How to Recognize, Approach and Release Toxic Relationships
Question : Hi Athena, I feel like my friend only calls me when she needs something. We also only ever do what she wants. If I suggest something, she often dismisses it. I’m starting to resent her and avoid her but at the same time I don’t want to be lonely. Help! Super-confused – Thobile.
I can hear that this has been a painful experience for you, but know that you have the internal power to create and sustain meaningful, loving and supportive relationships in your life.
Our relationships often act as mirrors for what we need to recognize and integrate within ourselves.
So take some time out to honor what this relationship is teaching you.
From what I’ve read, this friendship is forcing you to face how you feel about:
3) Respectful boundaries
4) Speaking up for yourself
5) What friendship means for you
Your friend may be genuinely unaware that you feel the way you do and that her behavior feels dismissive to you.
So telling your friend how you feel is a great place to start.
If you can have an open and honest discussion with your friend, your relationship may get better, as you will have afforded her the opportunity to respect what your needs and wants are within the friendship.
Note that it is helpful to use ‘I’ statements as opposed to ‘You’ statements when you do decide to have that heart-to-heart chat.
For example, you could say, ‘ I feel frustrated that we never do what I suggest’ as opposed to ‘You never do what I want to do’.
The first statement explains how you are feeling, while the second statement comes across as accusatory, which will most likely result in your friend becoming defensive and closed off.
If you do manage to have a good chat with your friend but nothing really changes, you need to decide whether you will allow this relationship to continue.
Being alone (for a while) while acknowledging your feelings will clear the space for a more balanced friendship to enter into your life.
One where you can both give and receive equally as opposed to nurturing a toxic friendship.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and actions.
No-one can make us feel anything about ourselves unless we allow them to.
Don’t get stuck in a ‘victim’ narrative where you hand all of your internal power away to a friend who does not value you.
P.S. If you have a question for me e-mail or tweet me. You can also receive my free audio course, designed to get you moving upwards in your life.
P.P.S. Lastly, I love to hear from you.
So let me know what your experiences and thoughts are on friendship and support.