Tale of a Toxic Friendship

Yesterday, as I was going to get my daughter from school, there was a girl on the radio trying to get advice on what to do regarding a decade long friendship that was obviously an unhealthy one. As I listened, I wanted so badly to tell her to let that friendship go. I wanted to share with her my experience with a toxic unhealthy friendship. I didn’t call in, but decided to put it out there and pray that whoever needs to find it, will!

More than 15 years ago, I became friends with a girl I had known for a long time. We had not been friends in the years before; but now we were put in circumstances where we were able to develop a friendship. From the very beginning, many people warned me that the friendship was not a wise one. She did things right away that made me feel betrayed and left me worried that she might not be as good as a friend as I was hoping. Yet, I defended her. I said she was a different person. I said, she didn’t mean to betray me; she just didn’t know how to be a good friend because she’d never had a real female friend before. I told people she was still learning how to be a good friend. I said that she didn’t mean the mean things she said. I made excuse after excuse for her. I tried to always be available. I tried to always take her side. I tried to always be a peacemaker.

So many things happened over the years I was her friend. At least three times, I quit talking to her for several months because something she said or did was so terrible that I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her. I always forgave her, even though she never asked me to, not even once!

So, what made me finally cut ties with her? One day after she’d said something particulary cruel about me to one of my daughters and my husband ( something she knew was at the heart and soul of one of my biggest insecurities and struggles) I came to realize that I was actually being abused. She had torn me down to the point that I felt like I wasn’t good at anything. I felt like I was a bad person and a bad friend. She used my insecurities to hurt me over and over again. The more I was struggling, the happier she was. If I was feeling good about anything, she would bring up something that would immediately tear me back down.That, my friends, is the very definition of a toxic relationship! I felt like I was at the bottom of a deep hole that I had allowed her to drop me into little by little and if I ever started climbing out, she was right there ready to push me back down.

Once I realized this, I was done. I never spoke to her again. I occasionally will see her out in the town. I am cordial and that is all. I am working very hard on forgiving her. Even when that happens, I will NEVER be her friend again. I will never allow myself to be put into a situation where my feelings don’t matter. I will never waste my time on someone who is negative and nasty.

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I now have a couple of wonderful friends. Women who are there for me and I am there for them.  They are women who are happy for me when I am happy, sad for me when I am sad, proud of me in my accomplishments and who would never think of hurting me to make themselves feel better. I appreciate these friendships even more because I know how special they are.

If you are in any relationship where you do not feel love or support, or where you feel like you are being torn down and made to feel negatively, then you are in a TOXIC RELATIONSHIP. You don’t deserve to be treated like that. You deserve love, support, loyalty, and goodness. Walk away. It may be hurt for a minute, but staying in a relationship like that will leave scars that could hurt a lifetime.

 

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