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Are Your Friendships Holy or Harmful? The Catholic Way to Confront Toxic Relationships

Are your relationships and friendships saint-making or soul-shaking?

In this episode of “The Catholic Gentleman,” John Heinen, Sam Guzman, and Devin Schadt discuss how to discern whether others are guiding us toward sanctity, or steering us into spiritual turmoil.

Schadt explains how “at the fall of Man…we broke our relationships with other people.”

Because of this, he says “understanding other people and people understanding us is a constant point of division” for humanity.

Now in today’s digital age, the true meaning of friendship seems distorted and mired in a maze of likes and shares far removed from genuine human connection.

“Are you a great friend because you have 5,000 followers on Facebook?” he asks.

The gentlemen say we should measure our relationships with others by evaluating whether or not they help us become closer to God. 

If you are dealing with a toxic relationship, Heinen explains that the “Three B’s”—breaks, boundaries, and barriers—are great ways to discern how to address the problem.

“Relationships need pauses to maintain our identity and to truly love the other person,” Heinen says.

Guzman adds that the importance of establishing boundaries to protect oneself from harm and manipulation is a lesson drawn straight from the Gospel’s call to love oneself as a precursor to loving others.

“Boundaries are saying I am a free human being. I am not going to let you treat me this way,” Guzman says.

When relationships veer into harmful territory, he suggests that establishing barriers can protect well-being.

“Christ never calls us to allow ourselves to be actively abused by other people. That’s not what sacrificial love is about,” Guzman adds.

This episode contains great advice for confronting the hard truths about toxic relationships with prayer, fasting, and a commitment to personal growth to overcome them!

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Lord, help us love our neighbors as ourselves!

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