Toxic Friendships, Epiphanies and Trusting Your Gut

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about previous relationships and friendships, thinking of the people I’ve lost contact with and who has drifted in and out of my life over the years. Looking back, I can see certain patterns re-occurring several times over, with different people, but similar situations. Some of which are toxic friendships.

These friendships have spanned from school days right up until recent times. On each occasion I didn’t really see it from the outset, obviously, because if I did I would like to think I would have saved myself the heartache and ran for the hills each time! On the outward appearance when initially meeting each of these people, I would have said they were funny, intelligent, kind people who I had a lot in common with. I warmed to them, wanted to get to know them better and indeed wanted to be friends. In all honesty, I do recall having a gut feeling about each of these people, picking up a little vibe that they perhaps did not have my best intentions at heart. Just a little sneaky something…but in each case I chose to ignore it- putting it on myself. It was me who was being paranoid, being a funny onion…. I was the one ‘in the wrong’. I suppose because I was used to having that perception of myself. I had to be the one with the fault. It couldn’t possibly be anyone else. That chink of low self esteem and thinking other people would be right over myself. I never thought about it in any depth, more of just a little nag, I certainly didn’t take it seriously.

I like to see the best in people, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I may be too trusting and my husband often tells me I’m,’too nice’ but I don’t think that’s a bad thing to be. I always looked at these people’s good points and thought if I was a good friend and stayed on their good sides, everything would be fine and dandy. This isn’t a realistic approach and I think I have finally got to a stage where I have accepted that.

I’m sure everyone has had a person or persons in their life where at some stage you just get that vibe. The old, ‘Make sure the people who are in your boat aren’t drilling holes in it while your back is turned’. You can’t put your finger on it, but something’s not quite right. Some people are outright vicious, they back-stab, are nasty and don’t care who’s feelings they trample on. Others are grand as long as it’s all about them, whenever the shoe is on the other foot- whether it be you need some support and help with a situation or on the flip side, it’s your time to shine and you’re enjoying success, they aren’t too happy about it and drop you like a sack of spuds. And there others that you just know are passing less than complimentary comments about you when you’re not there to defend yourself. (Not that you should ever had to defend yourself from friends) We’ve all been there.

The first of these friends was at high school. We were friends for a very long time and I did enjoy her company, but at the same time I was a little scared of getting on her bad side. The fear of how she could destroy me, turn everyone against me. After all, this was high school where people were hormonal, self conscious and it was pretty much survival of the fittest. A couple of years into the friendship, I was aware that she said things behind my back and could be manipulative. But I thought better the devil you know to a certain extent. That’s just how it was- at the end of the day, we were just kids. We grew up and grew apart. I’ve since met this person recently and she’s a lovely woman. We have absolutely nothing in common and we are not in contact, but it was nice to catch up and to see she is doing OK.

The second was in more recent years. This lady I would say was the most toxic friendship I have ever encountered. It lasted a couple of years and then it ended quite spectacularly and permanently. For a while I was ‘flogging a dead horse’ I’d say, trying to be nice and please but the ‘friendship’ had long since ceased to be. When I did break free, the weight that was lifted was immense. I could physically feel it and I felt so much relief and happiness. It is amazing how one relationship in your life can have such a detrimental effect.

The third was a ‘budding’ friendship. We chatted a bit and met up for lunch. Then chatted some more via text and messenger. I was my usual self and tried hard, but it was petering on and off. I could sense a bit of a change in attitude, those vibes I usually ignore, but this time I decided to act on it. Instead of harboring ill feeling that could potentially not be true (we have all got the wrong end of the stick from time to time) I decided to check everything was OK. After all, there could be a hundred and one reasons as to why you are sensing what you are. Again, I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt. I was assured everything was grand and so left it. Time went by, yet I was still just picking up those vibes. I decided I had to start trusting my gut and putting myself first. If a situation is making you unhappy, who says you have to stick at it? You don’t need to be nasty or offensive or say anything bad, you can just let go, wish them well and say goodbye with a full heart.

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With looking back at these relationships, I’ve had a few epiphanies of my own. Realisations I wanted to share. These three toxic friendships I have mentioned were toxic for me, however that doesn’t mean they are bad people. They have friends and family who love them and find them easy to be around, as do I. Different people need different energies of people to surround themselves with. The same as everything else in life really- we all have different tastes, interests and preferences in absolutely everything, friendships are no exception.

There’s only so long you can give without getting anything back in return. This doesn’t mean physically getting something- like presents. I do like sending little gifts and pick-me-ups to people as a nice gesture and to hopefully brighten their day, but I never expect anything in return. Relationships are about give and take, we should be each other’s cheerleaders and promoters, we should make each other laugh and be happy, we should be there for each other in tough times… it should not be put on just one person to provide all of that with not receiving it back in return at the appropriate times. We all deserve love, friendship and support in equal measure.

When you stumble across someone you like, you have a lot in common, warm to and you decide to offer out the hand of friendship, that is your choice to do. You cannot just expect it to be reciprocated. That is the other person’s choice and should be equally respected. It’s sometimes difficult, but try not to take it personally. Not everyone wants new friends. People may not be in a good head space and not want the hassle. They may have been burned before and be suspicious of those they don’t know. And some people do just always look for the negative and decide they don’t want you in their life.

Trust your gut more, if your body is trying to tell you something, don’t be dismissive and ignore it. Listen to yourself, you subconsciously know what is right for you and your gut is usually right! Again, there’s no need to be nasty or rude or abrasive, but don’t be afraid to say no thanks and walk away too.

I’m not overly religious, but I do believe in God and I am open minded to different spiritual aspects. The law of attraction being one- whatever your thoughts are and what you project out there is what you receive in return. If you focus on the negative or expect to find the negative- you usually get it. Situations are usually a reflection of ourselves too. So if I’ve found people toxic and a relationship unhealthy for me, they probably feel the exact same way about me. I will have been a toxic friend to them. Whatever I brought to the table, although it may not have been identical to their actions, may not have been what they needed/wanted at that point. It’s important to try and be more balanced about it and realise that although we think we’ve done nothing wrong, our own point of view is not the entire bigger picture.

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Forgiveness is a hugely powerful action as well. Forgive and let go as often as you can. Carrying negativity and bad feeling inside is like a poison and won’t do you any good physically and mentally. Once you forgive a person for their actions, you remove all of the power you gave them. All of that energy you fed into that situation and friendship is released. You will feel lighter and happier. The only person who should have control over you, is you.

I know I joked about, ‘running to the hills’  but I actually don’t regret any of these friendships either- I believe I have learned something from each one and moved forward. Each toxic relationship has grown shorter as and when I’ve had them, so I’ve obviously identified them sooner, listened to myself and trusted my instincts more. I’ve not been afraid to voice my concerns and perhaps more importantly, I can see that I’m not a victim of someone else’s negative behavior towards me. I have my own choices to make- and it’s just down to me to actually make them and implement them.

Lastly, that Dita Von Teese quote that periodically does the rounds on social media, ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and someone will still not like peaches..’ really struck a chord. So true! I may not be everyone’s cup of tea- but that is absolutely fine. I do not need to adapt myself, justify who I am or what I want to do to anyone. Take me as you find me, those who like me will stay, those who do not will move on and find others who they do. I may be too trusting and perhaps I shouldn’t always be so blinkered, seeing the good in people. But I like that, I like seeing the best in people and I don’t think that’s a bad way to live my life. I will continue to work on myself, to hold myself in higher regard and practice listening to my instincts but I will still look at people for their positives as opposed to their negatives.

Most people deserve a second chance and you know in your heart who they are. Some people, for your own self preservation, do not. Always be kind and be pleasant, let things go and don’t hold grudges but also be wise enough to say no, when necessary.

Those friends you have in your life who make you smile, lift you up and value you for the wonderful person that you are, are worth their weight in gold. True, genuine friends are gifts you should never take for granted. Hold them close and cherish them. 

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With much love,

Miss Kimmy Cupcake xx