Toxic relationships (Storytime)
Let me first start by saying happy new month! It is my birth month and I am so excited to be turning 25. Please say a prayer for me as I celebrate a quarter of a decade on earth on August 4. God bless you all richly. I did a poll on social media asking if I should do a post on toxic relationships and 86% said yes, 0% said no and 14% said they really don’t care. I appreciate your honesty if you are reading this God bless you.
So where do I start from? Remember my storytime about how I go my battle scars? I talked about how being in a phase of low self-esteem led me to a place of dating someone that was wrong for me. You can find this post here.
What does a toxic relationship mean?
I found this definition here.
A toxic relationship is a relationship characterized by behaviours on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner. While a healthy relationship contributes to our self-esteem and emotional energy, a toxic relationship damages self-esteem and drains energy. A toxic relationship, on the other hand, is not a safe place. A toxic relationship is characterized by insecurity, self-centeredness, dominance, control.
So I met this guy through a friend the year I was doing my NYSC in Lagos. He had a good job and was interested in dating me. In the midst of all my issues, I agreed to date him. Oh everyone liked this guy. Everyone said he was great for me because he was “good looking”, tall and dark skin. The perfect combination right? But I knew what I was facing in the relationship. He was very controlling and domineering, God forbid I expressed my opinion, it will be met with insults. It was very unusual. He will say stuff like “You are a very stupid woman” in-between disagreements, that is not okay to say to anyone. If we had a fight and I was fronting, he would say stuff like “It’s not like you are Beyoncé” as a way of telling me to behave.
Please ask me why I still stayed in that kind of toxic relationship? I was in a low place. He enjoyed putting me down, he was very excited about it. He once told me he showed his mum a picture of me and she disapproved of my size. I felt bad but he said it to me over and over again at different times just to get a reaction from me. Whew! I finally got freedom when I went to get my masters degree and met new friends that were neutral about the relationship. He was insisting that I come home after the degree to get married to him. LOL. I’m glad that did not happen.
The relocation was a great time in my life, I had found freedom of expression. I tried to date him for about 6 months after that but it was always fights, arguments and more red flags that showed that I was in a toxic relationship. I was growing wings that he couldn’t clip because I became an independent adult and I was geographically far from him. He never took my advice about anything and he was very good at being right all the time. I was a young naïve girl battling with my own self-esteem issues, the relationship was draining me. I finally broke things off and he said a lot of mean things along the lines of me never being his choice, he was only managing me because a friend introduced him too. I remember crying the day I broke it off not because I was sad or pained, LOL. I just did it because it was the “normal” thing to do after a breakup. I was happy to be free!
Why have I shared this story?
I shared this personal and private part of me because I know that sometimes we embrace toxicity in relationships because of certain things. We may be afraid of being alone, afraid of starting over or afraid of losing the benefits we get from the toxic partner or friend. However, your total well-being is important and you deserve better. A broken friendship/relationship/engagement is way better than a toxic one.
Imagine, you are planning to spend the rest of your life with a person that does not help build you. In life, you will have many obstacles in your career, your ministry and other places; your life partner should be your biggest supporter and encourager. You can’t be fighting outside and come back into the house to fight with the one person that is meant to be by your side through thick and thin.
Sometimes I sit back and try to imagine my life with this ex of mine. Firstly, bibilamour04.com will not exist. I won’t have the mental capacity to write out things about Jesus as passionately as I do. My current partner plays a major role in sharpening my iron for Jesus. I may have ended up in a marriage where the mother was of the opinion that I was not good enough for her child. Honestly, who knows what may have happened. I know for a fact that I may have fallen into depression and merely existed in this world rather than live life to the fullest. But Jesus is so intentional about me and He is about you too.
Ladies and gentlemen, God did not create you to manage life. One of the most important reasons why we are on earth is to fulfil a purpose. Is life not better being with a purpose partner rather than a thorn in your flesh? Please, no matter the things they give you or the satisfaction you feel with being in a relationship, a toxic relationship is very close to a death sentence. I know people may be thinking you look perfect together, they probably comment “God when” on your social media pictures. You are the one in the relationship suffering from emotional trauma’s that may take years of therapy to go through or intervention from God. I have lived that life before and I can tell you that the grass is different on the other side. The side of a healthy relationship.
God has given us a template of love that will develop healthy relationships. We need to use this template to examine our lives constantly. When you hold yourself accountable to what love is, it helps create what you are looking for in a potential partner. This also applies to friendships!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (MSG)
Love never gives up
Love cares more for others than for self
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have
Love doesn’t strut
Doesn’t have a swelled head
Doesn’t force itself on others
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Stop pronouncing words like “I never want to get married”, “All men are scum”, "Women don't want a broke guy like me" and the likes over your life. As a believer, your word carries weight in the spirit. Your words are prophecies over your life. Don’t use your mouth to enact evil over yourself because of your past experiences. Heartbreak, disappointments, betrayal and the likes hurt. I know they hurt. But you are deserving of all the love in the world. God is still very intentional about you. Be intentional about yourself and your future. Begin to prophesy greater things into your life daily.
Please do not settle because of boredom or availability. Be intentional! Marriage is forever and God will always come through for His own. Keep speaking words into your life, keep making your desires known to God. Most importantly, keep trusting God. Don’t accept external pressure from anybody, let them know God is working for you.
Most importantly, enjoy your single-phase! All those things you have been keeping until your woman or man comes, start doing them now. You have to enjoy the life you have, don’t wait. Live passionately! Singleness is not a punishment for past sins, neither is marriage a reward for good behaviour. Life is all about phases, enjoy this phase and stop viewing being single as a limitation.
Here are some prayers for your future spouse that I put together to help create who you want to end up with. (Prayers for your future spouse).
“Sometimes It's Better to End Something & Try to Start Something New Than Imprison Yourself in Hoping for the Impossible.” - Karen Salmansohn