Let me start out by saying two things; 1. We’re all a little toxic, and 2. I have plenty of experience doing this.
Some people drifted away right after I told them the truth about how I was feeling. With others, I had to burn down the bridge that they were standing on. No matter how the ending occurred however, there was always a lesson that I had to learn about myself. The hardest lesson had to do with realizing that I was the reason that toxic friendships were happening in the first place…because I was allowing it.
The above quote isn’t mine, and I found it many years after I learned the hard way to really use discernment with whom you align your energy with. You see, after my divorce in 2007/2008, I was pretty lonely. My best friend since childhood was married with kids and I flat refused to be one of those chicks that would cry and complain on the phone to her about my screw up when she had important things to do like childrear. I knew that I could call her, but I was feeling pretty inadequate as it was, and chose to avoid looking closely at the situation at all costs.
Just like a magnet, I attracted denial dwellers who were also avoiding the reality of their choices. From the outside, we all had good jobs and nice homes…but were a little circle of internal chaos cheering each other on to take another shot.
After about a year of late nights, I started to put the breaks on. I would suggest a happy hour and then head out by 8. If we all went out, I would opt for something wholesome like bowling. Only that didn’t work because one of them and her husband ended up doing cherry bombs at the bar and got wasted.
Meanwhile, I was having all kinds of spiritual, personal, and physical revelations about overhauling my life. I started to meditate at a Buddhist Temple. I cut out processed foods and dove deep into personal development. I was coming to realize my hand in all matters and chose to get quiet and sit with it. I wanted to share these great things that I was learning and my new ways of being with them, but no one was paying attention. One night I attempted to have girls night in with board games, as I watched Jagger, bottles of Jack, and cases of beer enter my apartment one Friday night, I realized that no one wanted to change. I had to break away and I knew that I was going to have to blow my top in order for it to happen.
Not long after the board game night from hell that had me fetching my “friend” off of my neighbor’s roof from dancing…true story…I got my chance. It was my birthday and we all had plans and they blew it off.
That night I lost my mind via email.
As I was trying to sleep off the sting of hurt, at 7am on a Sunday morning I pulled out my laptop and gave myself permission to say whatever I wanted to. I told them that I was worried about their health and that I didn’t want to be friends anymore. Only, I probably wasn’t that nice about it.
Boom. It was over. Problem solved. They wouldn’t want anything to do with me.
After that, I kind of went through a friend cleanse. I further realized that I had forsaken some of my real ride or die homies in order to chase and help “fix” unhealthy people. I can’t imagine some of the hurt I caused thinking that way.
I’m not someone who cares very much what kind of religion you are, race, sexuality, education, or even what kind of music you listen to. I just want to be myself around you. I want to talk about solving the crisis of humanity, not the weather, not sports, and definitely not the Kardashians. I don’t want to get wasted and bar hop. If I can’t get this from you, then I’ll be polite when I see you, but I’m not going to call you. This goes for family too….but we can get into that later.
Toxic people refuse to look at themselves. They will spin and doctor things to make their problems seem like yours. They will get mad at you for pointing out hypocrisy. They call you dramatic for finally sticking up for yourself against abuse. They hold grudges against you. They point, and blame, and say “yeah but you did (insert misperception here)” when you confront them and suggest that you are owed an apology. They play victim, they seek attention at any cost to you and your personal boundaries be damned. They spend money that they don’t have and expect you to bail them out of major emergencies that they brought on themselves.
Toxicity can be overt like the above, or it can be subtle, like constant complaining about the same subjects with little to no action to change anything. Mostly toxic people are draining. Like to the point that if you didn’t have their problems, you wouldn’t have any. But if you have to think about whether or not someone is toxic, then they are. If it takes days to recover from being around that person as if you’ve had the worst hangover of your life and you didn’t even drink…they’re toxic. If they “gas-light”, blame, gossip, manipulate, are cold, passive aggressive, and irresponsible, they’re toxic.
You know what you do?
You walk away.
No explanation necessary.
It’s that easy.
You could write an email like I did, but toxic people would be mad at the fact that you spoke to them in that manner. Toxic people are not going to read those words as a description of themselves, they’re going to read it as if you’re the one with the problem. They will call you nuts and talk about you with their other toxic friends. It’s best to just walk away. Stop answering texts, delete emails and don’t answer calls. When you see them at gatherings, tell them how nice it is to see them and deflect any invites with the need to complete the multiple projects that you have currently going. People will only ever see what they are truly ready to see. Take it from someone who chased people with a mirror for years yelling “Can’t you see how dangerous/stupid/unnecessary you are making it on yourself!”
Let me save you the time as to how that turns out…
Maybe one day you will get the chance to tell them your concerns. Maybe they will approach you when they’ve had some realizations and ask what your observations had been. But they have to make that decision because you can’t walk the path of personal healing for anyone. You have the Divine right to have wholesome, supportive, loving, mutually beneficial interdependent friendships that truly nurture your soul. We do not have to learn our life lessons in struggle and abuse for us to truly grow. We are sovereign beings and we have to remember that when we chose our flock to fly with. I had forgotten that when I was lonely, insecure, and running from truly sorting out the reality that I had co-created for my existence at the time. It happens.
I’ve had many people pass through my life, and I have many more that are here to stay. Can I call all of them at 3am with secrets? No. But that doesn’t matter. Each person in my life is valuable to me and I love them. They’re open hearted. We get shit done together. I don’t talk to them everyday as they’re building empires too. But we all have one thing in common; we don’t take anyone’s B.S. You will be called on it and we will hash it out and move on. Or we won’t move on that that’s ok too. It’s healthy. It’s adult. It’s a loving act to want someone to be better and want the friendship to progress to forever.
I used to have 100 pennies when it came to close friends. Now I have about 4 quarters and that’s worth so much more.
Question: Do you have any experience with having to defriend anyone? Did you handle it better than me? More than likely you did. So tell me, what should I learn from you?
I thought it appropriate to flashback to a picture taken just after deciding to separate from toxicity. The smile says it all.
I’m wearing my friend’s smashing fedora and someone snapped this shot just after I ran off with it. One more pro about weeding your garden, you get room for greatness to come in. One month later my life went to a supersonic level of cool. PS: Everyone at that party are part of my “4 quarters” crew.