How to Stop Ruminating Over a Toxic Relationship

Do you find yourself unable to stop thinking about the toxic person in your life? Maybe it’s your self-centered, husband your narcissistic mother or your obnoxious boss. You find yourself thinking repeatedly about the offenses maybe run the scenarios over and over again of what you should have, could have, and would have said. Maybe you repeat the offenses over and over again. And you struggle with forgiveness or perhaps you are the type who blames yourself and then wonders, what you could have done differently.

Whoever it is and whatever the thoughts, it is likely that this person is taking up way too much, mental real estate. And if you’re like many, your joy is gone, and you have trouble attending to the needs of life simply because you can’t stop thinking about this person and what they’ve done or are doing. Most people, I encounter will provide a blanket solution for this problem. They’ll say, I know, I know I just have to stop thinking so much about them, and to that, I challenged and say the problem is not that you’re thinking, the problem is what you’re thinking about.

If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight and just told yourself, I need to stop eating so much you’ve likely, found that suggestion not very helpful. So let’s dive deeper into understanding what you’re thinking about and bring some biblical resolve to that mental battle. Rumination is running thoughts over and over again in your mind, but wait, that sounds a lot like meditation and you’d be correct, but there is a distinct difference, in meditation in the Godly sense not the new age is the focus on God’s word.

Psalm 119:15 says, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Psalm 19:14 should be the cry of our hearts, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

Rumination on the other hand is the fixation of your heart and mind on the negative aspects of the people, the situation, and maybe even God. It can take on an obsessive nature where you can’t seem to stop. It is the devil’s counterfeit to meditation. And for many, they believe that, if they can just think on it enough, they will find peace. And this is a trick from the enemy to pull you further into his mental pit.

And I’m guessing a big part of you doesn’t want to ruminate on this person. You want to get back to the plans and the purpose that God has for your life, but there’s a problem and our minds, don’t like unsolved problems.

So let’s talk today about what’s happening in your mind and how you can overcome this mental battle biblically.

woman thinking

Four primary problems we’re going to talk about that are taking place right now.

Problem #1 – Confusion.  Toxic relationships always create confusion. One minute the relationship is good and the next minute, it’s not. And as a person with a desire to be in a healthy relationship you are likely willing to deal with the ups and downs and go through the tough times with people. But this toxic person always seems to change the rules and it causes confusion. There’s never peace and you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop and this is going to cause tremendous confusion you are left thinking, “Well, maybe I’m the problem, maybe I wasn’t Godly enough or maybe, I didn’t forgive them, or maybe I didn’t try hard enough.” 

The problem with confusion is it doesn’t put good and evil into their proper perspective. Yes, you may have had your share in the toxic dynamic, but you’re bad doesn’t make them good. It’s not a swap. You have to do an accurate assessment of your faults and theirs and separate them. Repent of yours and determine if their behavior is something that you want to live with.

Now on the spiritual side of this. You must remember that you are not their Savior and I have never seen the good behavior of the righteous magically change the evil behavior of a toxic person. So go ahead step off the throne and allow God to try and change this person. Your concern now should be to walk in the wisdom that God is giving you.

Romans 12:9 reminds us, “Let love be genuine, abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good.”  You must learn to separate and come out from the confusion and call things for what they are. Calling good evil, and evil good is a sin problem.

Problem #2 – Injustice. In a toxic relationship, you’ve likely been wronged taken advantage of manipulated fooled and maybe even abused, and to make matters worse this toxic person may have been so bold as to blame you, or they have others fooled into thinking that they are just innocent and misunderstood or even victims themselves. Maybe they keep winning in court, or they’ve turned your entire family against you, and it’s likely that you’re being victimized all over again. They seem to be going about life unscathed while you’re suffering from their past abuse. It’s not right. It’s not just, and the truth is actually not getting away with it. I realize it may seem like it is, but if we look at the character of God and how he handles the injustice of his children, I find you can actually begin to have pity on this person for the wrath that is coming if they don’t change.

Psalm 89:14 reminds us that “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne. Love and faithfulness go before him.”

Romans 12:19 also reminds us “Beloved never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God. For it is written, vengeance is mine. I will repay says the Lord.”

When you’ve done all that you can to protect yourself from this person. My friend, I want to encourage you to leave the rest up to God. Those toxic thoughts of vengeance are only destroying you.

Problem #3 – Solutions. You likely are a hard worker. You’re likely a fighter. You have a stick-to-itiveness and chances are it’s those qualities that attracted the toxic person in the first place, but now you have this relationship problem and you just want to find a solution and you think that thinking about it over and over and over again, is going to help you find that solution questions. Like, how can I do better? How can I get them to see it? How can I help them understand?

They run repeatedly in your mind. How can I fix this? How can I fix this? My friend? This may not be fixable. And if it is it’s not fixable by you and the issue isn’t lying with the behavior of the toxic person, it’s lying in your controlling nature right now. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that their behavior was okay. But right now if you’re trying to find a solution and getting them to change, the issue is lying more with you. So if you want to stop ruminating over this person, we’ve got to stop ruminating over the solutions.

Sometimes God purges people from our lives for our benefit not so we step in and try to fix it. So can you lean on Proverbs 3:5 today? It says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Problem #4 – Wishing.  if I had a nickel for every time, someone said that, he was so great in the beginning. He’s been going through a rough time. If we can just get back to what we had. My friend, the relationship would be bad for the past five years, but you’re still wishing. It could go back to what it looked like in that glimpse of the time when you thought it was good, you’ve trapped yourself in the demonic pattern of believing that what you saw in a snapshot of time was actually real.

My friend is likely that it was a facade and it’s never coming back and your wishing only makes it worse, believing things, like, if I were a good Christian, I’d give him another chance or what if he changes now, and then the next girl benefits. The what-ifs keep you trapped in the wishing.

Proverbs 13:12 tells us that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Wishing and hoping with no evidence will only bring sickness to your soul.  You might be saying, wait Kris aren’t all things possible with God, shouldn’t I pray and not give up?

Absolutely, but your hope needs to be in the Lord, not in this person. Let God be God and he will never ask you to sell your soul to enable someone else’s toxic behavior. He gave you a good life and a purpose. I want to encourage you, to go live it, and if he restores that relationship great, but if he doesn’t, can you be okay with that?

Rumination can keep you in a toxic relationship long after it’s over. Rumination cannot fix the unfixable, only God can if he wants. Can you trust him with his sovereignty? That’s the question I have for you today, and many of these narcissistic, toxic relationships are not relationships that God wants you in any way. So can you let go and let God do what he needs to do in you to bring you to a place of healing and wholeness in him? So my friend, what do you do to stop, ruminating over toxic people? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are saying, Kris, I am ready to renew my mind. I want to stop ruminating over these, toxic people. I want to invite you to check out my course, called Renew Your Mind. This course is going to take you through his four-step formula to help you control your mind and allow God to transform your life check out that course today.

Are you struggling with toxic people? Maybe it’s a stonewalling husband, a narcissistic mother, or an overbearing boss. Well, I want to invite you to grab a copy of our free Toxic People Survival Guide.

More You Might Enjoy from Kris