We can avoid it as long as we want. We can take the elephant in the room and try to hide it, but let’s face it – it’s an elephant. We can try to deceive our mind into believing that everything is okay when it clearly is not. Everyone else gives us their opinion and they all seem to lack an understanding of the situation. We rationalize the situation so that it seems at least manageable, but deep down we know it isn’t.
Many of us have been in this sort of relationship whether it is with a friend, a co-worker, our office, our spouse or a family member. Many time we will hear of these toxic relationships from others. We never think of our own relationships a toxic – usually because we are so busy rationalizing why we need to stay in the relationship.
I have been there. I know what it is like. For three years I was in a toxic relationship with a boyfriend growing up. My friends all warned me. They all tried to pull me out, but I wouldn’t listen. It didn’t stop there. When I got out of that bad situation, I placed myself in a toxic work place. It was a paycheck I told myself. I need the money. I cannot survive without it.
I could go on and on about the experiences I have had. It was crazy. It brought me down into a bad place in my life. The relationships ruined my self esteem. I couldn’t fight for myself any longer because I was always standing up for the other person, defending their undeniably horrible actions. Have you been there? Are you there now?
Just what characteristics are involved in a toxic relationship? Well here you go…
1) Does this person make me a better person or am I losing my self for their sake?
2) Are my friends and family constantly trying to get me out of this situation?
3) Do I feel like I need to get out but don’t know how to do it?
4) Am I using all my energy to please this person or at least get them off my back?
5) Am I avoiding friends and family now because I just don’t want to face them?
6) Where is my self esteem? Can I even name 10 thing that I love about myself?
7) Am I always looking for an escape out of my life?
8) Have I pushed God aside when He used to be so important to me?
God doesn’t want us in these sorts of relationships – you know why? Because we use all our energy putting that person first and moving God to the background. When we choose others over God, then we are slowly deteriorating our spiritual life into nothing. Even though these relationships can seem harmless, they aren’t. These sorts of relationships are allowing evil to infiltrate our homes. Because all of your focus is placed on the relationship, you miss the beauty of God. Faith gets pushed aside. Self esteem plummets. God falls to last place.
Today, as I wrote this blog, I couldn’t quite pinpoint why God felt it was so important to blog about, but something pushed me to keep writing. God wants better for all of us who are stuck in toxic relationships. He wants us to use His strength to climb out of our homemade hole. He has sent a rope for us to climb out. It may require some real struggles. Some of us may not have the upper body strength, so it will be a challenge to climb out with that rope. God will help us.
God does not ask us to stay in a toxic relationship and try to change the person. We are not capable of changing hearts – only God is. We are called to imitate Christ – and we cannot possibly do that by staying in a bad relationship. God will prevail when we walk away. God will be strengthened by our ability to break ties with that toxic person. God calls us to be strong even when we are weak.
Matthew 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. 16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. 17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.