Toxic Friendships

SO I just finished binge watching the new netflix series “13 Reasons Why” (yes I should be studying for exams but this was worth it) and if you guys haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do. It is about a girl who is bullied throughout high school to the point where she ultimately decides to commit suicide. The experiences the characters go through make this series extremely relatable. As I was watching it, I’ve connected things that have happened in my life to the show, and I think that is why I probably cried every episode (but I cry when I watch anything, it can be a comedy and I’ll cry, I’m an emotional person okay?).

I’m not going to give the show away to you guys, but I thought I would talk about an experience of mine that may help you make decisions about your friendships. Have you ever been in a toxic friendship? Or maybe you currently are in one and do not realize, or do not want to realize.

I was best friends with someone for years. Every single secret or big thing that happened in my life, this person was the first to know, before my own parents. Some things you just don’t tell your parents, even if you realize you should have. Every person needs a friend, someone they can talk to and open up to about situations you wouldn’t disclose to just anyone. Things started changing, this person began to put me down, talk behind my back, and tell some of the personal things I have told her to others. I am not a confrontational person, which sometimes SUCKS, because during this time I still remained her friend, because I did not have anyone else. We were known as a pair, everyone knew we were inseparable, so imagining us not as friends was strange.

I would ask why she did things but she would deny it all. I knew she was lying, but I did not want to be alone. I am an introvert in the sense that she introduced me to people and brought me out to parties, I never did that stuff on my own. I felt like I was walking on eggshells, I was so afraid to do something wrong because I thought she would make fun of me again, or tell other people my secrets out of spite. She would be happy and normal around me, but once I was gone she was different. She would talk about me to her other friends, and I still don’t understand why. I never did anything to hurt her or to betray her trust, but it was like a Jekyll and Hyde relationship!

The turning point was when I had a traumatic experience happen to me, and I immediately called her. I told her what happened, but she didn’t believe me. She also didn’t tell me I was on speaker phone and her other friends were there, which meant they all know what happened as well, and they didn’t believe me either. I heard the snickering in the background and that is when I realized I was already alone this whole time. I hung on to something so toxic, that I didn’t realize being alone was probably better for me anyways.

Toxic relationships are not only intimate relationships, they can be friendships too. But, they are just as bad, and just as hard to get over. I look back at what happened to me and wish I would have had the courage to stick up for myself and walk away before things got worse. A friend shouldn’t be judgemental and gossipy, they shouldn’t discredit you, make fun of you, be resentful, or be self-centred in the relationship. If you feel uneasy around a “friend” because you are afraid they will hurt you, make fun of you, or tell people your secrets, it is time to walk away. Do what I couldn’t do, and make the decision which will benefit your mental health and your life. When you are in toxic relationships like the one I experienced, you feel depressed, anxious, and nervous all the time.

When I decided to stop the friendship, it was hard. I slowly stopped messaging her and segregated myself from her friends. We went to different schools so it was a little easier for me, because I did not have to face her everyday. The friendship really took a toll on my life – it took me a very long time to have a “best friend” again, I think it was because I was weary of getting close with another person. I can promise once you leave, it will get better. The anxious feelings and the overthinking subsides, and you will find your groove again. Learn from every experience you have, and make yourself a better person from them. You will know what is right and what is wrong, and what works best for you.

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My wost nightmare

  • Caution, Please read with care as it may trigger some people

So, roughly a year ago my sister and her friends were on their way home from a hockey game when my mom got a frantic call from my sister… her friends and her were hit by another car.  On the phone, she sounded fine and didn’t think she was badly hurt. It wasn’t until when my mom and I go to the accident site when we realized how bad it was.

The scene was three side streets long and through a main intersection. I looked and thought, how did no one die? I was stunned and I broke down. I was angry at the people who were gawking and taking pictures, even though the police told them not to. I was broken, I didn’t know where my sister was and I started to panic. I could see the truck they were driving in and I needed to see my sister right away to make sure she was okay. After about 5 minutes (which felt like 30) an officer comes up to my mom and I, and tells my mom she can ride with my sister to the hospital – I can’t drive so my mom told me to go. The truck engine was across the street and we later found out the car did a 360 turn.

So, the officer walks me over to the ambulance and tells me everything will be okay.  I was terrified as I wear my heart on my sleeve, so my emotions are very visible. I was in shock, I had never witnessed a car accident at this point. My sister was strapped into the gurney and all I wanted to tell her was that everything was going to be okay. She didn’t look too hurt, compared to what I had braced myself for. We get to the hospital and I tried to keep her calm while were in the trauma bay. I held her hand and didn’t want to let go for the life of me. My parents arrived soon after we did but, they had to take turns coming back since I came with her.

My sister was attended to the best that they could since all four people from the accident were rushed to the same hospital. While my parents and my other sister took turns coming in to see her, she said she was sorry for what had happened, even though she wasn’t driving and they were the ones who got hit. Her friends got to the hospital shortly after she did and she wanted me to go see how they were – the nursing staff did not like that at all. I was so angry – they told me that I had to go back to my sister’s room or I’d be taken back out when my sister’s friend’s dad calls me. Thankfully they let me see him so I could tell my sister her friends are doing well. This really annoyed me because I told the staff my sister was just in an accident she wants to make sure her friends are okay.

Just before my sister goes for her x-ray the police constable came into my sister’s room and asked what happened. He was very nice and assured her her friends were the ones who were hit not the ones who hit the other car. I overheard them saying they were hit at 190 KM/HR. This made my heart sink to know that if the truck they were driving in was an inch further out – it could have been a very different story.

So, how has this affected me, well to start off I am terrified to drive because at this moment I can’t put my life at risk and drive – I know I am a good driver but there are a lot of people who shouldn’t drive. I get very anxious when my friends drive and I have had a panic attack.  I am still dealing with this accident and I wasn’t even in the car. I sometimes feel guilty because I feel this way. Hopefully, by writing this, it helps make people more cautious when the drive and will help heal me.

I just want to thank my sister for allowing me to share this and for the miracle that happened that night.

Walking on Eggshells

I have a close family member who makes almost every situation stressful. My entire family dreads coming home at the end of a long day because you never know what kind of mood he will be in. He might happily greet you at the door, or be screaming at you the second you walk in. Being around him is like walking on eggshells, you never know when he’s gonna crack.

Around a year ago, I came to a realization – as soon as I am in the same room as him I become extremely stressed and tense. Driving in the car is the worst and one night is a prime example of why – I brought him along with me to my friends’ house to help cheer him up. While we were there he suddenly grabbed my arm and said that we needed to leave immediately because he knew he was going to have a freak out. I politely told my friends we had to leave and that I would see them all later. We were driving home when suddenly he punched the dash board and began screaming. I stopped the car, terrified. He was in tears and got out of the vehicle, proceeding to walk down the street. We were in a neighbourhood he is unfamiliar with, so I followed him close behind. He then began screaming at me to leave him alone so I drove back to my friends’ house as it was closer than my own. I called my mom and asked what I should do. She said to go back and try and pick him up to bring him home. But I was scared to get back into the car with him. It was lucky that we were still in the subdivision when he first began freaking out as no one was around and I could safely stop the car. Had we been on a main road an accident was likely to occur. I decided to just drive home. My mom of course then had to go back and pick him up. He got home and yelled at me for leaving him on the side of the road, even though he was the one who told me to leave him alone.

Over the years I have learned the best way to cope with living in the same house as him. It’s important to stay calm when speaking with him and not to approach him without first observing what his mood is like, which can often be determined quite instantly through his body language and tone. By sticking to this approach, I have been able to avoid being the target of his anger in numerous situations and can only hope that this will continue in the future.