Tuesday, March 12thEmotionally Destructive Relationships
Dr. Tim speaks with Leslie Vernick about how to experience freedom from hurtful relationships.
Bio: Leslie Vernick is a popular speaker, author, licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach with a private counseling practice in Pennsylvania. She has over 30 years of experience helping individuals, couples and families heal, rebuild or grow their relationships. Whether counseling, speaking or writing, Leslie gently leads people to make real changes in their lives.
She loves helping people learn to:
- Confidently speak thoughts and feelings in a constructive way.
- Encounter God’s peace and presence in the midst of suffering or difficult loss.
- Develop the discipline to turn dreams and desires into reality
Leslie is the author of seven books, including the best selling, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship and her most recent The Emotionally Destructive Marriage which will be released in October 2013.
Leslie currently serves on the Board of Directors for Lighthouse Network, a Christian mental health outreach ministry and Beneath His Wings, A Christian outreach for women needing shelter from abusive relationships. She has had the unique privilege to teach in Iraq, Russia, Romania, Hungary, and the Philippines. She is also featured in three of the American Association of Christian Counselor video teaching series including ExtraOrdinary Women and Marriage Works.
Leslie and her husband, Howard, have been married for over 37 years and they have two adult children and loves being a grandmother.
For more information, visit her web site at www.leslievernick.com
Life, Love and Family Daily Fact Sheet
Dr. Tim Clinton
4 Steps for Experiencing Freedom from Emotionally Destructive Relationships (Clinton & Langberg, 2011):
- Be Honest with Yourself—many in emotionally destructive relationships live in a state of denial. Stop making excuses for those you’re in relationship with. Ask Holy Spirit to illuminate how your relationships are damaging and how these have affected you.
- Tell Your Story—silence perpetuates poor relationships. Find a trusted friend, mentor, pastor, or counselor to talk to. Expressing your feelings openly is vitally important to healing.
- Establish Healthy Boundaries—poor relationships can destroy all personal boundaries and skew your thought patterns so that you begin to view such dysfunction and control as normal. Establishing boundaries may include speaking truth to the person, having the support of others in the Christian community, and/or informed withdrawal from the person.
- Ground Your Life in Jesus—God can heal you from these unhealthy relationship patterns. Allow God to transform your heart and mind (Romans 12:2). This process takes time and intentionality and it starts with listening to God and living your life based on the truths of Scripture, not on how you have been treated in the past.
Learning to Love Well (Clinton & Springle, 2012):
- Living your best life is about learning to love well. You may blame your past, your parents, or your ex, but the key to your future lies with you, not them.
- To experience healthy, thriving relationships you must start by recognizing that you have a choice to develop healthy relational patterns. You must make the decision to be honest with yourself and pursue a new path in relationships.
- Wise Trust—trust precious and it must be earned. When you interact with someone who is abusive, controlling, or emotionally absent, your “trust alarm” should go off, reminding you to create some space (appropriate boundaries) to protect yourself.
- Balanced Responsibility—learning to take appropriate responsibility means putting yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life rather than being controlled by the demands of others. It means determining what is and isn’t your burden to bear, and then setting corresponding boundaries.
- No one except Jesus will ever love you perfectly. Building your life on this truth enables you to identify and move away from any relationship that is bound up in fear.
- “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”—Edmund Burke
- “God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you—both are equally important to Him.”—Joyce Meyer
- “When you give another person the power to define you, then you also give them the power to control you.”—Leslie Vernick
- “God is more interested in your future and your relationships than you are.”—Billy Graham
- “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”—C.S. Lewis
- “We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”—Henry Cloud
- “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. This is something you have charge of.”—Jim Rohn
- “I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.”—Pietro Aretino
- “When we forgive evil we do not excuse it, we do not tolerate it, we do not smother it. We look the evil full in the face, call it what it is, let its horror shock and stun and enrage us, and only then do we forgive it.”—Lewis B. Smedes
- “We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”—Charles R. Swindoll
- A destructive relationship is a pattern of repetitive actions or attitudes that results in either tearing someone down or inhibiting his or her growth. These kinds of relationships may be characterized by:
- Harsh words
- Limiting a person from making his or her own decisions
- We are all capable of destructive behaviors. Being a Christian does not make you immune to emotionally destructive relationships.
- Why do individuals remain in destructive relationships?
- He/she is uncomfortable speaking up.
- He/she feels the relationship may end.
- He/she may feel God will be mad.
- He/she may fear disappointment and guilt.
- Relationships have the power to both heal and break us.
- Jesus’ relationships are a perfect example of how we, too, should interact with others. Jesus did not equate love with being accommodating. Love does not mean that you never set boundaries.
- “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.”—Psalm 54:4
- “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”—1 John 4:18
- “For He will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper.”—Psalm 72:12
- “Do not hide Your face from me, do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.”—Psalm 27:9
- “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”—Isaiah 41:10
- “Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.”—Psalm 40:17
- “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”—Psalm 34:19
- “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults and with my song I shall thank Him.’”—Psalm 28:7
- “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”—Isaiah 43:18-19
- “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.”—Psalm 22:24
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lead on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6
Clinton, T. & Springle, P. (2012). Break through: When to give in a how to push back. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing.