A Toxic Friendship

Have you ever had a friendship that was toxic?  It happened to me a number of years ago and I still think about it.  I’m proud that I had the courage to end it, but I miss the friendship.  I didn’t really realize it at the time, but in retrospect I can see how difficult this friendship really was.  Although it was hard, I learned a lot about myself through it all.  Friendships come and go sometimes, especially when you are young, but when it happens as an adult, I think that if you take the time to think about it, as painful as it might be, there is much self-knowledge to gain.

I know that I present only my side, but it always felt as if there were a heavy burden on me.  Everything that I said and did was over analyzed.  ‘Why did you say that?’  ‘You should have said this’ and on and on.  It was just too hard.  I tend to be somewhat of a ‘peacemaker’ and so I went along and tried to adapt and ‘say the right thing’.  The interesting thing is that I didn’t even recognize it at the time.  It took years to slowly become aware that I was being smothered and it was then that I began to distance myself. 

I probably could have handled it differently and been more confrontational but that isn’t my nature.  I simply tend to walk away.  Years later I can honestly say that I miss the friendship but not the toxicity.  I feel good about the fact that I did something about it.  It has been really revelational.  I now have a clearer idea about who I am and what I give and don’t give in friendships (and relationships). 

It’s a grown-up thing, I suppose.

16 thoughts on “A Toxic Friendship

  1. I tend to walk away. So do I Andie. And since I accommodate a lot, it can take me a long time before I realize how toxic, life-taking instead of life-giving, a relationship can be.
    Yes, one misses the relationship, the friendship, but another part of ourselves yells YES at the top of its lungs.

  2. I did walk away from one, and it’s funny how afterwards, when I looked back on it, I saw how really one-sided the friendship was. Most of the interaction, and talk, happened to suit only the friend. But still, we do learn from them, life never ceases to teach us a lesson or two!

  3. I tend to walk away myself Andie. I’m not a feather ruffler by nature, and find distancing myself from an unpleasant situation to be the easiest way to handle things.

    I think Claire was right when she suggested that even though part of us misses the friendship, the other part of us yells YES!


  4. Andie – walking away from any relationship that has become toxic is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. You have to trust your instincts and never second-guess it.

    We all know when someone in our life has become toxic; letting go of them is no easy task and yet it is amazing how much free-er and happier our lives feel when it’s behind us.

    Yup – been there, done that.

    1. You truly speak as one who has been through it Kris. It still stings when I see this person, but you are so right, we must trust our instincts – even if it took a long time for me to recognize them.

  5. You know, I don’t think I’ve had a toxic friendship — or maybe I have been blind to them? I don’t know…a good question for sure…and one that will prompt me to think about my friendships and what they give and take.

    At any rate, I would think it would be incredibly hard to end any friendship…I get a pit in my stomach just thinking about it. So I admire yours strength and courage, Andie!

  6. Andie, I heard a preacher say recently that whatever doesn’t add value to your life you should walk away from. I think that real friendships add value to your life. Sadly, I’ve also been in the position where I had to walk away from a friendship that I also still miss.

  7. Andie, I am sorry to read about what you been through. I too was in a toxic friendship with a flatmate from hell a few years ago. To cut the story short, I made a brave decision to walk away when her toxicity got too much to bear with. Want you to know that you are not alone and you made a wise choice ending it when that person chooses to be toxic for life.

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