Forgiveness Won’t Fix Your Toxic Relationship

man giving flowers

I recently had coffee with a victim of an emotionally abusive relationship. Every time she was ready to leave him after an outburst, he would return the next day and apologize profusely, sometimes with flowers or big displays of affection, begging her for forgiveness.

After her somewhat unemotional description of his violent behavior, she asked me, “Can you help me learn to forgive him?”

She didn’t need forgiveness. She needed clarity to understand that her boyfriend’s behavior was abusive and would continue to fall in that category.

Why did she stay with him? Why do any of us stay in toxic relationships? Simply put: love. Love is a powerful force that can also be treacherous.

Glamour relationship survey revealed that nearly 60 percent of women ages 18–35 have experienced relational abuse. The study also indicated that emotional abuse almost always escalates to physical abuse.

Over the last two years, I’ve received close to 1,000 emails from women and girls in emotionally abusive relationships. A common theme that has emerged in these emails is many of the women believe they have a forgiveness deficit rather than a toxic man in their life. Many self-blame because thinking “I messed up” is often easier than thinking “he is bad”.

11 Signs Forgiveness Isn’t What Your Relationship Needs

  1. Your significant other treats you like a project, not a person.
  2. He/she forces you further sexually than you’re comfortable with. You say no and he/she acts as if you said yes.
  3. Your significant other screams at you or uses derogatory language.
  4. He/she twists Scripture to accuse you of wrongdoing.
  5. Your significant other calls you a slut when men “notice” you; you can never “act appropriately” around men.

. . . Continue reading in Relevant Magazine. 

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One Response to “Forgiveness Won’t Fix Your Toxic Relationship”
  1. Missy says:

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost a year. We met in college and over the summer found out we were expecting. Before school was out for the year, we would get into little fights that always consisted of me wanting to leave the relationship (I’ve been in a physically/mentally/emotionally abusive relationship previously). Summer started and I work where I see lots of guys and usually get attention. I’ve been told I’m very attractive and I’d like to think of myself as someone who is friendly and cordial to anyone who I meet much less do business with. I let guys flirt with me and I flirted back, something I should’ve known not to do. Anyway, my boyfriend rightfully got jealous and walked out. He did, however, decide to come back on his own wanting to work through the relationship issues I put us into. But since the day he came back, he’s threatened to leave SEVERAL times. He still wants to question every detail of my past that didn’t include him from boys to sex to relationships. He still takes my phone and goes through my messages with everyone in my message list. He’s called me a slut and a bitch and stiil sometimes thinks I’m a slut because I slept with guys before him. When it comes to sex, he always asks me to be honest if I don’t want to, but if I speak my mind and refuse, he gets upset and turns the other way. He gets jealous any time I notice a guy noticing me and now I have resorted to not looking around in public and deleting every guy from my contacts list in my phone and created a new facebook that didn’t include guys as friends. He bashes my family due to different religious and general beliefs and it tears me apart. I’ve bent over backwards to change and be better for myself and consequently him, but I feel like he never notices it. We still get into arguments fairly frequently and I end up crying feeling like I’ll never be good enough for him. He shows some signs for being emotionally abusive but not all and sometimes I think about what life could be like with someone different. Any advice??

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