Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.
Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x
A “Limpet”, based on a crustacean that lives clinging tightly to rocks, this is my term for those insecure clingy friends. These are the friends who will bombard your phone/social media when they don’t hear from you for a while; send you on guilt trips every time you can’t hang out or need space; chastise you for having other friends, and require constant and consistent reassurance.
I’m sorry that life has been so unkind that you’ve ended up insecure. I’m sorry that you asked me if you were annoying so many times that it got annoying. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be happy for you when you entered new relationships, because I knew how your insecure attachment style made you think everyone who smiled at you was ‘the one’.
I loved you for your sweetness and your unyeilding loyalty, but soon I felt that you were becoming less and less yourself. First I felt you adopting my hobbies and interests, though never having experienced them before. Then I felt you adopting my mannerisms and opinions- never one to disagree or challenge what I had to say. I wanted to know you, and I thrive on intellectual discussions. I silently willed you to disagree with me even once, but it never came. I wanted to know you and grow with you, but I soon realised it is hard to be friends with a reflection.
The truth is, as a true introvert, we were never a friendship built to last. I need my own space, I crave it for energy. To me, my own company is like a cool breeze on a stifling summers day. To you, with a predisposed fear of abandonment saw this as a slight. Friend, though you were kind and constant, I could not sustain the amount of emotional energy your friendship required me to give. I found myself needing more and more time alone, time with friends who knew themselves well enough to trust that I would always return after a day or so to myself.
I hope that one day you find yourself and grow. I hope that you find opinions and interests that are authentic and your own. I hope that you stop trying to be everyone except yourself, because until then you will always feel insecure and unaccepted- since the person you are presenting isn’t the real you trapped inside anyway. I hope that one day you understand that I didn’t “abandon” you or “cut you off”. I hope that you can learn to put your insecurities aside in order to walk in my shoes and not feel betrayed by my absence. Perhaps one day when you know yourself we will meet again- and I won’t feel harassed or pressured every time I see your name pop up on my phone. x
I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.
**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**