Friday, 29 March 2013

Let's discuss: Toxic friendships

-Image from Pinterest.

hello lovelies, today I'm writing a bit of a different post. I haven't written anything of this sort on my blog before but I want to make it a bit more personal with a few of these posts popping up every now and again. Before I start, I just want to make it clear that I am aware that I don't know everything about friendships etc, I'm just chatting about my own experiences and such. Obviously I'm not using this post as a way to humiliate anyone in any way so I won't be mentioning any names or anything. This is going to be a long one so get comfy and grab a cuppa...

How do you know if the person you think of as your best friend is actually the reason why you are miserable all the time? Well it seems simple, but really it isn't. Looking back, it's ridiculous how long I allowed someone to make me so miserable without me even seeing her do it. The most worrying thing is how genuinely terrified I became of someone who was supposed to be my best friend.

Before I go into detail let's look at the signs that you're involved in a toxic friendship. A toxic friend is essentially someone who that constantly makes you feel emotionally drained, upset or bad about yourself. Here's my 15 signs of a toxic friendship:

1. This is an obvious yet very true one that I doubt many people listen to (I know I didn't). If you find your friend bitching and bringing others down to you, she/he is almost definitely doing the same about you to others. It may seem as if you're just close for you to be able to do this together but if you look at the people that she is bitching about it could reveal more. For example, is she bitching about a girl/boy that they have a mutual dislike of one another? Or does this boy/girl that she is talking about think that they are close friends?

2. If you find yourself not telling them your good news because you know that they will ruin it by saying something negative.

3. If you would rather saw your own legs off with a blunt spoon than leave her alone with your boyfriend/girlfriend.

4. Do you feel uneasy or a sense of dread when you hear that they have been invited along somewhere with you and your other friends? Or when you see their name appear on your phone.

5. Do they make your private information public knowledge? For example, have you found a lot more people know about that really bad argument with your boyfriend than you originally thought? "I thought it wasn't a big deal.. I only told one person" is the response..

6. Is "but we've been friends since primary school" your excuse for keeping your friendship alive?

7. Nothing is ever their fault. After she/he has hurt you by saying/doing something, it's your fault for being upset by it because either: a) they didn't know it was a big deal or b) you're making a big deal out of nothing

8. Do they constantly remind you of the things that they have done for you? Like that one time seven years ago when they did a 'huge favour' for you. You still owe them for that apparently.

9. Are you made to feel guilty over something that is their wrong-doing not yours?

10. You're a bad friend if you have other commitments in life. Everything that you do that doesn't involve them must be dropped immediately at their beck and call. Otherwise you 'obviously don't care about your friendship'

11. Are you problems that you need advice for met with pure negativity and after talking to them you feel worse about them?

12. You feel bad about who you are whenever you are with them not because you were insecure already but because they constantly make you feel that way.

13. Are you made to feel completely stupid for expressing something that differs from their own view?

14. Have you found that they transform into another person in an attempt to impress someone at your expense...

15.  Does ending the friendship make you fear for your physical safety?

So I thought it might be a quite useful to add in my own personal experience with a toxic friendship and how I eventually dealt with it. However I'd like to point out that I don't think I dealt with it in the way I probably should have, but it's easy to say that now that I'm not in the situation any more. Obviously I cannot sum up a whole two years worth of friendship in one post. I did share some really good memories with her but eventually the bad began to outweigh the good over the last year of our friendship.
I first noticed that my friendship with my best friend changed when I met my boyfriend. Now I know that is probably normal especially when a relationship is only just starting out because you tend to spend a lot of time together. The thing is though, my best friend and my boyfriend actually became friends which I loved. I always made sure that I wasn't cancelling plans with her and I made the same amount of time for her as I always did but gradually our friendship just really didn't feel right any more. It just felt like at any opportunity she could, she would try and make my life difficult or make me feel like crap somehow.

It's crazy how jealousy can change a person so much. When I first met my boyfriend is when her jealous streak really came out in the open. Just before I was going to leave to meet my boyfriend for our first date, she basically made me feel so crap about my appearance and personality that I was a complete nervous wreck the whole time. At any opportunity she could, she would make out that I left her for my boyfriend , that I was a bad friend and that I didn't care about her. When in my eyes, all I was doing was trying to keep her happy- which was an impossible task. Whenever she could, she would start an argument with my boyfriend just so I would be in the middle of them both so she could see who I would choose. Every time an argument happened, which of course every time was my fault, my boyfriend would just apologise to her so she would stop having a go at me. Eventually, my boyfriend actually stopped talking to her completely because every time they spoke she would come over to me and say he said something horrible about her or make a snide remark about his appearance in front of everybody. Stupidly, I didn't do the same as he did. I just saw each of them separately and hoped that all this would just go away on it's own. Almost every night she would ring me ranting about her problems and I would listen and give her advice for hours on end. But she was never there if I ever needed to talk to her about anything, I was "just being dramatic".

The thing about her is that she had this ability to say something hurtful but dress it up so it looked like it was either a joke (because we were so close, she could call me ugly and I wouldn't get upset- yeah right..) or that she was constructively criticizing me. Both of which were completely untrue. It got to the point where my heart sank when I saw her sat amongst my friends in the common room in school because I knew that it would only be a matter of seconds after I sat down until a bitchy remark about what I look like or what I'm wearing is made. She clearly got some sort of thrill from humiliating me in front of my other friends- stupidly of course, I just 'laughed' it off. The thing that upset me the most through all of this was how distant I became of my other friends- all of which were my true friends. All because she managed to convince me that they didn't really like me. When one of my friends made a private facebook group that was just created so everyone could arrange when we went out over the summer and didn't add me onto it, I was confused to why I she forgot to add me. My best friend told me that she must have forgot so said she would add me onto it. Then within minutes she spitefully deleted me off it and text me saying 'if they wanted you on there they would have added you themselves. I told you they didn't like you any more hahahaha'. Why was I still friends with this girl?!?!

The breaking point of this friendship though was an incident that happened at a sixth form party. After a few drinks her attitude becomes worse and she becomes aggressive and argumentative. That night was when I knew that our friendship had completely changed and just wasn't healthy to be in. She became really aggressive and started ranting at me saying that I left my boyfriend for her, that all my friends hated me and various vile insults before actually physically attacking me. Looking back on it now, it doesn't seem that big of a deal but at the time it felt like my whole world was caving in. I got my boyfriend to pick me up from the party and I cried hysterically the whole way home. I didn't get any sleep at all that night as my head was consumed with the horror of what would happen if I broke friends with her. Stupidly I was genuinely terrified of breaking friends with this girl. The girl who made me completely miserable, terrible about my personality, appearance and everything about me.
The worse thing about it all is I believed her. I believed everything she said about me. That night I convinced myself that I was going to move schools because if I broke friends with her, I wouldn't have anybody. I was genuinely terrified that she would 'turn my friends against me' - something I didn't think at eighteen years of age would be going through my head.

I spent months on end worrying that I was some terrible person when really, nothing happened but a completely ridiculously unhealthy friendship that should have ended a long time ago. I dreaded school so much that night that I was sick. In my head, all of my friends hated me, I had nobody to talk to, I was completely alone. My boyfriend forced me to go to school and even picked me up to go for a drive at each break time because I was terrified of bumping into her. Eventually after two days I was forced to see her again in a lesson in school. But obviously, she hadn't done anything wrong. When she asked me what she had done for me to ignore her I thought I was going to explode. I remember this moment so vividly because it just sticks out to me even now.. I turned to her and said 'why would I want to talk to you after the way you treated me?'. To which she replied "why are you shaking?", without me even realising my whole body was trembling, like literally shaking like crazy. I remember this moment so well because it just shows the extent of the fear I had for this girl. Why on earth did I let essentially just another human terrify me so much? Standing up to her made me feel physically sick and my hands were shaking so much I couldn't even hide it. The last week in school was tough as I couldn't get away from her and I didn't tell my friends what was happening.

That was the last I ever saw of her as she ended up moving to another school to resit her a-levels. I haven't had a conversation with her since any of that happened which is sad as it's not nice to have a friendship end like that but when it's making you miserable it's not worth the hurt. I cut myself off from any contact with her and eventually she got the message that I was done playing games. After a while, I told my true friends what was happening and they were shocked to find out what was going on without them knowing. A few of my friends are still friends with her and tell me that she is still months on making bitchy comments and indirect tweets about me but I can honestly say that I don't care any more. I've finally stopped someone so negative have an effect on me and I'm no longer letting someone else control my happiness. Now I've completely cut myself off from negativity like that I can't even begin to explain how much happier I am now. I love where I am in my life at the moment. I have an amazing close group of friends, a wonderful caring boyfriend and no room for negative people.

I hope that by sharing my experience it has helped someone in some way at all. If you ever need to chat to someone feel free to email or tweet me. But please remember that if you're going through something similar- your world will not end if you break friends with this person, you're probably much better off without them bringing you down.

4 comments:

  1. Wow such an emotive, and amazing post Ellie. I'm sorry you had to go through that and I too was involved in a toxic friendship which now I'm out of, I can appreciate but when I was in it I was blind :( xxx

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    1. Thank you, Gemma, it means a lot! It's so hard to see it at the time isn't it! At least it's over now xxx

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  2. This made me feel so emotional! It sounds like such a horrible situation and as if she was emotionally blackmailing you and making it seem like you were the one in the wrong. I really hope you are okay now, you deserve every right to be happy. Even after everything she did to you, you haven’t disclosed her name or anything nasty or personal, such a mature approach to a horrible situation.

    Lots of love xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    www.charlotte-eliza-king.com

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    1. Such a lovely comment, Charlotte, thank you. Just had a little read of your blog earlier, it's lovely!
      xxx

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