Buckle up kids because this one’s about to get pretty real.
Since the beginning of spring I have been reading a lot of posts and articles about mental spring cleaning; Taking care of your mental health, dumping of all of those negative thoughts swirling around in your head or getting rid of toxic relationships in your life.
I have definitely been outspoken about all of these points in the past, yet numero three is something I haven’t had to tackle a lot. Sure, I have “left” friendships before because I felt like I was being treated unfairly, but mostly those situations were mutual partings and I wouldn’t necessarily call those relationships “toxic”.
There have however been a few instances where in hindsight I think the label “toxic” might have been fitting. I have had some friends that definitely weren’t happy for my successes and made me feel bad or guilty for having them. I started to think I didn’t deserve them because that is what I was told all the time. Being told that Almost everything was my fault, getting blamed for things that were logically IMPOSSIBLE for me to have done, I started to push my own happiness to the side. Realising that that kind of behavior was actually harming me, my mental health and my self-esteem is one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. I now again find myself at a crossroad and for the first time in a really long time, I am unsure of what to do.
Some of you might remember from my post about my personality type that my type generally is very picky and careful when it comes to making friends. We tend to look for soulmates in friendships, someone we can connect with on a deeper level. If I think about all of my amazing friends, I know that this trait is definitely accurate when it comes to me. It takes a lot for me to let somebody in – let alone trust them – and I will only do so if I feel 100% comfortable with that person. I generally stay away from surface-level friendships because what’s the point?
In my 19 years of life, more than half of my time has been spent sitting in a classroom. Now lets talk about the friends you make in school because I find those friendships to make up a category of their own. Studies have actually shown that children and teens are more likely to be friends with a person if they sit next to them in class. Throughout my school career, I have found this to be incredibly true. Having a partner to complain with and overcome challenges with definitely builds trust and friendship. You feel like you are both “in this together”, partners in crime so to speak.
What happens after school ends, you might ask? In my experience there are two scenarios that can occur: a) you both continue to invest time and effort into the friendship and end up remaining friends or b) you start to grow apart, talking less and less to each other until one day, that friend is just the person you sat next to in school. My point is, there’s a 50/50 chance once school is over. It is in those one or two crucial years after school that you start to see what friendships are purely based on circumstance (and nothing more) and which of them actually turned into more throughout your time together.
Circling back to the gist of this whole post – toxic friendships – I dare to ask this: How do you know? Growing up, I always saw “the top 10 red flags in any relationship/friendship” splattered across the pages of countless magazins, those top few flags always being that they were using you, being passive aggressive towards you, always talking about themselves and never listening to you, yada yada. But what about those few instances where it isn’t that straight-forward? How do you know then?
I should maybe explain that this post, or rather the subject matter of it, is something that I am very much going through right now. I am not going to go into my dilemma in detail, as I think it would be disrespectful to the person this concerns. Let’s just say that in between all of the I-miss-you’s and when-can-we-see-each-other-again’s I started to notice a pattern when it came to our friendship. All I know right now is that I feel incredibly betrayed and hurt because to me, it seems like I am giving more than I am receiving. And when you consider someone to be one of your best friends, a realisation like that definitely stings. The saying that actions speak louder than words definitely applies to this sticky situation I find myself in presently.
Where am I going with this? I think a lot of the time we can be too caught up in a friendship and therefore overlook certain instances we know are not right. For me, I think that I sometimes so desperately want a friendship to work out that a lot of the time I let myself be treated unfairly, even though I know it’s not right. I ignore those “red flags” that are right in front of my face and try to “not turn everything into a drama” because that is what I was told the first and only time I tried to bring something up that actually hurt me. Letting go of a friendship can be hard, but it is in times like this where I wonder if holding on to it might be harder.
I hope you all enjoyed this post/rant, it was definitely a more personal one. I wanted to end this by referring you to a video about toxic people and relationships that I found extremely eye-opening and informative.