I’ve been putting off this blog post for weeks now, despite always wanting to write about it. I have a few reasons for that, but I think the key thing is that writing about the toxic friendships I’ve had in the past is opening up old wounds. However, I think that talking about this stuff is good. And so, let’s talk about toxic friendships.
What do I mean by toxic? I guess I mean, friendships that seem harmless enough, sometimes the ones that you find yourself totally invested in, sometimes those that keep you guessing. Everyone seems to put emotional and physical abuse in the realm of intimate, loving ‘couple’ relationships when in fact, anyone in your circle is capable of doing that to you.
For example, when I was in primary school – I must have been about 6 at the time, I was best friends with a girl. One day, she decided she didn’t really want to be my friend anymore. She decided to bully me instead. She’d kick me under the table, but be holding my hand above it. You’re best friends, of course she’s not bullying you. She had me so wrapped around her finger that when she told me to walk up to another girl in our class and whisper something abusive at her, I did it without question. And when the girl burst into tears and went to the teacher, I denied I had done it, because that was what my friend had told me to do. It wasn’t until later that I told my mum the truth and I moved schools. Funnily enough, she’d been moved out too, because I was bullying her.
At such a young age, I got over that pretty quickly. I remember it, obviously, but I don’t let it define me anymore. I don’t think of that girl often anymore and I don’t particularly care to find out – we lead completely separate lives. In high school, somebody told me that they had been bullied by her too.
I tend to attract toxic friendships, mostly because I’m an extremely empathetic person, but also because I’m an easy target. I will give you hours of my time whenever it is needed – and that is something that people will take advantage of.
The other trouble is, I get attached. A friendship isn’t easy to cut off for me. It hurts, I pine for the relationship we once had, even when it went badly wrong. I see the good in people even when they’re stabbing me in the back. I am a toxic friendship’s wildest dream.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that letting go is the kindest thing you can do to yourself. It’s incredibly difficult, and you’ll always have some fond memories to look back on – you were, at one time, good friends with the person after all. Friendships are kind of risky, because you can never be sure whether they’re going to work out – sometimes it’s about taking that leap of faith and, if the friendship begins to turn toxic, getting out before it’s too late.
Time heals the wounds, certainly, but toxic friendships also harden you. They make you wary of new friendships. You constantly question who has what intentions. Unfortunately that is life.
Every once in a while, we’ll meet and become friends with people who aren’t good for us. But, the way I see it, as that they were good at one point. So be thankful you had them, be glad it’s over and be happy with whoever you’ve got beside you right now.