Everywhere you look on the internet there are posts / quotes about friendship …they talk about true friendship and infer that those that walk away from a friendship are somehow lacking…not true friends……You know the quotes like:
“When you have been through hard times and come out the other side..look around you. The people still there are your true friends”
“True friends walk in when the rest of the world walks out”
Friendships permeate our lives, they impact on our careers, marriages, families, children, health…I don’t need to go on..do I?
Friendships are important everywhere, and they have positive things to contribute to all areas of your life but that means they can also be toxic in any of these areas as well.
Why am I commenting…. A little while ago I had a light bulb moment and I suppose it’s because I’m sure there are lots of people who experience toxic “friendships” like that (may manifest themselves as a very different experience but there will be a common thread)…..and these little quotes (if you take any time to stop and think about them) say so much in such few words…but are they right?
The reason I say this is because I had such a “friendship” and walked away from it because I realised just how much of a negative impact it was having on my life and that of my family….
I read quotes like this before I made the decision to walk away from what I considered to be a toxic friendship and would think that true friends do stick by you through thick and thin…but is that true?
Is there a limit? – I think there is, because after 15 years of “friendship” I found mine.
For a long time I was extremely bitter and angry about what had happened – I felt everything was so unjust…… Walking away from the situation was not easy but it was made all the more painful because I was also criticised for “abandoning” my friend in her time of need (something she was happy to tell mutual friends…and well anyone really who cared to listen). In addition her behaviour was minimised by others and her lies were believed over my truth by people who I felt should know me better than that (it was something which later came to light when some people finally developed some awareness but that did not help at the time)…..I was for while furious.
On occasion I would fantasise about all the things I would say to her face if I had the opportunity. I’d imagine how great it would feel to really speak my mind….tell her what I really thought.
Then I had my light bulb moment and I completely changed my attitude about the whole situation. I know it’s not a new thing and in fact it wasn’t rocket science but we all have to draw our conclusions in our own time…..I realised that I was expecting something from her in that she wasn’t capable of giving.
I decided to let it go….I’d like to say it was as simple as that… the process getting there wasn’t….although in the end it was as simple as that – letting go.
I’m no longer angry or bitter towards her and I have stopped taking it personally… I’ve realised that my life (as it is now) is a much happier place to be without her in it which is sad but true. Gone is the drama, gone is the angst, gone are the raised eyebrows or heavy sighs from my family (when the car was seen coming up the driveway) wondering what was coming this time.
In truth I rarely think about her these days but as I say, recently, I have been reading these quotes and whilst their sentiment is nice… I think they infer those that walk away are somehow lacking as a friend (or is it just me that thinks that?)….
I think that there are circumstances when you need to give yourself permission to walk way and I have to say (as one who did) it certainly wasn’t the easiest path to take but it has been liberating.