You know the affect abusive relationships can have on your mental health but did you know the toxic friend can have the same affect?
When I was younger I remember my father telling me to be careful who you chose to be your friends. Who knew I’d have to need to hear these words when I was 40 years old.
I had two situations where I thought these people were my friends; I had to learn the hard way. I befriended one of my daycare moms and she had really helped me when I needed someone. After six years, she was becoming demanding and expecting me to take her daughter any time, any day. It got to the point where I ended up changing and canceling plans to accommodate her. I was beginning to feel used and she didn’t care. I was noticing my other job was slacking and I was feeling confined to the house because I never knew when she was coming to pick her daughter up. I was told by many people that she was affecting me in a bad way and I needed to cut ties with her. My health and well-being comes first, so I did it and unfortunately was not on good terms.
I had another situation and it was at the same time as the daycare mom. I had a new next-door neighbours move in five years ago and her and I became friends quickly. She was there to talk to, she helped me with the daycare. We were spending a lot of time together after my ex husband and I separated. We would take turns going to each others’ houses for coffee/tea, then we’d be going to McDonald’s for breakfast/lunch. She was always complaining about her boyfriend or son and if I wanted to talk about something I had problems with, she would have a quick answer and revert to her complaining. That was the first sign. Then I would start getting texts from her asking if I’d want to walk to the convenient store with her. I would say “maybe later, I’m working right now”. She knew I was a web designer and worked from home, eventually I heard a comment from her that really caused concern for me “Are you really working or just sitting on your as watching TV?”. I was trying to get through to her that I NEED to work, but I was getting text after text, her making plans for us to take the daycare kids on outings. After I was finished with the daycare, it got worse; more texts and now coming to the door without notice. The sad thing is, I know she wasn’t aware of what she was doing. To this day I know she can’t figure out why I don’t talk to her anymore.
With both situations, I noticed something was wrong; I was losing clients, wasn’t feeling happy, was very anxious, always watching my back and losing sleep. I was feeling like I did something wrong to attract these kind of people.
I needed to eliminate the negativity in my life, so I did.
There are a few ways you will know how relationships are toxic:
1/ The belittle you – put you down, always find faults
2/ You feel drained, stressed, self-critical
3/ Your behaviour changes when you’re around them; walk on eggshells to avoid conflict or criticism
If you find yourself in a toxic friendship, just remember that it’s not you, it’s them. It could be that they’re jealous or just like dominating people.
If you feel the friendship is worth saving, deal with it as soon as possible and have an honest discussion.
Otherwise, don’t be afraid to end the friendship and make a clean break, if need be.
Friendships are supposed to be positive and lift you up. You need to surround yourself with positive, caring people.