We’ve been posting a bit about toxic friends lately, and noticed from the comments that a good number of Lovelies have toxic friends too! Mansonschicks recently shared how she had broken things off with two toxic friends (congrats!). It was striking just how toxic her second friend was!
I let [my second toxic friend] end things with me. I let her rip me apart from top to bottom for being a bad friend. It felt good to be the “bad guy” in her eyes instead of actually being a horrible person about it. That one was well deserved. She nearly sabotaged my education and my sanity. She attempted to kill herself several times, failing (thankfully) each time. The final time, she told me it was completely my fault. It hurt, but that’s just how she was.
1/30/2012 6:42 PM Mansonschicks@xanga
Wow Mansonschicks, we’re sorry you had to go through that. That sounds terrible! I looked up the definition of a toxic friend, and here’s what WebMD had to say: “a toxic friendship is unsupportive, draining, unrewarding, stifling, unsatisfying, and often unequal.” That sounds a lot like your friend!
I’ve had friends like this too, and it’s not fun. WebMD spells outnot only the definition of a toxic friend, but the signs that you’re realizing on some level that your friend is toxic:
You know you have a problem with someone when your nontoxic friends start telling you, “Every time you hang out with Sue, you’re in a bad mood.” Or the phone rings, you see it’s your toxic friend, and you conveniently go to the bathroom. But despite these warning signs, you don’t do anything about it. Why? Because you’re trapped.
“One of the characteristics of a toxic friendship is that the good friend feels she can’t extricate herself from the relationship,” says Charles Figley, PhD, professor and director of the Psychological Stress Research Program at Florida State University. “Whether it’s on the phone, in person, or from the friendship entirely, you feel like you are trapped, you’re being taken advantage of and you can’t resolve the problem one way or another.”
Whether the feeling of entrapment has to do with history — you’ve been friends with the person since a young age, like Roberts — or you feel she has no one else to turn to and you need to stand by her through thick or thin, you need to take action to help your friend, and yourself.
We were saddened to see that so many Lovelies reported that they struggle with toxic friends:
I have a friend I think I need to breakup with, and it’s so hard. I’ve known her for years. She has an anger problem and has outbursts and throws temper tantrums like a toddler. It drives me crazy that she can’t grow up and become more emotionally mature. When I do talk to her, she starts calling me all the time and getting upset when I don’t answer (because I’m at work.) I don’t care to hang out with her because she seems emotionally unstable and is also bossy about doing what she wants. Oh, and she can’t take a hint..she’s that friend that stays over forever after the party is over.
I’m afraid to break it off entirely because when I don’t talk to her for a while, she gets depressed and doesn’t take her meds, and I don’t know if she has any other close friends..
2/1/2012 1:20 PM rAzOrKisS09@xanga
I tried to “break up with” a friend for, oh, about 18 years. I’ve since given up. I never did the direct approach, but I tried the passive and the bad boyfriend approach. I ended up looking – and feeling – like the bad guy. I did manage to put some distance between us. She no longer refers to me as her best friend ever, so that’s good. I think she’s more like a sister now, especially after an 18 year friendship. Like a sister that you’re not terribly close to and annoyed by.
1/30/2012 3:36 PM HaleyHailstorm
Any advice for our fellow Lovelies in how to deal with their toxic friends? And do you have any toxic friends in your life that you’d like to get rid of?