Am I A Toxic Friend?

In almost all the content and things you will read regarding your friends, family and romantic partners, the blame is always put on them, instead of taking responsibility and ownership for a co-created relationship.

As much as narcissists believe otherwise, you can’t control and manipulate another person and nor should you want to, but very often the opposite of this feels like you have to completely remove them. this is the part where the real growth occurs…

Let me offer you another solution, one where you’re not victimising yourself, one of self-empowerment and love where you don’t have to try and force someone to be what you think they should be, or holding on to anger and hurt because you’re path is no longer aligned with theirs.

I have went through my whole life trying to either be something/someone i’m not, or never truly allowing myself to be seen. The reason for this is fear, fear that I would be judged, at least if I was judged while wearing a mask I could always tell myself that it’s not really me anyway, but remove that mask and allow myself to be judged, was a fate I was not willing to accept.

At my lowest points I have always turned to 3 things,

  1. Sex
  2. Drink
  3. Drugs

And 2 years ago was no different. My behaviour and mindset over the course of 18 months led me to surround myself with people that were also on a similar path. Saturday was spent in the pub engaging in ‘pub conversations’ and ‘pub behaviour’ while pouring money down the urinal every half hour or so.

Saturday was my day to block out the pain, hurt and shame of being a 30/31 year old man who was living in his gym, having no money and being unhappy with my current life.

Saturday gave me everything I needed.

Things began to change when I started to envision a different life for myself, a life that I felt proud of, a life that fulfilled me and that I wasn’t ashamed of.

Through one of my blogs i’d wrote on loneliness, I had received a message from someone that my words resonated with, little did I know at the time that she too, was going through her own struggles and engaging in self sabotaging behaviour that she too wanted to stop.

The more time we’d spent together the more I wanted to not only be a positive influence in her life, but I also wanted to create the life I had envisioned for myself.

I knew that I had to make some big changes, but the question was always how…

How do I make changes to my lifestyle without removing people from my life?

I knew that I couldn’t be around certain things and have the willpower to just say ‘no’ so what option was I left with?

At the time I felt like I only had one, that was to remove myself. unfortunately this come with certain consequences that i’d like to say I didn’t expect, but being someone that lacks naivety I could sense this was heading towards me.

The more I distanced myself and stopped engaging in things that were taking me further away from that life I wanted, the more my life improved and the happier I became.

About four months ago I was having a particularly reflective day, I can remember thinking to myself I am so grateful for the tough time I went through, not only because I learnt more about myself in 2 years than I ever have done, but because I am now someone I am proud of, and know that I have learnt so many valuable lessons that I can take with me in my new life and relationship.

As I mentioned previously, my whole life has been me showing versions of myself that I am happy for people to see, I have never removed every single mask and ‘bared all.’

This ‘new’ man that had walked through the flames, is no longer living in fear of judgement. Not only is my relationship a loving, supportive, safe container to express myself fully, but also the body that I live in isn’t used to shield people away.

All the blogs, videos and other forms of content I put out now i’m so passionate about, and it’s so amazing to see and hear the positive responses it gets, but recently I was challenged…

The message I share is one of self love, that means not only loving a part of who you are, but who you are in all your imperfect perfection.

A few weeks ago I shared on my Instagram a picture of me naked from when me and my girlfriend had been sunbathing (just to clarify I was naked she wasn’t) I’d spared social media my manhood by covering it with a tomato emoji, it fit so why not ha! The caption i’d posted it with was ‘would body shaming still be a thing if none of us ever wore clothes?’ it had a fair bit of interaction and the responses it received were very interesting, the majority of people voted for ‘yes’ body shaming would still be a thing. little did I know that a couple of people had screenshot that picture and used it to try and elevate themselves by belittling me behind my back.

When I said previously I expected this type of response, that was because I was recently made aware that this sniggering behind my back had been going on for a while.

A few days later My phone went off with a message saying ‘what is wrong with you have you lost the plot?’ attached was the photo i’d posted, there was a bit of back and forth where I was made aware of a couple of other judgements that if i’m honest did get to me.

Why did it get to me?

Well because I like to think of myself as an innocuous friend, a friend that accepts that we all are different and will ALWAYS see things from the other persons point of view, and I suppose if i’m honest I had imposed a level of entitlement on myself to be treated exactly the same.

The truth is, I could of held on to that anger and hurt, but this anger and hurt was my own fault and for me to take full responsibility of.

Why?

Well every single one of us deals with things differently and when we begin to set expectations we are only leaving ourselves open to disappointment.

One of my favourite quotes is…

‘Unrealistic expectations are pre-meditated resentments’

Remember, just because you do something or would handle something differently doesn’t mean that you’re right and they are wrong, usually it’s just a lack of communication that both parties have to take ownership for.

So now with all that being said what other option was I actually left with?

Communicate!

It could have been as easy as follows…

*Sets up group chat

Hi lads,

I just wanted to say firstly, thankyou all for being there for me when I needed people around me the most. As you all know I was going through a really shit time and i’m hugely grateful that I didn’t have to go through it alone.

Secondly, I just want to say that my reasons for not wanting to come out drinking anymore is nothing personal, and if I was stronger and able to come out and enjoy myself without doing anything i’d regret then i’d still come out, but unfortunately I don’t feel like I am. Hopefully we can still arrange to catch up each week outside of the pub.

Finally I just want to say I hope you understand my situation and why I feel I need to do this.

Speak soon,

Dan.

Sometimes in life we make turn innocent situations into an issue, by making assumptions instead of just communicating openly and honestly.

I’ve realised so much over the last 2 years, things that have enabled me to take full responsibility, there are times in my life when I have been a toxic influence, times where I have been someone I wouldn’t want to spend time with and times where I have done things where i’ve even shocked myself because I never thought I was capable, but we have all been blessed with this life and we have a duty to not only ourselves, but also those close to us to make sure we are doing everything we can to be a positive influence.

I am by no means saying that when you start to change path you will not encounter some form of resistance, either from yourself or others, but if you ‘fight’ this resistance with bitterness and hate, this will only hinder you from taking the next step forward.

Be grateful for those people that were there for you, and thank them for being a part of your life, and if they truly care about you they will be happy to see you striding towards the life that you want, and if they don’t, then DO NOT allow their lack of care for you turn you into something you’re not, ALWAYS remain true to yourself and bless them with your kindness.

4 thoughts on “Am I A Toxic Friend?

  1. I used to be the toxic friend. I am 49. Single. Never married. No kids. yes, I have made dating mistakes like everyone else. No, I never met the right person. If I had gotten married it would have been because I was ‘supposed to.” But I also have no friends in the way that you think of friends. No friends who call and say “hey! I have an extra ticket to the game. wanna go?” kind of friends. Why not? Because I used to be toxic and angry. everyone obviously had hated me (at least in my mind) so I must have hated them back. Every effort to be social failed. And when I was social it was a fluke. I was so stuck in my mind, I couldn’t enjoy it. 5 years ago I just woke up and felt better. My mindset has changed. I choose to be happy. My life has gotten so much better. Hell, I even dated someone for several years and we lived together for a while. I want to date again, but my luck is still challenging. But the difference today? I don’t dwell on it. We are not our depression or our anxiety. We can fight it. I fight every day.

    Like

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