Have you ever questioned yourself as a person after too many “friendships” ended or seemed to have “expiry dates”?
This was a question asked to me by a young woman who had yet again been unceremoniously dumped by her ‘friend’.
She felt used and expendable.
Unfortunately, this behavior is common not only among young people but adults too. I’ve been in her position. I told her I knew how it felt. She’s not alone. This is a topic that comes up frequently with young people I talk to. You may want to check out another blog I did about it. Click here.
This discussion can apply to any relationship–whether it be friendship, romantic, or otherwise you need to determine the issue of toxicity and go from there.
It’s interesting (and a little sad) though how many people experience similar situations or feelings and yet still get sucked in again and again.
Is it stupidity? Too much trust? Or a willingness to forgive and move on?
I think it’s probably a combination of all of those.
It’s easy to tell yourself that it won’t happen again.
Once the initial blow of being dumped is over the brain goes into overdrive: If that person phones, I won’t answer. And I’d never accept the apology or excuse. The friendship is over. I’m a wonderful person and I deserve to be treated better.
Then a week later there’s a tearful phone from the so-called friend. It’s filled with platitudes, excuses, and the inevitable …can we get together… It’s half invite and half condescending double talk which probably means that she can’t find anyone else to do her bidding.
You want to scream bloody murder and tell them what you really think. You want to say Go f*ck yourself. Rightgeous indignation fills you to a point of boiling over and spilling onto the ground. You clamp your jaw tight, squeeze your eyes closed against the barrage of words… a fist forms at your side.
I need you, they say. I love you, they continue. I made a mistake.
The words you hear become a balm to your wounds. You put all the pain on the back burner. You want to know why they called. Do they really love you? Are they really sorry?
This is where you need to stand back and access your own behaviour and emotional baggage in such a toxic relationship. If you step back into that scenario and not discuss the prior hurt and complications or deal with issues between the two of you then you’re not helping the situation.
Being a friend is a privilege granted by you to others and it’s therefore up to you to enter any such relationship with your own standards of how you will treat others, as well as what treatment you expect from others. If they cross those lines then it spells the end.
If you are constantly getting dumped for no apparent reason and/or are being used, you also need to carefully look at your own behavior.
Where is the toxicity in the relationship/friendship?
Identify your own toxic behavior too.
Are you a “yes” person? A people pleaser? This is not for blame but for understanding.
A true friend doesn’t dump you after getting what they want.
My advice would be to not answer that inevitable phone call and move on without that person in your life. If they’re part of a larger group and you can’t get away from them, then be polite and keep your distance.
You already know what they’re about and it isn’t you.
Toxic Behaviour includes things like:
Being manipulative—trying to make things go a certain way.
Having to always be right— a toxic person will lie to be right. They’ll fight their point to the end.
Constant negativity—nothing is ever good enough, you’ll never measure up, it pounds away at your spirit and is so draining.
Telling lies especially to benefit self—they’ll throw you under the bus in a minute or dump you for new friends.
Narcissism —this is where everything is about them. It’s arrogance and ego.
Gossipy— Believe me, if they’re talking about someone else with you—they’re talking about you to someone else
Controlling—It has to always be their way—always
Cutting in on conversations—rude and thoughtless
Needing to lead the conversation—this is self centered and all about them
Drama, Drama, Drama—does it follow them? Constant crying? Boyfriend trouble? Ugh! It can be exhausting.
Judgmental—Toxic people are often critical about anything that isn’t about them.
Having to prove yourself or answer to another—this toxic behaviour means you’re always defending yourself/actions
Study the list.
Does it apply to you? Your friends? Is it all too familiar?
You’re either going to have change your own behavior if you identify with any of the list OR you’ll have to step away from others that persist in toxic behavior.
Become aware of TOXIC behavior in yourself or in those around you. It’s not something you want in your life–from yourself or others. Start walking and don’t stop.
Awareness is the first key.