Leslie's advice when it comes to a destructive marriage is to "stay well" or "leave well." In today's episode she talks about staying well. When leaving isn't an option how do you maintain your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being?
Chapter #1 3:49Take care of you.
There are a couple essentials that you must do if you want to be a healthy person even if you're in a good situation but especially if you're in a bad situation. First of all you must prioritize your sleep. If you want to keep your sanity you must give your body and your mind a chance to reboot and that rebooting process takes place, primarily in two ways: 1. Sleep eight hours. 2. Exercise. Even if it’s just walking. Walking isn't going to give you big muscles or any of those kind of things but it does shake off all that cortisol that builds in your body when you live in a stressful environment so take care of your body. You must prioritize that.
Chapter #2 5:49 Stop Isolating. The second thing that is really important is that you have to stop isolating. Isolating is one of the tactics of an abuser. The danger of isolation is that you get more and more tuned into one point of view which is your abuser's point of view because he's going to have a louder voice than you and he's going to tell you what's true. If you can't get out, get online. Read books. Listen to other people's perspectives. Study about abusers and abusive tactics so that you know what they're doing to try to twist your thinking.
Chapter #3 10:11 Guard Your Heart
In Proverbs it says above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life. What does that mean when you're in a relationship with someone who trashes your heart all the time? The Bible describes our heart as our innermost being…the person we want to be… our values, our virtues, our essence, our desires, not our feelings. What do you desire the most in your life? What kind of person do you desire to be? This is your heart and when someone keeps trashing and criticizing it takes a toll on you and you start to feel worthless and unimportant.
Don't let someone else diminish your light because they don't like it. They might feel threatened by you or insecure around you and so they try to make you smaller, tell you not to use your gifts. Don't allow yourself to fall for that.
Guarding your heart also requires you to manage your emotions so that you don't allow your natural anger and your resentment and even your sorrow over your marriage to take over your life. When your feelings take over your life you've lost your essence and your virtues.
Chapter #416:25 Renew Your Mind
Renew Your Mind with God's truth. Just like we need to reboot our body we need to be careful of our thought life
You have to guard your heart and you have to watch over your mind. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Who does that for you if you don't?
So you have some work to do to stay sane in an unhealthy, toxic relationship…make sure that your self-talk isn't just affirmations. Instead, affirm yourself with the essence of who you want to be even though sometimes you slip into being an angry person. “I'm a decent human being. I am a worthy person created in God's image.”
Chapter #518:25 J.A.D.E.
There’s an acronym called J.A.D.E. If you can start doing this it will help you tremendously when you're having a conversation with a toxic person. It really isn't a conversation when you don't have any input. When they don’t care what you have to say. J.A.D.E. is part of guarding your heart. It means: J - don't Justify why you want something or why you said something or why you don't want something. A - Don't Argue. D - Don’t defend yourself. E - Don't explain yourself.
In a normal relationship when you have a conversation with someone you might explain yourself you might argue a bit, you might defend yourself. But when you do this with a toxic person what you will get into is a “crazy making” conversation that you will not know which side is up. There is no conversation…they're just out to blame, attack, accuse, deny, and shame you.
Chapter #6 22:04 Renew your mind with God's truth
Our mind sees the negative more than the positive. Especially living in a toxic environment there's a lot of negative there and it would be easy to dwell on that. So another thing about guarding your mind and your heart is practice gratitude everyday. Look for a couple things that you can genuinely be grateful for. Focus on what you can be truy grateful for. Paul says, Whatsoever things are true, good, right, lovely… let your mind dwell on these things (Philippians 4 8). You have to practice doing that because we're not naturally inclined to do it when we're in a hard place.
Chapter #7 24:16 Prepare to be independent
Every human being who's over the age of 18 in this culture is considered an adult. An adult means that you are capable of taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially. Sometimes, as women, we allow ourselves to become overly dependent. When we become overly dependent on our husbands to make our financial security for us we are putting ourselves in an extremely vulnerable position because, if we're in a toxic marriage and we need to get out, we can't because we haven't prepared ourselves. So, if you're going to stay sane you need to know that you're capable of leaving if you have to and part of knowing that you're capable of leaving is being able to support yourself and your children.
Chapter #8 27:30 Q&A
What if a woman tries to end a conversation but her husband won't stop… maybe he follows her around or yells through the door or won't stop texting and calling. How does a person handle this kind of behavior in their marriage?
How does a woman stay sane if she's dealing with a husband who has an addiction and maybe he's in complete denial about it? What kind of boundaries do you recommend that she have in this kind of situation?
What if a woman is married to a person who has been diagnosed as autistic (or some other diagnosis)...is it beholden upon her to stay because he has a diagnosis like this, even if he's destructive?
Should a woman who's trying to stay well continue with all of her regular “household duties?”
What do you do or say when your husband says you should obey him like it says in the Bible?
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