I don’t have the best track record when it comes to my friendships but a recent experience in my life made me wonder about a lot of things. About my actions in relation to these people and really about how much of it is my fault. The end result is realizing that it’s not my fault. I trusted the wrong people and it brought me a lot of stress and trauma. I think that it’s hard to really see those Toxic Friendships that we may have because it’s easy to put the blame on ourselves for how bad things can be sometimes.
With that I decided that I needed to share those relationships to express how they made me feel and why my actions were justified. Regardless of how the other person may feel or believe.
The first toxic friendship I experienced that caused me such difficulties was with a supervisor at my work. I work in medical billing, it’s not a super fun job but I’m good at it and there are some pretty awesome people that I worked with. When I started working with this person she was someone that I looked up to. She was older but we had a lot in common and got along really well.
She would vent to me about her frustrations of other people that we worked with and I would vent to her as well. Over time I felt that we were truly friends and it was so amazing to have that kind of friendship with someone that I worked with. I never really put much thought into what she did or said back then because I agreed with a lot of her complaints about people.
What I realized was that she was painting a very particular picture. She wanted me to dislike a certain person and I did. Vehemently. Everything that this person did I saw as a slight against me or my friend. Every word spoken I viewed as negative. My supervisor has manipulated me very well.
I was given a chance to take on a quasi-leadership role and she saw that as a slight. Using that as a reason to not speak to me. We were no longer friends and the seperation allowed me to actually see just how she treated other people. In reality if someone sat next to her, they were her best friend until they got moved. Then she complained about them. If they questioned her, she went from singing their praises to complaining about them.
She yelled, insulted, verbally abused us. And we all took it. We all ignored it. Until there was a time when I couldn’t anymore. Eventually I found that that person she wanted me to dislike? She more than likely lied about them. She said about them, things that she started saying about me.
She quit that job, we haven’t spoken since. I told myself that I would never let someone talk to me the way she did. I wouldn’t allow myself to be guilted into this or that, I wouldn’t allow myself to listen to anything negative that was said about someone to me anymore, I wouldn’t be spoken down to anymore.
Until a few days ago when I realized that I was letting another friend do that to me. Now I had known this person for a very long time. We had our ups and downs. I have a full time job, two kids, a family. I have things that distract me so my online friendships don’t get my undivided attention. This caused a problem before, to a point where we said a lot of things and I blocked her.
Eventually we reconnected a couple of years ago. Things were better, she understood that I wasn’t always available and I understood that even putting in a little more effort to just talk to her was enough. But I had gotten a promotion at work, I was dealing with that supervisor and so I wasn’t really around much.
I started my book blog, joined some book servers, her’s being one. I wasn’t really all that active but then the pandemic happened. I’ve been working from home. We were good and she needed help. So I made a point to be more active, applied to be a mod on her server. It was fine, I was feeling good about it. An incident happened and I saw a side of her that I hadn’t seen before.
The mod that caused the issue poofed and right around that time I realized that I was chatting more than working. So I wasn’t as chatty during the day. I didn’t think about this being a big deal because when someone said something I would talk but I couldn’t really start up conversations.
After the other mod left though, everything I did she had an issue with. I didn’t respond fast enough, I didn’t ‘engage’ people enough, I wasn’t starting conversations enough when people weren’t even really around, I don’t have to keep talking if no one is around, I’m not initiating convos, I should have deleted this, I should have told people not to post a topic in the wrong channel, I’m not on enough, I don’t post on socials, I’m not communicating when I’m gonna be busy for an hour, I’m not communicating when I can’t be on, I’m too spotty in activity.
I can understand some complaints, I wasn’t as active during the day and even though I did go over many times that I’m working and so I can’t always be on, it always went back to the first week or two when I started I was on all the time. Yes, I was. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have things that I have to do. All that aside, I don’t find the fact that she had problems with my activity. It was how she went about telling me. She was insulting, she was rude. She would then ask if I still want to be mod, and I would tell her that maybe I shouldn’t be. She would then tell me to get my head out of my butt and that I’m fine.
Or she would tell me that if I quit that they’d just end the server all together so I always felt like I had to stay because I didn’t want to disappoint her. I realized that our friendship wasn’t a friendship anymore. We didn’t talk outside of the server anymore. She would make comments about anything that I did was wrong and I would say that I was sorry but she’d brush it off.
She would talk about how stressed that she is, how she needs help. I would tell her that I would help, apologize for not doing enough and she would brush it off telling me that it’s fine that she’ll just do it all. So if I offered to help, she would be pissy, if I ignored her, she would be pissy, if I just started trying to chat in other places but didn’t respond because she would brush it off she would be pissy.
So at this point you’re opinion could go either way. That’s totally fine. Maybe I was the problem. I can admit that because it is possible, but then I would ask you this. If someone mentioned how the server wasn’t really active, and you mentioned how many people are active. Not to rub anything in, just to get a clear picture and then that someone went off on you about how rude you are for saying that as if you were trying to shove it in her face that her server is ‘failing’ when that wasnt’ at all what you said. Who would be at fault?
She wanted the server to be big, she wanted everyone to always be on and chatting, she wanted all the events to have everyone interested and when the people that were active were the ones talking and the ones interested that wasn’t good enough. Success for that server was measured against the success of a server that is 3 times bigger. I would love nothing more than to see her server grow! I would. Because she works so freaking hard for it.
Those issues I dealt with, did my best, chatted when I could. Finally things came to a head when she talked about my not being active and wanting us to be a team and all that. I had said that yes I had been active a lot more but my job was being neglected and that I would work on some pictures and try to be more active. The response was that I didn’t tell them that which in my opinion, I wouldn’t know how little or how much I would be on before I knew myself? Then it was about how taking good pictures aren’t that hard, and that I can ask for help. Nothing about me needing to be more active, stating that that wasn’t the issue.
The co-admin was polite stating that she understood what I said that it was about communicating when I can and such.
The difference in responses left me confused and with all the ‘fucks’ used by my friend just made me more frustrated. I explained to her that I was just trying to communicate now since I hadn’t enough before. And she told me that I missed the point, that it was about asking for help with the pictures and communicating and that it wasn’t about my being active which was ‘spotty at best’. Even though in her long rant that’s exactly what it was about. Activity isn’t solely about being in the server, just on a whole with the responsibilities of the server which is what I meant when I was talking about when I could be around.
She finished with something snotty like “But yeah okay focus on the wrong thing”. I didn’t copy any of what was said so I’m paraphrasing with what I can remember. I was shaking with anger. In that moment I realized that this wouldn’t end. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. There was no getting better. People weren’t going to be more active according to her expectations, she wasn’t going to get what she really wanted and those of us that were tasked with helping would be at fault for the failure.
I knew that I was struggling. I wanted to be a part of the server but interacting with her made me not want to be on at all. How can you explain that to someone that gets angry with you when you point their faults out to them? I knew that I was never going to be what she wanted but she wasn’t going to fire me, and she wasn’t going to let me quit. There was no conversation that was ever going to make me want to speak to her after the way she spoke to me that night.
So I did the only thing that I could do. I left. I blocked her because I knew I would read her messages and we’d get into an argument and somehow I’d get reeled right the fuck back in. Like I always did with her. Back to feeling sick to my stomach, feeling like I’m not good enough, feeling despondent and depressed. I wasn’t interested in my blog, I wasn’t interested in twitter, or talking to literally anyone because I felt like doing any of those things meant that I was failing her.
I ‘ghosted’ her in her opinion but I did it because sometimes there are people that you just can’t talk things out with or frankly you don’t want to when they mistreat you. Cutting out a person while it can be viewed as immature when the entire situation isn’t known sometimes is the only way to save yourself. So yeah. I’m immature. For wanting to not hate her, for wanting to read and post on my blog, for wanting to feel happy again and I don’t regret standing up and showing that I had had enough.
I don’t need anyone to pick my side. Some of you may know who I’m talking about but I’m not going to go into any details on who. I just want to move on, I want to have a small group of people that understand that it’s okay to not chat every minute of every hour of every date. That will come together when they can to talk about books or about writing or about their blogs or about movies if they want. So I started my own and I’m good with that.
The point of all of this isn’t to gain sympathy it’s to show that sometimes we don’t realize that the people we surround ourselves with don’t care about us as much as we want them to. They care about how they feel, about what wrong they perceive is being done to them, about their happiness. I just wanted to get this out there so I could let it go, prove that I’m better than all of this bullshit. That I am not perfect and make mistakes but I will never be okay with someone talking to me as if I’m less than. Because I’m not. Neither are you!