Having friends is an integral part of living a happy and healthy life. While good friendships act as a support system and help you become a better version of yourself, it is unfortunate to say that not all friendships will have a positive effect on your life. Sometimes the very people we call friends can be the cause of all kinds of anxiety and insecurities. Since friends are such an important part of our lives; They have a huge impact on how we view ourselves and the world around us. This means that a rotten friendship will lead us to have a rotten perspective on ourselves and our surroundings.
There is a false concept of being friends with people despite their flaws. This is true up to a point, but it shouldn’t apply when your negativity and toxicity start to rub off in your life. You need to have the strength to acknowledge and let go of those friendships. There is very little talk about an abusive friendship and most people tend to ignore it as it may not sound like a big deal, but abusive friendships can be just as, if not more, damaging as abusive relationships. It is important for us to be able to recognize such friendships and end them before they have a chance to affect our mental and emotional health. The following are some ways to recognize abusive friendships …
1. You discover that cruel jokes are made at your expense!
Lighthearted jokes are a part of all friendships, and it can be a way for friends to show how close they are to each other; some people tend to take jokes too far. While it is one thing for your friends to make fun of you from time to time, but if every conversation or interaction you have with a person is that they make cruel jokes about you, then something is definitely not right.
You might even notice that when you call out to these people for their behavior, they’ll call you a humorless party pooper. Even in friendships, it is important to keep limits in mind. Being friends with someone shouldn’t give anyone a free pass for humiliating you and hitting you cruelly. If your friend uses humor as an excuse to constantly point out things you feel insecure about or to publicly humiliate you, this is definitely an important sign of an abusive friendship.
2. You seem to face constant and unnecessary criticism!
Honesty is an important part of any friendship. Honest friends can help you learn from your mistakes, they are always ready to give constructive criticism to help you become a better person, but some friends can take this honesty too far. Toxic friends often use the excuse of honesty and constructive criticism as an excuse to insult and belittle the people around them. If you notice that one of your friends is constantly pointing out things that they think are wrong with you, then you should know that it is not normal in a healthy friendship.
These friends will make degrading and hurtful comments about your aspirations and appearances. You might hear things like ‘I don’t think you’re good enough for the job’ or ‘You really think posting THAT photo is a good idea.’ You may not notice how these comments affect you, but in the long run, those friends aren’t worth it and you should talk to them about this or let them go. The latter is better because most of the time, those people will blame your thinking because, in their opinion, they cannot be wrong.
3. Find that you are always offending your partner!
You may begin to notice that being around them is not as fun as it used to be. It seems that everything you do offends them. They start to get angry over the smallest things. They get mad at you for seemingly nothing and attack without giving a proper reason. Suddenly every conversation, every interaction you have with them is like walking on eggshells.
It seems like anything can make them go crazy and now you have to be aware of what you say and do around them. Suddenly being around them has become so suffocating that you feel like you can no longer be your true self. When you notice such aggression in the friendship, it is a red flag signifying an abusive friendship.
4. You feel like you are being emotionally blackmailed!
An important sign of an abusive friendship is emotional blackmail. Abusive friends will not hesitate to use your feelings against you. Sentences like ‘Am I not important to you?’ or “you don’t care enough about me” are constantly repeated. Toxic friends make you feel bad for disagreeing with them. They use their guilt to get their way and to force you to do things that you would normally be uncomfortable with.
They twist your words and use them against you. You should consider; One of the most important ways people abuse others is by using their empathy and guilt against them.
5. Practical jokes and inappropriate touching
Friends are supposed to be the people you feel safe with. Unfortunately, we trust people more easily than we should. Trusting people is similar to handing over a gun and letting your guard down because “you trust that they will never intentionally hurt you.” Although trusting people is the foundation for building a healthy relationship, it can also backfire if given to the wrong people. Physical abuse between friends can take many forms, from practical jokes to inappropriate touching. If you ever feel like your friend is pushing boundaries and playing unacceptable practical jokes or touches that are not normal between friends, that is definitely a toxic friend sign that you should talk to or put aside.
6. You start to feel physically stressed!
Although it may be a bit hard to believe, abusive friendships can have major effects on your body physiology. The negative effects of stress and negative emotions have become a well-known fact. Stress can cause all kinds of physical problems; Headaches, chest pains, and an upset stomach are cited as common physiological effects of stress.
When a friendship starts to get toxic, it will leave you stressed out. Your muscles begin to feel tense; You are always in a constant state of anxiety, the thought of spending time with your ‘friend’ gives you a headache. Toxicity in a friendship leads to a stressed mind and a stressed mind ultimately leads to a stressed body. Feeling drained and having zero energy after hanging out with a friend like this is one of the initial signs you may see before toxicity spreads, so watch out for those signs and have the courage to put an end to it.
What to keep in mind!
We deeply love all of our friends and would never want to believe that they can cause us any harm. Wonderful memories and experiences make us see people through pink glasses. We get so used to excusing and ignoring the negative behavior of our loved ones that we don’t even notice when certain friends begin to sanctify us from within. Let’s be honest, we never want someone we have called important in our lives to have negative qualities. The idea that someone we’ve been giving so much love and affection to, hurting ourselves in return, can be more than a little difficult to handle.
Unlike an abusive relationship where you are intimate with the other person, it is easier to cut off a friend. Try to create distance with those friends. Refuse to give in to their manipulations and berate them for their unpleasant behavior. Still, if despite all your efforts, the abuse doesn’t stop; Cut them out of your life because while acknowledging and eliminating toxic and abusive friends can be extremely painful and scary, you should always remember that no amount of memories and so-called friendships is worth taking away your peace of mind.