What Toxic Friendships
Will Do to You
(And How to Let Them Go)
By Therese Aseoche
What makes a person “toxic” is his or her need to control you in order to sustain themselves.
Their world revolves only on what they experience — the time they spend, the effort they make, the problems they face — without any regard to how it also affects you.
Being in any kind of relationship with a toxic person never ends well. You will only come second to everything else they deem much more worthy of their attention, even though you put them first.
And this kind of dynamic sucks the life out of you until you’re left empty. The sad thing is, toxicity in friendships is rarely spotted right away. It only ever dawns on you at the very last moment, at the very last straw, when you’re on the brink of giving up on understanding the other person.
It’s easy to say that you must never let it come that far. But if you practice the habit of reflecting on your relationship with those around you, then it might become much easier to discover the ones that are suspect and which you should gradually let go of.
Here are telltale signs that your friendships are toxic.
You suffer low self-esteem
Toxic people point out your flaws — every single one of them. They rain on your parade, make you feel even guiltier over your problems, and scold you instead of providing support and sound advice. In short, they make you feel like even sh*ttier than how you already feel.
Maintaining these friendships tire you out
Friendships that are high maintenance and toxic are the worst kind. It requires so much effort to make the other person happy, and you feel like you always have to be on your toes to avoid doing anything that would upset them.
You feel insignificant
Because you focus more attention on your toxic friend’s needs, you forget to care for your own. And it’s not like you neglect them willingly; it’s just the consequence of your friend making you feel insignificant. They don’t make time to listen to your problems, they don’t want to make the effort to meet up with you, and they would rather escape conflict than face them with you. They just don’t see the point of exerting so much effort for you.
It affects how you deal with other friendships
Whether romantic or not, your relationships with other people are heavily affected by the toxicity of your friendship with one person. The negativity you get from it spreads like a disease. You either become too tired to maintain other friendships that would have been much more worthy of your time and effort, or you tend to vent out your bottled up frustrations on them because of that negativity. It just all becomes one never-ending cycle of toxicity.
You find it difficult to open up
You start thinking that your problems aren’t that bad, or your stories aren’t that interesting, or your opinions aren’t that valid. Because if they were, then why does it feel like such a burden to open up to them?
You take the blame for everything
Even when it really isn’t your fault, you end up surrendering and taking the blame for arguments — most especially and frustratingly the petty ones — that arise between you. Your toxic friend will be damned if he or she would do so much as to lower their pride and apologize.
You hold onto the friendship anyway because that’s what “love” is
“Love is patient, love is kind” right?
Nope, cut the bullsh*t. Don’t make yourself a martyr. Don’t say it’s because you’re “trying to be the bigger person.” Don’t be proud that you’re still exerting effort on someone who’s downright toxic for the “sake of friendship.” You can only endure so much.
So, here’s how you can overcome these:
There’s nothing else to do with toxic friendships than this: let them go.
Know your self-worth. Don’t endure such negativity any longer and rid yourself of those that cause it.
Like in all relationships, it’s not easy to walk out of someone else’s life completely and right away. Let go of your friendship gradually — don’t start conversations, don’t agree to hang out, don’t waste your effort on someone who would never give an ounce of it to you. And when your friend starts to notice, don’t offer any long-winded explanation; just give a simple answer and move on. The ball would then be in his or her court, and it will be up to them whether they will change for the better or stay ignorant of how their actions affect you.
You might think of it as such a waste to let go of a friendship so easily, but if it’s for the sake of your health and sanity, then it’s definitely worth it.
Have you ever experienced being in a toxic relationship? Share with us your thoughts below!