|2 of my best friends|
Okay as promised yesterday, the fish! This is the 18lb catfish the kid caught. Yes she is a beast. She caught this Saturday morning. Hubs has a rule we don't keep anything over 10lbs so this fish lived to swim another day. We did catch 2 bags full of keepers. My biggest was 8 lbs and let me tell you, those catfish can fight like crazy and while I get why they call them catfish (whiskers) if you have ever heard them oink they could just as easily be called pig fish. They are also slimy and I always end up looking like I had a run in with the ghost from Ghost Busters.
Okay, so on to the blog....Toxic Friendships. They suck. I know, understatement of the century.
I have been doing a lot of friend purging lately. I realized that there is a lot of drama happening in my life and
way too much of it almost all of it is coming from outside sources. I can't control the negative people in my life but what I can do is thank them for what they contributed to my life and say goodbye. A lot of this is Facebook and I am not sorry to say goodbye. I react negatively to the things being said and while I am ultimately responsible for letting it get to me, I have decided to remove the source of my anxiety. I am not dumping the people, I am dumping the negative behavior from my life. Some of these people I will be there for if they need me but I just can't be Facebook friends with, others I really just want to say goodbye too forever. Toxic.
Because of my job and my personality I do not trust easily and tend to be just a tiny bit paranoid but often times I find I trust wrong. I can think of at least 5 friends in the last 5 years who I should have never invited into my life. It takes a long time for me to eliminate the negative and give up on people but when I do, I am done. There are no second chances in toxic friendships.
Sometimes there is no way to salvage a friendship. It is sad but it is true. I feel like often times there are misunderstandings that happen but the truth is, it takes two people to be friends and it takes work. You have to evaluate what you have and what the relationship means. When I go home upset because a friend said something hateful or mean on social media and I let it effect my mood that friendship has turned toxic. When I have friends who tell me I am doing the wrong thing or my relationship isn't solid I have to ask myself "are they just trying to destroy my relationship/other friendships/marriage?" if so, that is toxic. (Not all are, sometimes it is actual concern or misunderstanding.) When I have friends who judge me and tell me I am going to Hell, they are toxic, controlling people and they do not belong. I have removed these people one by one because of their meddling and because they are wrong. Toxic.
Sometimes things are my fault, I am by nature an over sharer. It's a hazard of being a blogger and being a social creature. I try very hard to not complain when I am upset about things in my personal life because something I say is bound to be misinterpreted. My marriage is sound and good and full of love. We bicker like any married couple. Nothing means anything. I don't post about it and I try not to dump on friends because I know that when we ultimately get over it, they may not understand that he is stubborn and I am stubborn and that's just us. For example, he likes his brownies crispy and I like mine chewy. World War 3 has been fought and the war is over. Peace reigns. (If you are married you will understand how something that stupid turns into battle royal! BTW, my chewy brownies must have been pretty okay because he ate 6!) What makes us happy is being together at a baseball game, in the boat, shopping for groceries or just sitting around the house and watching the chickens play in the yard. It isn't as exciting as a trip to Spain but it is who we are.
Some of the people I have cut ties with probably think I need forgiveness. I don't want their forgiveness and I will not accept it. Why? Because I didn't do anything wrong. I decided to live my life the way I choose and didn't ask their opinion. They did however judge my choice but I also don't want their apology. Why? Because the hurt is real and the trust is gone partially but mostly because I just don't care. They don't matter anymore. They alienated themselves from my life little by little and to that end, they are nothing more than strangers that I use to know. It is a harsh reality but it is real. They made their choice and I made mine. I can't be responsible for their judgement or jealousy or anger. They may bring down good people in the process and that is sad but they are so toxic that eventually they will end up alone. I don't pity them. I don't hate them. I just do not ever want to see them again for the rest of my life.
What I must do now is evaluate how I continue to attract these screwed up people in my life. I have had more than one friend who seem to meet the classic definition of narcissism. I have been reading up on this personality disorder a lot. If you are lucky enough never to have been in a friendship with a narcissist count your blessings. They are always down and blame the world for their problems. They think they are always right, about everything. They lie and cheat and they brainwash people into believing their side of the story. They are completely delusional. They are exhausting. You spend your entire friendship trying to lift them up. Nothing you do is every enough and you will never be right. They con you with charm and suck you in and before you know it, you are stuck in a never ending spiral of telling them how great they are and listening to them moan about how unfair life is while they explain to you how great they are. It's sad. It's toxic. It's hard to cut ties. It can be deadly.
Don't misunderstand me, I have gone through bouts of depression. I have had to apologize to a lot of friends for stupid mistakes I made after a very bad relationship. I was a really draining person to be around and I know that. I was selfish and sad and I just wanted the pain to end. I never blamed anyone but myself however for what happened to me. I took responsibility for being naive and stupid but I was still a real pain to be around. I was given to random bouts of crying and it was ugly. I feel bad for what I put my friends through. I swore after that relationship I was going to change and I went to counseling. I changed my expectations and I met my husband not long after. It was totally an act of God that he came into my life at just the right time.
I have tried very hard to dump less and less on my friends and share more and more of the good stuff. Does this always work? No, of course not. They are my friends and they know when things bother me. (Again, I am not great at hiding things. Especially right now. If I shared the stuff going on around me in my life, you would call me a liar. There is more drama than on any given year of Days of Our Lives. I am just lacking someone returning from the dead to make life complete!) I will get the text here and there when I am obviously upset and it is one of my friends checking on me. I love them for that. Still, I lean on my husband now. He has big shoulders and he can handle my melt downs. Plus, he has a way of calming me down when others can't. (He also has a gift for pissing me off when others can't but that's marriage.)
Several of my friends and I have had discussions on toxic relationships and the purging process. We all agree that there is something very liberating about eliminating these people from your life but it is an internal process as much as anything. I have to change my views and make better choices. I have to not allow them back in and I have to stop giving them power to control my emotions. I have to stop being sad that they are gone and start realizing that they are sick. I also have to understand that I am a good, true, honest and worthy friend and that anyone who can't see that, just isn't worth being in my life. The process is as much about taking control of yourself as anything and it is hard. Ultimately, life is hard enough and there are enough things we have to battle without inviting these people into our lives to complicate us and make us miserable.
The most amazing thing does happen when you cut ties with the toxic people in your life, the friends left are the real ones. They are the friends that will be there to laugh and cry with. These are the friends you invite to your wedding who help with your hair and laugh at you dancing. They are the friends that will come over at the drop of a hat and sit on your deck and watch the chickens play or swim in your pool. They are the ones that you will shop with and have a glass of wine with and laugh-cry over a bad old photo. Those friends are gold and they should be cherished. I do cherish them. I cherish my husband who is my best friend and I cherish my friends who have and always will be there. That's the way it should be. Non-toxic.