Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers –
Why do we stay in awful situations? This is the question that I woke up pondering. Why do we stay with emotionally, mentally and physically abusive people? Why do we submit ourselves to toxic unhealthy church environments? Why do we settle into office cultures that break our spirits? Why do we hold onto friends that don’t have our best interest at heart? Why do we stay even when God gives us a way out, time and time again? Why?!?!?!
I think the culture feeds us this lie that if we endure through something even though it is harmful to us then we are strong. We label strength to the one who succumbs to emotional abuse and like a badge of honor, we celebrate those who submit to dysfunction. We can see our sis or bro dying on the inside and express how proud we are of them for sticking it out. How dumb is that? To be proud of a group of people for accepting poor treatment in their lives. We admire the woman who suffers before she is loved well. We celebrate the toxic leaders who berate their staff but then grow into humility. We applaud the boss who realizes that he’s been a jerk yet refuses to give an apology for the previous bad behavior. It is in the fabric of our society to stay in things out of the name of “loyalty” and the persevering spirit of “never giving up“.
Well, Friends, loyalty to dysfunction is unhealthy. Loyalty for loyalty’s sake is not enough for emotional wellness. Loyalty to bad behavior is not admirable and anything that destroys esteem should not be celebrated. To be loyal is defined as giving and showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. To whom or what are we loyal to? Why? If we are giving and showing firm and constant support to abusive people, do we believe the abuse will eventually cease? If we are financially supporting organizations that have no integrity, should we be disappointed when we learn of the misappropriation of funds? If we are holding down relationships that are not built on truth, should we stick it out in hopes that our partner will become all that we’ve imagined? Nah. Loyalty is not a prison and faithfulness does not give some the right to abuse time, energy and emotional wherewithal.
I was once a believer in blind loyalty. I was “all in” and submitted myself to people, places and things that harmed me. I stayed with a man who emotionally abused me for years. I made excuses for his bad behavior. I defended the ways he hurt me. I always resolved in my heart that he did what he did because I did something wrong. In my mind, he held no responsibility for his actions towards me. I excused his lying, I excused his inconsistency, and I excused his sly comments and his ample way of making me believe that I was never enough. I turned a blind eye and stayed with him off and on for SEVEN years. Why the heck would I do that? Because I was strong? Because I was brave enough to stay? No. I wasn’t strong, I was weak. I was weak in esteem. I was weak in self-love. I was weak. I wasn’t brave, I was afraid. I was a coward looking for that which was easy, that which was comfortable and it costs me years. The bravest thing I did was leave and that my dear should be applauded.
In year three, I should have left.