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Dealing with an unhealthy friendship (and the loss of it)

Hey all Smiley Happy


It's been a while since I've been here, but I remembered that last time I was feeling crappy, this was a great place to come. 


About three days ago, I blocked a friend of mine on my socials. I had considered him my best friend, not that that was reciprocated (he literally told me that), and a lot of turbulence in the friendship was caused by me being upset or offended by the way he acted towards me. It got to the point where he was complaining to a close mutual friend of ours that I always had issues and all he wanted was peace, and this was difficult for me to understand because all I was doing was reacting. Reacting to things like being dismissed online and in real life, never being able to do the right thing, feeling like a burden on his time more than I did a friend, experiencing being blatantly ignored/forgotten about when he found someone new ... the list can go on, unfortunately. 


The horrible cycle that I fell into was that I would feel on top of the world when he treated me well - when he appreciated the time together, thanked me for things, reminded me that he cared about me and that I could talk to him - but then, suddenly, his behaviour would switch, and leave me feeling literally sick about it. Our catchups started to drain me more than recharge me and, as a consequence of that, I started to become way more in-tune with observing his actions towards me. I'm not too sure why I did that, I think it was because I wanted to verify to myself that it wasn't just him having a bad day, but it was him actually being over me and the friendship we shared. 


I learned that he had developed feelings for the close mutual friend I mentioned earlier, which made it harder for me as I felt absolutely obsolete. I fully understand and appreciate that when people become 'interested' in another person, they can develop a bit of a tunnel view for some portion of time. I really tried to respect that, and when he told me that he didn't always want to talk to me, I stepped back. But then that led to him complaining to this mutual friend that I wasn't talking anymore and didn't put effort into the friendship, which hurt. 


The other night I was talking to him, because we had gone out together with this mutual friend the night before, and I was offended from the night before because he was really arrogant towards me. In the conversation, he had told me that I had done something to annoy him, which I apologised for, and explained my side of the story. But it was only met with a defensiveness that suggested the reason he acted that way was because of me, and no reciprocal apology was in sight. 


After dealing with this kind of back and forward for the past few months, I decided, on that night, to remove any avenue of contact he had with me. It hurt, and still does, a lot, because we shared some really great moments in the friendship - and I'm just stuck wondering how something that had so many wholesome aspects turned so ugly at times. 


I'm reaching out here because I'm curious if anyone else has experienced this weird transitionary phase, because I can't work out how to feel. And I don't know if it is best for me to leave the friendship there, or to try and reconnect some time in the future. 


Anyways, thank you for reading. 

Re: Dealing with an unhealthy friendship (and the loss of it)

Hi @unwind! Welcome back to the forums! I'm glad you find them to be a safe space to share your thoughts. Smiley Happy
Friendships can be so complicated, and no matter the reason a friendship has to end, it can be so sad and tough to lose a friend. Smiley Sad I can't tell you whether blocking your friend was the right decision, but it sounds like it was a hard choice to make, especially as you had a lot of good times together. I wouldn't know what to make of the way your friend acted either. It sounds like his behaviour was really confusing. If I were in your shoes, I would also feel hurt and drained. It sounds like you made an effort to chat to him about how you feel, but he wasn't willing to take responsibility for the way that he acted. That's sad, but you probably did all you could to repair the friendship. Heart
How are you feeling now that you've blocked him? Sometimes, when I'm feeling upset over the loss of a toxic friendship, I try to think about the reasons why the friendship had to end and the positives I'm experiencing, such as less drama and feeling less anxious. It's also important to take time out to focus on yourself and allow yourself to feel any emotions that arise. What are some things you've done in terms of self-care since then?
We have an article about how to deal with a friendship break up you might find helpful. Heart

Re: Dealing with an unhealthy friendship (and the loss of it)

Hey @WheresMySquishy, thank you for your supportive words. 


I have quite a few mixed feelings after blocking him. On one hand, I'm very relieved about not having to be worried about any problems but, on the other hand, I guess I kind of miss the relationship. It's super weird trying to sort through these thoughts in my head. I'm also trying to be conscious of not doing a disservice to myself by accepting poor treatment by others, where I can. 


I guess I have just been doing a lot of things here and there, nothing specifically for self-care. I've just finished the HSC, so a lot of it is me going through all my Year 12 belongings and organising what I need and don't need. I think I'm just waiting for time to slow the thoughts. 

Re: Dealing with an unhealthy friendship (and the loss of it)

Hey @unwind , I love what you say here:  I'm also trying to be conscious of not doing a disservice to myself by accepting poor treatment by others, where I can. 

Being able to recognise that we deserve to be treated well by other people in our life is SO huge, and it can be a really hard thing to do, but you're spot on. You've shown so much strength in standing up for yourself and recognising the aspects of the relationship that had become pretty toxic for you... that definitely isn't easy, and it's totally understandable that you'd be having some mixed feelings about it. I know that in the past when I've ended relationships that had become really unhealthy, I still had to let myself grieve that loss, even though I knew I was making the right decision. 


Well done on finishing the HSC, that's a massive achievement! Do you have anything planned for the summer? 


Check out our community activities calendar here

Re: Dealing with an unhealthy friendship (and the loss of it)

Hey @unwind, I'm sorry for your struggling in the relationship. For me, personally I do agree that you cut off the contact with him. From your description, I feel that he is not respecting you as you respect him, and he is not treating you in an equal status, it sounds like he is always asking you to do things and you are the one that execute the command. I don't know whether he brings you positive things (such as some support when you feel bad and whether he is understanding you and stepping back for you) when he is accepting your kindness and tolerance, but it looks like this friendship had brought you anxiety. But if you want to continue the friendship, I think it would be better to try to talk directly with him about changes in your friendship.