We’ve all had them. Some have done more damage than others, but all bad relationships leave their mark. I recently heard someone talk about how a relationship that had just ended “had destroyed them”. It’s a common comment, and one that many of us have felt to be true. While we are never the same after a toxic relationship, the changes in us don’t have to be bad. Bad relationships don’t have to destroy us. Here are three ways to keep toxic relationships from your past from destroying you:
Quit Replaying It
It’s incredibly tempting to replay bad relationships over and over in our mind, like picking at a sore that we won’t let heal. We will often over-analyze anything that we think we might have done wrong to cause things to end so horribly. Whatever may have gone wrong in the relationship, there is nothing to be gained from replaying it constantly in our minds. Chances are that you did things wrong in the relationship. We all do. If you have examined your role in the relationship or talked to a trusted friend or mentor who will be honest with you, then you have done what you can do. Lingering in the past will either make you bitter or discouraged, it will never make you better.
We all have two competing “voices” in our head. The first focuses on the negative and is quick to find and obsess over our flaws. The second is more gentle, more quiet, and calls out the good that remains amidst the rubble. After a bad relationship the negative voice grows in volume. We zone in on the things about ourselves that we don’t like or that others have told us are broken. It’s crucial at this time that we strain to hear the gracious words that God will whisper into our souls when we are hurting. This isn’t a time to go into “self-renovation mode”, remaking you into whatever you think people might like better. This is a time to heal. We have to shut out the negative, self-critical voice by refusing to listen to it.
Destructive relationships will only destroy us if we let them. You will only be destroyed if you give up and pull away from life and the relationships around you. So, quit believing in your destruction and defy it. You have even more to offer the world than you did before the relationship began. Don’t shrink away! God is often at his best when we are at our most weak.
Relationship pain is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your story. Instead, it can be the critical chapter of your life that turns your story into something remarkable.
Photo courtesy of Death To Stock Photo