As I mentioned in Part 1, healthy relationships are completely possible to achieve through broken, unhealthy people. The truth of this statement relies on the mutual commitment of each individual in the relationship to accept the challenges that love presents through its pure character.
Also, each of us brings a certain level of toxicity to each relationship we have, and this is due to the open wounds we still harbor and need to heal. This is perfectly normal, and something that love is designed to fix and heal through its beautiful, warrior-like character.
Understanding the differences between enabling a toxic person and loving a toxic person will greatly help you understand your relationship with yourself, as well as all of the relationships in your life. Are you enabling, or loving? Let’s see:
Enabling means allowing the toxic person to stay toxic. This is not an act of love, but an act of passivity, laziness, and cowardice, which all have their roots in FEAR. Enabling a toxic person means that your thoughts, emotions, and actions are all rooted in fear; fear of rocking the boat, fear of losing someone, fear of being wounded again, fear of being wrong, fear of anything that your mind associates back to your open wounds. This fear produces more toxicity because it ignores the root of the wound and continues to add more wounds on top of it.
Loving a toxic person means challenging the toxic person to get better. This is one of love’s finest attributes, because it is an act that is selfless, honorable, and courageous, which all have their roots in HUMILITY. Loving a toxic person means that your thoughts, emotions, and actions are all rooted in humility; humility that is willing to rock the boat to save someone’s life, humility that is willing to lose someone if it means speaking the truth, humility that is willing to be wounded again in order to help someone else, humility that isn’t afraid of being wrong, but of being silent.
Love’s strength is manifested in its consistent ability to challenge the roots and strongholds of toxicity with humility. Healthy relationships are founded in the fiery passions of deep humility; a humility that is willing to self-sacrifice and overcome challenges of character change and submission to change for enhancement of the quality of your life, relationships, and influence.
Enabling means saying with pride to the toxic person within yourself, “I don’t need to change my thought patterns, I don’t need to change my beliefs, I don’t need to change anything because all of my wounds aren’t my fault, but the fault of others. I don’t need to change my behaviors and actions because I’m not the problem; everyone else is.”
Loving means saying with humility to the toxic person within yourself, “I am willing to change my thought patterns, I am willing to change my beliefs, I am willing to change whatever I need to change in order to overcome these wounds and become a better person.”
The toxic people in your life won’t get better and won’t get healing if you enable them instead of love them (the same can be said for the toxic person within yourself). Enabling means worrying about their comfort and emotions (or your own); loving means challenging them to move outside of their comfort zone, face their fears, control their emotions, and going through pain with them so long as they’re willing to put mutual efforts into answering whatever challenge love highlights for healing (all applicable to yourself as well).
-Gavi, your Advocate for Healthy Relationships