Ask: What do you suggest I do to end unhealthy relationships?

“I have been having some trouble withdrawing from some ‘friends’ that I no longer feel I want to spend time with. In the past I have felt justified in confrontation and judgment when I felt I was right, but clearly, after 13 years of study that is no longer an option I want to pursue. But, even as I write this I want to list their "sins" and unfairness, proving to you and the Truth in my right mind that they are the guilty ones and I the innocent victim…the bottom line is I feel that they take advantage, been dishonest and without going into more detail are ‘friends’ I no longer trust or want to spend time with them, however I don't want to hurt them or, as I am so dying to do...tell them what I think is wrong with them. In Truth, intellectually I know that they are characters I cast in my own play, speaking my own scripted dialog and have done nothing that I didn't unconsciously want them to do but in form I feel further contact would be toxic and very uncomfortable for me. In form, they have taken advantage, ignored boundaries I've set and lied to me. But again, on another level I know this whole situation is just another smokescreen to "protect" me from the Love that is still clearly very frightening to me,
and so I've seized upon this situation as a "problem" that must be solved but in Truth doesn't even exist… And the Course never addresses what we should or shouldn't do in the world of form because there is no world of form, however I still clearly believe there is so what would you suggest I do to end the relationship in a kind and loving way?…” –SB

Just to be clear, you do not write the “script” – what others say or do – but you interpret the script. I say this because I notice many A Course in Miracles students have a hard time letting go of unhealthy relationships in part because they feel they actually somehow made what shows up at the level of form. At the level of form you do attract and allow certain people into your sphere. But you are not responsible for making those people. Like the self with which you identify they are simply the result of cause and effect at the level of form going back to the beginning of time. What you can affect is the degree to which others are in your life.

Your desire to set boundaries makes it clear that you are no longer so afraid of Love that you want to hold onto these relationships as a “smoke screen”. Love is what has led you to a place where you value yourself too much to continue these unhealthy relationships. You can withdraw from these relationships in a couple of ways, depending on the nature of each relationship. One is to be direct and to explain to the other why you no longer want to be in a relationship with them. The other way is to just let a relationship die a quiet death as you no longer pursue it. If the other continues to contact you, then you have to decide if you want to be direct and tell them outright that you find their behavior toward you unacceptable. Or, if you do not want to be so direct, then by not pursuing them and limiting how much you interact with them when they do call or come around they will probably get the message.

I’m not sure why you say ACIM does not address what one should or should not do at the level of form when most of the Workbook and much of the Text addresses this! It’s apparent reading ACIM that Helen’s problem was not so much her allowing unhealthy others into her sphere as her own unhealthy, attacking mind. But there’s really no difference. Your relationship with others is your relationship with yourself. When you remain around others who attack you, you are simply using them to do for you what you want to do to yourself.

Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace.


nicci said…
thank you. nicci
nicci said…
after coming back to your sharing again this morning and contemplating it further, i am wondering about this: that holding onto unhealthy relationships can be an example of entering into illusion and making it real. making this connection along with the revelation you present here about our relationships with others being our relationships with ourselves (!) has helped me to understand how it is possible to let go with Love. letting go does not have to be an act that reflects further the illusion of separation.
in gratitude, n
jerryo said…
Thats a beautiful message ' I don't write the script ' ,
if I could just surrender to that truth.
Desert Dreams said…
Thank you for your article. I've been wondering about the same thing. (I love that you're here to help us navigate this illusory world.) There's a woman I knew years ago, when I was in graduate school, that I came to observe was basically garnering 'friends' so she could 'use' them in some capacity or another. As nicci has expressed, I also looked at why I perceive this friend as toxic and was conflicted about what to do. I knew that I was projecting... simply because I could see and even label what she was doing, which was not seeing the sinless and Loving Truth of her True Being; and, because I could see that the error I perceived, was one that I was 'guilty' of myself. But how to handle the situation in a respectful and honest way (and with Love) was always a dilemma.

When she emailed me, after many years, I didn't feel good just ignoring her. I felt that it was 'passive-aggressive' on my part. But maybe that was the best way, if I don't feel comfortable with being truthful with her, which, no matter how loving, would involve 'perceived' judgment.

Thank you, again,
Desert Dreams said…
I'm currently in a challenging relationship with my husband (second marriage for both, later in life). After reading a lot about his diagnosis of OCPD and about relationships in general; and after going to couples counseling and individual counseling, and while reading the Course and attempting to 'experience' my learning (and teaching), everyday....and getting 'mentor advice' from ACIMMentor, I KNOW that my choices are to accept or leave (both accomplished with Love and Gratitude!)

There is too much good here to leave. In deciding to stay I realize that I have chosen to elevate this relationship from a perceived instrument of torture (sublime victimhood!) to an incredible teaching-learning experience! I'm learning ways to circumvent the effects of his 'fear' perspective in a loving way. I've decided to tell him often that when he can't see his True Self I will be his mirror. I set boundaries (which are difficult for me to do because there's a huge part of my personal self that sees him as my provider and protector 'as parent'). I try to use humor and kindness as my landscape. And I constantly monitor my Peace. There is no amount of effort that is appropriate if the result (no matter the source) is not one's Peace. And my Peace and Joy are growing!

And they are growing for him, too! It's strange but this fearful man who needs rules, procedures, judgment and control of others in order to feel 'safe' is really beginning to relax. He is just starting to get an inkling that he might actually be 'lovable' and on a level that is not conditional on his behaviors being perfect!

But, don't get me wrong. This is all a process for both of us. It's all moment-to-moment, just like our learning and experiencing of this world and seeing with Christ eyes. But what a joy to see my partner as my (albeit challenging) path to Awakening.

I have Liz to thank, for her guidance. Not only for this blog and her mentoring skills but for her books (specifically, 4 Habits to Inner Peace and her books that translate ACIM into plain language.)
Thank you so much, my Sister!!

Unknown said…
Hi! DD,Thanks for revealing comment.I'm in a similar situation, and being new to ACIM and Liz I wasn't sure how to say I was coping. You have put it beautifully. Thanks so much.George
Anonymous said…
With all of this mind's boundary setting, it was only I that this mind was setting boundaries for.
Anonymous said…
With all of this mind's boundary setting, it was only II that this mind was setting boundaries for.
Anonymous said…
I just went somewhere and not of this world. After my post I went within and experienced calm. Then it was as though my eyelids were fluttering but were not seeing into the world, there was no world, it was a fluttering of light and dark. I just wanted to share.
ACIM Mentor said…
Sounds nice, Anonymous.
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