When I got involved in a toxic relationship at nineteen years old, I was quiet, fearful, and naive. During that time there were several lies I told myself in order to feel better about the situation. But those aren’t the only lies I believed; there were also several lies the guy I dated told me in an effort to keep me in the relationship. It took a while for me to recognize that I was being manipulated.
Here are a few of the lies he told me (and I actually believed him!)…
Lie #6: You asked for it. The day I started dating this guy, he kissed me even though I had expressed a desire to save my first kiss for the day I got engaged. When I got upset with him, he told me I had asked for it because I “looked like” I wanted to be kissed. For months I was constantly on high alert, monitoring my facial expressions, wardrobe, and actions so he wouldn’t say I “asked for” anything else. The truth is, it shouldn’t have mattered. “You asked for it” was a lie he told so he wouldn’t feel guilty and could leave behind the responsibility of caring for me and my heart.
Lie #7: Boys can’t help it. I heard this lie because I expressed a desire to scale back the physical nature of this particular relationship. I knew in my heart that a true man of God would be protective of me, no matter the cost, even if he had to go to battle against his own self in order to do that. But when this guy told me “boys can’t help it” and continued to push the boundaries of our physical relationship, I wondered if he was right. And I guess he actually was right…boys can’t help it. But MEN can. And the right man will do everything he can to protect the dignity and heart of the woman he’s with. He’ll also apologize sincerely if he messes up.
Lie #8: The things he did in anger weren’t a good judge of character. When the guy I dated would get upset with me, sometimes he would get drunk and say hurtful things. When that happened, he would tell me I shouldn’t hold him accountable for that because he was just angry. The truth is we’re all accountable for our choices, whether we’re angry or not. Pretending like his behavior was okay would have been condoning his actions simply because he felt upset. Anger isn’t a license to be hurtful toward others, so when he tried to tell me his anger was a good enough excuse for his actions, I immediately felt as though I was being lied to. The things we say or do in anger are a greater measure of character than the things we do when nothing’s wrong!
Lie #9: I shouldn’t consider his past when I make decisions about our future. When I found out alcoholic tendencies, premarital sex, and anger issues existed in the past for the guy I dated, he asked me to ignore it because he said our relationship would be different. While I do believe we can absolutely leave behind destructive habits and have beautiful, God-honoring relationships, that doesn’t mean we should ignore red flags that could lead to dangerous situations. We should always be prayerful and discerning as we consider the past, and we shouldn’t automatically discount those who have difficult stories if they have truly turned their lives around. But to pretend it shouldn’t influence our choices at all is a lie.
Lie #10: It’s mean to have boundaries. Every relationship needs boundaries. If anyone says they deserve more control over your life, it’s bad news. When I used to express my need for more space, the guy I dated was offended. He believed that our relationship gave him license to monopolize my time, energy, and other relationships. This became a huge issue even after we’d broken up when I discovered he still wanted us to have a close friendship while I felt that would be inappropriate. Boundaries are healthy, not mean. The truth is, people who truly love us will respect our boundaries.
It can be difficult to identify lies especially when they come from someone we’re supposed to trust and respect. But through my worst relationship ever, I learned how to identify my own boundaries and stand up to manipulation.
What are some lies you’ve believed in the past?