When Love Turns Toxic: Finding Freedom From Emotional Abuse


If you feel trapped by control and deceit, it’s time to take back your confidence. Maybe you’ve misunderstood scriptures about submission. Maybe you’ve thought that it’s wrong to confront your husband or partner. That if love covers a multitude of sins that you should be silent, forgive and pray.

Submission is actually a two-way street. In a covenant relationship, we submit one to another. Not only does scripture advise women to submit to their husband, but the husband is also instructed to submit to his wife. But never does submission require us to surrender to evil behavior. In fact, the Bible has instructions for confronting sin. Matthew tells us that if we see our brother or sister in sin that we should point out their fault, just between the two of us. If they listen, we’ve won them over.

So let me ask you this. Is your husband or future husband considered a brother in the Lord? If so, I hope you see that the Bible gives clear instruction for addressing sin. You don’t have to be subservient to evil behavior just because a covenant or promise of marriage exists. 

Nothing changes when we continue to ignore sin because we’re afraid of confrontation. When we fail to address evil behavior, we send the message that we’ll continue to tolerate it. Silence is a form of acceptance.

Nonetheless, confrontation can be scary. Maybe you fear his disapproval and want to keep the peace. Maybe you hope he'll change. Or maybe you've been intimidated by his aggression and learned to shove it under the rug because he talks over you, uses sarcasm or dismisses your opinion. When we tolerate destructive behaviors, not only do we put our emotional health in jeopardy, we also deprive our relationship of the opportunity for growth and healing. 

If you've failed to address manipulation and control you can learn healthy ways to change your responses and confront the abuse with dignity and respect. Can I challenge you to look at confrontation from a different perspective? Confrontation is scriptural. It’s an act of kindness because we care enough to encourage someone to remove sin from their lives.

Confrontation doesn’t have to be aggressive, but it does need to be assertive. Keeping the peace is a temporary solution at best with no long term benefits. When we deny, ignore, minimize or suppress emotional abuse, we stand the risk of giving the devil a foothold. Unmet expectations turn into resentment. Unresolved discouragement turns into anger and bitterness and little by little destroy our soul health. Jesus, however, called us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers. Peacemakers confront. They’re not aren’t afraid of disrupting temporary peace in favor of a long term solution.