It is a fact of life that we will have relationships come and go that can only be called toxic.
Maybe it’s a family member or a friend – but we’ve all had at least one relationship that leaves us feeling drained, empty, frustrated, annoyed, irritated, angry, used or abused.
I will admit I’ve had more than a few of these relationships over the years. It isn’t hard to recognize the symptoms. What may have started out as a fun relationship at some point morphs into something that leaves me feeling poisoned and sick at heart. My problem is that I have hard time admitting the relationship is toxic, letting go and moving on. This is a problem that dates back to my teen years and it hasn’t gotten better with time.
My daddy once told me that there have been a lot of times when I’ve been a good friend to others long beyond the time I needed to be. When he made that observation I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant. I’ve long since figured it out.
I could blame my need to maintain these toxic relationships on a multitude of things, including the astrological data that Libras are loyal to a fault, but I think it basically boils down to the fact that I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
It is also a challenge to admit the time, effort, and care I’ve invested in a relationship may have been better spent elsewhere.
Recently, I have come to the startling realization that a relationship I’ve been in for quite a while has got to end. It has become so toxic, just hearing the person’s name makes me annoyed beyond reason.
Healthy? Not at all.
The spiral into the abyss started more than a year ago when, in the course of a week, my “friend” (let’s call him Fred) lied to me, deliberately excluded me from an event important to both of us, and then pretended he had no idea what I was talking about when I tried to discuss it.
I was livid at the time and Captain Cavedweller, wise man that he is, suggested I find a way to ease out of the friendship at that point.
Not quite done suffering, I prolonged the inevitable and gave Fred another chance. And another. And another.
In the past year, Fred has been:
I know Fred has lied to my face as well as behind my back. I’ve discovered from mutual friends that invitations he was supposed to pass along to events never quite made it to me. It’s his own special way of making me feel excluded. And it was worked.
His latest tactic has largely been to ignore me unless he wants or need something, then he tries to act like we are still good friends.
In a nutshell, Fred has made continual withdrawals from the friendship bank account and failed to put in any deposits. Now that the account is way past overdrawn – there’s not much left to do but close it down.
As I was ranting to CC the other evening about Fred’s latest shenanigans, I told him I was all done. Done with the abuse, the lies, the toxic waste this friendship had become.
CC gave me a hug and told me it was about time.
As hard as it is to let go of people you care about, sometimes it is the best thing, the only thing, you can do.
What I’m trying to learn to focus on is that even if someone is in my life for a season (however long or brief), they have undoubtedly brought something into my life that I needed to learn or experience. The trick is in finding what that is and embracing it as I move forward, out of the toxic waste.
She Who Is Working on Letting Go