I had some time on my hands the other day and decided to do some tidying up . . . cyber style. Email inboxes have a sneaky habit of becoming overrun with all sorts of things. I like to organise my mails into folders so that it’s easy to find things I may later need without having to browse through thousands of emails. I found a folder named ‘Mr. Impatient’. I thought I had deleted everything to do with him. Naturally I was quite curious and took a look.
I recognised immediately the correspondence between my lawyer and I, but there were a number of emails from my ex-husband too. Seems like I was about to take a trip down memory lane!
I don’t remember what my initial response to this email was, but that I day I did just shake my head and chuckle. There was a book we were reading which encouraged a sports team like mantra “team x”. The couple are supposed to replace the x with their surname. It’s a simple reminder that spouses can use between them when things get a little rocky; “We got this, we are team Jones!” “Babes don’t give up. We are team Thomas. Don’t let this setback stop us.” You get the idea? So I laughed at his reminder that we were a team because he wasn’t behaving like a team player.
Notice that the email was supposed to be a prayer on behalf of our marriage. He acknowledges the sovereignty of God and His capability to lead and restore. Also notice that he never recognizes his own toxicity and destructive role in our marriage. Can God help us if we don’t submit our will to His? Oh well, that’s water under the bridge now.
I also found this one amusing. Now that I had left, he recognized me as a child of God, however there were many times when he accused me of not being a Christian or worthy wife. Mr. Impatient often accused me of having a ‘hard and unforgiving heart’. The reality was that I was protecting myself. When someone asks for forgiveness, and if they are genuinely contrite, there will be a change in behaviour. Now it may not be straight away and it may not even be a complete turnaround, but you will see an effort to do and be better. Well evidence of his remorse was bountifully lacking. When he did apologize I accepted it in good faith but never placed any value in it, after a while you stop caring because the apology is inconsequential. I was surprised that he admitted to having a problem ‘anxiety attacks’ but this didn’t go far enough.
The toxic individual will say and do almost absolutely anything to win you back. The display of rueful acts is actually quite surprising . . . well until you decipher the pattern! Rest assured that it is totally short-lived and so phony that they should be recipients for The Oscars! Preserve and protect your heart from the fraudulent performances. These are put on so that you will be drawn in time and time again. Every time you fall for the apology you develop unfounded hope that things will change and get better. The fact is it rarely does. The cycle merely repeats and becomes more frequent and intense. Toxicity has a tendency to rub of on its victims in one way or another. If you are stuck in such and unfortunate relationship, don’t allow the situation to change who you truly are. Embrace the Almighty Father. Always. Allow Him to keep you true.
Bring us back to you, God—we’re ready to come back. Give us a fresh start. Lamentations 5:21The Message Bible