Throughout my life, I have endured friendships full of hatred and toxic mannerisms. I always believed the longest you'd known your friends, the more they loved you and would stick around through anything; but now I know its quality over quantity. I'm now out of the hellish friendship group I spent four years with, and now I'm with a friendship group I've known for a year and they know me more than anyone ever did. Spotting a toxic relationship is very difficult when you're the victim. You always second guess but think highly of them and believe they'd never hurt you. As a matter of fact, it's bullying, it's a lead up of bringing you down, talking behind your back, and never being there. The red flags really come down to the fact that you know you never get anything good out of the friendship. My relationship with one girl in particular was like a boomerang; one minute she would be with me and she would act like a friend, next minute she would come back around and she would be manipulative and would degrade me from the smallest things. My experience led me to damaging my own body so that I suited their needs and pleased them and not myself. Throughout the group, it was constant drama and bitching about each other to the other girls. It was not healthy! That I knew, but I was too scared to leave; knowing I would have no friends and in fear they would tell my secrets to other people—which I knew they were capable of. I decided to wait until I left high school, which was never a good idea because it was still difficult. One day I just had enough and left and blocked them on all social media so they could forget about me and I could forget about them. As for now, I feel so much better. I'm beginning to love myself. I'm beginning to find better people.
My advice to leaving a toxic relationship is simple: you come first! Your wellbeing, your mental health, your happiness and security should come before anyone. Pick up on the flags and don't second guess, because if you have even once thought about them being toxic, you're right, and they wont stop. Here are five signs:
- Control— they gain control over you from telling you how to look or behave, or making you feel bad about yourself.
- Fear—you're scared to upset them so you walk on eggshells around them. You know you can't trust them.
- Dread—if you never want to be around that person, you should never have to be!
- Untrustworthy—you know you could never tell them secrets, or trust them around other people.
- Self-centred—they only have concerns about themselves. They expect empathy from you but could never give you the same.
There are a lot more, but those are what stuck out most to me. As scary as your situation seems, it's nothing that can't be helped. Anyone can be toxic to someone no matter the age or relationship. Always open up to someone. You're not alone.