A bit more of a serious post today. I’ve come back from my unplanned blogging break with the weight of some unpleasant experiences still on me.
So, I figured, I should write about them. It’s not what happened that I dwell on so much, but more what it’s highlighted for me.
This year, I had my first toxic friendship. While I’m sure there have been a few in the past, I’m now grown up enough to have it be very obvious to me when I’m dealing with someone who has a few issues. Honestly though, that’s kind of a nice way to put it.
When I started at my new school, I didn’t expect to do so well socially. I think a lot of people, at the back of their mind at least, have this idea that they’d like to be more popular- that it could be different this time. In the spirit of fresh starts, I would become more likeable. A real people person.
Did that happen? Sure, yes and no. I did seem to hit it off with people. I branched out, remained chatty and happy, said yes a few times and just like that, I found myself friends. By the end of the day, I even had a best friend, which was just.. crazy.
This was my toxic friendship and yet sometimes I catch myself wondering if I’d like my time back.
For the past two and a half months, I’d absolutely blossomed socially. My weekends were jam packed with hangouts and movie dates and well, best friend time was.. all the time. It was new and exciting and very well could’ve been the start of a happy new chapter.
In healthy relationships, the give and take ratio is balanced. In toxic relationships however, it fails to exist. This is no hate post, let me make that clear. This is just real, honest writing in the hopes that I can work through this better and maybe help one of you.
My “best friend,” among many other things, was manipulative, deceiving, cold, calculated, uncaring, dangerous, scheming and a liar. She was also clever though, you know? She put up a good front, so it took me a while to realise what I was dealing with. In fact, I was smack bang in the middle when it finally occurred to me that my relationship with her was crossing lines and hurting me. I feel sometimes like my past experiences mean I struggle that little bit more with identifying motives and cutting off people.
It was a curious relationship, I suppose. I went into it being warned from the very start about who this girl was, but also wanting to make my own judgement. I felt it was important to give people a chance and then decide for yourself.
When it came to the big fight we had, right when I decided I wanted out, the deal breaker.. she told me I was gullible. I found that almost funny. It was ironic in how the only reason she had a friend was because I’d taken a chance on her, despite the fact that I’d been so heavily warned against it. It turns out that everyone was wary of her, even the teachers. That’s the thing really- often times the people around you will be able to see a situation for what it is, even if you at that point can’t.
The more clear it became to me that I was dealing with somebody who was bad intentioned, the more I wanted to dedicate time to thought, reflection and self care. She had thought I could be played like a game and she let me know that. It wasn’t on. I know myself- I am a kind person and I am not like her. I didn’t recognise what she was doing simply because I’d never be able to think in the ways she does. For that, I feel very blessed.
Manipulators, even when you tell them little vulnerable information about yourself, are experts at teasing out what they want to know. They study you, make note of your patterns and weaknesses and use that to their advantage. My best friend noticed that I was a little lonely, a little sad, a little more distanced from other people. She bought me food, movie tickets. We went out. Her parents helped me when I needed it. It’s funny how even kindness can be something so different to what it seems.
It remember times when she’d compliment me, for instance.. but she was so insincere. She’d tell me I look pretty and then add “not that you don’t everyday..” or try to make me feel insecure. She might as well have been hating on me because while the words were different, it all felt the same.
My best friend told me once that I’m someone she’d never fight with. I always took that to mean that I’m someone she can push to breaking point. Her parents liked me.. told her I was the only friend she needed. Was that in the hopes that I’d reform her? I’ll probably never know and don’t really want to either. That’s okay.
Our friendship fell apart the day she set me up. I didn’t realise it until after, but it was perfect. She knew I’d struggle to know what to do and I did. When she blamed me afterwards, I was confused as to whether or not it was my fault, even though logically I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.
For people in toxic relationships, please remember that the one who is hurting you shouldn’t be allowed to win. Know your value. Prioritise happiness and peace of mind. Walk away. Above all though, know that for every day you stay in a relationship that doesn’t serve you, you rob yourself of the chance to have something better… and that is the saddest thing of all. People tend not to change. Especially toxic people… and if they do, it’s rarely enough to make a difference. Remember, if it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.