Toxic people, and my own naivety

Last night I was feeling pretty alone and melancholy. I was thinking about those long-term friends I’d lost following the separation from my husband. One, in particular, stings. Today, I was trying to figure out why it hurts so much. After all, when I think back on our friendship since we were 8 years old, M wasn’t exactly a very good friend to me. In fact, if it weren’t for my naivety and capacity to forgive, we wouldn’t have stayed friends as long as we did. Sometimes I think back to all those things I forgave and get mad at myself for being so stupid. My mother always told me I am too trusting. I know in myself that one of my major faults is wanting to be liked. I guess those things combined lead to this toxic friendship lasting as long as it did.

I did not have a good time at school, until around year 11 when I started having fun. Being smart meant being unpopular, and I definitely didn’t have looks that could make up for the brain. But earlier on in school, it was M who would make school difficult, despite being my BFF. Some examples I thought of just a few moments ago:

  • After coming over my house for dinner and being disgusted with the chicken feet in the soup my mum cooked (which I loved), she told everyone at school about it and teased me. Mum never made that soup again when M visited (granted, we were quite young at this time, and little kids can be cruel).
  • We would walk to school together in primary school, but some days I would reach the corner where we were supposed to meet and she hadn’t stopped. She was ahead of me, and when I ran to catch up to her, it was like she was angry with me, and I had no idea what I’d done.
  • In year 7, her, K and T thought it would be hilarious to tell me that this boy I liked, P, liked me too. It got to the point where I was supposed to meet him at lunch time to kiss him, and it was then he told me that it was all a joke.
  • At the start of year 8, she cracked the shits with me for copying her, because my mum bought me the same school bag as what she had, and bought me a pair of Nike Airs. She had Nike Airs too, but aside from being the same brand, they looked nothing alike (mine were grey mesh and hers were white leather) but it didn’t matter, because I had copied her.
  • In high school we didn’t have a lot of classes together, but we’d hang out at recess and lunch. Until, that is, one of her new friends didn’t want me hanging around anymore because I was boring, and so she told me I couldn’t hang around them.
  • In year 8 she brought her diary to school, and someone told her I called her a slut based on what she’d written in her diary, and she didn’t even give me a chance to tell my side of the story.
  • In year 9, I can’t remember the specifics, but N told me that she’d heard from M that I was a big liar.

M then went to a different high school when her family moved to the other side of Adelaide partway into year 9. Things were ok for a while. At least, there’s no painful memories I can recall. Obviously as you get a little older you do less childish things, and so the past was forgotten for a time. There are only a few things in adulthood that stand out for me as being particularly painful:

  • Before her first son was born, she asked if I’d like to be the child’s godmother. After he was born, I was overlooked.
  • She stopped talking to me for a few months when she thought I was stupid for forgiving my partner at the time and staying with him.
  • She took my marriage separation personally, and hasn’t spoken to me since.

So, why the hell do I care that she’s no longer in my life?

I am in no way perfect. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I can’t change my past, but I can change me. I have some amazing friends in my life right now, who love me unconditionally. Even if they don’t support my decisions, they support and stand by me. So why is it so hard for me to forget someone who finds it so easy to forget me?

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14 thoughts on “Toxic people, and my own naivety

  1. I think we’ve all had people who we forgave too many times because we want to see the good in people… and in the end it becomes a blessing when they walk out of our lives.

  2. Maybe because you’ve known M for such a long time, and you’ve been so forgiving of her ‘flaws’, that it difficult to accept that she can’t be as forgiving. Plus, you guys have a long history which can also be a factor. Sure, you’ve made mistakes, but who hasn’t? Cherish those who love and support you now, in your time of need, and let those who have decided that it was time to move on, to do exactly that. You know I’ll always be there for you x

  3. I had some similar experiences Melsy and i think the reason we keep going back is because we hold out hope that they will ‘grow up’ and start to give back. It’s because we like to believe in human nature but there are so many examples out there of people lacking in this (or maybe it’s not lacking in it, but they are just different to us – and sometimes it’s a good thing to have those different people in our lives cos we get something out of it, a different perspective that we need). BUT if it’s not a constructive relationship for you and it’s only one sided (i.e. you giving but not getting anything back), then it really isn’t worth the stress. Life’s tricky enough without wasting energy on destructive relationships – they are supposed to be two way!
    The other thing is that it could be left a little unfinished for you. Closure might be all you need to move on 🙂 xxxx

    • Thanks Gary! I was trying to keep the personal out of this blog for the most part, but couldn’t stop thinking about this yesterday so just had to write it down. Hope you’re enjoying your trip! 🙂

  4. Such a sad post, Mel. I think you have hit the nail on the head by saying we keep toxic people in our lives because we have a need to be liked (even loved). We keep trying to rewrite the script, and think them not liking/loving us is about US. It’s not. It’s them. It’s always them. It’s worse then the toxic people in your life are your family. I had to make the painful decision to not have anything to do with mine (apart from my sister). It was the best decision of my life, because I now no longer question my worth.

  5. Mel, your last sentence is something I also am struggling with. Closure would be…releasing, but how do you get it? There is a conflict between pride and that need that I can not resolve. You are not alone Miss Mel.

    • I’m not sure how we get there, Judith! To get closure I would have to confront her, but I don’t want to contact her. It’s a tricky one. Although closure could also mean just being ok within ourselves and having confidence in that we’re better without these people? I certainly haven’t figured it out…

  6. That must have really hurt. While I believe that everyone in your life is there to teach you life lessons, sometimes you wonder whether those lessons were really necessary.
    Be happy that she was the one to walk out on your friendship. You would have felt too bad to distance yourself out of loyalty.
    And be unavailable to her from now on.

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