Friends deal with inappropriate friends

How to Find Out If You Have a Toxic Friendship

Last update: 26th August, 2019

Toxic friendship is not a one-sided affair. The toxic relates to both sides: In some cases, both “friends” show clearly toxic behavior. In other cases, one of them is active while the other remains passive. The latter usually has a very weak self-esteem.

Many Asians follow a maxim that seems obvious, but contains a considerable amount of wisdom: "A preference always strives for a preference". In human relationships we seek and attract, both consciously and unconsciously, those who have similar strengths and weaknesses as we do. It is unusual for someone in good sanity to be involved with a neurotic or toxic person.

In truth, toxic friendship is not a question of good or bad. Rather, one of inappropriate and destructive relationships. And a question about the ways in which you can create a relationship with one another. There are several reasons a person could develop and maintain a toxic friendship. Maybe it's the lack of self-esteem and the continual trivialization of the self. Or maybe a strict upbringing that was experienced in childhood.

"What makes friendships everlasting and doubles their appeal is the feeling that love lacks: security!"

Honoré de Balzac

Nobody is so unattractive that you have to get rid of them. And nobody is so perfect that they never make a mistake and don't have to improve anything. But a toxic friendship is destructive - and both parties distribute their poison. Then it is necessary to redesign the relationship. And sometimes there is no other option but to end it.

The main thing is to learn to identify what symptoms are indicative of an inappropriate relationship. Here are a few of them.

In a toxic relationship, pejorative comments are systematically made

Toxic friendship is particularly common among people with poor self-esteem. One of the most destructive aspects of this type of relationship are because of this derogatory comments that convey subliminal messages rather than clear messages. If they were said frankly, it would potentially lead to distance building. And nobody wants that. That is why subtleties, irony and sarcasm are used. The content of these messages is aggressive. One tries to disregard the other person's worth or achievements.

In a toxic relationship there is this ambivalence: You are friend and foe at the same time. There is closeness and distance at the same time. In order to be able to continue with this double game, the hidden criticism is particularly suitable. It can often be observed that this comes from both sides and is continued by both. These two people hurt each other. But they manage to do it undercover.

Friendship or complicity?

There are friendships in which you continually break the rules. This happens when relationships are based on alcoholism or other substance use. There are also cases when the relationship is maintained to cover up infidelity, to avoid commitments, or to be riot. This is a clear case of bad company.

In this case, the friendship is toxic because the friend is only a means of encouraging behavior that would be rejected elsewhere. Neither is interested in the other's wellbeing. Both take advantage of each other to act out inappropriate aspects of their personality.

This type of friendship usually ends when either one of them wants to improve their lives. In fact, the other person will then do everything possible to prevent that from happening. Because if she doesn't, she'll be left without her accomplice.

You feel bad all the time

An unmistakable symptom of toxic friendship is feeling bitter lingering after spending time with that person. Sometimes you perceive it as a feeling of heaviness. You feel emotionally drained. You may experience increased irritability, but not find out what is causing it. Guilt and sadness can also arise.

Most likely, there are several factors that come together that negatively affect your mood. And yet, strangely enough, you cannot end the friendship. The connection between the two of you is neurotic and dependent on unconscious feelings or desires. The truth is that it causes you distress. But it's like inevitably going through the same experience over and over again.

Everything revolves around the negative

There are friends who come together and exchange negativity. Sometimes they do this through scathing criticism of other people. In these toxic friendships, rumors, intrigues and slander about others are freely exchanged. They share views that demean others and fuel conflict. They affirm each other's attitudes. That is exactly what connects both.

In other cases, complaints fill the air. They reinforce each other's feelings about being bullied. They think about their difficulties and complain about them, but without showing a will to overcome them. But on the contrary. They love their wounds and take care of each other's wounds. However, they are not interested in curing it.

There is no give and take

A healthy friendship is always based on give and take, on a balance. However there are people who only go to their friends to ask for things or to ask them for something. They see themselves as people who need a lot from others. And by the same logic, others have an unconditional duty to give.

The lack of reciprocity shows up when one speaks while the other simply listens. Or when one of the two feels that their problems are undoubtedly more important and a higher priority than the other person's. It is often the case that such a friend disappears when the other is in trouble. You can only count on him if everything is going perfectly.

A toxic friendship takes more than it gives. Actually, it has little to do with friendship. Perhaps there is a sincere mutual bond. But the way in which the friendship is structured and lived makes it toxic for both, even if only one directs while the other follows: the active person is not the only problem. It is also the one who passively tolerates this type of relationship.

At the end of the day, we always look a little like the person we spend our time with. If our goal is to improve, grow, and improve our wellbeing, it is important to find people with whom we can build a friendship that is mutual and good for us.

Images courtesy of Amèlie Fontaine

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