Why We Cling To Nasty People


“You may know someone, someone you consider to be a good person, who puts up with another who makes her life miserable.”  ~ Jay Carter, Nasty People: How to Stop Being Hurt by Them Without Becoming One of Them

Being A “Fixer”

I lead RADiCAL divorce recovery support groups and the stories are heartbreaking. Early on, the deep sadness and despair is always palpable in the room. We, as women, always think we can fix things and hope dies hard.

The problem with wanting to fix things is that often this desire is at the cost of us being treated with any respect. Often, even after husbands reveal a long-term affair or after they come to us and say, “I just don’t love you anymore,” we continue to put up with them while they make no real attempts to change and continue making us miserable.

We tell ourselves,“It’s just a phase … he’ll come back to his senses.” Or we say, “I’m not willing to give up my marriage without a fight;” or “I still love him.”

We continue to let him hurt us, belittle us and invalidate us while he is sleeping with, living with or having an emotional, spiritual or physical affair with someone else. We let them treat us in a way that we would never allow anyone to treat someone we love.

Enough Is Enough

I know someone personally (ahem) who allowed herself to be treated this way for three long, agonizing, torturous years.

As we were trying to fix our marriage, he’d say things like, “We could work this out if you weren’t so unforgiving;” Or “ I said I’m sorry; we can’t have a life if you’re always so angry.”  Or, “I still love you, but she’s my soul mate.”  And “I deserve to be happy.”

He goes on being a nasty person and we go on being the victim. Jay Carter, in his book, Nasty People, says, “You tend to have no respect for someone who has no self-respect.” There comes a point when our friends finally start saying, “Let him go.” They start losing respect for us as we continue to let someone treat us in such a selfish, abusive way.

Let Him Go

As Christian women, we want to give him every single chance to change. I think God honors our desire to fix our marriage and all of our efforts to do that. But I think we have to realize that God also says that we are His beloved and it is not in His will for us to be treated like garbage.

If your wasband has chosen another path, you cannot change that. You will be blessed for letting him go and finding the new life God has waiting for you.

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet as you leave that home or town.” ~ Matthew 10:14 (NIV)

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About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.


  1. Margaret Schoelman July 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Hi Suzy,
    This was wonderful and so so true. Thank you for your emails. So encouraging.


  2. Linda Kitten July 27, 2017 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    Codependency and Narcissist… I figured it out after he discarded me. Thankful to have been set free. God is doing wonderful things to take care of me.

  3. Tippy Volland March 21, 2018 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    This hits home so much and hard with me. Exactly what I have been doing the past 18 months. I was even given a two page written list of what I needed to change/ improve. But I still grovel, beg and pray. What is wrong with me?

  4. Numila Parker March 21, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    There is nothing wrong with US. We ARE good enough . Please find the strength in your faith and see your real self- worth to carry on . To model resiliency, integrity and courage to let go of those who deem you worthless . Very inspiring words Suzy. I know many who have experiemced all that you have described here… and have felt empowered by your words . Thank you

  5. Heather May 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    A very strong yes to all you’ve said here. It has been the hardest thing to do, but letting go of my husband was what I had to do to hold on to God and my self-worth. Thank you for putting this into words and affirming what I know is healthy for me. God has been so tender and merciful in this process. I still have mostly hard days but they are better than living with someone who resented and betrayed me.

  6. Esther E. Gutierrez June 29, 2018 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for these words of affirmation!

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