Are you in a toxic friendship? If so, ending is not always an easy thing to do. It can feel very much like a break up with a love relationship. You have gotten used to relying on them for advice. You look forward to conversations, and you have formed habits of doing things together. Examine your feelings when you are together. You will have to evaluate how toxic the friendship has been. Take a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons, this is important. There is a list bellow of toxic traits to help you analyze your friendship and see why you don’t feel good when you are together.
Once you have written, the list and you see that there are fewer pros and more cons for staying it’s probably time to make a decision to end the friendship. If you feel you want to wait, and it’s uncomfortable to end the friendship suddenly, just take time and do it slowly. Put the list somewhere to remind yourself of what’s wrong, so you understand why you feel bad when you are together. Set a time to make the complete break of the relationship.
Ask yourself why you are allowing the toxic friendship to last as long as you have. You are sharing your life with someone, and this is a gift. You both have equal value in each others lives. If you are just tired of experiencing these toxic traits from your friend, maybe it’s time to set yourself free if you have a family. Usually, there is collateral damage that is, even more, the reason to end the relationship. Here are some of the traits that are toxic to a friendship.
Gossiping behind your back
Act smarter than you and subtly criticize in a way that sounds like they are supreme and you always need to learn
Cannot count on them to keep your secrets safe with them. When you agree, “In the vault” it means “In the vault, “but not to them.”
They are jealous of good news in your life “But I thought you wanted to wait before dating again, So what if he’s nice, you’re making a mistake!. Dream Busters! “They chose you? Why? You’re too short to be a model!” They criticize you in the most subtle ways about your successes. (Well they probably promoted you because your mother used to work there)
They pride themselves at destructive behaviors and harmful things they have done in the past, maybe even brag about it.
The criticize you publicly in front of your friends. He can’t keep a woman! He lets them use him! Sometimes you think it’s because they had too much to drink and it’s just a joke. (Wow, I don’t think congratulations are in order, I think we need to warn the department store you’re registered at for gifts that this is your 4th marriage! Get Ready For Gift Returns Macy’s!
They attack you verbally, and when you react, they tell you that you are too sensitive or take things personally. You are the problem when in fact it is personal, and there is nothing wrong with that.
You never hear them apologize, and if they do, it’s not sincere (I’m sorry I made you upset” I just have to be honest, and that is the way I am.”) Everyone knows that about me. Or the classic, C’mon “I was only joking”,) They rarely, if ever admit a fault of theirs but love to hear about yours and point yours out multiple times as if they are helping you with your issues.
They are pot stirrers and, if they are trying to get you meddling in the life of another, the reason you feel uncomfortable is because you know somewhere down the line you as the victim.
You know what betrayal feels like. If it’s happened once, none of the above even matters! You should have already ended the friendship! Trust me the character of such a person takes a lot of commitment to change.
Don’t be surprised when you have to make a tough decision and let go of a family member, even family members can be toxic. It is tough to let go when it’s family because we feel more guilt. It’s not worth the risk of ruining your life. Toxic is toxic and when we are all old enough to know how to treat people we must make those tough decisions.
There are books and cd’s about verbal abuse. My favorite book is Safe People by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend it has a workbook companion.
In their book, it outlines the personality and behavioral traits of both safe and unsafe people. Knowing the difference between them means that you can enter into relationships with people who are good for you and avoid those that aren’t. Without this kind of knowledge, it is very easy to become mislead by promises of future happiness, assurances of trust and faithfulness, and even a genuinely friendly person who is just struggling with their issues. Just because someone is, a nice person doesn’t make them a good partner. Recognizing the following traits of unsafe people will keep you and your relationships safe:
• Unsafe people do not like to admit their weaknesses. Being open and vulnerable is essential to a relationship. Sometimes people will try to hide their weaknesses by focusing on your weaknesses instead. Putting you down is an easy way to build themselves up. If you are the one with the problems, then they can feel superior.
• Unsafe people are religious instead of spiritual. People join religious groups for many reasons, but if someone is clinging to it and its principles as a way of avoiding their own issues, they will never learn what they need to about themselves.
• Unsafe people are defensive. A self-assured person is always open to feedback, expressions of concern and even criticism, especially by people who love him. If you confront someone with your concerns and he gets upset or angry, he is not able to hear you and not willing to take responsibility for his actions.
• Unsafe people are self-righteous instead of humble. These people see themselves as above everyone else and refuse to see their own negative qualities, often by projecting their own flaws and insecurities onto others.
• Unsafe people apologize without changing their behavior. A common pattern in unsafe relationships is expressions of regret and apologies and promises to change. But apologies and promises need to be followed by real behavior modifications. Safe people will do so not because they feel they have to, but because they truly want to help themselves and the person they love.
• Unsafe people avoid facing their issues. It is far easier for an unsafe person to blame others for their problems than admit they have a problem or take steps to deal with those issues themselves. Furthermore, they treat others with a lack of empathy when they are upset, find fault in others, and often fail to forgive others for their mistakes.
• Unsafe people flatter you instead of talking to you. Someone who truly cares about you will share their concerns about you and will be honest with you. Someone who only tells you your good points is trying to keep you liking them.
• Unsafe people demand trust instead of earning it. Trust can only be built over time. It grows when we experience repeated and consistent caring behavior. Unsafe people often believe that you should trust them right away and act hurt or defensive if you don’t. But trust must be earned.
• Unsafe people lie. Everyone tells untruths sometimes, but unsafe people see deception as an effective way of dealing with problems. Safe people admit their deceitful side and work at being more honest.
• Unsafe people don’t grow. We all have aspects of ourselves that need improvement or behaviors that inhibit our personal well-being and safe people try to learn and grow over time. Blaming others, responding defensively and failing to change inhibits personal growth and keeps a person at the same emotional level throughout life, without changing themselves either for their own benefit or anyone else’s.
Any of these characteristics are a red flag, whether they appear in a romantic relationship, or with a friend, family member or co-worker. No one is perfect and change takes time. But if you notice that someone is resistant to hearing your concerns, becomes angry or defensive, blames you for their behavior and does not show signs of wanting to change, you have to proceed with caution and perhaps find someone else who will be both a safe person and safe for you as well.