From the Heart of Love
Toxic Relationships and Healing
By Dr. Scott & Shannon Peck



Toxic relationships often create physical problems that hide, in the most subtle ways, the healing we deserve.

We suffer physically, for example, from allowing people to treat us in condemning ways. Just as our bodies have a constitution, strong and fit, or not, so also our emotions have a constitution. When the emotions are allowed to be in pain time and again, we do not know what to do with the hurt and so it becomes stored in our bodies. The hurt becomes toxic to our health and well-being.

Pull back from your life right now and take a look at the big picture. Of all your relationships, which ones cause you pain?

Condemnation, accusation, blame, criticism, and disrespect are toxic. They cut deep and they send inner messages to us of guilt, unworthiness, fear, loss, despair, and finally, depression. We feel like a failure. See the deepening of the wound? We don’t know how to fix it. We deal with it by storing it away. We store it away adding hurt and anger. These two, left unhealed, have long-term negative effects on the body.

People who practice abuse have subtle ways of creating guilt. We feel the effects but we rarely see it unless we are alert. Ironically, the abusive person often blames the innocent person for the very thing that the abuser did wrong or failed to do. For whatever reason, the abuser gives himself or herself justified permission to let loose on the innocent person. Innocent people are caught off guard. Attempts to defend themselves are also blocked and disallowed. Do you see a pattern here?

Is it their right to judge you? Did anyone check with you on giving this right? Does this sound like love? Awakening to this with clarity is powerful preventive medicine.

Don’t let your love be bought cheap. Set standards for yourself by having people in your life who have mutually-shared values. Make sure they are equal to your lovingness. Make sure you do not allow yourself to be mistreated.

This isn’t about ego. This isn’t about who is right and who is wrong. This is about being at peace with your Highest Self and getting on with the life you deserve, managing it with the best decisions possible so your suffering ends and your happiness soars. You have no obligation to anyone to allow yourself to suffer in pain, hurt, or anger. Make a new decision and make it today.

Forgive yourself. Offer yourself full cleansing and forgiveness for associating with one who continually brings you down. Do not be responsible for their poor behavior. Accept no shame. Realize that someone’s ignorance cannot stop you from going forward with your beautiful, pure Love light. It is time for you to shine. Love is calling you.

Remember what genuine love looks and feels like. Love is kind, honoring, supportive, understanding, caring, compassionate, fair, just, and honest — consistently. It takes a lot of work to show up with love for others. Expect this from yourself and from all who surround you. Love is a tall order and is admirable because it requires the discipline of constant practice. Violating Love’s principle or overlooking it is pure indulgence. If you indulge some-one’s harmful behavior to you, you are out of Love alignment. Do not wonder why your emotional or physical body hurts.

Develop courage to take right action in defense of your right to be well loved and your right to flow with positive feelings with those closest to you — so that you can be free to flow with generous love to them. This doesn’t happen when our hearts close due to hurt and when we feel emotionally unsafe. Have the courage to either end a toxic relationship or reframe it with new and better terms.

When we have done all we know, and said all there is to say, and there is still no change in someone who causes us pain, suffering, and hardship, the finest thing you can do is to forgive.

 Forgiveness is powerful medicine for the body. It does not re-open the door to recreate the problem. Forgiveness allows you to deal with the hurt up front, name it, offer yourself comfort and solace, and then put it away in peace.

Ask Love to show you how to forgive all the wrong done against you. Be patient with yourself and keep making the effort, while listening to Love, until you succeed. Then the mental images that torment you and keep you in anger, hurt, and disturbance will no longer appear.

Forgiveness is for you to have peace in your heart. You need forgiveness in order to put away hurt once and for all. Remember your loving nature. There is no better time than the present, even if the hurt was created years ago. I have seen the faces of people who cannot forgive or refuse to forgive. Over time, they have faces of stress, deep lines, and frowns. Their faces do not reveal inner peace.

Resentment creates knots and even disease. You do not need to show the person how much they hurt you. We do not need to play the hurt heart game of “See what you did to me!” This is off the path of Love and it only perpetuates anger and hurt.

You have a right to live in peace and Oneness. This is who you are. You can disallow anything from separating you from Love. You are on a mission and you have work to do in order to fulfill your purpose. Forgiveness releases you to go forward. Be a witness to knowing that this same truth is true for everyone else as well. Welcome to the heart of Love!  

© Copyright 2003 Scott & Shannon Peck

This column is an excerpt from Shannon Peck’s just-released book, “Love Heals: How to Heal Everything with Love.” Dr. Scott Peck & Shannon Peck are co-founders of TheLoveCenter, a non-profit educational organization holding the space for all humanity to live in healing Love. They are authors of “The Love You Deserve,” “Liberating Your Magnificence,” & “All the Love You Could Ever Want!” (audio set). For lots more love, please visit , e-mail , or call (800) 266-1525.  

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