No Going Back – Courage to End Abusive Relationships
Years ago, after standing up for myself during a confrontation with a hurtful presence in my life, a phrase was said unto me by the one I was evicting from my life, “Be careful what bridges you burn….”
I recall at the time how spiteful I found that retort, as if this person was willing a harm to come upon me that might drive me back to their doorstep; however, thus was the character of the person and my reason for parting ways with them. At the time, I brushed off the comment and went on from the encounter, not giving it much thought until a few days ago, when the same phrase was said unto a friend of mine who took a similar moral stand as I.
Like my own circumstances this friend, in a moment of courage, asserted his self-worth and broke ties with those who had long been mentally and emotionally abusive toward him. He gave me a recount of this defining moment in his life and finished by saying that he had been told to, “Watch what bridges you burn.” and upon hearing this I felt compelled to share with him a few conclusions I had come to at the time that I burned my own bridge.
“Be careful what bridges you burn, because you might be heading back this way again some day.” This was the whole phrase said unto me by those who I chose to break ties with long ago. When I heard this phrase, I remember thinking to myself that there are those who make their decisions based upon convenience—what will be the “easiest” path for them long-term. And then there are those people who make their decisions based upon what their heart needs to maintain its overall well-being, regardless of any backlash that might arise as a result.
What the person who said this unto me could not understand was that, after decades of degrading, devaluing, hurtful behavior enacted towards me, there was nothing that could ever happen in my life to make me return unto them. In asserting my worth—in declaring my independence from them and saying “Enough, I deserve to be loved and will take no more abuse!”, I had indeed “burned a bridge” yet the destruction of that bridge was in no way to my determent. As the bridge burned one life ended—a painful life—giving way for a rebirth to occur, in which I would rise strong and free.
My choice not to respond to this phrase when it was first flung at me was based upon my not wanting to continue going around in endless circles of debate with the person I had already lost enough of my life to. I reached that point when, it was enough that I was self-certain of my choices; I knew that there was never any chance of the one I was evicting validating my reasons for breaking with them (if they could ever take into account my own well-being, my reasons for parting ways with them would be mute.) No, at the time one truth resounded: sometimes it is necessary to burn the bridge so the devil cannot follow us.
When there are toxic people in our life who do us tremendous harm without ever caring enough about us to see the damage they have inflicted, nothing binds us to these people. Nothing obligates us to keep these people in our lives, not blood or marriage or any kind of loyalties. When love is absent from a relationship all bonds have been dissolved and we must act to preserve our life and the health of our heart/spirit.
There are those people who willfully choose to hurt us; who hold no love in their heart for us and whose presence has always been hurtful to us. People who see no fault in their actions and so feel no remorse and therefore, no reason to change their treatment of us. Such people must be broken from for the sake of our own well-being, regardless of what unknown land it means venturing into alone. And so I say unto you, when you come to the limit of what you can bear at the hands of such toxic presences, do not fear to light that torch. Bring an end to the abuse. Assert your worth and worthiness to be loved and burn the bridge.