Wednesday, June 1, 2011



I've been pondering some things that puzzle me greatly.

I've been deeply disturbed by what appears to be a lack of loyalty by a young woman who has separated from her husband of about 15 years. I knew there were things that they both struggled with but I thought they were mature enough to work them through especially considering some of the life experiences they have shared. They spent years going though infertility treatment to have their two beautiful children. They lost their first baby and had to have it removed by 'therapeutic abortion.' All this was apparently behind them and they were settled into 'normal' family life. They are both Christians so at least had their faith in common even if their backgrounds were very different. I still don't understand why one chose to leave the other knowing the devastation this can cause children but I guess she had tried everything she knew and needed to do this for her own health and sanity.

I am also deeply concerned for another person who is in a toxic relationship and is so loyal he will not be the one to end it.

Today I am pondering the foolishness of people who remain loyal to a person who is doing their well-being and lifestyle immense harm. I understand there is a payoff in the form of companionship and to some degree sharing two incomes to support a lifestyle. Loneliness and money are terrible masters.

We are encouraged to be loyal at all costs. Laying down one's life for another is seen as honourable.

Even Jesus said if a man smite you on the face turn the other cheek. Did he really mean to invite them to hit you again? That sounds pretty foolish and wasteful of one's energy to me. I think he meant us to be forgiving and not retaliate or be vengeful. I think he meant us to get on with our own life and be gracious. I don't think for one minute he was advocating that you become a punching bag. Returning graciousness for evil is turning the other cheek. Accepting another persons abuse of you is not loyalty.

I value loyalty. It has stood me in good stead throughout my marriage with all its highs and lows. But is the cost of loyalty too high in some instances?

I don't have an answer but I think I am seeing another side of the coin.

It takes a huge amount of courage to break out of a relationship that is not good for one. It involves changing our viewpoint from thinking we can change the other person or living in hope they will change. It means understanding and accepting that we are worthy of better. It means facing opprobrium form people who do not know the whole story. It means being honest with ourselves and facing up to breaking through the barrier of false loyalty that holds many people in unhealthy relationships.

Consider this. Loyalty among criminals is quite powerful and frequently enforced with violence and/or blackmail. Toxic relationships are no better.

Whatever ideas we may have stuck in our heads we need to look more closely at why we remain loyal. Are our reasons noble or self harming?

I never understood fully why so many people trying to break free of unhealthy eating habits and lose weight often find they have to discard certain relationships along the way. I do know that as a Christian I am more discerning about the people I grow close to. I am never comfortable in the company of gossips, for instance.

Choosing to break away remains a hard decision. When is loyalty toxic? When is faith in God to change things better than walking away from a difficult situation? Some relationships are so bad you have to be pretty dull not to see the need to get out. Are their times when God wants us to remain? Is there a purpose beyond our immediate eyes that is good in the long term? I am discovering an area of 'greyness' I wasn't aware of.


Marriage vows include, 'For better or for worse, In sickness and in health, until death do us part.' Loyalty in marriage is based on these vows and most of us would only consider breaking up our marriage for physical/sexual abuse or unfaithfulness. We draw a strong line which is not to be crossed.

Stay or leave? A tricky question. I guess the answer can only be found in assessment of each individuals circumstances.

In the light of my limited knowledge and insight I still think I need to ask God to release the someone who is special to me from a toxic relationship or break through into their lives in a way that will eventually bring good health to them both. It's time to call STOP. This has gone far enough and I can no longer be a silent witness to this situation. My silence is collusion, acceptance of a bad situation. On the other hand it is not wise to talk openly and freely about another. That would be construed as gossip and neither honouring or helpful.

This is where my faith kicks in. I don't have to confront anyone. I don't need to say anything which will alienate them. I believe that as I pray God will hear me and move heaven and earth to work His good into this situation. Prayer in the secret place has great value.

I can't believe the degree to which my lack of self worth, and shame have impacted others.

I was proud, brainy, considered myself a little better than most but I had no idea what was lurking under the surface. I thought I would have a family something like the one Norman Rockwell painted titled Thanksgiving. Glorious but unreal fantasy as it has turned out. God has changed me but my children bear the consequences of my own toxic spirit and behaviour. It's time to break the chains.

I so admire Christine of A Deliberate Life. She discovered early enough in life that chains must be broken and her children will benefit greatly.

The wonderful thing is that it's never too late. Those of you who are Christians I do invite you to pray for my family. We may not be murderers in the physical sense but my children carry a heavy burden from my past and their own.

Thank God He sent the Rainbow. Enough is Enough.

Joel 2:25 (King James Version)

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.

And ye shall know that I am in the midst .... and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

Well, this post did not go quite where I expected but I'm leaving it as is because this is an important discussion for many families and many who are on the weight loss part of their lives.


Merikay said...

Good post.

Chris H said...

I know the struggles you have within your family... and as I am not a religious person all I can say is "I love you, and hope you can overcome all that is upsetting you and holding you back from happiness".

We all have things in our lives that we struggle with... and staying in toxic situations is never good for us...
It is sometimes better to take that first step away from toxicity (in my case my first marriage) to become a happier, healthier person.

I am sure you find solace in your faith....I find mine in loving friends and family.

Phyllis said...

You do have a way with words, my friend. I left an abusive marriage many years ago. I have witnessed how the abuse affected my girls. I left after 18 years and never looked back. It was the right decision for that relationship.

My second marriage ( 22 years next week) has had it's problems. We choose to stick it out because of our faith. We now rejoice in overcoming difficulties, hurts and misunderstandings.

My prayer is for all marriages. We are Methodist but a few years ago when we thought there was no hope we got involved in a program sponsorded by the Catholic church called Retrovaille. It helped save our marriage. I highly recommended this all any marriage which is floundering.

I post my comments as anonymous because in a lot of blogs it will not post otherwise. Continually issues with Google blogger, you know.


Phyllis said...

Hey - it went though as ME!

Rettakat said...

God is faithful. And He knows all the details... I agree with you in prayer, and ask that He release His power, love and perfect timing into the situation.