Share With Other Survivors!

Disclaimer: The content on our website is for informational purposes only and is not legal or medical advice. View the full disclaimer here.

At the start of a new year, we usually have fresh goals and a desire to make positive changes in our lives. However, some of us find ourselves stuck in toxic relationships that act as a roadblock to our progress

What exactly is a toxic relationship?

It’s a relationship where negative and harmful behaviors are consistent, causing significant emotional distress and upset. Unlike healthy relationships that have positive qualities like support, understanding, and respect, toxic relationships lack these ‘green flags.’ These harmful relationships ultimately create a damaging and unhealthy situation for those in them.

Toxic Relationships

These relationships can be emotionally draining and exhausting! They leave individuals feeling depleted and discouraged. The enemy uses toxic relationships to steal and destroy the energy and motivation you need to fulfill your purpose and pursue your passions. Toxic relationships also chip away at your faith in God and yourself.

Reflecting on the past year, I noticed a decrease in my productivity and a growing weariness in my faith. By “productivity,” I’m referring to my ability to pursue my work, projects, and passions. I found myself needing to take breaks from writing, art, and creativity due to how drained and consumed by stress I felt.

My faith felt burdened.

I was frustrated, and I experienced moments of questioning, “Where are you, God?”

Why was this happening? I came to realize that toxic behaviours from others, neglecting my personal boundaries, and my ongoing struggle with people-pleasing were the culprits. This realization brought to mind John 10:10, which says,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].

The enemy can use toxic individuals, relationships, and behaviours to steal, kill, and destroy our fruitfulness and faith.

Understanding Toxic Relationships

Earlier, we talked about what toxic relationships are. Now, let’s explore ten key characteristics of toxic relationships:

  1. Lack of Communication: Poor or hostile communication, avoidance of open discussions, and frequent misunderstandings.
  2. Control and Manipulation: One partner exerts control over the other, manipulating their actions, choices, or emotions.
  3. Constant Criticism: Regular criticism, belittling comments, or attacks on one’s character or appearance.
  4. Lack of Support: Absence of emotional support, understanding, or validation of each other’s feelings and aspirations.
  5. Dishonesty and Distrust: Frequent lying, hiding information, and a general lack of trust between partners.
  6. Neglect and Ignorance: Ignoring the needs and well-being of the other, emotional neglect, and indifference to each other’s presence.
  7. Resentment: Building resentment due to unresolved conflicts, leading to bitterness and hostility.
  8. Dependency and Codependency: Excessive emotional or physical reliance on a partner, leading to a loss of independence.
  9. Constant Conflict: Frequent arguments, conflicts, and fights, often about trivial matters, with no resolution.
  10. Emotional or Physical Abuse: Any form of emotional, physical, or even financial abuse is a clear sign of a toxic relationship.

With these characteristics in mind, we can see how toxic relationships may lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and depression, negatively impacting mental health and self-esteem. Chronic stress is often linked to various health issues. Also, survivors of domestic violence may suffer from chronic health problems.

Coping with toxic behaviours takes an emotional toll on us, affects our work, school, and/or business performance.

I also observed how it affected my role as a parent, as I had limited patience and energy to give to my son.

The Price of Toxicity on Our Fruitfulness

Being in a relationship that has these traits can have emotional, mental, and physical consequences . For instance, the enemy stirred up conflicts and misunderstandings in one of my close relationships, resulting in a breakdown of communication. This burdened me heavily, and my mind was consumed by fears, doubts, and trust issues.

As a result, I stopped writing and creating because I allowed lies to plague my mind. I fixated on situations and people I couldn’t control, and I doubted God’s protection over my life. My productivity dwindled, and my passions were pushed to the background. I was pretty unhappy.

I became so consumed with another person’s actions and antics that it drained my enthusiasm for writing and creating art. The enemy recognized these passions as key for my self-care, making them a prime target for him to attack.

The Impact on Faith

When our minds are swirling with doubt and fear, we often begin to question God and ourselves.

Whether we realize it or not, the company we keep greatly influences us. The Bible highlights the significance of keeping good company, cautioning us in 1 Corinthians 15:33,

 “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Our relationships either breathe life into us or drain it from us, significantly affecting our well-being.

With this in mind, we can’t deny that we need to intentionally seek out positive relationships. These are people who uplift, encourage, and accept us for who we are.

In essence, they are the “chicken soup for our souls.”

I encourage you to find a supportive faith community where you feel accepted and safe to be vulnerable. If you don’t have a solid church community yet, be patient as it may take time to find one and to fully feel settled into that community. You can also connect with online communities for support, such as our private Facebook group!

Satan’s Strategy: Kill, Steal and Destroy

To truly grasp toxic relationships, it’s important to understand that we face spiritual warfare on a daily basis. Once again, we turn to John 10:10, which reminds us that,

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

This verse not only shines a light on God’s love and purpose for us but also exposes Satan’s evil intent.

Satan’s plan is usually hidden in the small details of everyday conversations and relationships. Toxic relationships serve as a prime example of his sneaky approach. They gradually dampen our spirit, snuff out our joy, and disrupt our peace. By trapping us in constant chaos, these relationships make us lose sight of our faith, causing a rift in our connection with God and slowing down our spiritual progress.

The trickery lies in the slow slide into harmful behaviors. It starts with small arguments and eventually turns into ongoing conflicts, uncertainty, and unhappiness.

Everything seems to blow up in our face!

This gradual fall into chaos is a scheme by Satan to weaken the solid base we’ve built on love, trust, and faith

Again, this as a form of spiritual warfare! Be watchful and be aware.

Ephesians 6:12 AMP reminds us,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.”

So, how do we combat this?

It starts with heightened awareness. Recognize the signs of a toxic relationship.

 Safeguard your heart, as Proverbs 4:23 advises, and exercise discernment as to who you allow into your life.

Strengthen your spiritual foundations through prayer, scripture, and fellowship.

Above all, remember that you are not alone in this battle.

God stands beside you, offering strength, wisdom, and guidance. Ask Him for what you need, whether that’s better discernment, deeper wisdom, or peace.

By identifying Satan’s tactics in toxic relationships, you equip yourself with the knowledge and power to stand strong in your faith.

Freedom and Healing

Breaking free from the shackles of a toxic relationship marks a journey of freedom and healing.

It begins with some crucial first steps:

  1. Recognize the toxicity.
  2. Know the signs – persistent stress, feelings of not feeling valued, fear of expressing your true self, and a constant cloud of negativity.
  3. .Establish firm boundaries. Boundaries aren’t fragile lines in the sand; they are safeguards to protect your emotional well-being and prioritize self-respect.

Clearly communicate what is acceptable and what isn’t. Remember, saying no is acceptable, and it doesn’t make you a “bad person” or a “bad Christian.”

I can’t stress how important support systems are in this journey. Lean on friends, family, or faith communities – those who uplift and understand you.

Psalm 147:3 offers profound comfort, reminding us,

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

This verse echoes the promise of healing and hope. In those moments when you feel completely shattered, these words can serve as a balm to your soul. May they affirm that you are not alone in your journey.

Professional help, such as counseling or therapy, can make all the difference. It offers a safe space to release your emotions and thoughts. Someone who is professionally trained can help you navigate challenges and see things you can’t on your own about your situation and about yourself. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Breaking free from toxic relationships isn’t just about escaping a negative situation. It’s also about paving a new path of self-discovery and healing. It involves rebuilding your sense of self and aligning more closely with your faith and values.

In summary, overcoming the challenges of toxic relationships is a crucial step towards reclaiming your faith and personal growth. It’s about recognizing these harmful patterns and adopting strategies like setting boundaries, seeking help, and turning to spiritual guidance. It’s not just about self-care; it’s about being spiritually strong. Psalm 147:3 reminds us that healing and comfort are always available through faith.

As we move forward, let’s hold onto the lessons we’ve learned and the strength we’ve gained. With determination, support, and faith, you can become stronger and more aligned with your true purpose.

Let this year be a time of personal and spiritual renewal, not just new beginnings.

Share this article with other survivors, family and friends to help us raise awareness of domestic violence and educate the church (links at the top of page).

We are stronger together.

He is faithful,

Similar Posts