Identifying a toxic friendship to save yourself

We’ve all had them at one point or another.  The friend (or friends) that treats you badly and then apologizes, blows up at something you say for no reason, who makes you feel like you ar walking on eggshells around them.

I’ve had them.  Even in my adult life there has been someone who, for whatever reason, would blow up, blame me for everything, never took responsibility for her own actions, and would then come back an apologize to me.  Up until just recently, we would talk it out and would be on good terms again.

We used to live right near each other.  We would spend many days together doing normal every day things.  Grocery shopping, scrapbooking, baking…. Sometimes (ok many times) just sitting around laughing.  But if I said something she viewed in a different way, or if I didn’t do something she asked, I was the bad guy and she would get mad and blame me.

Initially, the first couple times, I would actually sit and rack my mind trying to think of something I did, didn’t do, said, or didn’t say that would actually validate her being mad at me.  She would approach me months later and apologize for her reaction, say things like “I was in a bad place and shouldn’t have done that”, etc.  And me, being a forgiving person, would accept her apology and move on…..until it happened again. And again. And again.

Now I know what you are thinking.  “Why did you give her so many chances?”  Honestly?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because when we had good times, they were really good.  The good outweighed the bad.  (Even as I’m typing this I keep thinking…. This sounds like an abusive relationship where I keep going back. How stupid!

Then my family moved an hour away.  At the time we moved, she was having a downward spiral moment and we weren’t speaking.  And I was good with that.  I needed to distance myself to focus on what was important to me and this move helped put a physical distance between us.

A few months ago she reached out to me again.  And me being the idiot I was, allowed her to.  She was going through some personal issues in her marriage, her family’s financials, and more.  I allowed myself to be someone she could vent to when she didn’t have anyone else to talk to about it.  I got sucked in.  Looking back I think it was because I’ve always been the type of person that wanted to help others.  I always wanted to help fix people’s problems.

A couple days ago the shit hit the fan.  I apologize to any of you that are offended with my language, but it really is the best way to describe what went down.  Long story short, she lashed out at my husband and me, saying she couldn’t trust us, that she couldnt confide in us, and that they would find somewhere else to stay (they were going to stay with us for a week in between moving out of their old house and into a new one because they had nowhere else to go).  Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy.  I was beyond angry.  We had done nothing wrong.  All we can come up with is she got caught doing something she shouldn’t have been doing and was angry at us for that.  Rediculous. 

I told my husband, I’m done.  They aren’t staying here even if she comes back and apologizes.  No further texts will be answered, no phone calls taken, nothing.  I can not continue to allow myself to be sucked back in because it doesn’t just affect me, it affects my family.  They come first and I refuse to put myself in that position any longer.

So onto identifying toxic relationships….

  • It feels like you can’t do anything right, they are constantly putting you down
  • Everything is about them, you can’t ever express your opinions, they always have to have the last word
  • You can’t enjoy good moments with them
  • You can’t be yourself around them
  • They try to hold you back and prevent you from growing and changing
  • They put you down, criticize, or demean you 
  • They are hostile or angry a lot.  You experience tension and stress when interacting with this person
  • They frequently take you on guilt trips
  • You are blamed for their own emotions
  • You dread seeing them and are relieved when they leave
  • They rely on you for everything
  • He/she won’t admit their own flaws
  • You begin to have negative physical symptoms.  Stomach aches, headaches, insomnia, etc.
  • Your relationship gives you whiplash.  It goes from good to bad in less than a second.

Since “kicking her to the curb” (deciding once and for all that I’m done with the relationship) I feel so much better.  I’m calmer, happier, and just overall in a more positive place.  I’ve always said that if you surround yourself with positive people, you will be positive.  Whereas if you are surrounded by negative people, you will be negative.  

You are important and you deserve to have relationships that are uplifting and positive.  If you think you are in a toxic relationship, step back and think about if it really is a good one, or if it is just dragging you down.  If it is a toxic relationship…… Just follow Elsa’s advice and “Let it go!”

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