Here are six signs of a toxic relationship:
- Do you feel content or unfulfilled with the other?
- Do you feel better or worse about yourself after you spend time with the other?
- Is there an equal give and take or do you feel you are always giving and the other is always taking?
- Do you feel safe or insecure with the other?
- Is the relationship characterized by peace or drama?
- Do you feel accepted or that you have to change to make the other happy?
There are healthy steps to detoxify the relationship. But if they don’t work, then you must sever the relationship.
I left the church over a year ago because our relationship had become toxic.
Please notice: I have dealt with toxic relationships within the church for my whole ministry. That’s one thing. But it had finally come to the point where it was obvious that the relationship between me and the church was too toxic to repair and I had to sever my relationship with it. My relationship with enough people within the organization had become toxic, which was enough to equal a toxic relationship to the organization as a whole.I wanted to share this with you because I think it is very important to discern the difference between a toxic relationship with individuals and a toxic relationship with an organization. The first doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave the organization. It might mean distancing yourself from a person. Or it might mean leaving just that church if necessary. But it doesn’t necessarily mean leaving the organization as a whole. The latter might mean severing or at least separation for a while.
Apply the above signs of a toxic relationship to your relationship to the church or to any relationship or institution you are a part of. How are you doing?
I am indebted to this article in Psychology Today for characteristics of a toxic relationship.