How To Break Unhealthy Soul Ties

Young woman and man holding hands, tender relationship of sweet couple, love

What exactly is a soul tie? It’s the knitting together of two or more individuals…body, soul and spirit. Think of it as an invisible umbilical cord. This connection will either supply healthy nutrients or destructive toxins.  God in His goodness ordained that soul ties would benefit people by fostering that which is good, nurturing and loving in our relationships. But Satan likes to twist what God meant for good and use it to lie, steal and destroy.

What is the purpose, or function of a soul-tie?

The first function of a soul-tie is to influence the way we think and act, for good or for bad.

Another function of a soul-tie is to bond, or bring people together; emotionally, spiritually and physically. This pull can be felt long after any physical nearness to the other person has ceased.

The third purpose, or function of a soul-tie is to preserve the relationship. Soul-ties promote loyalty, whether or not staying in the relationship is a good idea.

Places where you’ll see soul ties:

In any relationship where there has been sexual intimacy

Marriage between a man and a woman is meant to create a healthy soul tie. This bond is meant to act as a glue that helps couples weather the storms of life. Ephesians 5:31 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Soul ties are also created through sexual intimacy outside of marriage.  1 Corinthians 6:16 says, “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” Even one night stands leave those involved bound together on an emotional and spiritual level. Sexual soul-ties are not limited to sex between a man and a woman; they can be formed between people of the same sex or with animals. Even after marriage, soul ties from prior relationships may still remain and influence the married couple.  In this case, freedom requires breaking off those soul ties.

I met one woman whose husband had been in a relationship before they met.  It seemed someone coming between them, even though the first woman no longer had any contact with the husband. In time, the husband and wife split up.  The two women happened to meet one another. The wife instantly knew that the other woman was “the other woman” in her husband’s life even before she learned what her name was. It seemed that “the other woman” had never gotten over this woman’s husband. They were all feeling the effects of an old, unresolved soul-tie.

Soul ties also develop in friendships: 1 Samuel 18:1 says, “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”

When in High School I was close friends with an unbeliever. I came to the place where I knew that if I wanted to to follow Christ, I could no longer allow her to have such a high level of influence in my life. The two of us went our separate ways.  For years after having had no contact with her, I still felt her influence and judgment whenever I made choices that she wouldn’t agree with. It felt like following Christ was more difficult because I knew she wouldn’t approve. The soul tie between us was like an elastic umbilical cord, beckoning me back toward her value system. I have since taken steps to break that soul tie, and I am free from it today.

Soul ties are also created between parents and children: In the book of Genesis we are shown that Jacob was closely tied, or bound up to his son Joseph, and later on with his son Benjamin. For those of you who are familiar with the story of Joseph, we see in Genesis 44 that Joseph is now a powerful authority in Egypt; second only to Pharaoh. Joseph’s brothers have come to Egypt to buy grain. When Joseph tells his brothers to return to their home and that their brother Benjamin will remain in Egypt as a ransom, Joseph’s brother Judah replies, “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die.” Jacob had a soul-tie with each of his 12 sons. These soul ties with his children influenced them in ways that were good. However, it appears that Jacob also had unhealthy soul-ties with Joseph and Benjamin. The unhealthy soul-ties caused Jacob to show favoritism toward Joseph, which created jealousy among his other sons. The unhealthy part of that soul-tie also made Jacob vulnerable to a mind-set that said that life wasn’t worth living if Benjamin were to die.

How are unhealthy soul-ties created between a parent and child?

One way is through painful or distressing life events

One woman gave the account of how she came to have an unhealthy soul tie with one of her children. When she and her husband came home from a night out later than expected, the babysitter didn’t reassure her children, but fed their fear instead by telling the children that their parents had probably gotten in an accident and might even be dead. One of her children came into agreement with fear, or what some would call “separation anxiety.” An unhealthy soul-tie developed between this mother and her child. The mother struggled to trust God to protect her child. She also didn’t trust God with her child’s fear. In her attempt to protect her child in her own strength, an unhealthy soul tie developed.  She repented and came out of agreement with the unhealthy part of that soul tie.

Unhealthy soul ties can also develop when we begin to idolize our children. So, how do we know if we’ve crossed the line in our love for our children and made them into idols?

  • When our children become our source of comfort or defense instead of God when we are hurting or afraid.
  • When we cannot both obey God and please our children, and we choose to please our children.

When soul-ties are between family members, we want the healthy part of the soul-ties to remain. Even when there may be many unhealthy elements in family relationships, there are usually many healthy, good ties that we want to remain intact. Adopted children will benefit spiritually by breaking any unhealthy part of soul-ties with biological parents and foster parents, even if they do not personally know them.

Soul-ties also occur among members of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” This is one reason that wounds that occur within the church family can cause so much pain.

Soul-ties can be created through idolatry. This happens when we put others above Christ in our hearts.  Soul ties rooted in idolatry can happen with another person, a group of people, or animals.

While I don’t know the heart of the person in the true story I am about to tell, I think it gives a good example of what a soul tie with an animal might look like: Dan Patch was a famous racehorse during the early 1900’s. He had lost only two heats in his career and never lost a race. Wikipedia say, “His speed was such that other owners sometimes refused to race their horses against him, leaving him to compete against the clock.”

Quote from Dan Patch Days Website: “The bond of affection between Dan Patch and his beloved owner Marion Savage was very great. He worshipped the horse and the feeling was mutually returned by the animal. The owner died of a broken heart just 24 hours after the King of Pacers passed away. This was in July 1916. The story is told of this most dramatic coincidence. It seems that Mr. Savage was in a Minneapolis hospital recovering from a minor operation when his great standard-bred died of a heart ailment following an attack of pneumonia. Told of his horse’s demise Mr. Savage passed away the next day. Attending physicians stated that death was caused by the shock resulting from the loss of the horse he idolized.”

What if we recognize that we have developed an unhealthy soul tie? How can it be broken off of our lives?

  1. Repent for any sins that opened a door for the unhealthy soul tie to develop. (i.e., sex outside of marriage, idolatry, etc.)
  2. Forgive those involved for all offenses.
  3. Ask the Lord Jesus to break off unholy soul ties.
  4. Strongly resist any unholy influence that came through that soul tie. Exchange any lies that empower the soul tie with the truth in God’s word.


Response Time

Dear Lord,

I now recognize that I have come into agreement with an unholy soul tie. I no longer want this to remain in my life. Please forgive me Jesus, I ask that you would break the power of this over my life. Help me to love you with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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hand-in-chainsA stronghold is a false argument that rises up as a defensive wall behind which a person seeks to find a safe place to escape from the reality of the problems they are facing.

Strongholds form as a result of deciding what we consider weighty or powerful. If there is something or someone that we perceive to be bigger or more powerful than God, then God by default is lowered in our estimation. Since God is seen as unable or unwilling to defend against that which we feel threatened by, we will seek to erect our own “safe place.” When we do this, we often subconsciously come to the conclusion that we need to protect ourselves from God and cut ourselves off from the One True Protector; instead we wall ourselves in with lies that Satan uses to lie, steal and destroy with. Continue reading