This week I had to say goodbye to a friend who was draining the life and soul from me; sucking the good out of me. It’s hard to say and admit that it was a toxic relationship, but that is exactly what it was when she manipulated situations and feelings for her benefit.
She told anyone and everyone that I was her best friend. Yet, on my birthday when I was sick and in pain from oral surgery, she insisted that I come over to her place for dinner to celebrate. She would not hear me when I continued to say that I was not feeling well enough. My jaw still ached, my head was throbbing, my stomach was flipping. She pushed, so I gave, and it was one of the worst nights. Because I sat at a table with someone who knew I wasn’t feeling well, and she was all smiles. She was shoving her friendship onto me when I needed her to let me be, let me rest, let me heal. That was the first night I knew that our friendship was not a healthy friendship. My birthday had become a show of her hospitality instead of allowing me to focus on my health.
There were times she would twist reality to fit her agenda, to manipulate me, to play the victim. I was in the wrong even when I wasn’t. There were nights I would sit in my apartment and just try to decompress, but I felt her demands and desires poking and prodding in the back of my mind. I will not get into all of the things that happened between us, but I will describe the ending.
It seems fitting that my realization of our relationship began on my birthday, and the final betrayal of our friendship fell on hers.
I had asked her husband to let me know the plans for her birthday considering last year it was half of a surprise. She knew some information, but not all. So I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t spoil anything. He informed me of what they were considering, but nothing was set in stone. So I waited to hear about the final plans…
Next thing I know there are posts online a couple of days before her birthday from a birthday party. All her friends and family were there. All except her “best friend” who did not receive an invite to the party. It hurt. It cut deep. I sat and considered everything that had happened between us until that point. And I realized there was no saving this. Not when she was free to hurt me time and again, but if I did there was hell to pay.
So I let it go.
The day after her birthday, she asked if I had a problem with her.
Why, yes. Yes, I do.
I won’t get into all the details of the conversation. She kept coming up with excuses for why she chose not to tell me about her birthday plans or reach out to me at all in general. It was my fault I wasn’t invited to her party. It was my fault she didn’t feel the need to tell me. The one thing that I wanted from our conversation was for her to own up to the fact that she hurt me and was wrong in the way she chose to handle things. That she could have informed me – even if I wasn’t invited.
Because the thing is real friends are open and honest about something they don’t like in the relationship. They communicate – even if it’s not daily, weekly, monthly. Even if they do not get to see each other regularly. Real friends discuss the strains and compromise. Real friends listen.
But she did not listen. She was not wrong. She slapped me in the face in front of all the other people in her life, and later expected me to apologize to her…
The fact is: I will never apologize for something that I did not do.
This was on her. The lies, the manipulation, the total lack of respect for my feelings in any scenario. The ruins of this relationship were on her. My heart break was on her. And that was all she was going to get from me ever again.
It kills me to say that. I hoped that our relationship, me as a person, would have been enough for her to listen to my concerns. I told her things she had been doing that were breaking me. I asked her to send me anything that I was doing that caused the same for her. It was a lifeline, a peace offering, a chance to mend our frayed ties. She never replied. She shut the door. She was never willing to admit wrongdoing in our friendship – and her silence proved she never would.
It’s okay to leave those who do not fill your soul with anything good. It’s okay to part from people who never own up to their role in hurting you, their role in pushing you away. They will blame you. They will make you think that the troubles sit with you, heavy in your chest. You’re the problem, they will insist. But it was never like this before, and it’s their words, their life, their demands that weigh you down. You will sink and swallow as much of them as you can because that is what you do for those you love. But at some point, enough is enough. You have to purge all of their manipulation and abuse from your mind. You have to be able to breathe to survive. You have to get back to who you were before they ruin you for good, before you end up buried in the sand under the ocean where darkness consumes. They want you trapped, they demand you stay, for them, for them, for their sake. So exhale. Let their hate, their close-mindedness, their selfishness, their demand for your constant love and adoration escape from your lungs. Let that weight lift off your chest, and darling, resurface. Ride the waves of life the way you want, swim, go where you please, and leave their storms to their thundering.