From Selflessness to Selfishness: Go, Xena, Go!

(Update: All the posts of this series have been collected into one piece, Seven Reasons Women Stay in Abusive Relationships, and How to Defeat Each One of Them.)

If you saw yourself in yesterday’s description of a woman who stays in a bad relationship because she’s resistant to changing her self-image from Healing Nurturer to Selfless Terminator, then it is absolutely vital for you to understand that the least healing and nurturing thing you can do for yourself and the people you love is to remain in a bad relationship. There’s virtually nothing you can do that’s more healing to yourself and those around you than to once and for all kick a bad man out of your life. Here are some reasons that’s true:

1. It’s extremely encouraging to others. The people who care about you want both you and them to be okay. You having the inner strength and wisdom to rid yourself of a bad man not only shows them that you’re okay, it also models for them how they can be okay, too. Seeing others take definitive steps toward healing themselves greatly encourages others to do the same thing in their own lives. Healing begets healing.

2. It refutes the Women as Victims model. Children grow up to build relationships just like the ones their parents had. Mothers who remains in bad relationships every single day teach their children that the natural role of women is to be hurt and demeaned by men, and that the natural role of men is to treat women like garbage.

3. Enabling a person to act poorly only hurts them. You do a man no favors by allowing him to continue to treat you shabbily. You don’t train a dog to stop biting by letting it chew on your leg. Enabling dysfunctional behavior can’t help but make it worse.

4. No one changes anyone. You can think, imagine, and dream that somehow, some day, you will change him. But he will only change when, how, where, and if he wants to. Period, end of story, close that lame, ancient fairy tale.

5. You are in a life and death situation. Just because it’s happening slowly, bit by bit every day, doesn’t mean that remaining with a bad man isn’t destroying your life. Drowning an inch at a time is still drowning. You don’t get another life. This is your life. Get desperate about improving it.

6.You are alone. You have exactly two choices: Take the steps necessary to save yourself, or suffer till you die. No one is going to come riding in on a white horse and make your life all better for you. Either do it yourself, or you wait till you die for someone else to. (Even when it comes to turning to God for peace and understanding: that’s something you have to do. God doesn’t make a habit of entering rooms into which he hasn’t been invited.)

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.


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