Toxic Friendships

By: Sibyl Mclendon

This article is as much about life lessons as it is about toxic friendships. I learned an interesting truth about myself recently, and I just wanted to share it.

In this life, we are all here to learn lessons, and we will keep being presented with the opportunity to learn them until we get it right. One of the lessons I have to learn this time around is about the people I choose to let into my life. I used to be the kind of person who would let anyone into my life if they seemed to like me. I was emotionally needy. As I progressed, I thought that I was starting to get more discerning about this. I thought that I was learning to avoid people who were going to be negative influences and weigh me down. Some years ago, I had a friend who was a very toxic person. She was emotionally out of control, making very poor decisions and bringing a lot of negativity into my life. I made the decision to end the friendship. At the time, I attempted to do this gently, but she was very offended, and wrote me an 18-page letter, rambling and quite scary. It clearly illustrated to me that I had made a very poor decision by letting her into my life to begin with, and that I had done the right thing in cutting her loose. To be honest, I was rather pleased with myself for making the right decision. I had learned a valuable lesson! I was never going to get into that situation again! After practically wrenching my arm by patting myself on the back, on I went with my life.

About 7 years ago, I met a lady who would become my “best friend".

I gave her the keys to my kingdom, so to speak. I shared everything with her, and she with me, or so I thought. As time went on, I could clearly see that she had her own emotional baggage, but don’t we all? I certainly went through some tough times during our friendship, some of which I have shared with you in past issues. There were times that I was an emotional wreck. However, I did learn from these bad times. I grew, and moved on. I genuinely learned that I would be just as happy as I decide to be in this life. I choose to be happy here.

My friend, however, was stuck in a loop of depression, money problems and relationship unhappiness. I started to notice that she was always unhappy! Never did I talk to her and ask how she was that I got a positive response. “Never" is a strong word that I do not use lightly here. I started to check out my observations with my husband, just to see if I was being judgmental. No, he assured me that what I saw was indeed the way it was.

Even at this point, I was not considering ending the friendship. I did spend a lot of time considering the possible ways to handle this problem. I literally spent months pondering the problem, and what might be the best way to eliminate the negativity without hurting my friend. Eventually I made the decision to just point out what I was hearing from her, as gently as possible, in an attempt to allow her to step back and take a look at what she was manifesting in her life.

Bad idea! It literally blew up in my face. What I got back was an acidic personal attack on my life, my personality, my financial status… it was very insulting. At first, I was shocked. Next, I was hurt. And then, I stopped and took a long hard look at the entire situation. When I did, I just had to laugh! I had done it again! I had allowed a person into my life that was toxic to me, knowingly, willingly and with my eyes wide open. So much for all that back-patting I had done all those years before. I had sprained my arm for nothing.

Lessons have a way of coming back to bite us in the butt when we only think we have learned them. The tricky part is that they don’t always come back in the same way. They disguise themselves. If we have really, truly learned the lesson we recognize them. If we only think we have learned the lesson, we will fall right into the trap again. I like to think now that I will be a lot more cautious the next time I am thinking of allowing someone into my energy as a friend. In reality, I can only hope. I do know that toxic people can come in many guises. They will suck up your energy, depress you, upset you and make your life harder. They can be family members, friends or co-workers. HoweverFind Article, they can only do this if we let them.

An excellent book on this very subject is People Of The Lie by M. Scott Peck. I highly recommend it.

Motivation
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