December 19, 2019

Defining Toxic: How to End a Toxic Relationship or Friendship

A couple of months ago, two young girls came up to me and asked for prayer in regards to unhealthy relationships. 

 

In all honesty, I did not want to pray for them. I mean, I did as that is what the time and place called for but that was how I truly wanted to react. I really, truly wanted to do one thing – shake them. I wanted to grab them by their little shoulders and shake ‘em real good (in love, of course) because that’s what I needed when I was in their spot some years before.

 

At my church, we have these prayer cards – you can write down a prayer request and the leaders in the church would pray over them every week. And almost every week I’d write down the same request: help to end an unhealthy relationship. I was them at one point in my life.

 

Thinking back – I’m not sure what part I wanted prayer about. The request was the literal answer: I had acknowledged that I was in an unhealthy situation and that it needed to end. Maybe I was asking for the strength to do so? The motivation? I’m not sure. Here’s the thing I finally found out though (get ready to clutch your pearls, super spiritual people) there are some things that you don’t need to pray about. 

 

You simply need to decide.

 

There was some part of me that felt like as long as I was getting prayer about the relationship I could perpetuate it because, if it was really a problem, Jesus would just get me out of it and I wouldn’t have to do the scary, daunting work of changing my situation. That logic, as you can tell, is quite flawed. 

 

What is a “toxic relationship?” It seems to be a trendy term at the moment, but how exactly do you know if you’re in one?

“By definition, a toxic relationship is a relationship characterized by behaviors on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner. While a healthy relationship contributes to our self-esteem and emotional energy, a toxic relationship damages self-esteem and drains energy.” – healthscopemag.com

 

If you find yourself in a constant state of worry, insecurity, walking on eggshells or fear.

If the person in your life is never happy for you or makes you feel bad for achieving.

If you feel like you cannot ever be yourself.

If they keep hurting you in the same manner which results in apology without changed behavior.

If they downplay your concerns or make you feel crazy or stupid for having them.

If everything is somehow your fault.

If people know your business when it’s been promised to be kept private between you two.

If you are always out time & money when this person is around.

If there is no reciprocity.

 

If you are in a relationship, friendship or otherwise, that you have acknowledged is unhealthy or toxic – you do not need to pray about it.  Your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health will not be under attack by someone who God wants in your life. Let me help you out –  if your soul ain’t prosperin it’s not your ministry, my friend. You have the power, right now, to decide the situation does not serve you and to do something about it. Right now. 

 

If you find yourself here, weather it’s a boyfriend or a friend, here are 5 steps to keep in mind:

 

  1. Decide: Decide that you value your well being more than your comfort. Decide that your safety & growth is a priority. Do what makes you well – which is not always what makes you happy in the moment. You don’t need a revelation from the Holy Spirit. You don’t need it to come to you in a dream. Decide that this isn’t the place for you and be ok with that.

  2. Disconnect: As hard as it will be and as bad as that person may choose to talk about you – disconnect from them. On social media and IRL. The more you stay in their world, the easier it will be to convince yourself that you overreacted. You didn’t. Get some space so you can gain some perspective & heal.

  3. Connect : You are going to need some support. Disconnecting can be really difficult and almost impossible if you try to do it alone by sheer willpower. Find some people who you can call on when you’re feeling lonely. Especially when holidays or birthdays roll around – those are vulnerable times. Find one or two people you can call or text when you get the urge to reach out to the toxic party – people that will support you, pray for you and with you. It makes all the difference.

  4. Grieve: You will feel sad. You might cry or need to sit in bed and eat ice cream for a whole day. That’s ok. You will likely reconsider your decision. It is ok to go through the emotional process on this and feel all the feelings. Don’t let it make you feel bad or guilty that you are missing the person or that you let the go from your life. Remember, though, that loneliness is not a good reason to go back to a bad situation. Walk through & talk about everything you are feeling honestly – that’s the only way to make it to the other side.

  5. Pray: Ask God to heal those areas in your life that lead you into the relationship. In my case, I realized I was lacking in a lot of areas of self worth, which allowed me to stay in bad situations just to feel worthy to someone. I had to ask God to heal my past so I didn’t fall back into the same trap in the future. 

 

Trust that God will stick close to you through the pain and have something much greater for you on the other side. Let go of the familiar for the far better. 

 

What advice would you give to someone in a toxic or unhealthy relationship?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: