Finding Freedom in Dysfunctional Relationships

by | Jan 24, 2013 | Woman

The past can linger as an unspoken, but clearly felt, barrier in your relationship. This can cause you both, no matter how much progress you’ve made, to fall into the ugly dance of the past as you relate or interact with each other.

Let’s be candid. Starting fresh when your history involves abuse or dysfunction can launch trust issues. If that person changed once and relapsed, you may not be willing to try again.

There are also communication problems. What can you talk about? And what can you not talk about? What topics lie just below the surface and can explode like a landmine when you unexpectedly tiptoe past a hidden line?

Everyday imperfections are often magnified. An off day, a loss of temper, a bad choice––all of these might signal to you that your loved one is unstable or untrustworthy. It makes sense, because that’s what happened in the past.

Your brain signals it could happen again, because it did happen once. This fails to account for the fact that everyone has off days. We all lose our tempers and make mistakes. It also sends the message to a loved one that perfection is required and there is zero tolerance for error. It’s life without parole for both of you. Your growth is stunted as you react, respond and relate with that person as if you were still a child or entangled in the past.

So, how do you create a new way of relating?

You create a new groove.

Let me explain. Not long ago, I rode a bus through the Swiss Alps between Austria and Italy. It was snowing, though it was spring. The mountainside was majestic. Thirteenth-century fortress-like dwellings jutted out of the mountainside above, and small farms dotted the valley below. Waterfalls spilled down from the mountaintop, and the snowcapped mountains reached into the clouds.

It was the waterfalls that captured my attention. Somehow, though snow covered the vast mountaintops, the water knew where to go. It didn’t rush down the entire mountain; it followed familiar paths carved over generations.

Our brains are much like those waterfalls. We create familiar grooves in our brains. We have our go-tos. When we get angry or feel bad, we respond in a certain way. When we get defensive, we respond in a common pattern. So, when we relate to that person who once caused us pain, we fall into a familiar groove.

In the Alps, if you move one large rock, suddenly the water has room to go in a new direction. It will, at first, go toward the old, deeply grooved path it always follows; but over time, a new path will emerge. A little wider. A little deeper.

You and I, with God’s help, can form a new groove in our brains. But it’s not going to feel normal at first. It’s a conscious choice rather than a natural response. We begin to respond in a different way. We begin to see that person in a new light. Over time, the new groove becomes deeper and more of a natural response while the old groove—left dry and unfilled—dries up. 

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although most churches have not returned to their pre-pandemic attendance...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Recently while in worship, I was talking to the Lord when this prophetic flow began to come forth. I took out my phone and pressed record. This is the transcription of that word I received: "God, I see the firebrands rising up. God, I see the firebrands rising up. I...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of...
Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009. Not eating sugar...

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

I was walking along one of my favorite beaches, and it was turtle season. Early each morning, park services ride along the beach looking for new sea turtle nests. They record the nest's location, place stakes and rope off the location so that people do not disturb the...

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Soul ties form when we act in accordance with the flesh when developing or growing in a relationship with another person. This could be any relationship formed or grown out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, pride, loneliness, doubt and the like. Soul ties can develop...

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

This pandemic season hasn’t been easy—but pastors have suffered in unique ways. Statistics show that between 20-30% of churchgoers stopped attending in 2020, and the bulk of those people have not returned. In many cases, they never said goodbye. Many of my best...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]