The final part of Leslie Vernick’s, The Emotionally Destructive Relationship is entitled “Surviving It.” In this section she explores how we heal and take care of ourselves. Chapter 10 describes the necessity of spiritual healing that must happen before relational healing will take place. She makes the point that we will must explore whether we believe that God loves us and learn to abide in Him. She ends the chapter by saying,
Healing doesn’t simply involve feeling better about who we are or who God is. True healing happens as we learn to live holy lives by growing into the identities God has already given us, which is what will make us whole.
Chapter 11 describes the necessity of letting go as a key element of gain and growth. Letting go of fears, distorted expectations, entitlements, negative mood, lies about self, etc. This is a tall order but she does give some guidance on how to let go of negative moods by asking of your feeling, “why are you here?” Leslie is right here. Many things that trap us have to do with what we hang on to. This chapter gives a broad overview. The challenge is to put it into practice. I suspect you need a good friend or therapist to put it into practice.
If chapter 11 is about putting off, chapter 12 covers what we are to put on as positive nourishment. Gather a support system, develop a sense of your strengths, and learn how to deal with conflict and a destructive person. The broad brushstrokes are here. Again, I wish she had the space for a bit more details and examples.
Finally, Leslie includes a listing of helpful books, websites and other resources. She has a chapter defining the various types of abuse. And she concludes the book with a chapter for those walking with someone who is in a destructive relationship.
All in all, a great book exploring the struggles and healthy responses to one’s destructive relationship. As is usual with her writing, Leslie urges the reader to examine the heart, deceptions, to meditate on God’s goodness, and to live out of the power of the cross.