We are often willing participants in our own victimization, and I hate that. I equally abhor how we stay in disappointing relationships longer than we should. So, the question is “Why do we stay in relationships long past their expiration dates?” So, to better understand this behavior, and why I engaged in such self-defeating behavior for so long (and on more than one occasion), I prayerfully began to explore this topic and discover my own truth.
My most recent relationship lasted for about 6 ½ years. He was unlike anyone I had ever dated before. However, early in the relationship he told me that he had no peace in moving forward in building a long-term future with me. Granted he was guilty of sending mixed signals, but this isn’t about him, this is a self-examination of my own defeating behaviors. And self-examination is the starting point for growth, (Soooooo, two times for growth! WHOOP WHOOP!).
What is Self- Defeating Behavior?
Self- defeating behavior is any behavior that takes you further away from anything you truly want. It is sabotaging your own health, well-being and happiness. It is doing what you know is not good for you to do. According to Practical Recovery, some common self-defeating behavioral patterns include:
- Stubbornness: needing to always be right
- People pleasing: at the cost of your own happiness or health
- Obsessing about perfection
- Blaming: inability to accept responsibility for your own mistakes
- Inability or refusing to ask for help
- Fear of taking healthy risks
- Negative Self talk
- Self-guilt and feeling undeserving of good things in life
More on these behaviors can be found at https://www.practicalrecovery.com/prblog/recognizing-and-changing-self-defeating-behavior/
After examining this list, I realized that I possessed and demonstrated ALL these behaviors at one point in my life. Thank God for his Grace and mercy which allows for growth. But, for years I was bound, I was a prisoner in my own mind, and I didn’t even know it. These worldly, and inferior mindsets robbed me of the opportunity to have a healthy and viable relationship. Don’t let this happen to you!
Why I Stayed?
First, I used to think he was way out of my league, that he was a person that I should aspire to be like. While, I don’t think it was wrong of me to admire his good qualities, it was WRONG that I believed I possessed no good qualities of my own. So, the issue was that I was blind to my own value. I was oblivious to my own loveliness. Honestly, because I lacked Identity, I shouldn’t have been trying to date anyone. I believe, this is one of the reasons why the bible tells us not to awaken or arouse love before it’s proper time (See: Song of Solomon 8:4).
Secondly, I had low expectations and I failed to set standards. I was hopelessly short-sighted, and I had no real vision for the type of relationship I wanted. In conjunction with the first reason, if you don’t know who you are, it is IMPOSSIBLE to know what you truly want or Need for that matter.
Lastly, I thought I could change him. Now, this is more difficult to admit. Of course, there are other reasons, I stayed, (but Whew, Chile we only have time for 3 today 😊). I should have listened to him when he first told me, he had no peace in moving forward. I ignored the flags. In hindsight, I really believed that he would see things from my perspective, and we could move this thing along. However, all this did was force the both of us to live a lie, and not living according to your conviction is hypocrisy. And, hypocrisy murders your spiritual life, and diminishes your peace and your credibility.
Truthfully, this isn’t the first relationship in which I adopted such grandiose delusions of erroneously thinking, “I could change” another human being. Especially, since it is the work of the Holy Spirit to change an individual. I am convinced that we grossly overstep our realm of authority when we attempt to change or control someone, this is manipulation. Manipulation is as witchcraft; IT IS NOT OF GOD! I have been guilty of this before, I’m sure we all have at some point. Thank God for Grace and Mercy!
The point is, staying in a relationship past its expiration date does more harm than good. I wish I had exited the relationship 6 ½ years earlier, then maybe today we would still be Friends. Now, if you find that you are currently in the same situation as I just described, then I encourage you to be honest, and seek help with moving towards transitioning out of your unhealthy dating situation.
Today, I am more content with my singleness, and learning to be more content day by day. I still desire a Godly marriage, but that desire does not rule me. I know the next time will be the right time, and the right time is God’s best time for my life. I Trust you LORD.
3 Ways to Move towards Wholeness:
- Examine yourself: Examine your ways and your circle of influence. Are you seeing good results? Are you growing, or are you diminishing as a result of your actions? Your interactions? (See Lamentations 3:40 and Matthew 7:3-5)
- Set Standards For yourself: You teach people how to value and respect you based on what you tolerate from them. You must know your value, which means you must first pursue inner healing, and renew your mind. Stop the negative self-talk. Be honest, kind and compassionate to yourself first. Be Authentic. (See Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Accept that you can only change YOURSELF: Take responsibility for your life. You can’t force someone to love you no matter how badly you may want them to. Let them GO! You only want people in your life who will Celebrate you, edify you and people who will have your best interest at heart. You want people who will give you Honest feedback. (See Matthew 10:14)