7 Tips to Get Out of Toxic Relationships
I am often intrigued by the story of Samson and Delilah. Samson ought to have known that Delilah was using him for her personal benefit. He had encountered women like her before, and still for some reason he couldn’t break away from the toxicity of that relationship, which eventually caused him to forfeit a big part of his calling.
Why is it that we fall victims to relationships like this in several seasons of our life? How is it that the blindness of this so-called love often tricks us into trusting people that don’t deserve it? What is it that stops us from moving forward and making strong and independent decisions about our life, relationships and resources?
At the core of it, it’s your willingness and ability to identify all the toxic relationships in your life. Our ignorance in this area can hurt us plenty in the long run. If a friendship or relationship is draining out your love and passion for God, then you know that it’s a toxic relationship. Sometimes it could be affecting your marriage or your commitment to the house of God. Other times, the person could be like a leech sucking out your finances and other precious resources like time.
Once you lock down on the list, you need to intentionally work on moving the top two or three toxic relationships out of your life. It will be hard for you to bring a huge shift in your relationships overnight, that’s why it is necessary for you to prioritise the top few that you would like to devote maximum efforts in growing over.
I don’t know if it is because relationship is a RE word, but most of the tips I have to share with you in this post begins with a RE. If you submit yourself to the Lord and allow him to REalign your relationships, He will REdo your whole life to the extent that your destiny will look REdesigned! Enjoy the pointers below and feel free to engage in a conversation with us on any one of our social channels to discuss it further and also to add your own pointers to the list.
Everything begins with a decision you make to get yourself out from the trap and seduction of this relationship. It may take a while for you to reach this place, but most of us stay short and never make up our mind about getting out. That is why we remain stuck in the muck for as long as we usually tend to. No one else can decide for you or should need to push you to see it through. Unless you are completely convinced that this person is not supposed to be among your relationships, you will not be able to get out of it. So yes, take the help of God and RESOLVE! And that includes the need to communicate your intention to the person with or without giving specific details of why you need to get out of the relationship with him/her.
Here’s an intermediary step you need to take before you actually go about getting over your relationship; learn to redirect your emotions and investments of time. The time and effort you would spend on this person needs to be allotted to other more constructive and useful purposes. In doing so, you have to be careful not to get into another toxic relationship which will become a temporary rebound friendship that wouldn’t be helpful or productive either. Pick up a hobby, learn something, receive counselling or mentorship, or find something else you could do to keep your intellect and your emotions engaged and fruitful.
Now you have to become active in removing everything in your life that still reminds you or connects you to this person. This may be gifts, pictures, social media accounts, emails, text messages, clothes or any other memory connections you would have with this person. I would personally even encourage you to delete their contacts and block them off of social media. You may wonder, how can this person experience God’s love if I disconnect so ferociously from this person. I would encourage you to trust in God and His ways. Release this person into God’s care and protection and let the Lord do whatever He wants to do in their life. Sometimes you may not be able to remove yourself from a physical commitment at a church, school or work place that you both share in common. In these situations I would encourage you to speak to those in leadership positions in these places to help you stay safe from this particular person. If this person is in the management or leadership roles in any of these places, then ask the Lord to give you a different job or church to attend and go to.
Now you have to actively work hard to make sure that every breach that was created in your life gets fixed and no gaps are left uncovered. Investigate everything going on in your life to identify any sinful or selfish habits and tendencies that crept in especially because of your relationship with this person. If you do not repair the breach in the wall, it’s just a matter of time before the same person or someone else creeps in to create further damage in these areas of your life. For example, if you’ve fallen into sexual sin, take time to read, study, pray and grow in your understanding on the topic. Follow it up by repenting or everything you willingly indulged in, in the past. And put firm and non-negotiable boundaries around yourself that no one can break in through. This step doesn’t have to be always connected with the person you are disconnecting from. Changing who you are as a person goes a long way in avoiding foul and ungodly relationships around you! So yes, repair your life by growing, evolving and constantly changing!
As you go through life, you will surely have your low and alone moments where you may be tempted to replace this particular person with someone else. The mistake we make at such a juncture is a very dangerous one. You may have gotten rid of one toxic relationship only to fall into an even greater trap, if you are not discerning at this stage. You may also be tempted to relapse back into the same relationship that you have just gotten out of. Please remember that the only person worthy enough to take the throne of your heart and rightfully rule over you is Jesus. No one else deserves that place in your life. You do not need to please and or be approved by anyone else. So before you are in the danger of falling for someone else, make sure to grow deeper in your love and desire for Jesus. And the more you give Jesus the place and authority of control in your life, the less people will be able to manipulate, persecute or hurt you. I have read so many stories of persecuted saints, who seem the least affected by their suffering and sacrifice. Their secret is that they are ruled and reigned upon by the Lord.
Now that you have reached a stage in life where Jesus is on the throne of your life, you are ready to start entering into loving and trusting relationships. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right people, at the right time with the right perspectives. Let him bring restoration of relationships in your life. When God wants to prune and purify your relationships, it is not for you to live isolated and shut away in some mountain. After he has reset your priorities, he will bring you back into a season of fruitful and blossoming relationships. Restoration is the motto of heaven in every christian’s life. Whatever the devil stole from you, destroyed around you, killed in you, God is able to resurrect and bring beauty out of the ashes. It may not look like your previous relationships, but God’s choice for you will eventually prove to be the best and the most beautiful option for you.
Now that you are walking and living in the newness God has given in your relationships, do not forget to occasionally withdraw from everyone and everything to fill and fuel yourself with the love of God. One of the primary reasons we get exhausted and sometimes even taken for granted or manipulated by people around us, is because our care and affection for them is usually limited to natural, human, emotional, soulish level. However when we upgrade ourselves to think and feel, love and care the way God does, it becomes easier to resist temptation. It will come naturally for you to not get manipulated or controlled by any one else. Cause now the love of Christ will constrain you and control every thought, action and habit of yours. Abiding in God’s love, having a fresh refill of God, a revelation of his mercy and grace over your life has to become daily practice in your life, if you need to steer clear of toxic friendships in the future.
For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:5)
I really hope that these pointers have helped you in one way or the other, please know that this is not an exhaustive list. If needed, you should reach out to your mentors or counsellors to receive personal and detailed help, especially when the toxicity of the relationship has affected your discernment and power to separate the good from the bad. Shalom, the Lord be with you!