Leaving a toxic relationship can seem scary and overwhelming, yet remaining in one can be downright exhausting. Some people don’t even realize they’re involved in one until there are many other factors in play (think children, a proposal, etc.). For others, it’s evident from the beginning yet they hope the other person will change over time.
These situations may not sound ideal for a Christian; however, statistically speaking, simply having a knowledge of God typically isn’t enough to create a safe relationship. On the other hand, it should also be known that toxic relationships aren’t always caused by two toxic people.
What is a toxic relationship?
Before jumping into ways to end one, let’s look at what a toxic relationship actually is. In a nutshell, a toxic relationship is one that’s emotionally and/or physically damaging. This type of damage goes on to affect a person’s self-esteem, self-worth, ability to perform a job, and energy.
A toxic relationship is typically built around negative feelings and emotions such as jealousy, rudeness, self-centeredness, control, and anger. Branching from these feelings are also side effects of doubt, insecurity, and fear.
Reading those lists alone is enough to tell you that this is not the type of relationship that glorifies the Father, or is good for the people involved. Pay attention to signs that point toward this kind of relationship and consider the following ways to help end it.
When to End a Toxic Relationship
There are many reasons why you may want to leave a toxic relationship. One of the most common reasons is for safety, especially if there are children involved. Whether the toxicity is emotional or physical, it can be seen in the following ways:
- Constantly being put down by the person’s words or actions.
- The relationship is one-sided with no support.
- You experience ongoing disrespect.
- The environment is hostile.
- There is always yelling and screaming.
- Your partner shows a lack of respect and responsibility.
- The level of trust is nonexistent.
- Communication is not healthy or edifying.
- Extreme paranoia fuels consistent overreaction.
These are just a few signs and definitely some of the most common. If you, or someone you know, are experiencing these in their current relationship, there is hope.
How to End a Toxic Relationship
No matter how long you’ve been in a toxic relationship, there are ways to gracefully end one and seek healing through the process. Here are a few ways to consider…
As you begin the journey of leaving the toxic relationship, it is important to cover yourself, the situation, and even your partner in prayer. Talking with God and seeking Him during this time is one of the best things you could do. Your situation is of no surprise to Him but intentionally including Him in every step shows your willingness to relinquish control and give it all to Him.
Clearly communicate with your partner that the relationship is not healthy for you and that it will need to end. Of course, you may be met with opposition from them, but you should be able to confidently express reasons for your choices. Give examples if necessary to help them better understand your perspective.
Seek Wise Counsel
There are times when seeking the wise counsel of others is necessary. At the same time, though, be mindful of who you seek counsel from. You’ll want to make sure they are solid in their faith and well versed in the matters of relationships. It’s a plus if they can provide you with Scriptural context and prayer in addition to their counsel.
Involve an Authority
If the relationship is too toxic, you may have to involve an authority such as a police officer, local court, etc. In these cases, a restraining order may be necessary to keep yourself safe from any backlash from your partner. Do not hesitate to go this route if you feel your life (or the life of your children, if applicable) are in danger.
Scriptural Support for Ending a Toxic Relationship
At the end of it all, releasing yourself from a toxic relationship can come with a wealth of emotions, including shame, regret, doubt, and confusion. Praise God we can turn to His Word for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Find comfort in the Scriptures below as you seek healing in the process:
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119:50)
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. (Proverbs 24:16)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
Each of these Scriptures provides hope in Christ Jesus as well as in your future to overcome having been in a toxic relationship. Where there is hope, there is also healing and the ability to overcome. Cling to Jesus and His restoration for your life.
If you find yourself in a toxic relationship, please know that there is no better time to walk away than today. Always remember that you are loved by God Himself and you never have to feel like any of life’s circumstances are too much for Him to fix. He will provide the strength you need, so allow Him to work in your life and use your experience as a testimony that can help others.