We’ve all had friendships that meant the world to us once upon a time, yet they are no longer a part of our life.
Sometimes, you just grow apart over time. Other times, you come to the realization that it’s a toxic friendship, and that it’s best to walk away. I learned this the hard way.
After I completed my O Levels, I switched schools. I was both excited and scared about starting at a new school, and about forming new friendships and meeting new people.
On the very first day, I connected extremely well with one girl, so well that it took me by surprise. Our friendship grew from there until we became inseparable. It meant the world to me to have someone so close to me.
I thought we had an unbreakable bond, which clouded my judgment. It became easy to justify everything she asked me to do, even if I had to go against my other friends, or my judgment, I’d do anything to keep her happy. In my blind admiration for her, I didn’t see just how abusive she really was.
It started slowly at first. My other friends told me that they didn’t like her and that I should be more wary of her. I thought they were simply mistaken.
I told them that they didn’t know her as well as I did.
To me, it wasn’t manipulative when she told me she “forgot” to tell me that her other friends wanted to talk to me. It wasn’t manipulative when she would encourage me to ditch my group of friends and hang out with just her. She made me feel like she was completely dependent on me, and that if I walked away, there would be nobody there for her. There were countless times where she made me choose between being with her or my other friends.
I never saw the lies and manipulation for what they really were.
She was the one person that I shared every little detail of my life with. When I felt down, she was the first person to know about it. If there was any trouble at home, she was the one I ran to. In my head, I assumed she would do the same for me. I assumed I was the person she contacted when she was upset.
That’s what friendship is, right? At least that’s what I thought. Instead, I would constantly find out things about her from other people. Upon confronting her, she would completely downplay it and refuse to answer whatever I asked.
It came to the point where she would do things for me only to cash in favors. I was constantly being reminded of the things she’d done for me. It didn’t matter how mundane they were. According to her, there were always strings attached.
After a particular incident where she chose to abandon me completely instead of sticking around, I started to see things for what they really were. As I sat there stunned, wondering how my best friend could just walk away, I started to go through my memories one by one.
I remembered, so clearly, the number of arguments and fights I got in with my other friends over her. I remembered how she forced to choose between her and my friends. One of my best friends got so upset about the whole ordeal, that she ended up in tears. Instead of consoling her, I was pulled away by this toxic friend.
The thing that finally made me come to my senses was when, coincidentally, I became friends with another person this girl knew. Once we got talking, we started to see how scarily similar our situations were with this same girl. This person was manipulated and emotionally abused the exact same way I was and had also been unaware of it the whole time. I connected the dots and finally understood just how toxic and abusive this ‘friend’ was.
I finally saw the pattern of mental and emotional abuse, and that was the day when I finally chose to walk away.
I stopped hanging around her, and slowly cut off all contact with her. It was easier to do so as we were going off to university soon, and I no longer wanted to be manipulated again.
[bctt tweet=”I started to finally see the pattern of mental and emotional abuse.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Today, I am happy to have cut that kind of toxicity out of my life. Removing her from my life made me see my other friends in the right light, and I finally saw their concern as genuine.
Experiencing that kind of toxicity and negativity taught me a valuable lesson, to choose my friends wisely and to recognize toxic people when I see them.