to let go or stop relying on His strength. Therefore, He will reveal little by little to you. He knows the flesh is at enmity with the Spirit (see Romans 8:7). He knows that if He were to show every detail of where He is leading you and how He is healing you, that you—in your flesh—would run full speed ahead and let go of His strength.
So then, the way He reveals is a gift of protection. Thank Him for it. Thank Him for His loving kindness, His mercy and guidance. He is your good Father who never wants you to walk alone. He is right there, holding out His hands. Will you reach for them?
Hold tight and gaze at His face (see Psalm 17:15). Be in awe of His healing power and know that everything He is allowing to unfold in your life is for His glory and your good.