Below is a transcript of my imagined conversation with a toxic friend whom I have recently taken the most difficult decision to remove from my friends :
Her: Hey, I just noticed that I am not on your friends list anymore. Why is that?
Me: You’ve just noticed? Really? It’s only been a couple of months!
Her: Well, I do have hundreds of friends you know.
Me: I do know.
Her: So I don’t need you then.
Me: And now you know why…
Wondering why I had this conversation with myself in my head? Because, even though I have come to realise that this particular person is a toxic friend to me, I have been friends with her for a long time. And it was hard for me to let her go. And I am still in that process of letting go. As a person who has a tendency to worry about things and blame myself for things, I guess I am probably at that guilty stage of what I have done. I am aware, though, that I have not done this to her, rather I have done this for me.
Of all the people I have known in my life – and no I personally have not had hundreds of friends and I actually doubt that I personally even know a hundred people but I have and do know a fair number – none have taken me for granted more than she. Why did I let her do it? Because I actually felt (or made myself feel) that she was a real friend to me.
I must say that I am lucky enough to actually have one or two genuine friends now and being that older and (hopefully) wiser person has allowed me to see people for who they genuinely are, well most people anyway. And after having a lengthy conversation about toxic friends I went home, opened my eyes and realised that I actually had one of those too. And as I sat there, staring at the screen of her latest belittlement attempt, it finally dawned on me that she had NEVER been a true friend. She had always, in fact, been toxic to me.
She was the type of friend who used me to go places with her – and I realised only now that when she had someone else to go to those places with, she actually left me out. The type of friend that used to talk crap into my ear about everyone else around her and how much she despised them (including others in our own circle of friends) saying things that made me believe (in my naivety) that they were actually horrid to her and mean about me. And I have only now realised that her actions must have come from a deep desire to possess me. After all, you can’t have that handy friend hanging around waiting for your call if they are running around with the other friends! The type of friend who used to – and still does – make throw away remarks that are designed to hurt. And even though I am still going through this process of letting go, I actually do feel better already. The weight of someone else’s negativity can really leave you with a heavy heart. In light of my discovery, I felt I had to arm myself with the knowledge of what a toxic person is, what they can do to you and your self-esteem and how to rid yourself of them and their toxic ways. I found some very interesting pages.
Wikihow has an article showing you how to recognise a toxic friend. You can find that link here: http://www.wikihow.com/Recognize-a-Toxic-Friend
And according to an article on iVillage, there are 6 types of toxic friends, as follows:
1. The Promise Breaker
2. The Double-crosser
3. The Self-absorbed
4. The Discloser
5. The Competitor
6. The Fault-finder
I think that some toxic friends can be represented by more than one aspect on the above list. That very interesting article can be found here:http://www.ivillage.com/6-types-toxic-friends-and-how-you-can-deal-them/4-a-283671
It also gives suggestions of how to deal with these toxic people. After all, we don’t always have the option of throwing them straight out the door of our lives.
And Dr Maxwell has some interesting suggestions for recognising toxic people and eradicating them from your life. that can be found here: http://www.askdrmaxwell.com/2013/07/toxic-people-and-how-to-avoid-them/
There are many, many, many more articles relating to this topic and if you Google search, you will surely find an abundance of information relating to toxic friendships and toxic people in general (including in the workplace). Of course, it always helps to ask yourself if you are in any way perpetuating the negativity and toxicity of this person towards you. But in saying that, you wouldn’t and shouldn’t stand for abuse from a partner or loved one and to my mind, this is no different – no one should have to tolerate a friend who uses and abuses!
Now I know that all friendships have their ups and downs and most times you just deal with it and get on with life. But these type of people actually make you feel less of a person and when you have had one around for years of your life, it can actually be quite draining. This is a friend who, if you were to do a checklist for good and bad, would have a stream of writing under the bad and one or two things (if any at all) under the good. I don’t know why this friend was this way to me. I will probably never know. I could ask her, but do I really want to and then dive back into those murky waters I have only just managed to escape? No I don’t!
What do you think about toxic people? Do you think they exist? Have you ever had a toxic friend? What would you do with toxic people in your life? Let me know in the comments below :)
Copyright © 200913 by Karen Payze