Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Blog 5.2: Toxic Friendships



Hi all. Didn't realise I hadn't posted this one yet (I was thinking I was further ahead) so here is the 2nd installement of my blog on toxic friendships. I've included the little note from the previous blog as well as a "heads up" on a term that may be used in it. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments - I always try to reply.

Note: Just a little note before I start to say that the term “bitchy” and possible variations of it appear in these next few posts. I’m aware that it is a derogatory term but it is not intended as such. Where I am from it’s a term for “nagging” others or being mean (any gender). I’m a woman and I’m not offended by this use of it but if you are then I’ll see you in a blog or two. There is no need to make me feel bad about using it and any negative comments shall be removed.

Blog 5.2: Toxic Friendships

As I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember, making friends has never been my forte. I’m as open and friendly as anyone can possibly be but all it seems to do is get me hurt. People mistake my kindness for weakness. They take me for granted and only need me when no one else is around or, in some cases, will put up with them and then when I need them they’re never there. I remember when my grandmother passed away and I really needed a friend. I called my best friend at the time (spoiler alert; she’s featured later on in this post too) and she told me that she thought she had fractured her wrist and was on her way to hospital (looking back there was no sense of urgency or anything to indicate that she was in pain or shock). This was fine. I’m not heartless and a possible break is something serious. What wasn’t fine was that when she was back home, (turns out it was just a sprain) even though she knew my Nana was deteriorating over the last 4/5 days she still didn’t ask if I was alright or even why I was calling. She had been there at my Nana’s over the time she was dying. She had held my nana’s hand during one of the times when she had been responsive. That was devastating. We were like sisters and I realised about ten years too late that it had solely been for her benefit. 

As soon as I got home that night I got online to message (these were the days of MSN messenger) a couple of people that I thought were my friends to see if they would come over and just keep me company but they wouldn’t. They told me they had “better things to do” and were “too far away”. This was coming from people who I had seen walk over to one of their houses across the road from me. It made me realise that whilst; yes they would hang out with me at school, they didn’t really want to outside of it. Maybe it was because I was already showing signs of depression. Maybe it was because, deep down, they didn’t really want to be my friend and only tolerated me at school. Who knows?
Other friends from our group didn’t answer the phone or reply to text messages (I branched away from this group maybe about two weeks later. We just weren’t compatible with our tastes in music and films, and that made it easier for me to walk away) which is another reason why I very rarely ever have the courage to call people.
The one person who did answer just wasn’t who I wanted to talk to about what was going on. Before you comment with “you actually had a real friend there” – trust me; I didn’t. Whilst she was really nice in that particular moment, something felt extremely wrong about showing her my vulnerable side and I would find out why the following school year. Turns out I’m a really good judge of character even if I was blindsided by someone who I can only describe as an “emotional con-artist” for 10 years by my previously-mentioned best friend. As I was saying; something didn’t feel right. The previous six months of “friendship” with her had been confusing. She wanted to be included in everything I did and would more often than not force her way into whatever activity I was doing whether it was with a different group of people that I used to hang out with, during my small window of time with my best friend (we went to different school in different districts and lived about 20 mins away from each other) or even when I was alone. She always seemed to know when I really wanted (and needed) to be alone and would go out of her (and her parents’) way to make sure she could be wherever I was. You could say that she might’ve been lonely but I do not buy that for one second because if she were the one making plans she would never invite me and make sure that I knew that I wasn’t. If I wanted to meet up with her and she had “OK’d” it she would never turn up or I would get there to find that she had left despite assuring me that she was there. She would get mad if I hung out with anyone that wasn’t her yet she could hang out with whoever she wanted and, even if I had been bothered by that (I was glad to get a break from her), I was made to feel like I couldn’t and most definitely shouldn’t speak up about it. These are the same issues I had with the emotional con-artist except I knew that after high school ended I could move on without her (my school friend not best friend) as we were both heading to different places for further education and wouldn’t be in the same place until the holidays. Being an introvert as well makes it really hard to confront people because when I would find the courage to do so, these people would protest that it was MY fault that they treated me the way that they did – like I deserved to have the crappiest of friends because I preferred to hang out by myself only in very small groups with people who didn’t cause drama. That, because I enjoyed being at home more than going outside (still do), when I did make it out I was unworthy of making a decision about where we went or what we should do. If I wanted to do something they wouldn’t be interested or “feel like it” but when they wanted to do something, especially when I was extremely ill with anxiety and depression, I was dragged along and made to feel guilty until I did what they wanted. If I pointed out that they were being unfair then it was guaranteed that at school I would be made an outcast from our small group of friends and, in the case of my best friend, would  get guilt tripped about “never wanting to go out” when that wasn’t the case. What was the case was that my ideas weren’t good enough for her. If it wasn’t what she wanted then we didn’t do it.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment sometime soon!

Anxiously,


Me 

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