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Happily Eva Answers: You Can(t) Sit With Us

Happily Eva Answers

Dear Eva,

I was in a toxic/emotionally abusive friendship for about 10 years, and I recently ended the friendship. Two of my closest friends only knew my ex-friend through me, and neither of them really hung out with her unless we were all together as a group. My ex-friend is a hairstylist, and these two friends are still clients of hers. I’m really hurt that they still have contact with her, since they are aware of all that happened. I’ve kind of mentioned my feelings to one of my friends, but it was more in a joking way. I asked if she was going to her, and when she said yes, I just responded “At least don’t tip her!” I’m not sure how to really discuss this with them, nor am I sure if it’s something I even should mention. 

What should I do? Am I just being petty & childish?

Sincerely,

Ms. Friendly Fire

 

Dear Ms. Friendly Fire,

I am so sorry to hear you went through such a hurtful friendship.  That sounds absolutely terrible, and I’m happy for you that you were able to extricate yourself from the situation and move forward.  That’s not easy to do – I can tell you are a very strong and smart woman.  Unfortunately, your two good friends are making it very hard to move forward completely! This is an issue that is definitely worth talking about.  I don’t think you’re being petty and childish.

I hear your frustrations, your hurt feelings, and I understand them.  This ex-friend already took so much from you over the years – I’m sure it kills you to watch her “getting away with it” and suffering zero visible consequences.  I have two thoughts that I think will help with your predicament:

One: I have something that I remind all my friends who are removing themselves from challenging situations with insane or horrible people: You can leave.  But they have to be with themselves for the rest of their lives.  Usually, miserable people are miserable TO other people, and while it is no excuse, this ex-friend is probably suffering inside in a major way.  She hurt you so deeply because at the foundation of everything she probably hates herself.  Imagine living that way for your entire lifetime.  I mention this only because you should know she isn’t “getting away” with anything.  Even if she has every friend in the world and you have none– she is alone with herself at the end of the day, and she suffers.  Trust me.  I hope that makes you feel badly for her, which I hope makes you feel a little better to be yourself.  Pat yourself on the back for stepping out of that toxicity and moving forward.

Two: Let’s talk about your friends.  While on the surface their behavior seems really unsavory to me, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.  It is possible that since you have been mentioning the new dynamic in “a joking way”, that they are mistaking this for a cavalier attitude.  They may not truly understand how your ex-friend’s behavior made you feel.  Tell them.  Without becoming confrontational, tell them exactly how deeply this person hurt you, how it made you feel about yourself, and how much it bothers you that she still “gets them” as clients and friends.  Surely there is more than one hairdresser where you live! I really don’t think it’s too much to ask for your close friends to disassociate from a person who was emotionally abusive to you.  Wouldn’t you do the same for them?  They may hear your feelings and realize that severing ties is deeply important to you.  And then here’s the hard part– after they know for sure just how painful it is for them to continue their association with her, you need to be prepared for the reality that their behavior may not change.  They might continue their relationships with her anyway.  If this happens, please know that this has to do more with them than with you.  Who they are as friends– and as people.  It may be a hard realization to come by, but you’re better off knowing who your great friends are…and aren’t.  In the end, sharing our vulnerabilities with the people we feel closest to, and asking for support, is one of the greatest shows of strength we can have.  Move on from that terrible ex-friend once and for all– and anyone in her clique!

I wish you all the best!

 

xoxo

EAM

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6 Comments

  1. Alisha says:

    I think LW is being petty. If the two friends know the situation and continue to associate then possibly they think that LW overreacted in the first place. Also it’s possible that they don’t feel like they should pick sides. Lastly, do you know how hard it is to find a good hairdresser?!

    01.08.16 Reply
  2. Vanessa says:

    Sometimes you have to make the painful decision to disassociate yourself with certain people especially if the realationship is toxic. I’ve been in a similar situation recently and trust me it feels great not having that bad energy around you. Time will heal you

    01.08.16 Reply
  3. Sus says:

    How is it possible after a long friendship with close friends that they do not have your back when you need them!? It also makes you feel like it’s your fault and when you have great courage to talk about it they brush it off as its fine.

    01.08.16 Reply
  4. Rocio says:

    Couldn’t of said it better myself…. 😉

    01.08.16 Reply
  5. Greg Fillmore says:

    I had a friend in the past, his name was Ben. We lost touch, because he grew a big ego. Still the talks that we had 15 or 16 years ago, the wisdom of many of those talks still applies.
    Understanding the meanings of the words that define people is key for yourself, in relationship as to whether your friends (or family) in your life reflect your foundational core values.
    That is what philosophy and true dialoging is, agreeing on the definitions of words that will be discussed. At that time he was planning on being a philosophy professor.
    I only have very few “deep close friends”, a) because there is only so much time in each 24 hour cycle, as well as b) most people don’t draw enough water from the well of integrity, sadly our society currently encourages unintegrity, rather than integrity,

    From the weblink http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity

    noun
    in·teg·ri·ty \in-ˈte-grə-tē\
    Simple Definition of integrity
    : the quality of being honest and fair
    : the state of being complete or whole
    But maybe defining what character traits (values) of the people in your life will assist you in further discerning who will be your friends in the future.
    Whenever in the past I would need to call someone on their shortcomings (a nice word for bull*#it) my mother Kathy would say “Now remember to start out by sharing “I make observations and not judgements.” , also that “None of us are perfect, I am also learning many new things about being a better person.” , her advice continues to humbly work each day I run into friends, co workers, or acquaintances who are helping me complete errands for the day, that being humble, listening and making observations and not judgements toward others, while being discerning (choosing carefully who you spend YOUR valuable time with) about the people you have in your life, is very rewarding, applying those tools, but it is hard too, because in life you let a lot of people go.

    Good luck Ms. Friendly Fire, I humbly hope, that some of what I shared, may be of some help, in your journey with this change in your life.
    Greg Fillmore

    01.09.16 Reply
  6. linda says:

    i had to end a toxic friendship myself. i remind myself all the time of what eva said, she was toxic to me because of how unhappy she is in her own life. i tried to help but finally had to walk away.

    i knew we wouldn’t be able to avoid bumping into each other at social gatherings, so i made it a point to not discuss the situation with common friends. it was akward at first, but now we nod and say hello, and go about enjoying our activities.

    02.29.16 Reply