Updated: Apr 3
Anyone who has ever been in a toxic personal or professional relationship knows that toxic people require much more from you than they give to you. They thrive on conflict; therefore, relationships with one or more toxic people are rarely devoid of drama. Constant exposure to toxic environments will over the course of time adversely affect your physical, emotional and spiritual state of wellbeing and leave you feeling depleted.
A common characteristic of healthy relationships is the “give and take” that occurs. If there is a disagreement between people in a healthy relationship, the method of finding a solution will more-often-than-not involve some degree of compromise. However, toxic people tend to be inflexible and almost always have to have the outcome that they desire with little or no regard for the other person's opinion. As a result of the toxic person's inflexibility, the other party will usually capitulate in an effort to avoid confrontation.
Toxic people are oftentimes bullies and will not hesitate to use intimidation and tactics of humiliation to get what they want. Others are masters of manipulation and are experts at playing the role of the victim when it serves their purposes. Toxic people typically love to spread negativity. They rarely speak in positive terms about others and tend to be very judgmental, self-obsessed and in some instances even violent.
The statement “Fools take a knife and stab people in the back. The wise take a knife, cut the cord, and free themselves from the fools" is not taken from a biblical passage. However; it does mirror the biblical truth that it is in the best interest of prudent people to distance themselves from others who exhibit toxic behavior. The Bible rather bluntly refers to these people as “Fools,” and warns of the perils of maintaining an association with them. It says:
Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than the [angry, narcissistic] fool in his folly (Proverbs 17:12).
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15).
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm (Proverbs 13:20).
It is honorable to refrain from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel (Proverbs 20:3).
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared (Proverbs 22:24-25).
Foolish children are a grief to their father and bitterness to her who bore them (Proverbs 17:25).
The danger of being constantly exposed to a toxic environment is that you may not realize the cumulative affect that it is having on your physical, emotional and spiritual health until the damage becomes visibly noticeable. By the time the effects manifest, you may be showing signs of depression, high blood pressure or rapid weight-gain/weight-loss, etc. There may be changes in your physical appearance as you show signs of looking tired and feeling physically rundown as a result of stress.
Toxic relationships are indeed stressful and can actually make you sick. I recently ministered to a woman who after more than a year of working under the leadership of a very toxic boss became severely ill, which required her to be hospitalized. She was absolutely convinced that the prolonged stress she endured in her toxic work environment had compromised her immune system, which ultimately made her vulnerable to the illness that she suffered.
As I mentioned earlier, the physical, emotional and spiritual toll of prolonged exposure to a toxic person (e.g., family member, friend, coworker or supervisor) can be hazardous to your health and general wellbeing. As was the case with my hospital patient, prolonged stress from a toxic environment can leave you depleted and vulnerable to sickness.
If you are in a relationship with a toxic person, the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to diligently seek a way to "unplug" (separate yourself) from their negative energy. Only then will you be able to reconnect to your positive energy source and find your way back to the life God intended for you to have—a life of physical health, and spiritual and emotional wholeness.🕊
Rev. René François is an ordained minister, pastoral counselor, Christian life coach and founder of Loving Life ministries, which is dedicated to being an encouraging and healing presence to people worldwide.
Tap the Link to view Pastor René 's video "Toxic Relationships May Be Hazardous to Your Health." https://youtu.be/sR5cU5NHW_I