When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you.
The misinformation will seem unfair but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth just like you did.
Conversations I have had with a friend have led me to write this blog, knowing that people have been through a struggle with a toxic person in their life or are going through it now. I’ve been there too and it bloody well hurt; I thought at one point it might destroy me but I’m here to tell the tale. It happened to me a few years ago and it took me a while to get through. But dealing with toxic people is horrendous and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. If you have never been in the situation then consider yourself lucky and I really hope you never find yourself there.
So, what makes a person toxic?
- They are too eager
- They never have a nice word to say about others
- They are surrounded by drama
- They don’t let go
- They are evasive
- They lie
- They are selfish
- They are not nice to others
- They need to be right
- They are always the victim
They sound horrid so why would you ever be friends with someone like that? Because they are clever and manipulative; they work their way into your lives without knowing. Although they are generally “not nice to others” they can turn the charm on when they need to and they can use it to their advantage to manipulate if you are useful to them or they want something from you. If you aren’t useful they will treat you like dirt. Trust me I’ve seen it! The problem is you can’t see it at the time!
I was the one being manipulated. I couldn’t see it; I was blindsided. They had turned on the charm and I could not see past that. So much so that I thought they were my friend for over 6 years. 6 years!! How naive did I feel? How poor a judge of character must I be? Other people warned me but I told them they were wrong but looking back with hindsight I can see everything. But it’s too late; the damage is done. My trust has been broken; I find it much harder to trust people now. My guard is up when it wasn’t before. I have changed because I’ve had to. Now that I have come through the bitterness and the heartache. It ripped me apart from the inside; such a betrayal.
Looking at the things toxic people are meant to be …
- They definitely were – always wanted to be the first to offer to do something for me. Always wanting to be the one to look like they were saving the day because I was under pressure.
- Always bitched behind everyone’s back to make themselves look better. No one could be as good as they were. Others always had a fault and a bad trait and were always trying to do me wrong.
- That was definitely right!! Romances, Money issues, Dramatic arguments. Centre of attention on that front!!
- The repeated conversations of things that had happened in the past that were held onto. A world set on rewind and replay. I see it so clearly now. A reminder of others behaviour? A setting in stone of how I was meant to feel about other people? A reason why I should set this person on a pedestal?
- You never got a straight answer; now I think about it, NEVER! Changing the subject or twisting the conversation at every opportunity.
- Well that’s an easy one to confirm! They did that every day of their life and everyone knows that. But they were proud of it too!! How odd is that? And I got lied to to my face all the time; in the end I knew and I couldn’t believe it. Even prepared to throw people who I thought they cared about under the bus in the process.
- 🎶 It’s all about you 🎶 – I used to jokingly sing the McFly song to them as a flippant comment but it actually really was all about them!!
- The only people they were nice to were people that were useful to them. Otherwise they didn’t bother.
- Yes – I have gone through complete radio silence because of this!!
- It was always someone else’s fault!!
Looking back now I can be more rational about how I look at things but at the time, when I found out what was going on it was a complete emotional rollercoaster.
I found out by being metaphorically stabbed in the back. I found out what someone thought about me and what a personal attack they had made on me. Whether or not it was meant to be personal – from a toxic person I’m pretty sure it was – is by the by. It was such a shock I couldn’t breathe, I had to leave the room and quickly. I steadied my eyes at what I was being told and read painstakingly through the rest. By the end I couldn’t see what I was reading; the tears were streaming so thick and fast and it was like I had forgotten how to breathe. It was such a personal attack from a “friend”. The biggest betrayal I had ever felt.
I felt like that person had literally taken my heart out of my chest, crumpled it up, thrown it on the ground, stamped on it a few hundred times and then tried to put it back where it had once been. I knew this changed everything. This moment changed me!
For months, I became bitter about the whole situation but who wouldn’t? This was a “friendship” I had lost but apparently never had. I had shared things with this person I hadn’t shared with others. What a betrayal. What a poor judge of character I must be! How bloody naive!! How much more I could beat myself up about it, I don’t know! I was almost obsessed about it. Every waking moment it was in my head. It was behind every decision I made. I had to double think every decision I made, every conversation o had, every word I uttered.
I withdrew from people. I decided that if I’d got this wrong then I shouldn’t be friends with people as I couldn’t possibly get it right. I was so upset inside. I tried to keep up the smiling outside persona but that was tiring and beginning to wain. The bitterness starts to seep out … slowly.
Thankfully there were my true friends, family and colleagues who know me and don’t want me for their own personal goals! And these people saved me. They reminded me of who I am. They reminded me that I shouldn’t change because of one person. They told me that I am not those things I am accused of being.
They reminded me that they are friends with me for the very traits that I am trying to blame myself for being. I am kind, supportive, always there for others, think of others before myself and look for the good in people. Those are good traits, not bad! Those traits are me and who I should be because then I’m true to myself. Most people aren’t toxic; most people are real and worth being friends with.
I have learned that if someone is overly nice to me then I have to take a step back to work out if it’s genuine or they want something from me. If it’s the latter, then I move on. I do not need toxic people in my life. No one does. It’s probably impossible to completely avoid them but looking at how to deal with them.
For those of you in the middle of this, hold strong. You will get through this. It’s bitter, it’s hard and it feels like it will never get better. Trust me, it will! You are the better person. It will take time. True friends will stay. Do not let it completely change you forever!
For those of you through the other side, I applaud you! You did it!! You have the battle scars to prove it. It will always be there. You are a warrior!!
For those of you yet to go through it; I pray you never do but if you do then you have support. You will get through it like the millions before you.