Should You Cut Someone Out Of Your Life?
Full Life Reflections: October 15th
Christians are often told to love and forgive. But what does that look like when someone continually takes advantage of your empathy and forgiveness? How can a relationship continue with someone who puts on a show of changed behavior for a time and then goes back to taking advantage of you? Is that really a healthy and loving cycle in a relationship?
You should never keep someone close to you who has the habit of not taking responsibility for his/her actions or behavior. You should be able to have conversations with those close to you about how you’ve been hurt by their actions without that other person shifting blame or denying any responsibility.
Unfortunately, I had this experience in the past with an ex-roommate. Many years ago, I confronted this roommate about a cat she had purchased without asking me or our other roommate for permission. We were not allowed to have any animals in our apartment, and I was also allergic to cats. When we confronted this roommate about having the cat, she said she had already “okayed” it with the landlord. This didn’t make sense because we all would have signed an agreement for the cat to be in the apartment since it would have been an added monthly expense. When I told her I was also allergic and that she never asked me or our other roommate if it was okay to have the cat, she told me I was making up the story of being allergic to cats and I just needed to get over it.
It was then I firmly realized I had a roommate who claimed to be my friend, but she didn’t really care about me or our relationship. She was out for herself, and she didn’t care what she had to do to get what she wanted. I was left flabbergasted at her ability to discount any responsibility for her actions and then continue to twist the story around by telling me I was lying about an allergy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get out of that friendship soon enough and it led to some bigger expenses and damage shortly thereafter.
While this incident happened over a decade ago, I do forgive this person and have since moved on. But that experience also taught me the value of looking for those red flags early on in relationships. If you bring up an issue with someone and that person dismisses it or brings the blame back on you, it might be time to take a step back in the relationship. Or there’s also the fake apology, “I’m sorry you felt that way”. This isn’t a genuine apology, as it’s the other person justifying her actions while saying you were the one who was emotional and misinterpreted what happened. This fake apology doesn’t recognize that harm was done or that there’s a need to make things right.
Looking to God’s Word, we have strong, solid Biblical advice on who to stay away from:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.2 Timothy 3: 1-5
The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives.Proverbs 16:17
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”1 Cor. 15:33
If you are struggling with a family member or spouse taking on these toxic traits, it is wise to seek counsel from pastoral staff and professional counselors who specialize in narcissism and personality disorders.