Friday, 8 April 2016

Bitches be cray - Reflections on a toxic friendship

So this is a post about that crazy bitch ass friend we all have -
Just a general DB*

While my tone may seem facetious, this subject is truly non-trivial. Friends are the culmination of our thoughts, values and approach to life. They are our mirrors - reflecting back to us what we put out in the universe. This does not apply to all friends though. Especially not the pathological ones, who we obviously do not detect are bordering on psychopathy.

For almost a decade I struggled with a friendship that was completely and utterly abusive. Emotionally destructive. Over the last couple of years, I have noticed - on social media and in various other places that awareness about "toxic" friendships is becoming more and more common. This is a wonderful thing.

In light of the trauma  and mind-fuckery I experienced at the hands of this toxic human being I would like to share my experience. Here was this woman, smart, reasonably good looking, blessed in terms of intellect, personable, relatable, fuck-off manipulative but let's call it charismatic. We hit it off like a house on fire. How was it possible to get along so well with someone? We were obviously meant to be friends. Well not really, and this is why.

These people are usually highly intelligent and probably have a higher level of mirror neurons (that characteristic that manipulative people have that allows them to transform depending on the audience)  than anyone else you may know. They are social chameleons, chopping and changing who they are to suit those around and in front of them - but the toll that this takes is that they spend so much time and energy transforming to appeal to others that they do not have any authentic or deep relationships.

Importantly the characteristics of a toxic friend from my experience have centered around the theme of their abuse being so subtle that their corrosive characteristics went over my head for years. It is only now, in hindsight, years later that I am able to identify the warped characteristics this "friend" possessed. They are as follows:

-This person is clingy - they want to know what you're doing doing, who you're doing it with and expect to be responded to immediately.

-This person is competitive to the point of it being unhealthy - This applies to everything, grades, promotions, hairstyles, clothes, and yes lovers. This can get so bad and if it was anything like my case it got to the point where where mutual friends and ex-boyfriends would be a point of competition. That is, she would go out of her way to compete for the affection of people in our circle who were closer to me than her. This weird and constant sense of  one upmanship was emotionally exhausting.

- This person is usually prescriptive about how you should live your life, saying things  like:
"I know you and I know whats best for you."
"Noone will ever love you as much as I love you"
"Noone will ever accept you the way me and my family have"...
You catch the drift (fucckkeeddd upppp shiiiitttt).

-This person tends to be confused about their identity, and is generally a deeply insecure person.   Their identities are usually rooted it in superficial things (what car they drive, what they have that's better than yours, overly materialistic sometimes, and exceptionally selfish).

- This person's closest relationships are abusive and unhealthy - for instance the relationship with their partner, lover or parents. In other words, if you took an objective step back and took a look at their close relationships you would notice a trend of dysfunction, abuse, unhealthy enabling, and destructiveness.

- This person transgresses trust  by disclosing personal information to others - or embellishing personal facts and sharing it in contravention of confidence. For instance, after a break up this person told others that my ex-partner had abused me. This was completely and utterly untrue and I only came to know of it years later when I heard it from the person to whom it was told.

- Other people have had similar experiences with this person - and there is a trend of people falling out of this person's life because of this toxic behaviour. This is important as this is the dead give away that the problem is not with you, and this is a reminder that you are sane and your experiences are valid.

- You never know where you stand with this person and there is a general feeling of inauthenticity. It never truly feels like this person has your best interest at heart despite them saying so all the time with statements like "No one will ever love you as much as I love you".

When it comes down to it I can't explicitly highlight single incidents that occurred that marks this relationship as abusive, but an old friend described it very well - she said that when you are around a person like this you leave with a horrible feeling inside you - like this interaction was not good for your soul.

In my experience the emotionally trauma was never explicitly denied by her saying that she never said the horrible things she did - it was more that the things she would do and say were so outrageous I'd feel like I must have dreamed them up because no ordinary well-meaning human being would ever do or say something like that. Here is an example (enjoy):

Her: Do you want to come over to my place?
Me: Nah, I'm tired I'd rather go home.
Her: Just as well, because if Mark* sees you he would wanna fuck you instead of me...
Me: ... !!!

Yes, if you gasped that was the right reaction... Who the FUCK says something like that? This was a mild and humorous example but imagine years of being around someone who says these things, that you keep discounting as jokes, or quirks, and one day you wake up and realise that they're actually just deeply fucked up.

So once again, while my tone is facetious, I am so dead serious about the fact that we need to let go of these people, and I am also fully aware of the fact that cutting people out is not simple, or the best response for our own well being. If I could say something to myself five years ago, when I was emotionally drained by the relationship it would go something like this:

The remedy for toxic friendship is self-care and self-trust and of-course self-love. 

"Trust your feelings  you are not crazy.

Do what you need to do to protect your mental sanctity, if you need space take it, if you need to have  a conversation, have it, and if you are unable to do anything, don't feel disempowered. It is okay. Just realising that this relationship is unhealthy means you are making strides.

You are love, incarnate, so surround yourself with others who love and cherish you!" 

And finally,

"Remember that healing takes time, and these scars run deep, so go easy on yourself". 

Peace and love. Revolution. For yourself. For always.

*Usually DB means douchebag.. but here it means something way worse...
**Mark is obviously a fake name 
***Poem:  Nayyirah Waheed