I Was the One Who Walked Away…
I was the one who walked away from a friendship. Â I didn’t leave to be cruel or mean; Â I left because I love myself and this was a toxic friendship.
It’s been a few months, so I have decided to look back on the situation with a different perspective on our friendship to really find out what the flags were, how I missed them, and how I will remember them for future friendships.
I was friends with this person for 15+ years of my life. Â No, we didn’t grow apart, we weren’t the friends that didn’t talk for a little bit and then when we got together it was the same fun times. Â I Â didn’t just wake up one day and say “I don’t want to be their friend anymore!” Â It was a very long and hard thing to do. Â I had a lot of conversations with my mother about this; weighing the pros and cons and everything else that goes into making such a life changing decision.
To start this friendship has never been perfect. Â When I was little I wasn’t always the nicest. Â I would say exactly what was on my mind whether it hurt you or not. Â She wasn’t a Saint. Â Things go to the point where a couple of different boys in our class had to stand up for me a few times with the things she would say to me. Â As I grew up I realized that I didn’t need to say every thought that came to mind. Â I realized that I hurt her feelings many times and yes, I did apologize to which she forgave me. I was never deliberately trying to being mean I just didn’t know any better.
In six grade (age 11-12) were when her digs toward me started (Flag #1). Â I don’t know if she started with the digs because she never really got over the way I used to be, or that this has become who she is. Â I can’t remember exactly what she would say, but it was always a compliment with a tiny stinger at the end leaving me hurt and itchy about the situation. Â It was one where if you didn’t pay attention you would miss it. Â Though, we continued to be friends throughout elementary school and went our separate ways for high school still staying in contact remaining friends. I continued my Catholic education and she went on to her local Public School.
One day during summer we were out shopping with our Moms and she asked me and my sister if we had been shopping for new clothes for the upcoming school year. Â We reminded her that we are continuing to wear uniforms as our school required them. Â She then replied, “Oh, that’s right, you don’t get to dress how you want to.” As if she were above me and the uniform for which I wore. Â Which isn’t the most life-altering thing, but to a 14 year old who you’ve been friends with since you were 6 is. Â It’s like she forgot she wore a uniform for the past 8 years. Â We were in organizations together so I would see her at least once a month and our mom’s are friends.
The digs continued…I tried to brush them off telling my Mom what she would say after we would hang out. Â As we got older, there were more digs than any nice words.
She would bring up the past every time we would hang out and talk about all of the wrong doings of our fellow elementary school classmates, which became irritating. Â I am not one who likes to talk about the past because it’s not something anyone can change. Â After leaving, I would feel completely drained mentally and emotionally. Â I would actually go and take a nap (Flag #2). Â This is definitely not how someone is supposed to feel after hanging out with a friend and certainly not how I feel with any other friendships. Â One thing Â I did however notice that she would remember things a little differently then what had actually happened (Flag #3). Â I realize that everyone has their own perception of things based on their feelings and own experiences. Â I talked to the people who were in the situations that would be talked about. Â Her story was the only one changed.
One day when we were hanging out, I had an anxiety attack in front of her so I decided that I would confide in her of my struggles (prior to this I did not let anyone know what was happening other than immediate family). Â She confided her struggles in me as well. Â At this time I was hoping that our friendship would change for the better for the reasons we were both struggling. Â We began to email every day multiple times a day. Â I would give her words of encouragement and tell her how I was doing, talking about the guys I liked, etc. Â Although she never gave specifics of how she was doing or ask how I was doing, she would talk about the cute guys she’d come in contact with as well. Â The digs would still come with what I would write and yes, it stung a bit extra because we were both going through some very difficult times in our lives and I thought this was finally the moment that our friendship would be normal without the digs but I was wrong (Flag #4).
After about a month or two of emails, she decided to go out of the country. Â We met up one last time before she left for a couple of months. Â We ended up going into a thrift store in the area after we had eaten dinner as it was a short distance from the restaurant. Â My sister and I have never been to a second-hand store because we weren’t into the up cycling fashion that was in at the time.
She was looking through clothes and asked why Mia and I weren’t looking at anything. Â We told her that this wasn’t our style. Â She proceeded to say “I thought you were the people who would shop at thrift stores.” Â This stung like NO other dig that she had ever said. Â Maybe I sound a bit conceded, but it still hurts today. Â She knew the kind of clothes we wore and knew (especially my style) which is mostly preppy. I know I should get over this, but this will always be at the back of my mind as just a flat out rude comment (Flag #5). Â This dig is really when I decided that she’d hurt my feelings one too many times and I wasn’t going to take it anymore.
I know some you who are reading this, this all seems very petty. Â But for those of you who have gone through this will understand.
Twisted Sister- We’re Not Gonna Take It Music Video (For some comic relief)
When she got back to the States we tried to hang out multipleÂ times. Not only was she notoriously late (anywhere between 10-30 minutes) each time. She’d (not once) but 3 TIMES cancelled last minute and yes, it was consecutive. Â The first time I didn’t mind. Â It was around 2 hours before we were going to meet and I hadn’t started to get ready. Â The last 2 times were 10 minutes before we had planned to meet and I was already at the destination. Â I was annoyed that I wasted my time and gas money (Flag #6). Â This just isn’t how you treat a friend. Â Her doing this showed me that she doesn’t value me, my time, or our friendship.
A few weeks after this happened, I decided to not return her calls or texts. Â I wasn’t going to put myself in that situation to get hurt anymore. Â I was tired of the digs, the constant talking about the past, the changing of events that happened, and of course the one after the other cancelled or extremely late plans. Â She actually texted me asking if I had stopped talking to her because she cancelled plans, I said ‘no’ because it’s true. Â Yes, it was a factor, but it wasn’t the entire reason why.
She texted me on my most recent birthday saying something like Â “I know you have decided to ignore my attempts to contact you, but happy birthday.” The last time she contacted me was in September 2016 Â when my Nana died then again in January 2017. Â My birthday is in April. Another dig this time on my birthday. Â My birthday was especially hard because it was the first without my Nana who’s birthday I share Â (which she knew). Â To decide to write that out and think it was ok to send is insensitive. Â There’s no reason to send me one last dig on my birthday. Â But this is when I knew I had done the right thing. Â I did text her on her birthday but haven’t talked to her since.
IF YOU OR A FRIEND NEED HELP GETTING OUT OF a toxic friendship or relationship here’s some steps how and how to tell:
- Diagnose the friendship/relationship
Do they put you down?
Do you feel appreciated, heard, and loved?
- Get a second opinion
Make sure that how you’re feeling is real and not clouded by emotions. Â I always talked to my Mom about what had happened. Â I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t being over dramatic with what I was hearing.
- Look for patterns
Every time we hung out (or emailed) she would give me digs without fail.
Constantly changing past situations to make herself seem like the victim.
**Toxic people will always make themselves the victim like the world is out to get them in whatever they do. Â With the people around them being the worst. They will turn everything on the person they are with.**
- Stand By Your Decision.
Once you leave, don’t go back. Â Even when you’re missing that person, remind yourself that you need to do what’s best for you. Â The best thing you can do is not having them in your life.
- Make it about yourself.
Don’t worry about the other person’s feelings. Â You cannot help others if you don’t help yourself first.
- Be Prepared for the Worst
The person may not get why you left. Â They may send you texts, facebook messages, or Instagram comments. Â Don’t respond. Â Don’t get sucked into that world again. Â It might get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.
“You are not meant to be tolerated, you are meant to be celebrated.”-Jaime Primak Sullivan