This question is one of the most terrifying ones you’ll ever ask yourself. It’s in that moment when you’ve paused, looked around, and whispered “what the hell happened?!” Everything familiar is on a distant shore and you’re drowning in a sea of confusion and disappointment.
The most pivotal moment I asked myself this question was during my first marriage.
How did I end up with a guy that didn’t want to live for Christ, who habitually cheated, talked to me like I was insignificant, and made me want to punch his face in?!
How did I go from the girl in such intimate relationship with Christ to the girl drinking almost every weekend, emasculating my husband, crying all the time, and being classified as an abusive spouse by the military?! I didn’t know who this girl was but I didn’t want to be her or in her situation!
My first marriage was an emotionally draining, mentally destructive, physically violent (on both sides), drunkenly blurred 3 years. As it was coming to an end I knew I had to get ME together! The only person I had to walk away from this relationship with was myself. It was time to get REAL! And that started with me admitting that this was my fault.
No, I wasn’t responsible for who he was. But I was solely responsible for allowing him into my life. I was responsible for not heeding the cautionary voice of God. I was responsible for wanting to be the wife ENOUGH to ignore the signs that he wasn’t what I needed from a husband. Most importantly, I was responsible for jumping into a role that I wasn’t ready to fill.
Maybe you’re not in a toxic romantic relationship. Maybe you have toxic family or friends. Maybe your church or job are toxic. It doesn’t matter where it’s manifesting, we have to figure out what led us to these destructive relationships so we can have better!
“How do we end up in toxic situations?”
I won’t attempt to cover the entire list of causes but in my experience there are always these 3 consistencies among people in toxic relationships.
- An inability to discern minor from major
- If they are WILLFULLY devaluing you it’s MAJOR not minor.
You get off from work, get home, clean the house, and cook dinner. When your man arrives home he walks in and starts to undress as he heads to the bedroom. You’re annoyed that he’s left a trail of clothes but you pick up behind him. The next day he does the same thing. So you tell him you’d appreciate him undressing and sorting his clothes into the hampers. The next 3 days he still leaves a trail of clothes. WHY?! It could just be poor home training that carried into adulthood (minor) OR willful disregard for your feelings (MAJOR)!
Understand, the issue is NOT with him not picking up his clothes. The issue is his intention behind it. If he doesn’t “have to” because that’s “your job” or it’s “not that big of a deal” to him, that’s willful disregard for your feelings and a minimizing of who you are. Discern Ladies! Minor or Major?
2. Pride blinds them
- They are so proud of their position they lose the ability to see what it’s costing them
- They don’t want to admit that someone else was right
You’ve worked your way to the top of the corporate ladder. An accomplishment often talked about by you amongst family and friends. You’re on the right path with your career and now you’re ready to meet someone and start a family. Your mother has been vocal in saying she thinks that you’d need to take a step back from your work to do that successfully. Your job just put you on a new project and it’s making you have to flake on dates. The ones you do make seem to be interrupted by your work. You consider taking a step back but you don’t want to give it all up just for a man! Plus, your mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about! She was never where you are. Even if maybe some of what she’s said seems true.
Sometimes we hold onto things because we can’t see that the title (job, gf, wife, church) isn’t worth the cost. We’ve become slaves to the name! And God forbid someone that told us BETTER would be right! The worst of it is that a lot of us don’t self-reflect enough to even know we’re doing it.
NOW! The most common, most important, and most DANGEROUS:
3. They’re already in a toxic relationship with themselves
- When we have residual junk we turn our hearts and souls into toxic wastelands
As a girl growing up your father was always around but not really PRESENT in your life. There were times when you felt like other things/people were more important to him than you. There were situations that left you feeling very hurt by your dad. But you’ve never talked about these things with him because ultimately you knew he loved you so you “let it go”. You grow up, get married, and now your husband does things that make you feel exactly like your father did: secondary, hurt, and like he is only partially present with you.
I’m not going to say you have to address everything with everyone. But I WILL tell you that it worked wonders for ME! YOU’RE the one carrying the junk, not the people that threw it there. Learn to release that stuff, for REAL, for YOUR sake (e-cleanse coming soon to help with this). And that requires more than just not talking about it.
Thankfully, the question “How Did I End Up Here?” doesn’t have to be where the process stops! There’s always a way out. And next week we’ll be diving into that! In the meantime, never forget I’m believing for your limitless lives. #limitlesslife