Unhealthy relationships – breaking the cycle

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‘He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].’ Psalm 147:3 (AMP)

In my previous blog post I discussed the reason why, in order to grow closer to God, you have to be broken. God has to allow you to be broken in the world so that you then come to find wholeness in Him. Yet this also means that you’re not supposed to remain broken throughout your entire journey of growing in the Lord. So when you are going through the same situation again and again, and being broken over and over, you now have to figure out what you aren’t learning and figure out how to break the cycle. So this blog post will provide you with detailed practical steps to help you break cycles of brokenness in your life, specifically the cycle of unhealthy and toxic relationships. If this post is relatable to you, I recommend you get your notebook out!

Is there a pattern?

First, you need to recognise what pattern your issue may fit into. For example, are you going through a 1 off heartbreak that was the result of a completely unexpected situation, or is there a cycle in your life of you repeatedly entering toxic relationships and tolerating them? Personally, I began to realise that I was thoughtlessly attempting relationships with any male that was merely attracted to me and seemed willing to invest their time into me. I then realised that when these relationships turned unhealthy, and the boy simply didn’t respect me, value me, or prioritise me, I would stay. Understanding the patterns and cycles in your life are the only way you can figure out how to end them.

Discover and identify the root cause of the cycle

Focusing on toxic relationships, you need to analyse yourself and wonder why it is that you continuously enter unhealthy relationships and don’t leave until you’re perhaps completely broken. Why do you ignore every red flag you see? Possible things to ask yourself are: Are you very insecure and so feel like as long as a guy is giving you attention, it doesn’t matter how they treat you, as at least he’s even here? Are unhealthy or broken relationships and marriages a common occurrence in your family tree? Do you lack a father figure or have ‘Daddy issues’? Especially in the case of a negative relationship with your father, as these tend to mean that you are more likely to find a man that behaves just like he did or still does, as from the day you were born, you’ve never known different. If your father (whether he was present or not) didn’t teach you your worth and set a very high standard for how a man should treat you, you are very unlikely to begin dating and automatically end up in a healthy, loving relationship. As a Christian, it is vital to understand what is causing your unhealthy relationships, so that you can address these issues in prayer and combat them with the word of the Lord, which I will discuss more a little later.

Be intentional

Just because you recognise negative cycles in your life, it doesn’t mean you have intentionally decided to do everything you NEED to do to end them. Recently I have found myself giving a number of people advice about their unhealthy relationship cycles, and it was decided that you need to be intentional and diligent, so that no matter what it takes, you continue to work towards your goal of freedom from toxic relationships and the pattern of them in your life.

Make your relationship with God deeper and your time spent with God consistent

Now you need to, if you haven’t already, establish a concrete and firmer relationship with God. Truly submit to Him, Submit to all He says about you*, submit to how He wants you to live, submit to His promises of peace, joy and wholeness in Him that His word gives you. Submit your burdens onto God completely* and decide to trust God in this process of you breaking chains and healing wholly. By doing this, God can really have His way in healing your heart, directing you and keeping you strong and encouraged when the battle gets tough. Fast for spiritual clarity; pray to God for more revelation, direction, strength, and growth; and be sure to keep feeding your spirit with the word of the Lord, so you are constantly reminded of His plans and instructions for you and especially how precious He says you are. Pray, read your bible and fast consistently and diligently in this time period and onwards. If you’re not disciplined, you will fall back into old patterns again.

Make a plan and stick to it

As a Christian, I believe that insecurities, daddy issues and such related issues are all spiritual battles. You can’t end a spiritual battle and break the cycle these spiritual burdens cause you, if you aren’t committed to doing all that you need to do to end it. That’s why making a plan is so important, as it allows you to track how committed you are. I love the song ‘Cycles’ by Jonathan McReynolds, which says: ‘The devil learns from your mistakes even if you don’t, that’s how he keeps you in cycles’. So you need to be prepared for devil using and doing everything he can to distract and derail you from God and to tempt you back into the cycles he can see you’re trying to be free from (1 Peter 5:8). The devil surely knows how much you will bloom and flourish in the Lord and be a vessel for God, once you do break free from the bondage of your past. When I decided I really didn’t want to keep going through broken cycles anymore, the hurt from my past felt stronger and looked like a mountain I couldn’t move; it felt like every guy I encountered saw my worth less and less and I felt stuck. But by being disciplined in prayer, fasting and reading the Word, God was able to show me that it was the devil lying to me and magnifying my past to make me think my God isn’t bigger than it.

When making a plan, factors to consider are: Who are you cutting off? Who won’t get your time anymore? How often and for how long will you pray and fast each week? Note it all down and stick to it. Find Bible verses that directly combat your issues and decide to speak them over yourself every morning and night. I believe it is also important to also make promises to yourself when you’re on this journey too. Promise yourself not to tolerate any relationship (friendships included) that relies on you being undervalued, no matter how much you love the person. Promise yourself that you will find wholeness in God alone before ever trying a relationship again; no matter how long it takes (This is my promise to myself!). Promise yourself that you will keep chasing after God and break every cycle, no matter how hard the devil works against you.

Seek wiser counsel and someone to be accountable to that you trust

My last point is for you to seek wiser counsel. Be accountable to a friend that is of your spiritual maturity or better yet, more spiritually mature than you. Or be accountable to a Pastor or Christian youth leader. That way, you can be advised, corrected, and supported on your journey. As breaking free from a toxic cycle is when the devil will really attack you, so accountability, and actual true transparency with your accountability is vital. The more private you are, the weaker your boundaries are likely to be and the more likely you are to fall back into past cycles.

I sincerely pray that this blog post really blesses those wanting to break free from cycles of brokenness that are stopping them from experiencing the fullness of God’s love. If someone has decided to follow these steps and would like me to be who they are accountable to in this time period, or would like further personal advice as I know everyone’s situations and life experiences are very different, please message me! If someone would like my help and advice wherever they are on their walk with God also, feel free to message me too! I love you all!

‘Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.’ Jeremiah 31:13 (NIV)

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