Another outstanding message from Shaneen Megji on how to remove yourself from a toxic controlling abusive destructive church/relationship/cult/job/community. Even in the midst of some good things, toxic relationships affect you in more ways than you realize and will be blocks to your spiritual growth in the future. You must sever these relationships before they sever you from God.
Toxic relationships and churches can shipwreck Christian’s lives by their negative mindset and gaslighting. Narcissistic relationships and cult leaders target empaths because they will always see the best in others and blame themselves. This works out for toxic people but it does damage, sometimes long-lasting damage to the individual who is under this treatment
Free yourself to be the person that God created you to be and walk in the calling that He has for you. Not as someone else’s ox blindly grinding out their grain (Judges 16:21).
Identifying Toxic Relationships
- They are abusing their position of authority.
- They are taking themselves way too seriously.
- They act like a god rather than representing God.
- Their ministry uses people as extensions of themselves to build their own empires rather than building up people that God sent to them.
- The work they do is “all about God”, but God has no part in it.
- Their private life does not reflect what they teach. Their lives are a big sham. They don’t live out what they teach. Hypocrites (Mt 23:23-24). Blind guides (Mt 15:14).
- They may have begun their ministry by the leading of God and but somewhere they when off track and succumbed to money, sex, or fame.
- Often they are covert passive aggressive narcissists Charming to the world (radio land) but behind closed doors (in their communities) they are tyrants. A Jeckle and Hyde personality. You don’t want to mess with such people. They are so good at manipulation and gaslighting – they live and breathe it. They can destroy your reputation and turn all your closest friends against you. They can turn the people you love the most against you.
For a comprehensive rundown on these and more, check out the video on 10 Warning Signs your Church is Turning into a Cult.
8 Steps to Leaving Toxic Relationships/Communities
Prepare your Exit
- Give yourself time.
Don’t Tell Anyone in the Community what you are Thinking
- The people that loved you will likely betray you.
- This causes them cognitive dissonance because they don’t want to confront these issues in their own lives. They will have to come to the same point that you have before they will reject the lies and seek the truth. Thus…
- They write you off as having gone off course, fallen away, an enemy.
Get Counselling Outside of the organization/relationship
- You need a witness outside the organization.
Take Time with God to Plan an Exit Strategy
- In a real cult/community situation, isolation can be difficult or impossible, which shows that you’re in a toxic environment.
Detach your Heart and take Baby Steps
- Slow and strategic.
Start to build Relationships Outside the Community
- They will try to gaslight you into staying, to save your life (Rev 12:11).
- You need a support system in place when and after you leave.
Make sure They have No Leverage over you
- Get your own house in order.
- Don’t leave any strings behind – to pull you or regrets.
- Rebuild your life, and let God take vengeance.
- Confronting them usually does not end well. They are locked in.
Counting The Cost
One of the saddest aspects of toxic communities is that they hold you with thinking that your salvation relies on staying there. This is taught to be sacrificing your will for God’s will, when what it really is is saving your flesh. It is not a denial of self it is done to save yourself – in the flesh. This thinking works well for the toxic leader because they get what they want – your body slaving away for them. But you’ve been gaslighted into believing that it is for the salvation of your soul that you must stay with them.
Jesus told us that if any man would come after Him that he must deny himself (Luke 9:23). That part they preach to you but it’s the rest of what He said that they leave off because they want you to deny yourself but not deny them. Paul said this perfectly when he said in Galatians 4:17 “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.”
Jesus continues in Luke saying, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:24-25). Realize that they are teaching you the advantage of saving your life and that only by remaining with them will you be protected from the wrath to come. We remind you that “Those who are followers of worthless idols abandon their faithfulness” [to Christ] (Jonah 2:8 NASB). Stay faithful to Christ Jesus alone. Do not let them make you fruitless (like them) and sterile like Jezebel’s eunuchs (Rev 2:20-23). Abide in the true Vine (John 15:1-11).
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death.