The term ‘Toxic Relationship” can be applied to a number of relationships we may have. What makes the relationship toxic? Well there can be a number of reason to label a relationship toxic. The word ‘Toxic’ implies that it is poisonous, harmful and even deadly. A relationship is obviously toxic when you can see the outward signs of abuse. Bruises, black eyes, and broken bones, are signs you can see. What about the unseen? The emotional and mental damaged being done that the eyes do not always detect. What ever the excuse or reason that we may have to stay in these relationships, there comes a time when we need to realize that we are doing more harm than good to ourselves and to the other person. We may have the need to stay to help them, but how can you save someone from drowning when you are drowning yourself?
We need to remove ourselves from harmful relationships. This does not mean you do not care or that you have to hate them to leave. Sometimes the saying, ‘If you love someone, you set them free’, is very exactly what we need to do. Staying in a harmful relationship does neither of you any good. You could be standing in the way of God reaching that person, or they may be standing in the way of God in your life. Proverbs tells us that it is better for a man to be on top of the roof with a dry morsel of bread than in a house with a quarrelsome wife. If you are a woman or a man this is telling you to distance yourself from the one who is trying to do you harm. This could be physical, emotional or verbal, no matter what it is that is causing you harm, the only way to stop it,is to remove yourself from the picture. You would not put your hand in the fire and keep it there. If you did, more than your hand would catch on fire.
Some relationships will be restored and others will come to an end. either way you will grieve the loss, whether it is temporary or permanent. It will hurt more than ripping off a band-aide, but it is a pain you will heal. Healing is the goal in letting go of a harmful relationship. It takes courage to walk away, especially when you love the other person, and they may actually love you but sometimes the only way for the both of you to find healing is to let go.
(A personal thought – bleach is a cleaner and ammonia is another cleaning product, but you don’t put the two together. Why? If combined they produces a toxic gas that will kill you.)
When I was 5 years old, my parents divorced. My father got custody of me and my brother. I grew up thinking that my mother had left me behind. It was an abusive marriage, and I was left with her abuser to be abused myself. I felt abandoned. I was lied to for most of my life about my mother and how my father got custody. I was made to believe that she left me by her own choice. That she was selfish and only cared about partying and sex. She was in my life, and I saw her often but I still felt abandoned. As I got older and started living a very self destructive life. I loved and hated her. I loved her because she was my mother. I hated her because I thought she had abandoned me to be raised by her abuser. It was not until the year before she died that I learned the truth. She had not abandoned me, but had to make a choice that no mother should ever had to make. I have shared my testimony on my arrest and trials, so I will not go into all those details. Yet that was what it took for her to share what had been done to her. It was one of the most painful conversations that I have had. Yet it brought us both healing, and understanding. I learned that she had not abandoned me, but had done what she had to, so that she could be in my life, even though she knew what kind of man my father was.
I have had a problem with relationships, for many reasons. Growing up thinking that I had been abandoned, had also caused me to feel rejected. I still struggle with feeling unwanted. I don’t feel like I fit in. So how can I feel close to an unseen God? My Heavenly Father. Being lied to and feeling abandoned and rejected, how can I trust Him?
First I have to realize that He is not a man. He is God. In other religions the god requires sacrifice from their subjects. With God, my Heavenly Father, He sacrificed His own Son, to forgive us, and to adopt us, making us His children and not just mere worshippers. Yet even being called His child, with my history with my own parents is still having an affect on how I am able to relate to others. Including my Heavenly Father. How can I trust that He wants me and that He has chosen me. I know I don’t deserve His love, that I have committed many sins. Yet in spite of all that I have done wrong, His love is perfect and He loves me perfectly. He will never leave or forsake me or you.
Read Deuteronomy 31:6&8
Psalm 27:10, 38:21, 71:9
It took me blowing up and verbally abusive towards my daughter to realize that I was taking out my physical and emotional pain on her. When I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized that I had become my abusers all rolled up in one. Even though it was verbal, the damage was done. My relationship’s with those who had abused m, had affected how I was relating to my daughter. Thankfully I realized that I needed to stop and get help. The words that had come out of my mouth still haunt me. I had to acknowledge that I had allowed pain and anger fill me with hate. Filled with hatred how could I love? Anger and resentment towards others effected how I treated my daughter. I love her, but what she got was an unstable mother who loved her but did not know how to love. I am thankful that through counseling and going through ‘Life ‘s Healing Choices’ a small group my church had offered helped me to make the changes that I had to, so I could heal from the abuse O had suffered. That what was done to me did not justify my behavior. I had to acknowledge the wrongs that I have done without blaming my actions on another. I am grateful that God forgave me and that I am not who I used to be. Now I pray that my daughter can forgive me and know that she never deserved how she was treated.
Last year I began a project on relationships, and I called it ‘Right Relations/How our relationship with people effects our relationship with God’. Well I have been distracted and derailed more times than I can count. Lately my health has been in a major issue. I am not writing consistently and it has been months since I have put any effort it into ‘Right Relations’. I have not wandered away from God, and my faith is still intact, but my focus is off. There was a reason that I wanted to write about our relationships. As God had shown me how each of my relationships in my life has had an effect on my relationship with Him. Though I had not forgotten about this project or how important is is on a personal level, I have allowed myself to get busy with other things and I have neglected this work. My back has been locked up for over 2 months now and I have had migraines, ear infections, blood vessel in my eye burst and a long list of other issues. I have barely been able to work and that has been the most I have been able to do. When I do work I come home and collapse unable to do much else. I pray and listen to my audio Bible, but I am frustrated and my focus has been on what I am unable to do. Instead my focus should be on what I can do and what God is doing for me in the midst of this valley. This project was not only to help others get closer to God but it is to help me better understand my relationship with Him.
Who of us has not been hurt, felt rejected or neglected, and even abandoned by the people in our lives? One way or another in our relationships we have been let down and have lost our trust in others and at times even with ourselves. So how can we have a good relationship with an unseen God, who we call our Heavenly Father? First we need to learn how our relationships have shaped our way of thinking. Jesus told us to even look with lust in our eyes is to have already committed the sin of adultery, and we are told to take every thought captive. Why? How we think dictates how we act or react. If I think someone is going to hurt me, I can push them away and build a wall around me to keep them from hurting me. I could run away and hide, or I could even try to hurt them before they can hurt me. The list goes on what I could do. So why do I think I might get hurt? Is it because I have been hurt in the past? The more you have been hurt the less you tend to trust. Yes there are those who seem to trust blindly who constantly get taken advantage of because they keep hoping that there is someone who they can trust who truly loves them, this is not healthy either.
One thing I have learned since I began this journey is that God is not man(this includes women too) No matter what any person has ever done to me, and no matter what pains I have suffered He has been the ONLY ONE, who has never let me down, but I have my focus on those who I feel I have to protect myself from more than I have kept my eyes on Him. So here is my ‘Do over’, starting back to work on ‘Right Relations’ but taking it from a new perspective. I my only have one post a week to share my progress, but this is my minimum goal. As I share my progress I hope my journey helps you with your relation with God too.
I still remember the first time I watched the movie Star Wars. I was a child dressed in my pajamas with my parents at the Winnetka Drive-In theater in Chatsworth, California, in 1977. It has been quite a long time, and that old drive-in is now Pacific Winnetka 21 multiplex. I was only 8 years old then and now I am 49 and the making of Star Wars movies is still happening. The line, ‘Luke I am your father’, has not been forgotten. Even those who had not yet been born when the first movie came out know this line. The battle between good and evil, light and darkness. Darth Vader, and evil menacing character, who had once been good and was also Luke’s father.
I know these are not faith-based movies, but you can see some parallels. Darth Vader had once been good, but turned to the dark side. Lucifer had been and angel who turned against God and turned a third of the angels against god as well. Lucifer became Satan. The battle between good and evil had begun and God cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven.
Now we must choose on which side we will fight. There is no Switzerland in this war, no neutral territory. When God wrote to the church of Laodecia, He told them they were neither hot or cold but luke warm and He would spit them out. Elijah said choose you this day who you will serve, God or Baal.
Ephesians tells us our battle is not one of flesh and blood, but is spiritual and we are to put on our armor daily. Why daily? The war is a daily one. From taking our thoughts captive and submitting God. Resisting the Devil and submitting to God. These are our choices. Not making a choice is still making a choice. We are to fight the good fight. This fight is not going out and getting into some fist fight, but fighting for the sake of righteousness. So on whose side will you be fighting?